While a backyard swimming pool can be a great luxury during the hot summer months, it can pose a risk to small children and unsupervised pets if it is not properly enclosed. To ensure that their swimming pools stay fun and safe, many people install swimming pool fencing around the perimeter of their spas and pools. Pool fencing is one of the easiest ways to prevent accidental pool drowning and while it is not regulated by federal law in the United States, many states such as California, Arizona and Florida require inground pools to be properly fenced. Additionally, some counties have laws about pool fencing, even though there are no state laws. Because fencing regulations are so varied in the United States, it is important to research what is required before installing a swimming pool, or a pool fence. Don't think that if you have swimming pool covers installed you are safe, a pool cover or hot tub cover is not enough.
While many places may not regulate pool fencing, the International Code Council (ICC) has created a list of safety standards, which are often followed by those interested in safety, regardless of local laws and regulations. The ICC suggests that fencing be at least 48” tall, that the middle horizontal rail be at least 45” above the bottom rail and that the bottom rail be no more than 2” from the ground. Pickets should be spaced no more than 4” apart. Gates must be self-closing, self-latching and must open out, away from inground swimming pools. Additionally, the latch must be at least 54” above the ground, to prevent a small child from opening the gate.
Pool fencing comes in a variety of designs and it can be made from many materials including wood, aluminum, steel and fiberglass. One type of fence that has been developed specifically for pool use is the removable mesh pool safety fence. Mesh fences are popular, due to their relative ease of installation, the fact that they can be dismantled and stored when the pool is unused for extended periods of time, such as over the winter months, and due to the unobtrusive nature of the material. While structural elements such as the posts and gate are often made of opaque aluminum or fiberglass, the mesh itself can be nearly transparent, although it is also manufactured in a variety of colors. Because mesh fencing is tension-based, it must be installed on a hard surface, such as concrete, that allows the support posts to be securely drilled. Mesh pool fencing must also completely encircle a pool, attaching to itself, to gain the right amount of tension to keep it taut.
There are over a dozen manufacturers of mesh pool fencing in the United States. Most products cost from $100 to $150 for a basic fence, depending on its length, although many require that the latching gate be bought separately. VisiGuard is one popular manufacturer. Their Fully Assembled Child Safety Pool Fence is sold in pre-assembled twelve-foot sections of poles and mesh. The poles are made of aluminum and stainless steel, and have been coated with a rustproof powder. This pool fencing comes with a limited lifetime warranty. While comparable to many products on the market, VisiGuard is a popular choice because of its ease of installation. While many designs require a core drill to attach the posts, The VisiGuard Fully Assembled Child Safety Pool Fence can be installed using a hammer drill.
Those who prefer the look of fiberglass, or who worry that aluminum will rust, regardless of its coating, might try one of Protect-A-Child's line of mesh pool fencing. While Protect-A-Child manufactures a number of types of fencing, including fences designed for pet safety and barrier fencing, their most popular models are their mesh fences. These include full lifetime warranties, UV-resistant mesh and safety features that prevent a child from removing the fence.