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Pools that Play Peek-a-boo: Premium Tech for Advanced Exteriors

Posted by
on November 05, 2018 at 02:57 PM

Any conversation these days is incomplete without a discussion on the latest technology to enter the market and the aspect of our lives it’s likely to impact. Indeed, tech is so pervasive that no teeny bit of human life misses being impacted by it, and its advancements are so fast and numerous that it’s almost impossible to keep up. So, we talk tech today around the design of an exterior feature/ facility that, once considered a luxury, is fast becoming a regular amenity – the swimming pool. The problems around maintenance of swimming pools have given rise to the solution of covering them when not in use, and the market sees a varied supply of these covers and ways to operate them. Here’s looking at pool covers – the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’- and some magically concealed pools as well!

© Courtesy of internet resources

As pools stopped being an exclusive luxury and made an entry into relatively modest homes, clubs and apartment buildings, it was only a matter of time before many questions started to be posed. The more pervasive use of pools obviously led to posers about excessive water consumption as well as evaporation. This was also linked to maintaining the quality of water in the pool, preventing the formation of physical and biological impurities in it, its chemical balance and its temperature. There is also the question of safety of unattended children around easily accessible residential pools, and one of saving space in modest sized locations. 

In short, it became important to preserve the water once filled in a pool for as long as possible, taking care to maintain its quality and temperature. To keep water protected meant covering it up when not in use, and this led to a growing demand for pool covers which manufacturers and suppliers have been fulfilling eagerly and efficiently. The basic pool cover comes as a light sheet made of materials like plastic or waterproof canvas and floats on the water surface. Of course, this basic arrangement has seen many upgrades in terms of material, ease of operation, and multiplication of benefits. 

There are different types of covers available which, by virtue of the material or their build, could perform different functions besides preventing the water from getting dirty. Thermal pool covers are made from several sandwiched layers of dark coloured plastic which help retain the warmth of the water and also transfer to it the sun’s heat. Solar covers perform a similar function and have a similar build, but with one side silver coloured. Bubble covers have little cavities built into the plastic sheet which prevent easy conduction of heat, helping to retain the water’s warmth, and have some aesthetic value as well.

Large pools are difficult to cover manually, which has led to the creation of reels around which the covers stay wrapped until they’re rolled out neatly, either by a mechanical crank or by an automated switch operated system. These reels are manufactured by multinational brands and are easily available all over the world, including in India where covers sell at around Rs. 70/- to Rs.90/- per sq ft and the reels cost around Rs.40,000/- per piece; they are mostly used by public or community pools here.

The covers, again, can either be frameless or fixed in frames that are made to fit exactly with the pool’s size and shape. These framed covers are usually retractable, slide either over the pool rim or under it, and can be operated with a switch lever or an electronic touchpad. These framed covers can either be made of the same plastic sheets or of any other like PVC boards. An example worth mentioning is the one made of waterproof polypropylene so that when the cover is on it serves as a bouncy trampoline – that’s two sports in one! 

Other interesting examples include framed retractable covers finished with decking boards or grassy turf to match the surroundings, which results in a cleverly concealed pool when covered! But, the real deal in concealed pools has just begun to make inroads in the pool market, having been invented after a decade of research by a Californian group and thence patented by several manufacturers. Here, you can never tell when a patio clad with decking boards or paver tiles would virtually give way to reveal a pool in its place – try thinking of a better space-saver!

This type of a concealable pool has a hydraulically operated floor/ pool bed which can be raised or lowered to any height by flicking a switch. When the pool is in use the floor is lowered and when the floor is raised the water gets concealed below in the reserve tank and gets circulated through the purifying system. The floor can also be lowered just enough to create a paddle pool or a kid’s splash pool, or to the optimum depth to reveal a full-fledged swimming pool. What’s more? The floor can be lowered/ raised in parts to form a central table in a circular pool or steps going down to the bottom! 

While there are the obvious advantages of such hidden pools, there are some down sides as well. Accessories like slides and diving boards don’t usually fit in with the idea and the pools are yet restricted to only two shapes, circular and rectangular, though size is not much of an issue. These cool pools have been around since more than half a decade but are exorbitant enough to be owned by only a few. Costing anywhere upwards of 500,000 pounds, these are usually recommended to be installed for people who have the money but not the space for a pool, like the super-rich living in big city apartments.

Well, the prospect of having a cool invisible pool in your home does sound hot and exciting, doesn’t it? Right there’s a definite pointer towards the future of design...

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