Steel frame pool buying guide

Steel frame pool buying guide

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Less expensive than most above-ground pools, steel frame pools feature a metal structure which can be folded down at the end of swimming season. But what size should you choose? What kind of installation, maintenance and winter care do they need? Read on to find the right steel frame pool for your garden.

Important features

  • Size and depth
  • Liner thickness
  • Installation and preparing the ground
  • Accessories and safety
  • Overwintering and maintenance
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How to choose a steel frame pool

How to choose a steel frame pool

The first thing you'll have to consider is how much space you have in the garden. Bear in mind that you'll also have to factor in the dimensions of your filter system and leave enough room to allow you to move around the pool.

The size of your steel frame pool will also depend on how you want to use it – for example, will it be used by adults or children? The most important factor to consider in either case is depth. If the pool is to be used by toddlers, it should not be any deeper than 20 cm. For slightly older children the water should not go beyond their knees or waist. If the pool will only be used by adults or teenagers, it can go beyond one metre in depth.

Steel frame pools are sold in kits so be sure to check the type of equipment supplied. The pool may come with all or some of the equipment needed to install and operate your pool such as a filtration system, ground mat and repair kit.

It's also important to weigh up budget and quality. Steel frame pools are made up of a polyester or PVC lining and a steel frame, both of which are fairly cheap materials but it's still important to check their quality. Furthermore, you'll have to factor in the cost of treating the water (with chlorine, bromine, algaecide, etc.) as well as any cleaning accessories you might need (such as a pool basket, pool brush, etc.).

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Steel frame pool shapes and sizes

Pool shapes

Pool shapes

Steel frame pools can be round, oval, rectangular or hexagonal in shape. Square, hexagonal and round pools are better for smaller spaces. If you have a large garden, an oval or rectangular pool will be perfect.

Pool sizes

Steel frame pools vary widely in terms of size: the smallest pools start at about 2 m2 while family-sized models can stretch up to around 7 m2. The depth of the pool will generally range from 30 cm for kids' pools to 1.6 metres for the deepest models.

Steel frame pool accessories

Steel frame pool accessories

A steel frame pool kit will usually come with a few different accessories – both essential tools and optional extras – depending on the size of the pool and the use for which it is intended.

  • A chlorine dispenser is a small floating accessory designed to hold chlorine tablets so that they dissolve gradually in the water.

  • A filtration system is essential for pools designed to hold a large amount of water (usually over 3 m3). Choose between a cartridge or sand filter.

  • A water test kit is designed to monitor the chlorine and pH level of your pool water.

  • A ground mat helps to protect the base of the pool.

  • A pool cover will help to shield your pool from leaves and other pollutants when it is not in use.

  • A winter cover will prevent impurities from building up in your pool over the winter.

  • A repair kit will usually contain self-sticking or glue-on patches.

  • A pool brush or even a pool vacuum can be used to clean the pool liner.

  • A skimmer is used to get rid of floating debris.

A ladder to access the pool (unless it is designed for children).

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Water test kits

How to install a steel frame pool

Choose the right spot and prepare the ground

Choose the right spot and prepare the ground

Steel frame pools must be installed on flat, even ground so it is essential to prepare your surface properly.Ideally, your pool will be placed in full sun far away from any trees or plants to prevent leaves falling in the pool. If you decide on a larger pool, make sure it is within reach of a water supply.

Once you're sure the surface is perfectly flat, clear the area. Take care to remove any rocks and fill in any holes before laying a layer of sand and putting the pool ground mat in place.

Assemble the pool

Assemble the pool

Steel frame pools are designed to be assembled at home. While they are easy to set up and you won't need any special tools, you will need help if you're installing a large pool. Start by unfolding the pool liner and, if possible, leave it in the sun for a few hours to encourage it to become more flexible. Then slide the tubes into the upper part of the liner designed for this purpose and slot them together.

Once the structure is assemble, start filling it. Take your shoes off and get into the water to flatten out any folds before the pool fills up too much.

Screw in the filter system connections and treat your water using the recommended ratios for your pool. Always make sure to stick to the manufacturer's instructions.

Secure the pool

Secure the pool

No matter the size of your pool, children must never be left unattended in a swimming pool. Be sure to block off access to the pool using a barrier, pool alarm or a safety ladder (with removable steps, for example).

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Pool ladders

How to store a steel frame pool for winter

Depending on the size of your pool, you can either dismantle it or leave it in place (provided you take a few precautions). Either way, it's important to store your pool properly over the cold months to protect your pool from harsh weather conditions.

Indoor storage

Indoor storage

When the temperature of the water drops below 13°C, it's time to put your pool into winter storage.

Outdoor overwintering

Outdoor overwintering

If you decide to keep your pool outdoors over winter, you will need to clean the pool thoroughly before treating the water with an overwintering product.

Lower the level of the water then drain and store the filter and pump. Place a few winter floats in the pool or simply toss in a few bottles of water to reduce the pressure of the ice in case of frost. Finally, secure your winter pool cover.

 
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Guide written by:

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

Crystal, Owner of a small gardening business, Oxford

From a background in waste transportation, I became a farmer specialising in organic gardening. A graduate of Horticultural Production, I tried for several years as a young farmer to settle in the beautiful region of Oxfordshire.   After many disappointments, I finally started a small-business in home services, specifically in gardening, assisted by my loving, dear husband. Passionate about nature and wild edible plants, I am very attentive to ecological solutions and respectful of our environment in all aspects of my daily life.   From the vegetable garden to the flower beds, from seed to harvest, I have all kinds of advice up my sleeve. Do not hesitate to ask me your questions.

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