Over the last few years, the Jersey shore has really taken a beating from Mother Nature. As a result, David Ash, owner and president of David Ash Jr. Landscaping Contractors, is often asked, “What qualities make the best pool for the shore?” According to David, the installation process is key.
On LBI and in the surrounding shore area, the water table is naturally high and the severe weather we sometimes experience can cause it to increase above normal levels. The force ground water exerts on any in-ground structure is referred to as hydrostatic pressure.
David explains how this affects pools here at the Jersey Shore. “With the water table being so high here, it is a very delicate situation for pools to start with. Hydrostatic pressure is always an issue. Hydrostatic pressure builds up; it wants to push the pool out of the ground. It wants to push the walls of the pool in. That force is so great, especially when the tide comes up, that it causes major pressure and is really pushing the pool to its limits.”
When hydrostatic pressure increases, pushing on the pool from all sides, it causes pools in the area, specifically fiberglass pools, to pop or push up out of the ground. This causes significant and costly damage which, in most cases, could have been avoided if the unique challenges of a shore pool were addressed at the time of installation.
When a fiberglass pool is installed, the ground is dewatered and pilings are put in the ground. There is a chain molded into the pool which is attached to the pilings with cable. This is not meant to keep the pool in the ground, but as a safety measure to keep the pool from floating away if there is a flood or a hurricane. How many pilings and how they are put into the ground can impact the security of a pool.
Because of the weather in our area, the high water table, and the resulting hydrostatic pressure, pool installation at the shore needs to be handled differently and include extra steps to secure the pool and maintain its integrity.
What’s important is how it’s installed and what’s underneath the pool so it doesn’t move, ever. Because LBI is a seashore community, and the elements are different here, it requires a different process than the mainland does. As an LBI native resident, David has over three decades of experience at the Jersey Shore. “We’ve come up with special ways to install these pools, fiberglass especially, where they’re not going to pop out of the ground. They’re are going to stay right where we want them and they’re never going to move.”
When you decide to have a pool installed at the shore, be diligent in your research and consulting with contractors. Experience and expertise in pool installation at the shore, as well as installation methods, should be key factors in selecting a contractor. When asked if one type of pool was better than another for the shore, David replied, “My team and I install both fiberglass and gunite pools and I feel both have their special place on LBI.”
Installing a pool is a big investment and, if done properly, will provide you with years of enjoyment.