Can I install a pool fence myself?

For homeowners looking to save a few dollars, I am sure this question crosses your mind. Most projects around the house are not that difficult but require time, money, and a certain level of experience to get the desired result. Personally, I have installed pool fences professionally for over three years, so I will share my experience to give you some direction on your decision. 

Time:   How long does a pool fence installation take a seasoned expert with all the necessary equipment and the know how to use that equipment properly?   A standard size pool (15×30) will require about 100 linear feet of fence and most people want a self closing gate. Such an installation on a normal (not extra hard) concrete pool deck would take me about 3-4 hours working quickly by myself. That 3-4 hours includes patio tool setup, fence installation (measuring, drilling, etc.), gate installation, and clean up. This does not include the time to source tools/materials and familiarize yourself with the equipment.  Paver decks or dirt work take even longer due to the difficulty of stabilizing the stones and getting posts angles correct on a “unsound surface”. This time frame is for experienced individuals with the perfect equipment and training to tackle the job.  I find it can take an unexperienced person at least 2-3x longer. 


Tools-To properly install a pool fence, a stand mounted, wet drilling diamond core drill is essential for clean cut holes, speed, and use of a quality mesh fence. People have asked, “Can I use a hammer drill?”  (Which is easier to source)  Hammer drills use impact to speed the drilling process, but use of a hammer drill on paver decks increases the potential of cracking paver stones. Concrete is less prone to cracking but is not quick to drill. Use of a hammer drill to install a pool fences also limits you to the use of an inexpensive pin post fence which I will talk about next.

Product- You can purchase the lowest quality fencing from a variety of sources and they all offer essentially the same product. They include different types of aluminum tube support posts (ie. X extrusion, Y extrusion, and 1/2″ steel rod (pin) post fences) and all perform about the same. See this comparison page of what you can expect from such a fence.  Expect all aluminum DIY pool fence options to have individual post breaking points of around 40-60lbs of pressure  (measured on an individual fence post unattached to mesh at 3′ above deck level) which can easily break by an older sibling or adult accidently bumping into the fence. Your pool is beautiful get the best looking and best quality pool fence you can. There is not a huge price difference. 

DIY Fence Cost:  For 100 feet of fencing (X post, Y post, or pin post mesh fences) including a gate,  expect to pay at least $1100-$1300 for materials alone.  The cost to rent a core drill is about $100/day plus $75 for a bit. Protect-A-Child Pool Fencing offers quality fences that far outperform all aluminum options and have several patented safety features at similar wholesale cost. Protect-A-Child installations are professional, cost effective, and quick. Whatever you decide, remember safety is a worthwhile investment.

Knowledge: The trickiest part of installing a pool fence is getting proper tension. Proper tension requires accurate measurement and drilling.  The most difficult being the accurate drilling of angles on the holes. Unlike conventional fences, mesh pool fence posts are installed on multiple different angles to achieve proper tension when the fence is turning. You have a beautiful pool and want an attractive fence.    

Pavers- As a pool fence installer, I know it is a requirement to use long custom sleeves in paver decks. The standard short pool fence sleeves will not work. If pressure is applied to a 4′ pool fence without properly anchored sleeves, the resulting leverage will cause the paver to simply lift out and you lose all fence integrity.

In conclusion, I recommend considering the value of your time, how much of a learning curve you are willing to take on, and considering a quality mesh fence from Protect-A-Child. 

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