Company: Case Handyman Services of Atlanta North
Submitted by: David Shreckengost, Remodeling Consultant
|Park Your Pool
It's a classic dilemma; a young, upwardly mobile, professional couple has one toddler and is expecting another child. They are relocating to the Atlanta area and have found the perfect house in the perfect subdivision. However, there is just one drawback. A beautiful and inviting in-ground pool occupies most of the back yard, but it presents a safety hazard because drowning is the second leading cause of death in children under 14 years of age.
So what to do? The pool area is an extension of the existing patio, so it can't be fenced off. A pool cover would require additional equipment being installed and would not allow be able to utilize the space while the pool is covered for several years.
The homeowners in this scenario searched the Internet and came up with what they consider to be the ideal solution. Called Park your Pool, it is the brainchild of Lloyd Brunn of Phoenix, Ariz., who found himself in a similar dilemma several years ago.
After consulting with Lloyd and getting him to send the specifications about building a deck inside a swimming pool, the homeowners had to find a company capable of handling the installation of an unusual deck. Originally from the Bethesda, Md., they were already familiar with Case Handyman Services, so from their current home in Princeton, N.J., they contacted the Atlanta office of Case Handyman Services, which has offices nationwide.
Lewis Kropp, general manager of the Atlanta office, was intrigued with the challenges of building a deck inside a swimming pool. He turned to his resident deck-building expert, David Shreckengost, whose background includes building decks for John Weiland Homes, Waterford Homes, Pulte Homes, and Torrey Homes, among others.
Shreckengost estimates that he has built between 400 to 500 decks, but will readily admit that the challenge of building one inside a pool was one he could not pass up. He designed a framing layout, using the company's CAD program to profile the unusual kidney-shaped pool. Then he went one step further and told Kropp that he had to let him build it, as well.
Work began with the water being pumped out of the pool and the adjacent spa, which took about six hours. Then the fun began.
"We beefed up the original plans," Shreckengost says. The original specs called for spanning the pool with PTP 2x12s with joist hangers attached to the outer wall with wedge anchors. Because the bricks around the edge of the pool overhung the concrete liner by about 1", Shreckengost felt that the original plan would not provide the necessary support.
So a band board was run around the entire perimeter of the pool, using PTP 2x8s, with +" x 7" wedge anchors every 32" on center. Two double 2x10 PTP beams separated the pool into three sections, each about 10'. Each beam is attached by joist hangers to the side of the pool, using 3/8" x 5 +" wedge anchors, and supported by two 6x6 PTP posts sitting on the bottom of the pool. Framing was 2x8 PTP, 16" on center, with joist hangers at each end. Decking is 5/4 x 6 PTP and had to be custom cut at each end of the board to achieve the look that Shreckengost wanted.
"I really wanted the decking to match the configuration of the pool as closely as possible" Shreckengost says, "and I think that we achieved that."
Installation of a sump pump, in both the pool and the adjacent spa, was handled by Case Handyman Services Home Repair Specialist Paul Poynter. Using the existing light inside the pool and the spa provided electrical power, and piping was directed away from the pool into flowerbeds behind the house. "It's sort of a built-in irrigation system," Poynter says of his handiwork. "The pumps come on automatically when the water level reaches 3/16", so that standing water is not a problem".
Shreckengost installed hatches in both the deck and the spa to allow access to the sump pumps. He used a flush mounted marine boat latch to allow for easy lifting, with nothing to trip over. Rustoleum-coated piano hinges completed the hatches, making them easy to operate.
"It's been a real challenge" is Shreckengost's standard response when asked about the project. "All in all, it looks good, it's solid as a rock, the customer is thrilled, and it actually came in a little under budget, which was a real concern for us, not having attempted a project like this before. A very satisfying end result all the way around."
Do you have a decking project that should be featured? We want to hear from you. Please e-mail Erik Gabrielson  to submit your project.