Pro Tips with Jamie Snyder

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5 reasons why our customer Lou chose a fiberglass swimming pool

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 @ 45:04 PM

Have you been dreaming of turning your backyard into a beautiful space to relax with friends and family, complete with a swimming pool and patio? Do you worry there is not enough room for your dream to become reality? Look no further than Albert Group Swimming Pools and Landscaping to transform your backyard into the oasis you've always wanted. Fair warning: you may not be able to keep your family and friends away! That's what happened to Lou anyway. Here he will review and give you his top 5 reasons why a Leisure brand  fiberglass swimming pool and patio built by Albert Group was a win for him.

1. Lou's backyard is on a hill; with Albert Group that was no problem. An attractive retaining wall was built so beautifully it is the envy of the neighborhood and gave him plenty of space for the pool and patio he wanted.

2. Growing family: Having a pool his kiddos can grow into was definitely a must and with his Pinnacle Leisure Pool, he has a 6ft splash pad that his little ones can use as a kiddie pool. Almost like having two pools in one, awesome!

3. His dogs: Lou has 2 dogs and didn't want them tearing a vinyl liner and dealing with the headache of repair, never mind the cost. His fiberglass pool is durable enough to handle the dogs so Lou can let them join in on the fun without a worry.

4. Low maintenance / salt system: Lou didn't want to always be cleaning and taking time away from swimming and relaxing on his patio. The top layer of a fiberglass swimming pool, called the gelcoat, is non-porous leaving your pool less likely to grow algae. That means less time cleaning or dumping large amounts of chemicals in your pool.  Low chemicals = no chlorine smell on the skin. Less cleaning and low chemicals, check! check!

5. Pentair heater: extends his pool season. When the temperature drops and Lou wants to swim all he has to do is turn on his energy efficient Pentair heater.  Combine that with his fiberglass pool, which is a great insulator, it heats up quicker and retains heat longer.  He's saving money AND swimming longer. Nice!

As you can see, Lou has been really enjoying his new backyard. With the expertise of Albert Group, he got everything he wanted including the extra time he gets to spend with family and friends who are also enjoying his backyard dream.

Would you like to see what shape and style of fiberglass swimming pool is right for you?  Click here for more info:

9 easy steps to close and winterize your fiberglass pool

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 @ 36:01 PM

It's that time of year again, time to put away the sunscreen and start preparing for the winter months. And, winterizing your fiberglass swimming pool is no exception. But don't worry, follow these helpful steps and watch this video so your fiberglass pool will be ready to be reopened next spring.




tools you will need:

  • compressor
  • compressor line
  • compressor fitting
  • ratchet extension
  • 15/16" socket wrench
  • #12 rubber plug
  • 3 hayward 1022c covers
  • flat head screwdriver
  • pliers

9 easy steps:

1 - turn your pool pump off

2 - drain water out of pump and filter

3 - release valve on top of filter, take out plug on bottom of the filter, let water drain and replace both

4 - add compressor fitting to pump and attach the compressor

5 - remove eyeball fittings from the returns and turn on compressor

6 - one by one plug each of your 3 returns using your hayward 1022c covers and make sure they are turned tight with your screwdriver

7 - disconnect heat pump

8 - put something in the skimmer so it doesn't break or freeze

9 - install cover

So, there you have it. Your fiberglass pool is now winterized  and in the meantime you can dream about next spring when you can reopen and enjoy your pool once again!

Don't miss our other blog articles on how to maintain your fiberglass pool.




7 Reasons to LOVE a Fiberglass Pool : Albert Group Landscaping and Swimming Pools Review

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 @ 04:03 PM

Last summer I sat down with Vinny to discuss his pool buying experience. Two years after we installed his fiberglass pool Vinny tells me why Albert Group Landscaping and Swimming Pools along with a Leisure Pools USA Composite Swimming Pool was the right choice for him and his family. Here are just a few of the reasons Albert Group along with Leisure Pools USA was the right choice for him.

  • Leisure Pools USA Warranty 
  • 3D Design
  • Great Communication
  • Fast Installation
  • Respectful in the way we left his property
  • Energy Efficient
  • Easy to Maintain

 Leisure Pools USA Warranty:

Vinny had done his research online and found that a fiberglass pool, specifically a Leisure Pool was the right fit for him. The warranty Leisure Pools offers exceeds Viking Pools. Leisure Pools offer a lifetime structural osmosis warranty and a lifetime structural warranty with 6 layers of cutting edge quality.

3D Design:

After meeting with Vinny, I was able to create and show him a 3D design of the fiberglass pool and patio for him to see exactly what the project would look like when it was completed. Having this drawing gave Vinny the confidence to know his pool was going to look great before we even started.

 Great Communication:

Vinny felt that the communication with Albert Group was great throughout the entire project. He knew that if he had a question his phone call would be answered. If you have had work done on your house before you know how important this is.

Fast Installation:

Vinny was also impressed with how fast such a large project can be accomplished, along with our flexibility when it came time to expand the original design to include a larger paver patio.

Respect in the way we left his property:

I’m sure we have all hear the old adage “leave it better than you found it”, well it doesn’t just apply to picking up trash when you go for a hike in the woods. Here he talks about how we left the disturbed areas of his property clean and ready to grow grass. Most pool builders leave the property with a “Rough Grade” which pretty much means piles of dirt everywhere.

Energy Efficient:

No need to worry about your energy bill increasing, Vinny says it hasn’t changed much at all.  He was so impressed he showed me proof: a copy of his bill with a comparison from the previous year. I’d say that’s an efficient pump.

Easy to Maintain:

So, now I have this pool; how much extra work is it going to be?  Well, Vinny will tell you that there is not much to it at all.  Just an ounce of clear water once a week and a little salt when needed and you’re good to go. The water stays crystal clear and leaves your skin feeling good without the chlorine scent and stinging eyes.

As you can see, Vinny is really enjoying his swimming pool and two years later can still remember what a great experience he had with Albert Group.  I’d be happy to sit down with you two years from now and hear your experience. So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call for a free estimate.

Creating Beautiful Backyards and Happy Clients - Project Spotlight #1

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Tue, Apr 04, 2017 @ 16:10 AM

 At Albert Group Landscaping & Swimming Pools we have the unique expertise as landscape designers that set us apart from common pool builders. While we certainly can just place a pool in the ground where you tell us to, most of our clients will choose to fill out our “Accu-design 75 point checklist”. This checklist was developed in-house, putting together over 20 years of experience in both landscape and pool design. Completing this checklist helps us set up a clear path towards developing a pool and landscape design that meets all your needs while Elimitanting your “do not wants”. We have found though the years, that answering some key questions will lead to a more refined design and zero regrets.

 For this Project our clients wanted:

  1. Outdoor Kitchen with Natural Gas Grill and outdoor refrigerator.
  2. Ample Patio space using Unilock Umbriano Pavers
  3. Retaining walls using Versa-lok Segmented Retaining Wall Block
  4. A rectangular Elegance 30 Swimming Pool by Leisure Pools in Crystal Blue
  5. Salt Chlorine Generator “Salt Water pool”
  6. Loop-Loc Pool Cover
  7. Budget of 125-175K
  8. Plantings to be done by themselves (Homeowner enjoys gardening – By the way gardening is the #1 hobby in the US!)
  9. Gas Heater
  10. Equipment Screening
  11. Handrail
  12. Pool Lights
  13. Pet Friendly
  14. Gas Fire Pit

The clients did not want:

  1. Pool Automation
  2. Automatic Pool Cover
  3. Tanning Ledge
  4. Hot Tub
  5. Pool House

 When planning this design, the first thing we did was utilize their survey to determine a construction envelope for their project. By contacting their local building department, we can ascertain what the pool permitting requirements are for their municipality. Some such requirements include how far the pool must be from the property line, the home, and the septic system if they have a septic. Seemingly innocuous questions at first that will provide vital to a project when the building inspector arrives to give the final approval to your completed project.

From here we use our 3-dimensional computer rendering system in conjunction with our “Accudesign 75 Point Checklist” to develop a project design that we present to our clients before construction begins.

So let’s check it out:





3D Design:


Amy any Matt.jpg





5 Benefits of Fiberglass Swimming Pools

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 @ 50:08 AM

When I first decided to install fiberglass swimming pools for a living, I knew the benefits fiberglass pools offered, but I really didn’t “know” them. I didn’t really realize how dramatic those benefits were. You see, it’s easy to know that using less energy to heat a pool is a good thing. But to fully understand the impact that this has on pool ownership is another ball of wax altogether.


fiberglass pool with automatic coverAfter meeting with hundreds of people and discussing their pool projects I began to realize something, anytime I would name a benefit of fiberglass pools to a customer, they would react like I had reacted when I was first learning about fiberglass pools. They heard the benefits, but they didn’t really understand the impact of those benefits.

Quite honestly, most people are under-amazed. It’s not because they don’t care, it’s because in the limited amount of time I have with a client during a meeting, which usually only lasts an hour or two, I simply do not have enough time to devote to educating clients where they go from hearing a list of benefits to fully understanding how these benefits will impact their life as a pool owner.

However, in this article I will list the benefits, and attempt to clarify what it means to a potential pool owner. Sound good? Let’s do this.

What are the 5 key benefits of fiberglass swimming pools, that straight-up destroy the competition?


  1. Fiberglass Pools Use Less Chemicals
  2. Fiberglass Pools Use Less Energy to Heat
  3. Fiberglass Pools Are Easier to Maintain
  4. Fiberglass Pools Install faster
  5. Fiberglass Pools Have a Lifetime Warranty

Fiberglass Pools Use Less Chemicals

fiberglass swimming pool chemicalsI know, Yawn right. No, this is exciting stuff. Do you really want to swim in a giant vat of chemicals? Heck no! No one wants themselves, or their children, to have to do that.

If the price of chemicals alone does not make you want to use less of them, the thought of swimming in them should. As a matter of fact, we currently recommend that all of our new pool buyers skip this whole chemical ordeal and go straight to a salt water based system. And since fiberglass swimming pools are the only type of pool 100% compatible with salt, why not?

Fiberglass Pools Use Less Energy to Heat

burn moneyThis is a huge deal, not to be taken lightly. I promise you, this very well may be the single most important benefit of a fiberglass pool from a cost of ownership standpoint. Every year we speak with people that have a vinyl or a gunite pool already and are considering switching to fiberglass simply because the cost of heating their current pool is higher than the cost of removing their pool and installing a fiberglass pool. For many more people, they simply have pools that are colder than they want to swim in, and simply do not swim often because of it.

Let me explain: using a simple calculation, we can determine the cost of heating a fiberglass pool vs heating a vinyl or concrete pool. Because vinyl pools are basically just a thin liner with zero insulating property on top of the soil, and concrete is just hard soil, these two types of pools have the same heating properties. Whereas fiberglass was first designed as an insulator, and therefore has much better heat retention properties.

The pictures below show a backyard that originally had a vinyl liner pool and switched over to a fiberglass pool.

   problems with vinyl pools  vinyl pool to fiberglass pool conversion

On the original pool, the homeowner had a 450,000 BTU heater and it would take 3 full days or 72 hours to heat.

On the new fiberglass pool, we installed a 150,000 BTU heater and it only took 8 hours to heat.

Right there, doing some simple math, we can determine that since the old heater was 3 times the size and took 9 times as long to heat, the fiberglass pool uses 1/27th the energy to heat. If we factor in that the original pool did hold 50% more water that figure drops to 1/18th the energy to heat for that volume of water.


What does this mean in dollars and cents?

Since 1 gallon of propane contains roughly 91,500 BTU’s, running a 450,000 BTU heater consumes 4.92 Gallons of propane per hour.

In the real world it took 3 days (72 hours) to heat that old vinyl pool from 65 degrees to 83 degrees (the homeowner’s preferred swimming temperature). This resulted in 4.92 Gallons of propane being used every hour for 72 hours or a total of 354 gallons of propane used.

After switching the pool to fiberglass and doing the same experiment every year after, for 7 years now, we have had consistent results.

It takes us 8 hours using a 150,000 BTU heater resulting in 1.64 gallons of use per hour or a total of 13 gallons to perform the same heating process.

As of 3/11/2016 NYSERDA lists the average price of propane in NY as $2.34 per gallon for the month of February 2016. This means that the fiberglass pool would cost $30.42 to heat vs $828.36 for the vinyl pool. Not to mention that it took 3 days running the pump 24/7 to heat the vinyl pool. If we adjust for the pool’s size difference ,a vinyl or concrete pool of the same size would cost $547.56 and take two days to heat.

So, what does this all mean in the real world? It means that since it costs so much and takes so long, a vinyl or concrete pool is seldom heated. Yes, people have a heater, but who wants to spend that kind of money heating one of these pools? On the other hand, fiberglass pools are very easy to heat, and once the sun heats it up a bit, all it takes is an hour or two to get the temp just perfect on a cool evening costing less than 10 dollars.

What would you rather have, a pool that is comfortable to swim in, or a cold pool?

Fiberglass Pools Are Easier to Maintain

Vinyl and concrete pools both require lots of maintenance. I could stop there, but then you would not understand the true ramifications of this.

You see, these pools require more maintenance and more TLC than fiberglass. Things that would destroy a liner or a concrete pool are just no problem for fiberglass. Get the chemicals wrong on a vinyl or liner pool and you could be looking at a serious repair bill.

While a mistake in chemical dosage could cause a liner to fade or a concrete shell to disintegrate, a fiberglass shell can take a beating like that and not even notice. In fact, fiberglass containers are used in the chemical and oil industries as storage vessels. Here is a picture of the Leisure Pools factory when it was still in Texas. The giant fiberglass tanks, although marketed under a different brand name, are made in the same building using the same materials.

fiberglass tanks

Leisure Pools Factory, Showing Fiberglass Pools and Oil Industry Fiberglass Tanks

problems with vinyl pool linersFiberglass pools never need resurfacing like their concrete counterparts and never need new liners like Vinyl pools. These maintenance items not only cause lots of down-time, they can be very expensive. The pool liner to the left was just one year old when a tree branch fell into the pool over the winter. A repair like this costs between $6000 to $8000, depending on the size of the pool and amount of damage done to the structure beneath the liner.


problems with gunite/concrete poolsHere we have a gunite pool that is about to be resurfaced. This process takes place every 10 years or so and can easily run $25,000 to $30,000 and even more depending on the amount of structural damage and size of the pool.

As you can see, pool maintenance like this is not for the faint of heart.


Fiberglass Pools Install faster

O.K. This one is as simple as it sounds. We can install a fiberglass swimming pool in as little as one day. No other type of swimming pool can say this. Most Vinyl liner pool dealers take upwards of one month and Gunite pool builders can easily take 3 months. But I figured this would be easier to show you than talk about so check out our video of a fiberglass swimming pool being installed in one day.




Fiberglass Pools Have a Lifetime Warranty

fiberglass pool quality controlThe fiberglass pools we sell do anyway.A lifetime warranty offers you peace of mind that the pool you chose for your family will be there year after year, creating family memories to last a lifetime. The reason manufacturers of fiberglass pools can offer a lifetime warranty is that they are confident in their choice of materials used in your new fiberglass swimming pool. Every material that Leisure Pools uses in the construction of your pool gets tested in their own in-house laboratory, known as the Leisure Pools Technical Center, verifying its composition and quality.

If it does not meet the strict guidelines that Leisure has in place, it’s simply sent back. The Leisure Pools Technical Center is run by Dr. David Rogers, a polymer chemist with a PhD in resin chemistry. You can rest assured that if you choose a Leisure Pool for your backyard that Dr. Rodgers and his staff have verified that all the components of your pool meet Leisure Pool’s strict guidelines for quality control.


Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Hopefully you have learned a little more about fiberglass pools and their unique benefits in the process. Feel free to check out some of out some of our other interesting reads, such as our pool pricing page and our pool financing page.

Fiberglass Swimming Pool Builder, Westchester County, Somers, NY

Posted by Jamie Albert Snyder on Sun, Feb 21, 2016 @ 14:12 PM


We build fiberglass swimming pools and renovate backyards throughout Westchester County, NY. Considered Northern Westchester County, Somers, NY is one town that I particularly like working in. It has a good vibe and everyone there always seems so friendly. The town has 6 hamlets within it’s boarders, Shenrock, Granite Springs, Purdy’s, Baldwin Place, and Amawalk .

 If you’ve been to Somers, you’ve seen the sign reading “ Cradle of the American Circus”. I was intrigued by this and did a little research, It just so happens that Somers is where Hacaliah Baily imported an Indian elephant named “Old Bet” and began showing the elephant, Forming the Baily Circus, basically starting the American Circus. 

Somers is DSC_0968_Medium.jpgmuch more sophisticated these days and from what I have seen, the families here really enjoy the outdoors. When I go meet with a potential client some common requests revolve around outdoor entertainment. While the swimming pool tends to be the focal point, about half of the time the family wants more. What are some items that you would like to see in your backyard? Chances are if you can dream it we can provide it. If you are looking for an entire backyard makeover to create memories with your family in we’ve got you covered.  Common requests are outdoor kitchens, conversation areas with built in stone fire pits / fireplaces, and of course patios and retaining walls when needed.

Having started this company as landscape design and installation company, we take pride in our ability to provide families a total solution for their backyard needs. A solution that makes sense.

Pros and Cons of 3 Types of Retaining Walls

Posted by James Snyder on Sun, Mar 30, 2014 @ 55:05 PM

Here are 3 types of retaining walls available for your project. They all have their pluses and minuses – let’s check them out.


Wood Tie retaining wall – Although sometimes referred to as a railroad tie retaining wall they are rarely made from railroad ties anymore. They are simply wood ties that are fastened together to perform the duties of a retaining wall.

Price:  $$$$, 2 out of 4      Difficulty:  ****,  2 out of 4


  • Cost – A wood retaining wall can be very cost effective.
  • Easy – Wooden tie retaining walls are often installed by do it yourselfers. They require few tools and can be installed quickly by homeowners and landscape companies alike.
  • Beauty – A wood retaining wall can look great, making it the “old reliable” choice for many landscaping companies.


  • Wood Rots – Wood will eventually rot. The new pressure treated stuff is amazing, but there will be a time when you will need to call your retaining wall installer to replace it.
  • Strength – While great for holding up a two foot tall plant bed A wood retaining wall would not be my first choice for more complex projects.

Wooden Retaining Walls Monroe NYA wooden retaining wall - Monroe, NY

SRW Block Retaining Wall – SRW’s are Segmental Retaining Walls that use high quality concrete blocks to create a retaining wall.

Price:  $$$$,  3 out of 4      Difficulty:  ****4 out of 4

  • Versatile – They can be used in a variety of situations to create curves, corners, stairs, columns, and more. SRW’s are often the choice of Landscape and Hardscape contractors.
  • Strength – One of the strongest, longest lasting types of retaining walls on the market.
  • Beauty – Block Retaining Walls look great, one of the mail reasons for their popularity, besides the two reasons above that is. 
  •  Speed – SRW’s install fast.


  • Color Choice – SRW walls are only available in the colors that you see in the catalog.
  • Installers are not regulated – I have seen many block retaining wall failures and poor craftsmanship as a result of inexperienced retaining wall installers. While a small project may be just fine for a “new guy” the more complicated jobs require more experience.

Retaining Wall Builder Monroe NY

A Concrete Block (SRW) Retaining Wall, Monroe, NY


StoneMakers Concrete – StoneMakers concrete retaining walls are built with high strength concrete and then textured to look like stone.

Price:  $$$$, 3 out of 4      Difficulty:  ****4 out of 4

  • Versatile – StoneMakers concrete retaining walls can be created in just about any shape you can dream up.
  • Strength – Normally a tie with block, but StoneMakers walls can be made thicker in areas where more strength is needed.
  • Beauty – StoneMakers concrete retaining walls are an attractive alternative to standard concrete.
  • Speed – StoneMakers retaining walls install fast.
  • Trained Dealer Network – To install a StoneMakers retaining wall, dealers must attend training where they learn from the best in the industry.
  • Permanent – You will need heavy equipment to dismantle a StoneMakers retaining wall.

Retaining Wall Installers Monroe NY

Another Happy Customer! -This retaining wall was built in Orange County, NY

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7 problems with Gunite pools that you need to know.

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 53:11 AM

So you have been considering a swimming pool and have met with the gunite pool builder. Lets see if she told you everything?
Did you know these 7 traits of concrete pools?

  1. Incompatible with salt – That’s right folks. Concrete (Gunite and Shotcrete are just  concrete placing methods) pools are not compatible with salt. The concrete pool dealers will tell you they are. But this is for a reason; they will sell you a new surface sooner. Salt eats away at a concrete pool in much the same way it does a concrete driveway. While this may take longer because it is dissolved, it still happens.  Another reason salt eats the surface is because it is abrasive and with the water moving around so often that shell wears faster with salt in the water. By the way did you know that you would have to replace your concrete pool surface?
  2.   Surface is a wear item, you need to replace it – Now whether or not you have salt in your water a concrete pool will need to be resurfaced. At best 7-10 years is all that can be expected. Now keep in mind the price - $15,000 to $20,000 is a good starting point for a 15’ x 30’ pool.
  3.   Concrete cracks – As a NCMA certified mason I know this all too well. Cracks in concrete are to be expected and are considered a “feature” of concrete.  When pouring a patio we can do things to hide these cracks by “pre cracking” the concrete with control joints. But in a pool this simply won’t do.  So we end up with cracks where we don’t want them. Out west where the soil has less clay concrete cracks less – in pools too! But here in the north east with the freeze thaw cycles and clay content you can expect a crack failure to develop in your pool
  4. Hard to heat – When it comes down to it concrete is just a ratio of sand, Portland cement, gravel and water. So basically it’s just hard dirt. And we all know that the ground stays the same temperature all year round. Having only concrete (which is hard dirt) insulate you from the ground (dirt) does nothing to keep heat in. In our own tests between two swimming pools of similar size. One a concrete pool using a 450,000 BTU heater and a Fiberglass (what type of insulation do you have in your attic) pool using a 150,000 BTU heater. We found that to raise the temperature from 65 degrees to 80 degrees took the concrete pool 3 full 24-hour days and only took the Fiberglass pool 8 hours. Both were in direct sun, but only one benefited from being an insulator from the ground temperature.
  5.   Build time – Now this can vary widely from contractor to contractor, but in general concrete pools take longer to build. A fiberglass pool with 4’ of concrete installed in a flat location will typically be ready in under 10 working days. A top Gunite builder will typically quote 30 days for the same project while most Gunite builders shy away from 30 days and commit to 90 days. In fact many gunite builders never actually build the pool themselves. Every portion is subbed out - Dig, Plumb, Steel, Gunnite/Shotcrete, Surface, Decking etc. Here at Albert Group we sub nothing. If we don't do it - we don't sell it to you.
  6.     Surface is rough – All you need to do is stick your hand in a concrete pool then a fiberglass pool to feel the difference yourself. The smoothest concrete pool surface is a cheese grader compared to fiberglass. Do you want your kids feet to look like this after one hour or volleyball in the pool?kids feet
  7.   Inconsistency of material used – Not all concrete is the same. If you know someone in the masonry trades ask them if every truck of concrete they have ever ordered is consistent. It’s not, that’s why it is considered an art. If concrete just always came in the way you wanted and did what you wanted it to do every time that would be great. But the fact is that you have to know how to work with it the way it comes in that batch. Everything can be a factor, humidity, drive time on the truck, was there leftovers from the last pour in his truck before he loaded you, is the truck sitting in the sun, is the project in the sun, windy, overcast, how many times did the barrel spin (there is a counter in the truck and you have to know it), did it rain last night (that would cool off the gravel).
  Despite all these drawbacks concrete pools do have some distinct advantages.  Size and shape can be whatever you desire.

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What type of retaining wall do I need?

Posted by James Snyder on Tue, Feb 05, 2013 @ 44:12 PM

Retaining walls come in several varieties. Some of the most common types are:

  1. Wood or Tie walls
  2. Concrete Block
  3. Poured Concrete
  4. SRW – Segmented Retaining Wall
  5. Gabion
  6. StoneMakers Concrete
  7. Mafia Block

Wood Tie Walls

                Wood tie wall are common with DIY’ers, they are not as common with the pro’s. These walls tend to have a shorter lifespan than the other methods listed here for a few reasons. Since they are wood and wood will rot most professionals do not see much upside in installing these. The material itself is only slightly less expensive than concrete so there is not much savings there. The amount of digging is the same so no savings there as well. They just install a little faster. For a 1-3’ tall wall that will be installed by yourself you might be happy with this type of wall. For taller walls consider a more permanent solution, doing these things twice can be very expensive.Concerte block wall ny

Concrete Block walls

                Concrete blocks look like the ones you remember being called cinder blocks as a kid. They are rarely made of cinders anymore but instead are made of concrete. Concrete Block walls can be used as a retaining wall however they are used more often as a load bearing wall. This is mainly because SRW’s and poured in place walls have taken over this market. Since a concrete block wall often times requires a substantial footing and loads of rebar and a lot of labor most pros would rather just pour that type of wall.

Poured concrete

Poured Concrete wall Fishkill NYPoured concrete walls are great when done correctly and disasters when corners are cut. One common mistake is to incorrectly lay the rebar inside the form, or use the wrong type or amount. As a homeowner it is important you have a contractor that doesn’t cheat here. If they do you will be paying to do it over. See the picture to the right. When it goes wrong there is no repairing it, just replacing it. That job was done by a contractor in Fishkill, NY and only lasted 3 months before it broke.


                SRW’s installed correctly can be a great choice. The upside is that they are easy to install fairly easily. They are lightweight (usually around 100 lbs each) and they look good. The downside is that it is easy to skip steps such as burying courses, geo grid, properly compacting the base, etc. When these steps get skipped the project is in jeopardy. I have seen walls incorrectly installed fail completely.


                A gabion wall is made from a cage filled with rocks. These are pretty simple to do, and usually very strong. These are mostly done in industrial areas or by roads and bridges. They allow water to run right through them. The look of them can be debated but most homeowners do not like them for their back yard.

StoneMakers Concrete

                StoneMakers concrete walls are only installed by a network of StoneMakers dealers so the downside is that you may not be able to find a dealer near you. This is constantly changing and chances are if you live in a moderately populated area there will be one. These walls take a lot of skill and know how that no homeowner would know without being taught. The wall because of the proprietary ingredients is much stronger than a normal concrete wall. This type of wall is also much more attractive, as the name implies you make the wall look like stone. This wall is a great choice for almost any retaining wall scenario and is what we use.

Mafia Blocks

                Mafia Blocks get their name from the size resembling coffins. Aside from their unflattering name they are extremely heavy and require a medium to large excavator to lift or some other piece of equipment. They are great for making bins at the landscape supply yard to put mulch and gravel in. Most homeowners would not want these things in their backyard.

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Why do fiberglass pools crack?

Posted by James Snyder on Sat, Feb 02, 2013 @ 43:03 AM

Well, we all know everything has a breaking point. The trick is getting a product where the breaking point is so far out of reach that you will never get near it. But the question stands – Why do fiberglass pools crack? There are a few different ways that a fiberglass pool will crack. I will attempt to give you my honest professional opinion here as to what I have witnessed. If you have seen something I missed please leave it in the comments. The more we all know the better off we all will be.

My top 7 reasons fiberglass pools crack.

  1. Improper shipping support.  I have seen this on a pool before and there is not much I can do about it once it gets to me but send it back from where it came from. Travelling down the road can place huge stresses on a fiberglass shell because of the bumps in the road. What happens sometimes is that a pool will be strapped improperly and this will allow significant distortion of the pool shell.   Leisure pools are able to flex over one foot without damage, but they also let you know any more is not good. The cracks that form are sometimes referred to as spider cracking of the gel coat. This is unsightly and should be rejected although it poses no threat to the overall structural integrity and is only on the surface.

  2. Improper gel coat thickness. Now this one is a strange phenomenon. Gel coat applied to thin will crack just as easily as gel coat applied to thick. I’m not a scientist, I don’t know exactly why this happens, it just does. There is a very small margin for error here so the factory must have quality control factors in place when manufacturing your pool.

  3. Accidental Damage. Well that can be just about anything. The most common although almost nonexistent would be the run of the mill car accident. In the past 5 years I know of only one pool where the driver hit a low bridge. That will straight destroy anything so a pool is no different.

  4. Pool shell too thin or just too weak. Some manufacturers build weak shells, it’s bad for the industry as a whole. But unfortunately that’s just how it is. If the shell is too thin or flexible it will flex past the ability of the gel coat to flex and cause a spider crack.

  5. Low quality gel coat or even worse a gel coat alternative. Placing plastic on the inside of the pool and calling it a high end finish is getting more and more popular. Be wary of any pool that calls the inside of the pool “xyz finish”. That is not a true gel coat and has a been known to fade and just plain delaminate.

  6. Pool not made level to begin with. If a pool shell is produced off a wood framed mold most likely that mold has warped over time. With varying humidity and temperatures this is unavoidable for these cheaper molds. The problem with that is that the factory gives the installer a set of dig plans and we dig the hole to exacting specifications. If the pool is not the shape it was designed to be the hole will be off and the pool will not be level. Once water is placed in the shell the pool will most likely find level because of the tremendous weight. This forcing of the pool into level will stress the shell and cause spider cracking at best and giant wall cracks and bulges at worst. Rumor is that one manufacturers shells are so far off that they recommend the installer use the excavator to push the uneven corners down then fill it.

  7. Improper backfill and or installation. If you use sand you will come to regret it. Thing is, sand just is a pain to compact fully, especially 8' deep around a corner you can't see. Gravel comes out of a shovel 95% compacted and the rule is if you get to 98% you can build just about anything you want on it. Sand besides being hard to compact can wash away in wet conditions. If your pool builder says they will be using sand - run!

Notice I didn't say temprature. Cold temps have little to no affect under normal. Every fiberglass pool builder in the northeast has installed a pool in below freezing temps and they never have a problem. I remember at the end of 2010 just before Christmas breaking over 1000 pounds of ice that froze inside a pool that was waiting to get installed. I needed to get the ice out because it was too heavy to lift with it in and there was no problems smashing the ice with a sledge hammer.  Thats because the gel coats and fiberglass itself have great cold weather properties. And that's why fiberglass pools are a great choice for upstate NY.

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