Pro Tips with Jamie Snyder

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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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Can I Work Out in the Swimming Pool?

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Sat, Aug 04, 2012 @ 00:09 PM

fiberglass_pool_for_your_weekend_homeSwimming Pool workouts are a great way to exercise and tone muscles. While it is gentle on your joints, the continuous resistant forces all of your muscles to engage. And you can workout without breaking a sweat. Here are some exercises, which especially target the abdominal muscles.

Water Crunches
It is quite challenging to do crunches in the water, but it is very effective. Float on your back with your legs toward the side of the pool. Put your lower legs (up to your knees) up on the deck. Stretch your torso and lie flat in the water, then pull your belly button in and use your abs to pull your upper body out of the water as far as you can. Can you lie back down, without a big splash? When doing crunches in the water you might gain more control and will also achieve a better range of motion.

Otter Roll
For this exercise you have to float on your back in the middle of the swimming pool. While crossing your legs and your arms over your chest try to quickly roll your body over in the water. Do ten to fifteen repetitions on one side first, then try to roll your body to the other side.

Dolphin Kick
You do not have to be able to swim dolphin style to try this exercise. Just hold on to the wall and let your body float face down in the water. While keeping your feet together, kick your legs up and down in one long motion. Try to keep going for 30 seconds. You will not only work your abs, but also target your glutes and leg muscles.

More Kicks
You also can try the dolphin kick while holding on to a kickboard. If you are getting tired, alternate the dolphin kick with some backstroke kicks. Start holding the kickboard facing the water, than turn over to your back. Focus on tightening your abdominal muscles all the time. If your body sinks more than an inch below the water level, your abs are probably not tight enough.

Knees to Chest
This exercise will probably be pretty easy for you, so keep on doing a few more sets. Pulling the knees up to your chest under water will exercise your lower belly.  Position yourself with your back in the corner of the deep end of your swimming pool. Hold on to the deck and make yourself as long as possible, try to reach the ground with your toes. While contracting your abdominal muscles, bend your knee and bring it up to your chest. Alternate sides.

Leg Lifts
The starting position is the same as for the knees-to-chest exercise. Instead of pulling your knees up, try to lift both legs to a horizontal position. Hold for a few seconds and lower the legs down again. Challenge yourself by doing slower and faster lifts, or by performing circular movements with the legs in the water. You also can start with one leg at a time.

Walking in Water
For this exercise you should be able to stand, but your whole body should be under water (except for your head). Start by walking from one side of the swimming pool to the other. For a bigger challenge start lifting one of your legs to hip-level, alternate. Make sure to tighten your abdominal muscles at all time.

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What you always wanted to know about Swimming Pools

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 00:09 AM

fiberglass_pool_westbrookvilleHave you ever wondered, how many swimming pools there are in the US? How many are public and how many are private? Do you think there are more above ground pools or more in-ground swimming pools in America’s backyards? And what is the average cost to build a pool?

In a recent info-graphic of Swim University, which was republished by our colleagues of Riverpool and Spas, you can find the answers to the above questions and many more facts about pools and swimming. Here is a little preview.

History of Swimming
The first drawing depicting people swimming dates back to ancient Egypt, 2500 BCE - since than swimming became the 4th most popular sport or activity in the U.S. In the age group of seven to seventeen years of children and teens it is even the most popular recreational activity. What amazed us is, that despite those numbers 65 percent of all Americans do not know how to swim.

10.6 Million Swimming Pools in the US
All in all, American’s spend $1,000,000 per hour on their swimming pools, well no wonder with 10.6 million swimming pools all in all. Just 2.9 percent of all pools are public pools. 50.6 percent of all backyard pools are in ground, 47.1 percent are above ground pools. With 3,000,000 swimming pools California has the most pools. President Gerald Ford built the outdoor swimming pool at the White House in 1975.

Average Cost of a Swimming Pool
We do not know, how he entered his pool, but according to the info graphic, most Americans prefer the canon ball. The most popular swimming pool game is Marco Polo. While swimming you can burn up to 650 calories per hour.

On an average it costs about $ 21,919 to build an in ground pool in your backyard. Ask Jamie Snyder of Albert Group Landscaping for an estimate of your backyard swimming pool project. To download our free Guide to Swimming in Quality and Style please click on the image below.

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Can I build a Swimming Pool in a Small Yard?

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 @ 54:04 PM

swimming_pool_builder_monroeToday swimming Pools come in all shapes and sizes. What matters most, is the functionality and the design. And with a little creativity and the right builder, many things can be done. You should also consider, that there are lots of good reasons to choose a small pool even for a good-sized yard. On the other hand, there are also quite a few ways to maximize space in a small yard.

Use all your space
The typical pool is surrounded by a deck and can be accessed from all sides. By building up to fence or a retaining wall at the border you can safe quite some space. All you have to give up is the entry point on one or two sides of the pool. You even could use those inaccessible edges to incorporate a waterfall, which will give your pool an extra touch.

Work with Freeform pools
While many standard pools are rectangular or oval, there are many freestyle forms to choose from. You can find many different styles on our Swimming Pool page. Each style is versatile and can be customized regarding entry points, functionalities and extras. The Tuscany style and the Courtyard Roman are especially designed for smaller and more challenging spaces. Both feature a narrow coping design which maximizes the space inside the pool. 

Choose Versatility
If you don’t have much space, your pool should be versatile. While the kids should be able to splash around and cool off, you might want to be able to really exercise in your pool or to relax in an internal spa. All Leisure Pools fiberglass pools can be customized and even the smallest pool can be equipped with an internal spa and a swim jet system that you can swim against to exercise. And there will still be space to have fun and cool off.

Another option: Spools
If your yard is even to small for this or you want to use even less space, a Spool might be the right thing for you. A Spool is basically an oversized spa, about 12 by 14 feet. While they can be used as a spa, they still offer enough room for the kids to splash and play. Ask Jamie Snyder of Albert Group Landscaping about the right option for your yard.

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Should I Buy a Swimming Pool?

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Sat, Jul 14, 2012 @ 30:09 PM

swimming_pool_dealer_lagrangevilleNobody can make this decision for you. A fiberglass swimming pool is an investment, but if you plan to enjoy your home all year round the money is well spent. Compare the investment for a swimming pool with other investments items, and decide yourself if a pool is worth the money for you.

Compare the cost of a fiberglass pool, which is 25.000 $ and up, to a sports car, a luxury boat or a camper. The fiberglass pool does not only cost less, but you and your family will use it many more times – and best of all, you will use it together. Also think of the storage and maintenance cost you will have with any vehicle. Cars, Campers and Boats have to be maintained, you have to pay for winter storage and insurance. And we did not even mention the trips to the dealership or mechanic for unexpected repairs.

Be honest: How often will you use your camper besides the summer vacation, how often will you get out with the boat – and how on earth would you fit a whole family in a sports car? A swimming pool does not only fit your family, but also your friends. You don’t have to drive to get there, wait in traffic, pay for gas or return home early in case of rain. The pool is right out of your back door, ready to enjoy around the clock. And in case it rains, you just can take a break and watch a movie inside.

You like to go on vacation together, but still would like to feel at home? Explore the possibilities a backyard fiberglass pool can offer. Other choices would be the purchase of a cabin or timeshare. Let’s take a closer look. A cabin costs about 50.000 $ more than a pool, a time share is a little less, but the time you can spend there is limited plus you have to pay a yearly maintenance fee which can be as high as a few thousand dollars.

Whether you choose a cabin, a time-share or a family beach vacation, in all three cases you have to pack things, buy expensive airline tickets, wait at the airport or drive a long way – and possibly get stuck in traffic. You will share your place with other tourists and – with the exception of a private cabin – you won’t get much privacy except in your own room.

Does it not sound better to invest in a sparkling blue pool for your own backyard? You will enjoy your privacy, except when you decide to invite friends and family over. Food and drinks are just inside in the kitchen. There is no luggage to carry and the kids are happy and won’t get bored because the car-ride does not seem to end.

Another thing you should know: Your fiberglass pool can be relocated to a new home. And best of all, your backyard oasis with pool qualifies for a home improvement loan.

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How to Have the best Swimming Pool Party

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 @ 30:09 PM

upstate_swimming_poolsSummer is here. No better time to throw a fabulous pool party. The best thing is that the biggest part is already done – your swimming pool. Now you just have to decide if you want to invite to an exquisite cocktail party, or just have some friends and family over for an afternoon of splash and fun.

The first thing to consider when throwing a party is: How much work do you want to have yourself? No party can be fun, if you just have to tend to your guest. Get some help, ask the teenage children of your friend to take care of food and drinks. Maybe there is even somebody who would like to organize games for the kids?

Party Helpers
While it is certainly fun to create and send out personal invitations, it is so much easier, to use Evite. The online invitation service still gives you some freedom to create your invite, and also lets you check on the state of the RSVPs. Don’t forget to remind your guests to bring towels, if you do not want to have to do loads of laundry the next day. It even is okay to ask your guest to bring a dish or their favorite drink. It all depends on how much you want to spend and how much work you want to have.

Food
Remember: The more self-serve food you offer, the more time you will have to actually enjoy the party. Sandwiches and finger food are a great choice. To be exquisite offer shrimp and fruit kabobs, or mozzarella, cheese and basil kabobs. Fill celery sticks with cream cheese and put some Goldfish as decoration. Pineapples always look great, so do grape and cheese and a selection of good bread.

Drinks
A variety of fruit juices is always a good idea. They can be served to the kids, and also used to mix with alcohol. Get orange juice, pineapple and cranberry. Do not forget to offer plenty of water to drink. Simply fill a bucket with ice and add water bottles, this way you will need less glasses. Another way to safe some cups is to personalize them. This way people can find their glass and do not have to take another one for each drink. Use sharpies for plastic cups, little stickers, hangers or umbrellas.

Pool and Safety
Test everything pool related at least a week before the party. This gives you enough time to call Albert Group if you should have any concerns. Do the lights work, the heater, fountains and the filter? Adjust the pH-level and check the chlorine level. At the day of the party vacuum the pool and/or remove the automatic pool cleaner afterwards. Also remove any trip hazards and store any toys and furniture you won’t need. Keep a phone next to the pool and dry. Consider to hire a liveguard from your local swim team. And, of course, enjoy the party!

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Why a Fiberglass Pool is the perfect choice for your Weekend Home

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Sat, Jun 23, 2012 @ 00:10 AM

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When adding a swimming pool to your weekend home you should consider a few factors: Is the pool easy to maintain? Does it add to the aesthetics of your home? Is it possible to include features - like spa-jets, a slide, a waterfall - you will enjoy?

Easy to Maintain
First the maintenance: Since you will not be there all the time you want the pool to be low maintenance and you want it to look great - even if you have not been there in a while. Fiberglass pools are very easy to maintain, especially in conjunction with salt chlorine generators.

We work closely together with LeisurePool, one of the biggest fiberglass pool manufacturers. Their Aquaguard gelcoat finish is very resistant to weathering, UV-rays and chemicals. This surface is also much less prone to develop algae growth. Add a pool cover to prevent leaves and rubble from falling in the pool when you are away - and the pool at your weekend home will be ready to jump in - in no time.

Great Aesthetics
Fiberglass pools also come in many different shapes and colors, which will give you lots of design-options. Although the shell of the pool is factory-manufactured no pool will look the same. There are many different surface colors and various free form shapes, which will look great on a property set with view of the Catskills. Design the pool deck according to the features of your house and you will gain and clean, but natural look.

Fun to Use
Another advantage of fiberglass pools is, that it is possible to add a huge variety of features, such as spa-jets, a waterfall, underwater lights, fountains, maybe even an integrated hot tub – let your imagination run wild. Jamie Snyder of Albert Group Landscaping is happy to discuss possible options for the perfect swimming pool at your weekend home.

 

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Albert Group Landscaping: What is the Difference?

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 @ 53:08 AM

swimming_pool_landscaping_nyFor this entry we want to turn the spotlight on our customers. We want to thank you all for working with us and share all the positive feedback you sent our way. For us at Albert Group Landscaping it is all about you – and we are always happy to hear about your experiences and ideas.

When Mr. Vasco called us, he was not very happy with the look of his front yard. Albert Group Landscaping built a new walk way and a retaining wall in the front yard. “Albert Group Landscaping was referred to us through a friend. Jamie Snyder called back right away, to talk about the project and delivered on time. Every little detail he said was done – and it made the house look 100 percent better. We are very satisfied and happy with the job. The work they did was extremely extraordinary.”

Mr. and Mrs. Trapani had called another contractor before they contacted the Albert Group. “We did not get his estimate until Jamie had completed the work”, they say. The Trapanis contracted us in the middle of January, they had problems with the drainage on their driveway and wanted to make sure to have the project done before spring. “Jamie’s team worked very professional and was done on time. We don’t have problems with the drainage any more and the new wall looks great. He even put lights in them. It is just perfect.”

Mr. Fetter had very specific ideas when he contacted the Albert Group to build his swimming pool, and was positively surprised. “The fiberglass pool is very durable, the salt-filter system is much easier to maintain than the chlorine filter system I was used to. The waterfall looks great and it is so much fun to swim under it. We use our built in lights often and enjoy the integrated spa-jets. It is like getting a massage in the pool. We are very happy. It looks great.”

Mr. and Mrs. Enriquez had recently moved to Washingtonville from New York City. As first time homeowners they did not want to make any mistakes and did a lot of research to find the right contractor. Now they don’t have to look any further. “Jamie Snyder is the one person whose word I can take to the bank, if he says that is how it is going to be, I know it will look good. It was almost surreal how smooth everything was”, says Mrs. Enriquez. “Every phone call was answered, the relationship of the team was completely professional, all you saw was work, it was natural for them and at the end of the day the yard looked cleaner than before. The project, a Versa-Lok retainer wall, was of the highest quality, completed on time and within the estimate. The Albert Group exceeded every possible expectation. We recommend you without any hesitation to our families, friends and neighbors.

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Let us know about your experience with Albert Landscaping Group and click here if you are interested in further testimonials.

Swimming Pools: Health Benefits for Children with Asthma

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 @ 20:09 PM

swimming_pool_dealer_chester_nyThere are quite a few health benefits to swimming, such as improving general fitness; physical strength and ease of joint problems. Now a study of the Taipei Medical University proved that swimming especially aids children with asthma symptoms.

As described by News Medical the researchers divided children between the age of seven to twelve into two groups. While both groups kept receiving their regular asthma-treatment, one group was treated to a six-week swimming program. The swimming did not only improve “all clinical variables including symptoms, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and school absenteeism”, the children also showed improvement in the severity of the asthma symptoms, “mouth-breathing, snoring, chest-deformity, self-confidence and general feeling of disadvantage”.

New Medical quotes lead author, Wang Jeng-Shing from the Taipei Medical University: "Unlike other sports, swimming is unlikely to provoke asthma attacks. In addition to improving asthma, swimming promotes normal physical and psychological development, such as increasing lung volume, developing good breathing techniques and improving general fitness."

The reason for the positive impact of swimming on asthma patients is the improved lung capacity. Swimmers have to take breath and hold the breath at regular intervals, which trains the lungs into steady breathing patterns. This helps asthma patients.

It is also interesting to see, that many famous swimmers are asthmatic. One example is Mark Spitz, the 5 medal gold winner in swimming at the 1972 Olympics.

We are also always interested to know, how you benefit from your swimming pool.

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Swimming Pools: How to Choose the Location

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Wed, May 30, 2012 @ 51:07 AM

swimming_pool_conractor_chester_nyWhen you are choosing the location for your swimming pool you should mainly consider two things: Practicality and aesthetics. That means, that you should see your pool as both, a place to have fun and a beautiful enhancement of your backyard oasis.

Visibility from Inside
Consider the view of your living and dining room or maybe even the kitchen. Since the sparkling blue water is an eye catcher, you want to see it from those rooms. Guest will enjoy the view as well as you do – and you can have a watchful eye on the kids.

Bathroom-Access
If you have a backdoor, consider this as the exit to the pool area. Maybe you even have a bathroom close to that backdoor.  This way, people don’t have to cross your whole house in their wet bathing suit before being able to take a shower – or to use the bathroom.

Addition to existing Outdoor Features
Existing outdoor features should also be included when choosing the location of the swimming pool. Is there already a patio, an outdoor kitchen or another outdoor space, which can be used to relax after a swim? Your family and guests will surely enjoy to have some lounging chairs nearby or a bar or fridge to have quick access to food and beverages.

Feng Shui
Swimming pools can also make great Feng Shui enhancements to your outside space. According to Fengshui Weekly “swimming pools represent a perfect balance between yin and yang energy, the water being yin and the use of the pool for activity being yang.” A few things to consider when interested in Feng Shui are rounded edges. Kideny shaped pools are perfect.

Since the north area represents water, the best place for a pool from a Feng Shui perspective would be the north side of the plot. Unfortunately this will often be the worst side as it gets the least amount of sun. Still, you do not have to panic. There are many ways to enhance the area to ensure the perfect flow of energy.

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