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Do I Need to Install a Fence Around my Pool? Swimming Pool Fence Laws

A pool is a wonderful addition to any home and a welcome escape from the heat during summer. But a pool is more than just fun and games; it is a responsibility. In addition to maintaining the pool, you need to consider the potential danger it presents. To be specific, a pool without a fence is a safety hazard and should be treated as such. For the safety of children and pets, it is recommended that all pool owners have a fence installed around the pool.

Pool Fencing Laws

Though pool fences are an ideal way to prevent accidents or potential drownings, there are not federal pool fence laws in place within the United States. There are states, however, that have their own pool fence laws. Check your state government's website, as well as that of local governments (city, county, etc.), which may have more stringent laws than your state does.

Safety standards for swimming pool fences have been outlined by the International Code Council (I.C.C.) in an effort to reduce potential accidents. While some states have more stringent laws (again, always check the codes for your area), the I.C.C. standards state:

  • Pool fences must be no less than 48" tall.
  • Spacing between pickets must be less than 4".
  • The space between the bottom horizontal rail and the ground must be less than 2".
  • The middle horizontal rail must be at least 45" above the bottom horizontal rail.
  • The gate must open away from the pool and be both self-closing and self-latching.

Your location and the type of pool also affect the regulations that need to be followed. You find many of these regulations in local statutory and building codes.

Above Ground Pools

Above ground pools are a great choice for anyone looking to avoid the hassles associated with in-ground pools. Many people wonder if they need to have a fence around an above ground pool, since it does not necessarily pose the same type of risks as an in-ground pool. However, a pool fence is a beneficial safety feature for any type of pool. Plus, it may be required by law in your area, so it is always best to check up on local laws and codes to see what you need to do.

Pool Alarms

Just as with fences, it is important to check and see if there are any local or state codes that require you to have a pool alarm. While there are many that don't, never assume that you are in an area that does not mandate pool alarms. There are multiple types of pool alarms, from ones that stay submerged in the pool or float along the surface, to alarms on windows and doors that lead to the pool.

How Much Do Pool Fences Cost?

The exact cost of a pool fence is difficult to provide, as the type of fence, durability of the materials, and the size and shape of the pool all affect the final price. The following is a guide to provide an idea of what you can expect to pay for different types of pool fences.

  • Chain-link: Though popular for commercial and residential security, chain-link fences are not the best choice for pool safety. It is easy for children to climb them and they are not made to be removed. They have an average cost between $2,200 and $5,000.
  • Glass: These pool fences are definitely beautiful, but are far more permanent than other fence types, come at a higher price, and are difficult to maintain. They have an average cost between $7,500 and $50,000.
  • Mesh: Perhaps the cheapest fencing option, mesh is a popular choice for pool fences due to cost and convenience. It has an average cost between $1,500 and $2,500.
  • Vinyl or wood: These fence types offer more concerns than they do safety. That's because they completely obstruct your view of the pool, so you cannot see any activity unless you are inside the fence. They have an average cost between $2,200 and $12,500.
  • Wrought iron: Once the most popular type of pool fence, wrought iron fences are made from iron slats placed 4" apart. These fences are fairly easy to climb and are being replaced in popularity by mesh. Wrought iron fences have an average cost between $3,000 and $10,000.
  • Pool alarm: It is a good idea to use pool alarms in combination with fences to increase the effectiveness of both. There are multiple types of pool alarm, with costs averaging between $50 and $200.