Pool Fencing Guide: The Ultimate DIY Performance

A swimming pool is a great feature for any property. Whether it’s an underground or above the ground pool, it can transform your backyard into an outdoor resort. It’s a great place to spend some quality family time, have fun with friends or simply enjoy it during the hot summer months. But What about swimming pool without pool fencing ?

A non properly protected swimming pool can be the cause of family tragedies. According to the CPSC and Pool Safely, nearly 200 children (younger than 5) drown in pools each year and more than 3000 children suffered non-fatal drowning injuries that required emergency department treatment.

The numbers are shocking but fortunately these tragedies are preventable. CPSC recommends that one of the best ways to prevent this injuries is to use pool fencing. Good pool fencing should prevent young children from accessing the pool unattended and must adhere to certain safety standards, as we will see below.

So if you are a pool owner, you should know by now that a pool fencing can save your child’s life.

What Type of Pool Fence is Best

Which is the safest pool fence?

Pool fencing are manufactured in several different types, using a variety of materials. The most common are aluminum, steel, glass and vinyl /PVC.

Regardless of the type you choose, the pool fence has to adhere to some safety standards. Different states have slightly different rules and regulations but according to I.C.C pool safety standards specify the following:

Pool Fence Safety Guidelines

  • The fence must be a minimum of 48 inches tall.
  • The middle horizontal rail must be at least 45 inches above the bottom horizontal rail. So most 3-horizontal rail pool fence styles must be either 54″ Drop Rail (No pickets extending below the bottom rail) or 60″ depending if there are spears above the top rail.
  • The spacing between pickets must be less than 4 inches.
  • The space between the bottom horizontal rail and the ground must be less than 2 inches measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.
  • The gate(s) must be self-closing and self-latching.
  • The gate(s) need to open outward (away from the pool area).
  • The operating mechanism of the latch must be at least 54 inches from the bottom of the gate or it shall be on the pool side of the gate at least 3 inches below the top AND shall not have any opening greater than 1/2 inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism.

Best DIY Pool Fencing Type?

It is widely accepted that the easiest to install pool fences that also meet the safety standards are pool fences. Aluminum pool fences have several advantages compared to the other types including:

pool fence safety

They are easy to install

There are various pool fencing options that are also code friendly, helping you avoid hassles or even uninstallation because your fencing choice breaks the code.

They are suitable for all types of ground

Aluminum fences can also be racked up a slope, so if the area around your pool isn’t on level ground, you won’t have any problems.

Easy to maintain

Aluminum fencing needs little to no maintenance compared to other materials that may rust, bow, rot, grow old or decay over time.

Cost Effective

DIY aluminum pool fences are cost effective compared to other types of fences. Besides the initial installation cost, they require no extra maintenance making them the best choice for the long term.


Aluminum fences can withstand a variety of weather conditions and this means that they last longer than wood or any other pool fence type.

aluminum pool fencing

Pool Fence DIY Quick Safety Installation Tips

Installing your aluminum pool fence is not difficult but it needs some preparation work in advance. Here’s a great resource from Porch.com as a Guide to Purchasing and Maintaining your very own Pool, Hot Tub or Sauna.
Also, our pool fence installation guide has detailed instructions about the process but before getting your hands dirty, take into account the following tips:

Get permission from local authorities

Before starting your installation project, make sure that you check with your municipality to ensure what you plan to install is according to your local safety standards and local zoning laws. In addition, check with HOA (Home Owner’s Association) for any guidelines they may have regarding the type and color of fence you can install.

Check where utilities (pipes, wires) are installed

There are cases where fence posts need to go underground so before digging make sure that the ground is free from pipes and wires. Besides risking creating a damage, you don’t want to install your fence directly above them since in case of repair work, your fence will have to be removed.

Draw your installation plan on paper

Don’t count on your rough measurements but create a detailed plan on paper. Identify where to place the gates and posts taking into account that you need to have 3 to 4 feet free around the edges of the pool.

Tools you might need

Typical items include: String Line, Wooden stakes for each Corner, End and Gate Post location, Post Hole Digger, Concrete, Screw Driver.

Boca Pool Code

What aluminum fences meet the BOCA code for swimming pool enclosures?

Here are the pool fences heights and styles that meet the building code requirements for fences. The pool fences need to have less than 4” between pool fences pickets and 45” between pool fences rails, or less than 1 ¾” between the pool fences pickets with any railing spacing: *Needs bottom rail flush with bottom of pickets in 54″ **Needs bottom rail flush with bottom picket in 60″.

Please keep in mind when installing your pool fence, that any objects within 48″ of the pool fence, on the outside of the pool fence (ex. pumps, deck piers, lights, large rocks, retaining walls etc.), could technically be used as a “stepping-stone” making it easily accessible to your pool area. These pool fence codes are in place with the frame of mind to keep people from “getting-in” to the pool area, not “getting-out”. So you are always safer to enclose the objects in the fenced in portion of the yard.

pool fence safety guidelines

Having pool fences installed around your pool, whether it’s above-ground or below-ground, not only adds to the safety of your yard, but can also increase your property value should you ever choose to sell.

There are plenty of attractive pool fencing options to choose from, so you can find a pool fence that look and fits with your home while helping keep your family and friends safe.

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