Pool Fencing Options – Which Is Best?

black pool safety fence installed around a backyard pool

You have a lot of swimming pool fencing options to choose from when it comes to protecting your pool. To find the right one for you, you have to take an honest look at your expected pool use, the safety concerns you’re likely to face, the benefits offered by different pool fence materials, and your allowable budget for both the time and money necessary for fence installation. For many customers, the right answer for their pool needs is removable mesh pool fencing, which it’s fast becoming the go-to fencing option for the owners of both new and existing swimming pools.

Why A Pool Fence Is A Must Have

Around 3900 people drown every year, and for each drowning death, there are dozens of injuries treated in emergency rooms, urgent care centers, and vet clinics across the country. Too often, these injuries happen to children, people with compromised physical or mental states, or to our beloved pets. A pool fence helps you control when and how access to your pool is possible so that any swimmers can be supervised and have the help at hand that’s needed in the case of a water emergency. Protecting your pool is part of being a responsible pool owner.

In many places, it’s also a requirement for owning and maintaining a swimming pool. State law, civil building codes, homeowners associations, and insurance carriers–to name a few–all may require you to have safety equipment installed to have a pool on your property. These requirements may specify allowed pool fencing options and will almost certainly include minimum standards that must be met.  Depending on the third party, the lack of a suitable pool fence may lead to refusal of coverage, monetary fines, or other civil and criminal penalties. 

What To Look For In A Pool Fence

When deciding on a pool fence, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed looking at the available materials, designs, costs, installation times, and accessories. Before we look at the types of pool fences available, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for in a pool fence. That way when you start to weigh mesh pool fence versus wood, as an example, you can compare them apples-to-apples and decide on the best choice for you.

Prevents Climbing A tall fence helps keep small children and pets out, but it takes more than that to stop climbers. You want a lack of purchase for feet and hands and a top line that makes it harder to find the support needed for an up-and-over.
Minimizes Gaps Beyond not offering gaps for easy climbing, you want a tight fence that small children and pets can’t slip through or under. That means you should consider pool fencing options that allow for narrower spacing between poles, panes,  and at the gate.
Secure GateSelf-closing gates with a self-locking latch are the gold standard in safe pool fences. They help ensure a gate left ajar doesn’t lead to tragedy, and installing an alarm is a great way to make them even more secure.
DurablePool fences are out in the elements, constantly around water, and always under the Sun’s harsh UV rays. You want material that is up to the task, and if you have pets, it needs to be resistant to damage from claws and teeth as well.
Easy To MaintainFrom cleaning to repairs, a well-maintained fence is a safer fence. 
Installation ComplexityYou want to know how difficult and time-consuming the fence will be to build, especially if it might entail heavy or specialized equipment.
Cost If you can’t afford to build the fence, then it’s protecting no one. That doesn’t mean you need the cheapest option around, but you do need to understand your budget when considering pool fence options.

Pool Fencing Materials

Now that you understand what to look for in a pool fence, it’s time to look for the one that will best meet your needs. As our understanding of pool safety has evolved, contractors of all types struggled to keep up with emerging trends and requirements–with varying degrees of success. 

Wrought Iron One of the more traditional types of pool fencing and a costly one. This style sees wrought iron bars, often embedded in stone or cement, creating a perimeter around the pool. The wider gaps usually associated with this style may provide ample leverage for climbing, and imperfections in installation or maintenance can lead to rust, crumbling mortar, and loosening fixtures that leave you woefully unprotected. Installation can be a lengthy process and price tags can easily rise into the low 5-figure range.
Chain Link A more affordable metal fence option, chain link fencing uses a metal mesh weave stretched between steel poles set into the ground.  Including time for posts to set, installation can take up to a week from the first shovel to final touches, the mesh provides for easy climbing, and if not properly installed it may be pushed or dug under relatively easily. It is, however, relatively easy to maintain and costs frequently start around $3000 for a small pool, making it a more budget-friendly choice.
WoodWood privacy fencing has narrow gaps and is tall enough to help dissuade all but the most dedicated climbers. As with chain link fencing, posts must be set for stability, meaning you’re looking at a week or more of installation time. Maintaining it properly can be laborious, with added weather treatments and cleaning needed to the added water and chemical exposure that comes with a swimming pool, and with wood, you know partial replacement of trouble pickets is likely within a few years with a full replacement within the next 10, even if properly cared for. Initial costs can run upwards of $5000.
Stone/Concrete/BrickStone, brick, and concrete fences can be incredibly durable if professionally built. Cleaning can be as easy as getting out the garden hose, handholds are minimized, and they can be constructed to a suitable height for protection. These installations are more involved, may require access for heavier equipment, and tend to top the $10,000 mark easily. In addition, any repairs are likely to require a professional to ensure structural integrity and if the wrong mortar or cement is used between bricks, it may not stand up well to the frequent splashes that come with summer pool time.
GlassOne of the most beautiful and costly pool fence options, glass pool walls are excellent at preventing climbing, easy to clean, and leave your view or sightlines clear to enjoy your pool area and the surroundings. Repairs will require professional help, a replacement can be expensive, and a broken or damaged portion could also create a pretty big cutting hazard around or in your pool. Costs start at around $10,000 under most circumstances.
Mesh Pool FenceMade from a durable mesh fabric and stretched between strong poles anchored in your deck, surrounding ground, or to the walls of structures in your pool area, this style of fence is secure and versatile. The tautly stretched material doesn’t allow for handholds, the top edge is designed to avoid easy climbing, the bottom edge can’t be pushed under, and there are practically no gaps except at the gate, which your local pool fence installer ensures are only wide enough to allow for a smooth, easy swing. Unlike other fencing options, you can remove this fence for larger gatherings that require more pool access, such as a swim party, then reinstall it the same day for reliable security. A custom-designed mesh pool fence can fall easily within the $2500-$3000 range for smaller backyard swimming pools.

Find Out How Affordable Safety Can Be

You can take the next step in creating a safer pool area and get information from a local pool safety expert you can use–all without cost or obligation. Request a free estimate and one of our pros will talk with you about your swimming pool needs, survey your pool’s layout, and take the measurements needed to give you a detailed written quote for customized protection. In many cases, a removable mesh pool fence isn’t just the most affordable pool fencing option, but the best choice for ease of use and the safety of your family, friends, and pets. Contact us today for a free quote from Lifeguard on Duty.

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