Part of living and working in Southeast Texas is sometimes dealing with rain — lots of rain.
Unfortunately, this past month has seen much of this region (and areas in Central Texas, North Texas and Oklahoma) deal with record rainfall and flooding, leading to scenes locally like the one below:
— Steve Campion (@SteveABC13) May 27, 2015
While there are people in the Houston area dealing with much more pressing issues due to the torrential rains and the corresponding saturated ground, the weather does have an effect on Ultimate Pools’ ability to start the process of digging and getting your dream pool started. Even after the rain finally subsides and gives the standing water a chance to recede, the saturated ground will make digging out a pool a touch-and-go process for several weeks afterward.
In response to this, we will outline the effects of rain and saturation on the construction of pools, from the initial digging to plastering to the addition of complementing elements such as decks to maintenance and pool chemistry. Today we’ll start with the initial dig.
The biggest factor we consider when deciding whether or not wet ground is appropriate for digging is the type of soil in a customer’s backyard. As you can see from this map the type of soil in our area is varied, with Montgomery County containing East Texas Timberland Soils while Northern Harris County southward tends to contain Coast Prairie Soils.
The soil distinction is important. For example, if we were digging a pool in the Austin area, we’d be cutting through drier, coarse rock and shale, which has limited moisture absorption. As for the soils in our region, the Coast Prairie Soils tend to have a deeper sand base and retain more water below the surface than the East Texas Timberland Soils, which are more efficient in dispersing excess water. The slower water absorption and retention of the Coast Prairie Soils are why Harris County has more abundant areas of swamp and marsh land than Montgomery County does. For a description of the main soils in Texas, check out this article.
Misidentifying the soil type can have unfortunate consequences if not handled carefully. Not only can digging prematurely in overly saturated Coast Prairie Soil cause customers to have an unsightly hole of standing water in their backyard, but heavily saturated soil is also prone to collapse, leaving holes filled with debris such as mud and clay. Oversaturated soil also is prone to caving and erosion down the road when plastered or coated, causing irregularly shaped pool surfaces and future repair hassles.
Those are the last things we want. We strive to to get things right the first time and build structurally sound, secure pools that you can enjoy for years. So prior to making the machine dig and starting the process, we go through a couple of checks.
- Check the weather: Before even thinking about a dig, we definitely check The Weather Channel and other weather outlets and monitor conditions for the time period we are looking to dig and start the process. The last thing we want is to dig out a hole, then come back to have to clean debris/pump water out of it. It’s not an exact science — weather forecasting never is — but we try to pick the perfect weather window before starting a dig.
- Test dig: Prior to digging the big hole that will become your pool, we dig a smaller hole to gauge soil composition and saturation. This test hole typically measures 3-4 feet deep and 5-6 inches wide. From there we can see if we’re striking topsoil, sand, or clay and see how sturdy and moist the surface is. If water seeps into the hole of the test dig, then we need to reevaluate our timing and approach to the dig before we bring in the machines to really get started on the construction of your pool. We figure it’s better to be safe and secure at the beginning to prevent unneeded repairs and expense to the customer down the road.
The initial dig is just one of the things that are affected by the wet weather. Through the coming weeks (as we hopefully dry out) we’ll delve into more aspects of how rain affects what we do and our timetable.
While Ultimate Pools takes considerable pride in its cutting-edge pool designs and technology, we also realize that the most important part of making a pool a backyard oasis is what’s inside the pool. We pride ourselves on having crystal-clear water with minimal chemicals, leaving your pool looking clean and feeling clean against your skin. That’s why we use ozonated water.
Ozonating our water, which we do via Del Ozone products, allows us to fill your pool with refreshing, oxygenated water that has far less chlorine than standard swimming pools. It’s also easier to maintain, especially with the Intellichem System that we offer with each pool installation. The Intellichem system (which we will detail more in later entries) is a computerized, smart system that treats your pool water with minimal chemicals while breaking down the bacteria, viruses and fungi that can accumulate, keeping you healthy and feeling good on those hot summer days.
We also use ozonated water for our bottled water, which we donate to charities and community organizations for them to sell for fundraising purposes. While the process for our ozonated drinking water isn’t exactly the same as it is for the ozonated pool water (for obvious reasons), the Pura Flo system we use to bottle our water makes it a clean, tasty beverage on a hot Texas afternoon. So if you’re around the area and you see bottled water with the Ultimate Pools label at a community event, pick one up and taste the ozonated water difference!
While we are proud of all the organizations we sponsor and provide water for, the Shenandoah Sharks are an organization that Ultimate Pools has had the longest relationship with. Not only have we been affiliated with the Shenandoah Sharks since 2004, two of our children have swam in the program. Our daughter Bryanna swam and coached with the Sharks, while our son Nicholas swam for the team.
The Shenandoah Sharks have been an award-winning summer league swim team for children ages 4-18 in The Woodlands, Shenandoah, and Spring — along with areas along FM 1488 and FM 242 — since 1973. The Sharks have been the home of thousands of young South Montgomery County swimmers since their founding, giving them a safe, fun recreational and competitive environment in which to swim and grow.
The Shenandoah Sharks compete in the Northwest Aquatic League, giving their young swimmers a chance at fun competition. The season started last weekend with a meet against The Woodlands Marlins, and the Sharks will jump in the pool again Saturday against the Oak Ridge Otters. They’ll have several more meets before concluding the season with a divisional meet later this summer. The Sharks also use their swim meets as an opportunity for their swimmers to qualify for “invitational” meets against some of the fastest swimmers in the region.
But the swimming excellence of the Shenandoah Sharks isn’t the only reason why we sponsor their organization. The Sharks also are a visible contributor to the community, raising money for charitable organizations at their annual Swim For Sharks event. In 2013, the Sharks raised $1,500 for The David Center at the Texas Children’s Hospital (an event Ultimate Pools humbly supports) and raised $2,300 for the Hemispherectomy Foundation last season. This season the Sharks will be swimming for Kindness Matters in honor of Peyton A. James.
Ultimate Pools is proud of its decade-plus-long relationship with the Shenandoah Sharks and hope it continues for many years to come. For more information on the Sharks, click on the link to their homepage in the opening paragraph and visit them on Facebook!
Along with building pools, Ultimate Pools prides itself on being part of the community. We’ll do this once again this Saturday at College Park High School’s SPIKEFEST. The SPIKEFEST is an outdoor volleyball tournament held by the College Park girls’ volleyball team. Ultimate Pools will be providing water for sale at this co-ed tournament, with all proceeds from the water sales going to the College Park Cavaliers girls’ volleyball program.
This event will go on all day Saturday at College Park High School in The Woodlands. Click here for more information and stop by College Park High School to witness this fun event!
One of Ultimate Pools’ favorite community events will be taking place Saturday morning in The Woodlands, as David’s Dream Run will be held Saturday morning at Woodforest Stadium. We humbly help sponsor this great event, which features a 1 mile fun run and a 5K run/walk. This event was named after David Vetter, the namesake of David Elementary School in Shenandoah, who lived bravely for 12 years with severe combined immunodeficiency, a disorder that left him highly susceptible to germs.
Vetter spent much of his life at Texas Children’s Hospital, and 100 percent of the proceeds for David’s Dream Run will go to the David Center at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. So whether you are looking to break a sweat for a good cause or just want to support the runners, head out to Woodforest Stadium for David’s Dream Run! Check-in for the event is at 7:30 a.m. The fun run starts at 8 a.m., with the 5K starting after the fun run concludes.