They say you can’t put a price on peace of mind. Of course, when “they” say this, they’re usually trying to sell you something. And guess what? The thing they’re trying to sell you actually does have a price – usually more than you want to pay.
In the case of swimming pools, the price of peace of mind starts at around $1,200. That’s a ballpark figure for a mesh pool safety fence designed to keep unsupervised children and pets away from your pool.
While other safety equipment is also important, a pool fence is the first and best line of defense against tragic accidents. Installing one is a no-brainer, and in many places, it’s required by law.
As with other pool features (and pools in general), the actual cost of a pool fence can deviate a lot from the average. That’s because there’s a wide range of options to choose from, including different sizes, styles, and materials. That said, while pool fences might come in a lot of different forms, most of them have to meet certain minimum standards.
Pool Fence Laws
In many cities and counties, the law requires swimming pools to be surrounded by a fence or other barrier. This isn’t the case everywhere, and the exact requirements vary from place to place. However, many local governments have adopted guidelines published by The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The CPSC specifications are designed to “prevent a child from getting over, under, or through” the barrier to gain access to the pool. According to the CPSC, an effective pool safety fence:
- is at least 4 feet tall
- has no handholds for footholds that allow climbing
- offers less than 4 inches clearance on bottom
- features a self-closing, self-locking gate
To find out what the law says in your area, check with your local housing department. Even if there’s no requirement for a pool fence, the above guidelines are a good starting point for those who make the choice to install one. It’s also important to note that these specifications, or something similar, may be required by your homeowner’s insurance.
Removable Pool Safety Fences
For the cheapest and most flexible solution, many pool owners choose specially made pool safety fencing. This mesh fencing is anchored into a pool deck or other surface, and can be removed when the pool isn’t in use (assuming local laws allow it). This type of fencing is designed specifically to meet the requirements of pool safety laws in your area, though you may have a few different options for height, etc.
The cost of pool safety fencing is typically about $15-20 per linear foot, fully installed. For large projects, the cost per foot may be less. If the ground slopes or there are fewer options for anchoring, the price can be higher.
One other thing to consider: If you’re planning to take the fence down in the offseason, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a good safety pool cover. Standard pool covers aren’t designed to hold the weight of a person, and therefore aren’t safe enough for this purpose.
Other Types of Pool Fences
While they work well for many pool owners, removable mesh fences are just one option. Other popular types of pool fencing include:
- Bars made out of steel, aluminum, vinyl or wrought iron
- Glass panels
- Wooden planks
Each type of fence has its strengths and weaknesses. It just depends on your preferences. Do you want privacy, or an unobscured view of the pool? Do you need the fence to serve as a wind barrier? Which type of material blends best with your home and pool? These are some of the questions you have to ask yourself when brainstorming pool fence ideas.
Compared to the basic mesh option, these types of fencing are all over the map when it comes to price. The only way to get an accurate figure is to talk to contractors in your area.
Additional Cost Factors
Besides the type of fence you choose, there are a few other things that can impact the final price:
Upgrades. If want a higher quality gate, more than one gate, a taller fence, or stronger materials, it’ll cost you extra. But then, you knew that.
Alarms. Many pool owners have an alarm installed on the fence gate for extra security. People with young children should also install an alarm on the backdoor of their house if it opens to the pool area. As a matter of fact, it’s required by law in some places.
Removal of Existing Fence. If there’s already a fence in place that doesn’t meet your needs for whatever reason, you’ll have to pay extra to have it removed.
Regional Differences. Materials and labor cost more in some parts of the country than others. This can have a significant impact on the cost of a new fence.
Contractor Pricing. It’s no secret that contractors – whether they’re fencing contractors or general pool contractors – often quote vastly different prices for the same job. Sometimes it’s for good reasons, other times not. That’s why it’s always smart to get estimates from multiple contractors to make sure you’re not overpaying.
Self Installation. The ultimate way to save money on a pool fence is to install it yourself. If you’re installing removable safety fencing, you can follow the step-by-step instructions provided by the manufacturer. That said, most pool owners would be wise to choose a licensed contractor for the job.