In recent years, ICF-built pools have enjoyed a rising tide of popularity. It’s no surprise — what better way is there to keep a swimming pool from losing heat through its walls than to insulate the walls on either side?
Not only do ICFs prevent heat loss by sandwiching the concrete cores between 2, continuous layers of insulation, but they’re also easy to configure to fit any desired size, shape, or depth.
In today’s post, we’ll walk you through an actual case study of a Logix ICF infinity pool that was recently built high up in Utah’s Rocky Mountains ranges. Here, you’ll learn how the project team dealt with numerous challenges — from freezing temperatures and high altitudes, to a lack of bedrock on which to base the foundation.
ICF Pool Case Study: A Spa With a View (Utah, US)
It was the threat of a power outage, and the subsequent freezing over of a swimming pool’s water, that got Dan McCullogh — owner of Utah ICF, a Logix ICF dealer based in Salt Lake City — involved in this exciting ICF pool project.
One day, Dan got a call from an engineer who was designing an outdoor infinity pool up in the Salt Lake valley. Worried about the pool freezing over during a power outage, the engineer was looking for options to insulate the pool’s walls and slow heat transfer.
Here’s why the engineer was so concerned: The pool would be situated 5,200 feet above sea level. Now, that’s high enough for the mercury to dip to -10°F, and even -20°F, on occasion.
Overcoming the Challenges of Mountain-side Pool Construction
But the extreme subzero temps weren’t the only challenges facing the project team. As Dan discovered, the infinity pool — measuring 21 feet by 16 feet, and 2-4 feet deep — would literally be cut into the side of a mountain with a 45-50° slope. In another hurdle, the engineering team wasn’t able to discover any solid bedrock on which to place the supporting columns.
What’s more, being an infinity pool, the structure had to be perfectly level and even with the upstairs deck — otherwise, the water would not be able to flow correctly.
Always excited by challenging projects, Dan was eager to get involved and start. The team decided to build with Logix ICF, and after some consultations, the project’s initial challenges were expertly resolved.
For example, having to contend with the lack of bedrock, the team got creative: They decided to tie rocks together with rebar and grout, and lay the pool’s footings on top.
With the footings in place, the team employed subcontractors to erect 9-foot columns and a platform, which then served as the base for the Logix ICF walls of the swimming pool.
To prevent heat loss from the bottom of the pool, the team covered the platform with 2-inch sheets of high-density polystyrene foam.
Once the ICF walls went up, the team applied the specified waterproofing membranes, sealing the edges with Colphene. Finally, they sprayed the bottom and walls with Gunite and shotcrete.
Overall, the total construction costs came up to roughly $30,000 — not bad for a mountain-side, energy-efficient infinity pool with about the best view you can possibly get!
Wrapping It Up
Not all swimming pool projects will be as challenging as Dan’s; however, the benefits of ICF pool construction are still applicable, regardless of the site complexity and geographic location. Simply put, ICF pools help owners conserve energy, and allow their builders the freedom to design quality pools of almost any shapes or dimensions.
At Logix ICF, we’ve already developed several useful resources for those of you who are exploring Logix ICF as a construction material for swimming pools. You can check out our installation and design guide (US only for now) to learn more.