For those who live in the north, the end of summer signals the time to begin shutting down an aquatic facility for the winter. Winterizing a commercial pool typically includes clearing the pool of any debris, blowing water out of the pipes and equipment, adding winter chemicals, and covering the pool to keep debris from collecting in the pool over the winter months. However, there is one feature of the pool that is not always on the forefront of this to-do list, and that is inspecting the PVC perimeter deck and pool grating.
Perimeter and deck pool grating is more than its ability to divert water. It is a feature that has one of the highest levels of public interaction, and during the summer months PVC grating takes a beating — intense UV rays, heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic, water logged pool covers, and pool chemicals take their toll. The best time to closely inspect the grating for discoloration, deterioration, cracks, breakage or missing grates is before a pool is closed for winter and then again in the spring when extreme winter activity can compromise the grating. If there is any sign of deterioration or breakage, the grating should be removed and replaced immediately. Grate supports should also be inspected as they may need to be replaced or require added support to provide the strength necessary to withstand pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Just as with main drains, inspections should be documented and noted to help mitigate potential risk.
If it has been more than five years since grating was installed, or if a pool has perpendicular grating that conforms to a radius or has miter corners, it should be inspected for IBC-recommended gap openings. International child finger/toe entrapment guidelines now require a gap opening of only 0.315 inches or 8 millimeters from the previous 0.375 inches. If the pool fails to meet this standard, all the grating should be replaced, paying close attention to following the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
Winterizing Maintenance Tips
- Clean grates with a low alkaline detergent, removing dirt and debris to prevent premature degradation.
- Make sure grates are level to the deck plane to avoid tripping hazards.
- Keep additional grating on hand to replace broken or brittle grates.
- Check the gap opening of grating does not exceed 0.315 inches or 8 millimeters to mitigate risk.
- Keep a log of all grating repairs and maintenance. It may reveal a pattern of increased degradation, indicating it’s time to replace the pool grating.
By including pool grating as part of winterizing your facility exhibits a proactive effort and willingness to maintain the highest of standards, with the protection of public health and safety the ultimate goal.
Robert Lawson is the president of Daldorado, LLC. For more information about winterizing or purchasing perimeter pool and deck grating for commercial pools, please visit daldorado.com or contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org.