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A beautiful new pool cage.

When it comes to building a pool or buying a pool home there is an element of education that comes with it. Swimming pools in a home require weekly maintenance. Most homeowners only see the recreational and health benefits of owning a swimming pool. They often forget the cleaning and maintenance side. Why do Florida pools have cages? Screened pool cages will reduce your maintenance costs and keep unwanted debris and guests away.

Let’s take a look below at what it means to have a pool cage in Florida.

What Is A Pool Cage

As you can see from the picture below, a pool cage is constructed with aluminum metal and mesh screening. Pool cages can be constructed in all shapes and sizes to fit your home and pool patio needs. They can also meet the homeowner’s pool safety requirements. Also, as you read further down you will gain an understanding of what advantages and disadvantages the pool cage provides.

This is a typical pool cage in Florida.
A white pool cage in Florida.

What Are The Advantages

Believe it or not, there are a lot of advantages to having a swimming pool screened cage. Let’s take a look at what a pool cage brings to the enjoyment of your pool.

  • Protects from the sun – with Florida having a high sun exposure the need for protection and shade is key. Screened pool cages can keep the sunny days from having direct access to your skin while swimming. In addition, the pool water will be cooler as the sun is kept at bay.
  • Ease of maintenance – having a pool cage keeps debris from blowing into your pool. So, you wouldn’t have leaves and tree branches blowing into the pool. In Florida, we also have a lot of pine trees and the pine needles blow into a pool. The pool cage will also keep those pine needles out. Your pool maintenance and pool cleaning will be reduced substantially. This gives your pool a cleaner overall look.
  • Security – not only will a pool cage keep dirt, debris, and insects out, it will also keep unwanted guests from showing up. In Florida, unwanted visitors don’t just mean people. Pool cages are great at keeping alligators, frogs, snakes, birds, turtles, and any other organism looking for a water source away. Also, it provides a safety feature by keeping strangers away and prevents them from accidentally falling into your pool or having a type of accident on your property.
  • Home extension – a pool cage makes you feel like you have an outdoor living space. It can expand your shade and provide a tropical feeling to your patio. In many cases, homeowners will build outdoor kitchens, bars, relaxation and dining areas. Pool cages provide you with the opportunity to be outside more often and longer during a typical Florida day.
  • Enjoyment and relaxation – by keeping the mosquitos away and other insects like spiders, you can enjoy your pool for a longer period of time. Many homeowners like to swim at night, when it is a bit cooler out. So, keeping the mosquitos away at dusk and dawn is great for swimming early morning or later at night. With a pool cage, you have extended hours of enjoyment and relaxation time.
  • Deterrent of strong winds – with Florida being a strong wind state and hurricane friendly, pool cages are designed to withstand winds up to 130 miles per hour. Depending on the manufacturer, you might see pool enclosures with even higher wind ratings.
  • Less chemical loss – having a pool cage reduces the amount of sun exposure on your pool. This in-turn reduces evaporation of your pool chemicals. The longer the pool water stays balanced the less money you are spending on pool chemicals.
  • Reduced algae growth – pool cages will substantially reduce the growth of algae in your pool. This is in correlation with the fact that your chemicals stay in the pool water longer and loose debris isn’t dirtying up the pool water.
  • Evaporation of water reduced – a pool cage can significantly reduce your pool waters evaporation during the hottest months in Florida. This is especially important as in some cases, you will be prohibited from filling your pool back up, if there is a water shortage.
  • Energy costs reduced – having a pool cage or pool enclosure will reduce the need for heating your pool. In some cases, homeowners do enjoy a good pool heater, but that costs more money and maintenance. Always remember that having a pool cage will keep your pool water at a more consistent water temperature.

Are There Disadvantages

Believe it or not, there are just a couple of disadvantages when it comes to having a pool cage. Let’s take a look.

  • Colder water – typically, the pool cage will keep your water colder during the year. As we read above, it is a benefit to keeping your pool from evaporating too quickly.
  • Landscaping limits – having a pool cage reduces access to landscaping options. Due to the shear size of the cage you will be limited in your landscaping choices. However, you can always bring the plants inside the cage. Keep in mind that this can cause excess dirt and debris to get into your pool, which will defeat the main purpose of the pool cage.
A homeowner cleaning his Florida pool cage.
A pool cage is being cleaned by its owner.

How Do I Clean My Cage Gutters

When building a pool cage, the contractor will often install a gutter between the home and the pool cage frame. This allows rainwater to flow from the roof and be redirected around the pool cage. It is especially important so you don’t get dirt and debris from your roof into your pool. Having a gutter does require some cleaning. Let’s take a look at how we can accomplish this task.

  1. Get your ladder out – this allows you access to the roof and your gutter(s).
  2. Wear protective gear – always wear old clothing or protective gear, goggles, a hard hat, and rubber-soled shoes.
  3. Use a partner – always have someone to hold your ladder on the ground as well as collect any debris that you send off the roof and out of the gutter.
  4. Use a tool or your hands – it fairly easy to use a trowel or your hands to scoop debris and dirt build-up out of your gutter.
  5. Check for leaks – use a garden hose or bucket of water and pour it along the gutter. This allows you to check for leaks.
  6. Seal them up – if any leaks are identified, go ahead and seal them up with a waterproof silicone sealant.
  7. Repair holes – check for holes in the screen enclosure that is close to you on the roof. Use duct tape to repair any holes.
  8. Rinse off – rinse your screen with the garden hose to clean off dirt build-up.
  9. Spray the gutters – use your garden hose to spray down your gutters to ensure they are completely cleaned.

How Much Does It Cost

Pool enclosures or cages can vary greatly in cost. Depending on the cost of screening and aluminum and the size of the project will dictate the cost of your cage. The National average for a pool cage or enclosure is around $12,000.

You can calculate a general cost by measuring the square foot of the patio area that you are screening in and multiplying that by the local cost per square foot. In some cases, homeowners require high-end pool enclosure projects and those can average around $61,000. Keep in mind that the cheapest pool enclosure is likely to cost you around $2,500.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about pool cages, there are some more areas to take a look at. One of those is having a pool inspection. When you buy a home with a pool, you won’t know if there are any issues unless you have a pool inspection. Most home inspectors are not certified in this area (some are though so ask!) so you will need to call on a reputable company to check it out.

Next, sometimes you need to shock your pool due to algae or other bacteria growing. Shock is made up of chemicals so let 24 hours pass so it can do its job before anyone can swim in the pool. Always test your swimming pool water pH and chlorine output. According to the Center for Disease Control, a good range for pH is between 7.2 and 7.8 and chlorine between 1.0 and 4.0 ppm.

Lastly, just like with anything, maintenance is needed for a swimming pool. This includes a weekly cleaning, if not daily, depending on how dirty the pool is. Also, checking the salt level (for a salt pool) and chlorine levels.

If you notice the pool pump is leaking, it can be due to broken seals, pump housing, pump drain plugs, improper fittings, or the lid to name a few. You may need to call a pool professional or company to take a look. It might be easily fixed or it could be a major problem.

You might want to hire a professional to clean your pool cage.
Consider hiring a professional to clean your pool cage.

When Do I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with something that is swimming pool related, it is best to let the professionals take over. Having a screened pool enclosure installed is not easy for a homeowner. It requires a specific set of tools and access to aluminum framing. Always call on your local screen enclosure contractor to install anything related to a pool cage.

If you aren’t even sure if enclosing your pool with a cage is possible, reach out to your local home inspection team. Not only can they take a look at the style of your home and pool, but they can also recommend a reputable pool cage contractor. Also, they can give you a cost analysis of adding a pool cage to increase the value of your home.

Conclusion

If you are wanting to install a pool cage, hiring your local home inspection team first is a great idea. They can inspect your pool area, roof, and other parts of the home to ensure there is no underlying damage, prior to installing a pool cage. Remember, a pool cage is affixed to the underside of your home’s roof. So, ensuring that this part is in tact goes a long way toward your pool cages’ longevity. Call on Waypoint Inspection to conduct a pool and home inspection in your home in Tampa and Central Florida.