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Swimming Pool Fence Options and Requirements


Pool fences have evolved over the years in many ways.  In the past 10-15 years emphasis has been placed on regulating and enforcing fence requirements across the country. 

Before your swimming pool can be installed you must be aware that the pool must be fenced to meet your local Swimming Pool Enclosure By-Laws

This has been a great thing, and has saved many lives, but it has also limited the fence options available to the consumer.  There are currently three prominent types of fence used around pools today.  This article will give a brief introduction to each of these three styles as well as discuss their inherent advantages and disadvantages.   

Ornamental Aluminum
Ornamental aluminum has become the most popular type of pool fence in America due to its durability and elegant appearance.  The aluminum is coated with a type of dry powder which is applied as a free flowing agent.  This process is called powder coating and differs from conventional liquid paint because it does not require the use of a solvent to keep the product in suspension form.  The coating is applied electrostatically and then cured under heat to allow it to form the skin that coats the aluminum.  Powder coated aluminum fence is sometimes confused with wrought iron fence which is extremely heavy and has a painted surface.  Iron fence is not frequently used around pools because it is much more expensive and time consuming to maintain.  The panels for residential aluminum fence come in six foot sections and are composed of individual top and bottom rails and pickets that are fastened together with rivets or screws. 

 Aluminum Ornamental Pool Fence

Standard 54" aluminum pool fence.


  • Extremely durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Relatively inconspicuous (especially darker colors)


  • Not a good privacy fence


Ornamental aluminum fence is perfect for any setting where low maintenance is important and a privacy fence is not required.  Aluminum fence is also great for waterfront properties or any other setting where you want to limit the obstruction of a wonderful view as much as possible.  This is primarily because of the narrow rails and pickets used to construct the fence.  This is the only type of fence that requires absolutely no maintenance, and that's a huge plus for most people.  Aluminum fence is also available in a variety of colors.  The most popular color is black, but many manufacturers also offer white, bronze, or green. 

PVC fence is also frequently used around pools.  There are two primary styles:  standard fence, which is 48"-54" tall with either solid slats or spaced pickets; and privacy fence, which is 6'-7' tall with the slats butted together to make a solid panel.  Many privacy fences have lattice or spindles for the top foot of the fence to add ornament to the design.  Let's take a look:

Vynal Pool Fence

PVC privacy fence.


  • Great privacy fence
  • Low maintenance
  • Many solid and picketed styles available
  • Many manufacturers can adapt their styles to custom heights for little or no additional charge.


  • Gates tend to sag over time
  • Pickets and rails are much thicker and considered bulky by some consumers
  • White color tends to be very conspicuous
  • Mildew can form on fence in wet shady areas

PVC is the undisputed champion of privacy fences.  It's durable, low maintenance, and provides great privacy.  What else could you ask for?  It's frankly not my favorite choice for a standard pool fence because the bulkiness of the thick pickets and rails.  However, we've used PVC in many settings, often when tying in with an existing PVC fence, and the projects have all turned out wonderful.  Almost all PVC fences are white, but many manufactures also offer tan as another option.    


Wood is a tried and true building material and continues to be a popular fence material used around pools.  Over the past decade it has been overshadowed by PVC and aluminum because of their low maintenance benefits, but thousands of wood fences are still installed around pools every year. 

 Wood Swimming Pool Fence

A standard wood fence.


  • Size and style are totally customizable
  • Less expensive than PVC or aluminum
  • Can paint or stain a wide variety of colors


  • Requires more maintenance
  • Can warp and twist over time


Wood has some very strong qualities to take advantage of, if you're willing to do your part on the maintenance end.  It is a natural material, and there's power in incorporating various natural elements into a design.  In some settings a man-made barrier constructed of plastic or aluminum may not work as well as wood.  Notwithstanding the maintenance aspect, there's no disputing the fact that it looks great in any setting and also makes a wonderful privacy fence.

In addition, after ensuring that your Swmming Pool Fence meets local requirements you could choose to have a safety Removable Mesh Pool Fence installed by your pool contractor to ensure your children are safe at play when you are not using your swimming pool. 

Guardian Pool Fence Systems

Which type of pool fence is for you? My experience has been that about 90% of inground pool clients go with the 54" black ornamental aluminum fence because of its sleek look and low maintenance unless they are in need of a privacy fence.  In which case most go with the wood.  Hopefully this article has been a helpful resource in your quest for the perfect pool fence. 


Great article Joe. Some seriously helpful information here to help consumers. Many people don't think about their fence during the process of buying a pool, but the fence is an extension of the pool itself and needs to receive proper consideration. Articles like this one will certainly benefit customers looking to find the right fencing to fit their needs. Keep up the great work!
Posted @ Monday, May 03, 2010 10:04 PM by Marcus Sheridan
Thanks for discussing the types of fencing.There should be some that perfectly suits the purpose and also is easy on maintenance and that is the perfect one for the choice.
Posted @ Sunday, May 30, 2010 1:10 AM by Nyc mold removal
Good contrast on Aluminum vs. Vinyl. Powder coat aluminum is a great low maintenance option. Heres a good video on what powder coating is
Posted @ Friday, June 25, 2010 12:17 PM by Aluminum Fence
Pool fences and spa fences are available in steel, aluminum or glass fencing. Thanks for sharing the lovely information.
Posted @ Monday, February 27, 2012 5:39 AM by Timber Fencing Sydney
I think the bes choice is alumium or wood, PVC isn't durable. 
Best regards.
Posted @ Monday, September 17, 2012 4:38 AM by Pool covers california
Wood fence looks better needs yearly maintenance, I you don't like housework buy PVC or Alu.
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 1:57 AM by Houston patio
Guardian Pool Fence is the highest quality, best pool fence! I am very happy with it.
Posted @ Thursday, September 20, 2012 11:25 AM by Pool Fencing
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