Swimming Pool. Advice please!


We have just moved into the area permanently, and are between Duras and Marmande. (47), and are now planning to have a pool installed. However, we are getting hugely conflicting advice as to which way to go.

Our area is clay and prone to movement (noticeable by cracks which appear in the house, 'though nothing desperate!)

We want a below ground pool and have had quotes for both concrete and fibre glass. Companies that want to install a concrete pool will tell us not to touch fibre glass, as due to movement in the area they have a tendency to pop out of the ground. Fibre glass companies tell us not to touch concrete as they crack and cause endless and expensive problems with liners etc. We are now totally confused and have no idea which way to go or who's advice to take most seriously.

We are budget conscious, and don't have a bottomless pit of money to spend, but equally want to get it right first time.

We are also getting conflicting advice re chlorine vs salt.

The pool will be used by our gite guests for 10 weeks of the year, and the rest by us, but we have a lot of eczema in the family which veers us to the salt route, but again we're told that in the end we will convert to chlorine, as salt causes endless problems and takes a lot more upkeep.

We'd be really grateful if any one can help with our dilemma's as we need a way forward.

Very many thanks


Personally I like the more curved pools I think they sit better into a garden setting but formal rectangles are the most common and create their own problems especially with the bygone layouts used by pool builders who do not understand water flow.

Ah yes to main drain or not to main drain, apart from the obvious safety risk to children mostly do they actually work? Well in a normal operation they do very little as you express, you have to sweep leaves etc into it as the function pool builders hope for doesn't happen without manual intervention. That means for most of the time they lower the skimmer action on the surface (the dirt enters from the top) the skimmer action is the primary place to remove the dirt and leaves before they sink otherwise as you say you need a pool robot (more expense) although I would bet you can hook up the manual vac and do the job in less time.

I usually plumb the main drain as an inlet (good chemical circulation) with a valve to swap it over should you meed the main drain for cleaning as you do. My pool however doesn't have a main drain, I do have a lot of trees surrounding my pool but I doubt I get more than 3-5 leaves on the bottom as the skimming action removes them before they sink. When I re model that pool I will improve upon the design from what I have achieved over the years. I sold my pool robot 3 years ago, just not needed any longer.

We built a 5 x 11.5m pool in 1996 having bought the liner etc. and sand filter in the UK. My husband built it with a friend and it was always up to me to get the pool up and running and closed down so I have some knowledge of chemical balance etc. For the new house I just wanted something rounded rather than rectangular and that meant kit form. The one problem I have with the new pool (also sand filter) is the lack of centre drain which I am used to sweeping into. I don't know whether any of their kits have a centre drain or if it is because our pool is small. Because of the lack of centre drain I am glad we have the robot which potters around on its own.

Mike it should be easy to reduce that cost down by around 20% even on the 2013 price and get a higher spec pool but I can't guarantee a fancy sign written articulated lorry as those things don't interest me, low cost pool ownership does and it's something I am working on for 2016

Hi Melissa, sorry for the late response but I have only just seen the replies as they pop up and disappear too frequently and I have been away without internet.

If you have read any of my posts you'll see it's the monoblock filtration setups sold by these companies that I really object to, really glad to see you have gone for a conventional skimmer so easing the path. The other beef I have is more with the industry in general as they haven't a clue on water circulation and water chemistry and so their designs haven't advanced since last century and that ensures they can sell add ons like pool cleaning robots.

Get the water flow right and the improve the filtration and you get cleaner water which is then a doddle to look after and reduces the running costs by 90% or more.

If the posts for swimming pool related topics was kept in the pool group area it would be easier to spot them even if someone had been away.


Sorry John, because of the funnies in this forum posts sometimes appear not in a good order so get overlooked.

What ever decision you make it should not include Desjoyaux, Magiline or Waterair or any other pool having a monoblock (all in one filtration unit) these are terrible from a water flow perspective, terrible from a filtration perspective and terrible from a maintenance and running cost perspective.

They are fundamentally flawed as they put the bag/cartridge filter on the pump inlet so they are trying to suck the dirt in. It is a very inefficient way of doing things and results the the need for a more powerful pump than normal which will cost a lot more to run and replace.

Try it for yourself, try sucking out the candles on a cake compared to blowing them out. Same lungs but a lot more effort required, the same with water it likes to be pushed not pulled.

These flashy sale companies show the water (and dirt) forming a compliant flow around the pool. The water in their video leaves the return jet (right next to the skimmer) and it all forms an orderly line right up to the far end and then does a U turn where it all stays in a nice line when travelling all the way back down the length of the pool and then into the (single) skimmer.

That is not how water flows at all, water forms a turbulent street flow with eddy currents where the dirt drops out of suspension and sits on the floor waiting for you to hoover it up. Terrible terrible idea.

If you can find someone local who really understands water flow and pool chemistry (not just googling for information or accepting verbatim what the industry says (Yes the industry has quite a few things wrong but they are linked to ongoing sales €€€) then after a brief leaning curve depending on your knowledge of pools so far then you will not have the problems that other owners face, it's all about designing the problems out from the start and not trying to correct them later at further cost.

If you join the swimming pool group it will be easier to spot your and others posts in the future.


Just caught your post Andrew, sorry I was away when you posted. Good to hear you are using the Dryden system to excellent effect. I have been running that system for a number of years and been following all the developments at Dryden for the last 10 years. I switched off the chlorine doser for 3 weeks in September and the pool remained perfect as the water was so clean algae couldn't grow. The ACO kept the water in perfect condition without the chlorine present.

The conflict comes from the basic fact the majority of people in the industry don't know what they are talking about with water circulation, filtration or chemistry of pool water.

Hi Ian - I've never posted to this site before but I wanted to answer this post, as I was in a very similar situation to you and got a thousand different conflicting inputs the more research I did.

We live in the UK but bought a 500-year old place in the Dordogne, with a crappy above-ground pool. After about 12-months of research into every possible type of pool construction (fiberglass, poured concrete, concrete blocks, tiles, liner, free-form etc.) we decided to go for concrete blocks with steel-reinforced concrete (poured into the blocks). We faced the same dilemma regarding clay soil. We insulated the base and side walls on the outside edge of the pool structure as this gave a little bit flex should there be any ground movement. Let's be completely clear, nothing is going to prevent major ground swell or severe shrinkage, not even reinforced concrete.

The concrete blocks were then skimmed with plaster, stiff felt panels being placed underneath an armoured liner. The armoured liner is a lot thicker than normal liners and should give us some protection - as well as last a little longer than a normal liner. The liner was a pool 10m x5m and had a premium price of 8,000 Euro (about 3,000 more than a standard liner.

We ruled out the chlorine / sale generators due to very mixed reviews and instead went for a DAISY system from DRYDEN (I'm not advocating them by the way). Here is a link http://www.drydenaquapools.com/swimming-pool-solutions.

We have used their glass filtration rather than sand (much, much better), an automatic dosing system for the two different chemicals they supply (one boosts chlorine to reduce it breaking down in sunlight, one is a floc (making particles in the water bigger, so they are attracted to the glass filter medium). We also added a PH Control and a liquid chlorine Control. We have a special device that also 'smashes' the water (think of a small in-line turbine) because this destroys nasty bugs in the water.

So, what the hell does all this mean? We get VERY, VERY pure water and VERY low chlorine in the water. The water is soft, with no hint of a chlorine smell (chlorine smell means your pool is not well balanced) and extremely kind to your skin. You still need chlorine for sanitation...can't and must not avoid it.

Happy to share more if you are interested but we have been complimented by many people at the quality of the water...and it is also a semi-automated system...so easy to run.

Our neighbours bought one at the same time and have just started getting a digger in for the hole. Liners are always difficult, and by the way we need to supply two vacuum cleaners for the suction job. I think the trickiest bit was marking it out. You are welcome to have a look once you have planning permission which these days is not always a foregone conclusion. Our planning permission was actually for a similar sized one to our other one at 11.5 x 5m but that would have looked a bit daft and we don't need it.


Thank you for the reply and the link to your blog. Very helpful and what a great job you and Roy have done creating a lovely property.

We are not too far from you just outside of Eymet and when I first looked at the corrugated side panels I did wonder if they were up to the job - especially as our soil is clay and chalk.

I also watch a video of the construction and looks doable for a DIY job - with a little help - as you point out the liner looks tricky to get right. Certainly looks like an option worth considering to keep the costs down.

Better get that planning permission started.

Extra costs may include digger excavation work and all of the work and materials, concrete etc. except the liner installation which is best done on a warm sunny day, we did ourselves (me following instructions etc. him the manual work). The kit for a 38m3 pool inc. filtration system, tiles, roman steps, a robot and in pool alarm bought in 2013 came to €13,000. We increased the depth a bit by placing the sides on blocks and skimmed the flat of the bottom a bit wider than they suggested while still giving a smooth rounded edge. My blog www.lebijou2011.wordpress.com August 2014 gives more detail. Probably more like €30,000 if we had not done it ourselves but that includes ground work. So many variables when putting a pool in the ground!

We were planning to install an inground pool next summer, but have been warned that there is now a huge taxe d'amenagement (planning permission tax) on in ground pools. Can anyone advise pls?

Melissa - If you don't mind me asking what sort of cost are these pools?


What a strange statement - is it the colour, shape, construction design you detest? Looking briefly at images they all seem to be different in their designs and construction. Bit late now to make a comment like that as we have already built ours. We have had nothing but praise from observers.

Hi John,
I am new to this site . I have a house near Evian which I built 5 years ago and am moving to next August to live in, after it has been rented out for 5 years. I want to install an In ground small pool and jacuzzi. My friend recommended Desjoyeux in Annamasse, but I would prefer a more local small installer say in Thonon , so that it is easier to get service and maintenance. Do you have any recommendations in what to look for in a potential pool installer
Thanks for any advice

As I detest Waterair, Magiline and Desjoyaux, I am not sure I can respond but if your happy Melissa that's what counts

This discussion was started in 2013. Not sure if anyone has mentioned you need planning permission for an in ground pool. Since 2013 we have installed a Waterair pool. The kit (incl. steps and "dalles") is delivered (on a huge lorry I may add!) and my husband and I installed it ourselves apart from a helping hand from the neighbour with joining the side panels. A Waterair employee came one sunny day and installed the liner. Not easy to install a kidney shaped pool and steps following instructions (in English), but possible. The difficulty is getting the circles exactly right as there is not a lot of room for error

Hi Andrew,
I have a house I built 5 years ago in Vinzier, 10 minutes from Evian les Bains, which has been rented out to a lovely family who are now building their own house in the same village. I have retired and plan on moving there next year to live for about 8 months of the year, and the rest in Australia where I am a citizen as well as UK.
I want to build a small pool with a jacuzzi area and terrace as soon as I move in. Can you recommend a builder designer in the Thonon area. I want to get a local so if any problems I can get immediate help and maintenance. I see. There is a Desjoyeaux agent in Annemasse but would rather spend my money locally,
John Dunstan

Hi Andrew -can I have your contact details please? I'm about to embark on the installation of a pool in France and do not want to make any monumental mistakes! Thanks

Roger, I am not sure I follow your point. Yes the chlorine is generated in the plumbing so that is where the highest concentration of chlorine disinfection occurs. With direct chlorine injection the chlorine disinfection reaction is also strongest in the plumbing right at the point where its injected which is roughly the same point as the location of the salt cell would be in a salt chlorinated pool so Raw chlorine or what ever you choose to name it is exactly the same.

Yes some people claim the water is softer in some way but no real evidence exists for this but as sodium chloride can reduce the hardness of water it is really dependent on how hard the water was in the area. Two pools I have just worked on 1.5 hours drive away from each other were totally different feeling as the water on one had 300 ppm calcium hardness and 205ppm alkalinity (hard water) and the other 100ppm calcium hardness and 20ppm alkalinity (soft water) so they felt very different despite being both directly dosed chlorine pools.
As I said in my previous post chlorine breaks down in the water and leaves salt behind so they are both salt pools although early on the salt content will be higher in the salt generated chlorine pool.
I don’t have an issue either way I work on either but it is important to give the correct information and not sales hype.