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Welcome to our comprehensive pool construction glossary! If you’re a prospective pool buyer or someone involved in the pool construction process, navigating the terminology and jargon can often feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this extensive glossary to help you familiarize yourself with the various terms and phrases you may encounter during the pool construction journey.

Demystifying Pool Terms

Building a pool is an exciting and transformative experience, but it comes with its own set of specialized terms that are essential to understand. From excavation to finishing touches, having a good grasp of these terms will not only empower you during the decision-making process but also ensure effective communication with pool builders and contractors. Whether you’re planning to invest in a beautiful backyard oasis or simply looking to expand your knowledge about pool construction, this glossary is designed to provide clarity and education.

Throughout this glossary, you will find explanations of key pool construction terms, covering everything from pool structures, features, equipment, and maintenance. Each term is defined in a concise and accessible manner, making it easy for pool buyers to understand and discuss various aspects of the construction process with confidence. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions, communicate effectively with professionals, and gain a deeper understanding of the intricacies involved in pool construction.

So, let’s dive in and explore the A to Z glossary of pool construction terminology, demystifying the pool building journey and empowering you to create the perfect pool for your needs and desires.

Read our pool construction glossary of terms pertaining to the design and construction of swimming pools.
Read our pool construction glossary of terms pertaining to the design and construction of swimming pools.

Glossary of Terms (A to Z)


Aggregate: The granular materials like sand, gravel, or crushed stone used in pool construction for the base, decking, or backfilling.

Anchor Socket: A fitting embedded in the pool wall or deck to secure items like ladders, handrails, or diving boards.

Auto-fill System: A device that automatically maintains the water level in the pool by monitoring and adding water when needed.

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Backfill: The process of refilling the excavated area around the pool structure with soil or other materials to provide support and stability.

Bond Beam: A reinforced concrete beam that runs around the top perimeter of the pool, connecting the walls and adding strength.

Backwash: The process of cleaning the pool filter by reversing the flow of water to flush out accumulated debris and contaminants.

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Cantilever Deck: A deck design that extends over the pool’s edge without the need for additional support structures, creating a seamless and visually appealing transition.

Coping: The material used to finish the top edge of the pool wall, providing a decorative and functional element that also helps to secure the pool structure.

Cyanuric Acid: A chemical compound commonly used in pool water to stabilize chlorine and protect it from degradation caused by sunlight.

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Diving Board: A board installed at the edge of the pool that allows swimmers to jump or dive into the deeper end of the pool.

Drainage System: A network of pipes and channels designed to redirect excess water away from the pool area, preventing flooding or water damage.

Depth Markers: Markings or tiles installed on the pool walls or floor to indicate the water depth at various points, ensuring swimmers can easily determine the pool’s depth.

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Expansion Joint: A material used to fill the gaps between the pool deck and the pool structure, allowing for movement due to temperature changes and preventing cracks.

Efficient Pump: A high-efficiency pool pump that circulates water through the filtration system while minimizing energy consumption, resulting in cost savings and environmental benefits.

Erosion Control: Measures taken during construction to prevent soil erosion around the pool area, preserving the integrity of the pool and the surrounding landscape.

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Fiber Optic Lighting: A lighting system that uses fiber optic cables to transmit light, providing a safe and customizable option for illuminating the pool area with various colors and effects.

Filtration System: The equipment responsible for removing debris and impurities from the pool water, typically consisting of a pump, filter, and other components.

Fire Pit: A designated area near the pool where a controlled fire can be lit, providing warmth, ambiance, and a gathering space for outdoor entertaining.

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Gunite: A mixture of cement, sand, and water sprayed pneumatically onto a reinforced steel framework to create a solid and durable pool structure.

Grotto: A cave-like structure incorporated into the pool design, usually with a waterfall or water feature, creating a unique and immersive swimming experience.

GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter): An electrical safety device installed in pool areas to detect ground faults and quickly interrupt the circuit, preventing electric shock hazards.

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Handrail: A rail or grab bar installed along the pool steps or ladder, providing swimmers with stability and support while entering or exiting the pool.

Heat Pump: A pool heating system that uses electricity to transfer heat from the surrounding air or ground to warm the pool water, offering energy-efficient heating.

Hydrotherapy Jets: Jets strategically placed in the pool to provide therapeutic massage and relaxation through the release of pressurized water or air bubbles.

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In-pool Lighting: Lighting fixtures specifically designed for underwater use, adding visibility and creating a visually stunning atmosphere in the pool during nighttime swimming.

Infinity Edge: A pool design where one or more sides feature a ledge or lip that overflows with water, creating a visually seamless edge and the illusion of the water blending into the surrounding landscape.

Ionizer: A device that uses copper or silver ions to sanitize pool water, reducing the need for traditional chlorine treatments and providing a more eco-friendly alternative.

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Jet System: A system of jets strategically placed in the pool walls or floor that create currents or water flow, adding a dynamic element for swimming, exercise, or relaxation.

Jumping Rock: A natural-looking rock formation installed near the pool, providing a designated area for swimmers to jump from and adding an element of excitement and fun.

Jacuzzi: A brand of hot tub or spa known for its hydrotherapy jets and therapeutic features, offering a luxurious and relaxing experience.

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Kiddie Pool: A shallow pool specifically designed for young children, providing a safe and enjoyable space for them to splash, play, and learn to swim.

Koi Pond: A separate water feature, often integrated into the pool area, housing koi fish and adding a serene and decorative element to the overall pool landscape.

Kool Deck: A textured and cool-to-the-touch decking material specifically designed to minimize heat absorption, making it comfortable for barefoot walking around the pool.

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LED Lighting: Energy-efficient lighting technology that utilizes light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to illuminate the pool area, offering various colors, brightness levels, and programmable effects.

Lap Pool: A long and narrow pool specifically designed for swimming laps and exercise, providing a dedicated space for fitness-oriented swimmers.

Landscape Lighting: Lighting fixtures strategically placed around the pool area and landscaping to enhance the ambiance, highlight architectural features, and improve nighttime safety.

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Mosaic Tiles: Small, colored tiles often used to create intricate patterns or designs on the pool walls or floor, adding a visually stunning and personalized touch to the pool’s aesthetics.

Main Drain: A plumbing fitting located at the deepest part of the pool, providing an outlet for water circulation and allowing for the removal of debris and sediment.

Multi-tiered Pool: A pool design with multiple levels or sections at different elevations, creating visual interest, and offering separate areas for various activities such as swimming, lounging, and water features.

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Natural Stone: A type of stone, such as travertine, slate, or granite, used for pool decking, coping, or decorative features, providing a natural and elegant look to the pool area.

Negative Edge: Also known as a vanishing edge or infinity edge, it is a design feature where one or more sides of the pool have a hidden or lowered edge, creating the illusion of water extending into the horizon.

Non-Slip Surface: A textured or coated surface applied to the pool deck or other areas around the pool to improve traction and reduce the risk of slips and falls.

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Outdoor Kitchen: An outdoor cooking and dining area adjacent to the pool, equipped with appliances such as a grill, sink, refrigerator, and countertops, providing convenience for outdoor entertaining and dining.

Overflow System: A design feature where water from the pool overflows from one or more edges, creating a visual effect of water spilling into a catch basin or decorative trough.

Ozone Generator: A device that uses ozone gas to sanitize and purify pool water, reducing the reliance on traditional chlorine-based sanitizers and offering a secondary disinfection method.

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Pebble Finish: An interior pool finish made of small pebbles or aggregates mixed with plaster or cement, providing a durable and textured surface that adds visual appeal and enhances grip.

Perimeter Overflow: A design feature where the water level in the pool is set slightly higher than the pool’s surrounding deck or coping, allowing the water to overflow into a hidden catch basin or channel, creating a sleek and visually stunning effect.

pH Level: A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the pool water. Maintaining the proper pH level is crucial for water balance, as it affects water clarity, sanitizer effectiveness, and bather comfort.

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Quick Connect Fittings: Fittings or connectors that allow for easy and quick installation or disconnection of pool equipment or plumbing lines without the need for tools or complicated procedures.

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Rebar: Short for reinforcement bar, it is a steel bar or mesh used to reinforce the concrete in the pool’s walls, floor, and other structural elements, providing strength and durability.

Rock Waterfall: A decorative water feature that mimics a natural waterfall, constructed using rocks, boulders, and a recirculating water system to create a tranquil and visually appealing focal point.

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Saltwater System: A pool sanitation system that uses a chlorine generator to convert salt into chlorine, providing a continuous and more natural source of chlorine while reducing the need for traditional chlorination methods.

Skimmer: A device installed at the edge of the pool to remove debris, leaves, and other floating particles from the water’s surface, helping to keep the pool clean and clear.

Solar Heating: A pool heating method that utilizes solar panels or collectors to harness the sun’s energy and warm the pool water, offering an environmentally friendly and cost-effective heating solution.

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Tile Mosaic: Intricate designs or patterns created by arranging small, colored tiles on the pool’s walls, floor, or steps, adding a decorative and personalized touch to the pool’s aesthetics.

Turbidity: A measure of the cloudiness or haziness of the pool water caused by suspended particles or impurities. Maintaining proper water balance and filtration helps to prevent turbidity.

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UV Sanitizer: A pool sanitation system that utilizes ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in the pool water, providing an additional layer of water purification.

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Variable Speed Pump: A pool pump with adjustable speed settings, allowing for optimal water circulation and energy efficiency by reducing pump speed during periods of lower demand.

Vanishing Edge: Also known as an infinity edge or negative edge, it is a design feature where one or more sides of the pool have a concealed or lowered edge, creating the illusion of water extending into the horizon.

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Waterline: The level at which the water in the pool meets the pool’s walls or tile, forming a visible line around the perimeter of the pool.

Water Feature: Decorative elements like fountains, cascades, or bubblers that add movement, sound, and visual interest to the pool area, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

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X-Bracing: A diagonal bracing technique used in pool construction to reinforce and stabilize the pool walls, especially in areas with higher soil pressure or seismic activity.

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Yard Drainage: The proper routing and management of excess water and runoff from the pool area to prevent water accumulation, erosion, or damage to the pool and surrounding landscape.

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Zodiac: A well-known brand specializing in pool equipment, including pumps, filters, cleaners, and automation systems, offering a wide range of high-quality products for pool owners.

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Please note that this is a comprehensive glossary covering a wide range of pool construction terms, and not all terms may be applicable to every pool project.

Lonestar Pool & Spa Design
Author: Lonestar Pool & Spa Design
Lonestar Pool & Spa Design is a thought leader and the premier pool builder in Frisco, TX. Follow our blog for articles on pool design, construction, and tips about building a swimming pool.

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