Alright, so you want to buy a pool fence – great! An at-home oasis is a perfect way to cool off, but fencing it all in is a big step in finishing that beautiful backyard. There are so many pool fence materials, types, finishes, sizes, shapes, colors, costs, and considerations that your head will spin. Keep calm and swim on, and we’ll help you make sense of it all.
Read through, digest, and by the time you’re ready to install, you'll be an expert. The best part? You’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about – helps to avoid getting ripped off, you know? Let’s dive in!
Just want to see our top 5 recommendations first? Check out the summary table below.
So the biggest thing your pool fence should be is, well, safe! A fence is a safety perimeter, after all. It’s especially important that your pool fence is more than just a superficial piece of décor – we are dealing with deep water, family, small children, and pets here. Your pool fence should be tall enough that those last two categories of guests can’t climb it. When you get into pool fences, you might find there are some restrictions, too: You may or may not be able to install a 3-sided or 4-sided fence.
A 3-sided pool fence uses a man-made structure, like your house, or some natural obstacle as one side of the fence. A 4-sided fence is self-explanatory (it covers all four sides of your pool). Some counties and localities may have restrictions on both fence types, so you should do a little research on what you can and cannot install. Give your local municipal building a call if you can’t find the info online and ask some questions: Can you do a 3- or 4-sider? What are the height restrictions? How close or far away from the property line and pool itself must the fence be?
Lastly, consider entry and exit. Your pool fence gate should be just as secure against unwanted visitors as all sides of the fence itself. Plenty of accidental tragedies occur when children or pets are left un-supervised around pools. Don’t let a loved one – furry or two-legged – be a statistic. Your pool fence gate’s latch should be out of reach of small children and it should be able to host a lock of some sort.
Let’s keep going with that safety thing because it’s so important. Your pool fence should be strong enough to withstand adventurous climbers and the four seasons alike. We’ll get into the different fence options later, but keep in mind that even if a material sounds and looks acceptable as a pool fence, it should always be tested “robustly”. That means giving it a good new smacks and taps, bending the stuff a little to see that it can bounce back, and generally “kicking the tires” to see if it’ll withstand some abuse.
If you go pick up or try out your fence material and it cracks, chips or bends with just a little force, it’s no good – remember, this fence is securing a body of water that people and pets can drown in. While some thin little vinyl slats might be great as a tomato garden fence, your pool fence will be interacted with…
Frequently. Trust us. Folks will be running around it, jumping in and out the pool, chillin’ on the deck, playing around with volleyballs and throwing pool noodles. You get the idea. Just like a good durable pool cover your fence has to be able to handle all of that.
Again, there are plenty of popular pool fence materials, but consider the décor and their ability to retain some aesthetic qualities. After all, your pool and backyard should be the at-home resort, but it’ll do no good if it’s being blemished by an eye sore (like a discolored, off-white, rusty, stained pool fence. Ew.)
With that in mind, plan for the future. Make sure the fence you choose is going to be resistant to sun damage. Not all fences are created equal, just remember that. There are plenty of by-design fence materials that are perfect for protecting your pool and guests while retaining their beauty and color.
Speaking of color, keep it simple: We don’t recommend giant slats of black fencing if it’s going to be surrounding your pool. Your fence might get blistering hot and will not make for a good time for any pool guests unfortunate enough to touch the stuff. Think of the color you want your fence to be. Fiberglass fences can generally be made any color, as can stronger vinyl, aluminum and glass pool fence frames. White’s a safe bet, but you can also coordinate with your theme or deck and furniture color!
Alright, so remember when you had your pool first installed? Chances are, you ran into a few (or plenty of) extra costs associated with installation and finishing touches. That’s just the nature of the game. The same goes with pool fences. Until you dig every single post hole, pay the invoice for the fence material, pay the guy(s) to install the stuff, and sit back on your lawn chair basking in all the glory, costs are always at risk of going up from that initial estimate. Whatever your first estimate, be ready with a cost buffer of around 15% to 20% extra – that includes maintenance and repairs.
Obviously, a 3-sided fence will cost a fair bit less than a traditional 4-sided fence, but it all depends on your property and pool. If you haven’t yet installed your pool, take the fence into consideration, too. Some fence installations can be temporary. Think of simple mesh fencing, for example. If you have young kids but aren’t concerned about permanently controlled pool access, consider that as an option.
If you want a permanent fence, the cost will go up and it all depends on fence height and material. All permanent pool fences will need post holes, and you can save a ton of money by digging the holes yourself (it’s really pretty easy). Just be sure to talk to your installer beforehand, to make sure everything’s measured and planned before you dig.
Piggybacking on installation, let’s look at cost of pool fences in general terms. Obviously, mesh fences will cost the least. They don’t require post holes or cement and they’re designed to be temporary. On the extreme opposite, you have glass pool fences. These bad boys are beautiful and stylish, featuring tempered glass panels with metal frames, but they cost a premium. In between you have aluminum, steel, fiberglass, and vinyl. They vary in cost based on size, color, finish and thickness.
Too many factors come into play to give rough cost totals but you should ask for price comparisons based on these materials when you get your quote. Some will cost a heck of a lot more, and some will be surprisingly affordable. It all depends on what you’re willing to spend and how stylish you want your pool to be.
One other thing to keep in mind is maintenance. Your pool fence will be around water, it’ll be exposed to the elements year-round, and it’ll eventually require maintenance. A vinyl fence can be power washed, where a wood fence will need sanding, staining, and eventually replacement panels from warping. A steel fence might need paint or epoxy coatings to prevent rust, and an aluminum fence can still see some corrosion that can’t be scraped off, requiring replacement panels, too.
So we hit on all the things to consider when buying a pool fence – but what about context? What’s the most popular and why? Why go with A vs. B vs. C? Let’s dive into the most popular pool fences, their benefits, and their drawbacks:
A mesh fence is a great option for the thrifty pool owner who doesn’t want a permanent fence, or who simply wants a minimalistic fence that won’t be imposing and big. Mesh pool fences are typically best for those who want to keep kids and pets out of the water without supervision, and they’re considered to be a suitably safe residential pool fence option.
They don’t need post holes dug, so install and removal is a breeze. They’re usually made out of a PVC mesh with a simple border that attaches to other sections, making them modular and movable. Mesh fences are usually the most affordable pool fence option and they require the least maintenance. Because they use such fine woven panels, mesh fences are basically see-through, allowing for an open feeling without obstruction.
You can usually find a mesh fence that matches your décor and theme, so it’ll blend in nicely. When the mesh fence is no longer needed, you can simply recycle it or sell it! This is obviously one of the simplest fence options and while it’s great at keeping small kids and pets safe, it isn’t necessarily the strongest or most sturdy fence option. If you want a permanent pool fence that’s rock-solid and provides more aesthetics, keep reading.
Aluminum’s a perfect choice for pool fences because it’s naturally resistant to rust. Splash it with water, let it get rained on, hang towels from it – it’ll keep looking stylish and strong for years to come. These fences are tough and relatively affordable, making them the next step up from mesh fences in terms of overall build quality vs. cost. These fences are no-frills in their design and you can find them in black, slate gray, white, taupe, and generally any other neutral, warm colors that’ll perfectly complement your landscaping and pool or deck.
Aluminum fence slats are usually thin and spaced a few inches apart, so if you have very small dogs or cats, this is something to consider. Many folks report that these fences are practically indestructible, making them great at repelling pool toys and the occasional climber. Aluminum pool fences come in plenty of different heights, from waist-high to full height. Height depends on whether you’ve got climbers and what limitations your locality puts on fence heights, but keep these things in mind when going to purchase and install. You’ll find steel fences maintain very similar designs and characteristics as aluminum pool fences, but they’re usually quite heavy and more expensive. For that reason, if you want a metal pool fence, we recommend sticking with aluminum.
If you’re the pool owner who wants to go full-on chic, the glass pool fence is a must. These postmodern, ultra-stylish pool fences are found protecting some of the nicest rooftop pool lounges in the metro areas. Bring this same style into your own backyard or pool area and you’ll be the Jones’s that everyone is out to beat.
Glass pool fences aren’t just stylish, though. They’re extremely tough thanks to their tempered glass. A glass pool fence can take just as much abuse as steel and aluminum can, usually more – and it’ll look better doing it. Glass pool fences are available frameless or with frames, which are usually made of steel. Obviously, glass is nearly impossible to scale unless you’re a certain superhero, so glass fences are great at protecting against unwanted guests. Where some determined climbers might be able to leverage the vertical slats on wood, vinyl and aluminum or steel fences to climb, there’s little to take advantage of here, making glass pool fences one of the safest pool fence options available.
Glass pool fences will never fade, rust, corrode, warp, require new stain or sealant, and generally are free of maintenance – save for the occasional wiping down with glass cleaner, if you’re a stickler for neatness and presentation. Glass pool fences are the most expensive, hands down, so be ready to spend a premium for the best in looks and functionality.
Before you even decide to plan your landscaping, pool installation (be it above- or in-ground), or pool fence, you should consider whether your fence will be temporary or permanent. There are obvious functional and cost benefits to sticking with a removable pool fence, but a permanent pool fence provides lasting security, it’s a great investment for future kids or pets, and a well-executed pool fence can really tie off a landscape, hardscape, or backyard design better than a simple open-air pool area.
Like we said before, if you’ve already got your pool installed and your backyard set up, it really comes down to whether you need lasting security and controlled pool access or not. Got small kids, grandkids, neighbor friends and pets roaming around? Probably a good idea to stick with a permanent fence. It reduces the hassle of putting up and taking down your pool fence, it ultimately provides more security and stability than a removable pool fence, and it’ll look better, too.
Plan on retiring and enjoying the water all to yourself? Already got a yard fence? More focused on a romantic evening with your better half? Want to keep your yard open and free to roam, with entry and exit to and from your pool available wherever you stand or sit? Stick with a temporary fence. You can put it up when it’s needed, but otherwise, it’ll be one less obstacle to work around (and it’s a lot less expensive than a permanent fence).
Now you are a full bottle of everything pool fence related, lets have a look at our top 5 recommendations to see what will best suit you.
If you want a removable, easy-to-use, DIY pool fence that also happens to be safe and stylish, take a look at the Pool Fence DIY Fencing Section Kit, made by Life Saver Pool Fence. See features of this innovative, temporary pool fence below:
To install, you simply need to mark drill points with the provided template and make 5/8” by 14” holes with an appropriate masonry bit. These holes and the included polymer deck sleeves will act as the foundation for your new fence.
At a competitive price this modular, removable mesh pool fence is a user-friendly way to protect family and pets from drowning, and its finely woven material provides a nice view that isn’t imposing and in your face. Need more than 12 feet of fencing? Just pick up another kit! A self-closing gate that’s 2 feet wide and the same 4-foot height is available separate from this kit. This fence includes a limited lifetime warranty and great customer support if you have questions or need replacement parts.
Featuring the same modularity, easy installation and removal, and affordable price point as the Pool Fence DIY is the Water Warden 4’ Pool Safety Fence. This removable heavy-duty mesh fence sports a black color and finely woven panels that provide the same children and pet protection with an unobstructed view.
The Water Warden measures 12 feet in length by 4 feet in height. Designed to be self-installed, all you need to do is drill 5/8” inch pilot holes for the fence’s steel foundation pins and polymer pin sleeves. When you’re not using your fence, just taking it out of the holes, roll it up and store it! Plastic post hole covers are included for the drilled holes when your fence is not in use. Unlike the Pool Fence DIY kit’s aluminum posts, the Water Warden uses stainless posts that may be a bit more robust and heavy-duty.
This fence is a great buy for safety and convenience. A separate spring-loaded, self-closing fence is available that provides convenient entry and exit with a patented Magna-Latch lock that deters young children from gaining access. The Water Warden is UL Certified for safety and is backed by a 5-year warranty.
Up next on our list of top 5 pool fences is a convenient, all-in-one kit that includes a fully controlled access gate, measuring 4 feet tall and 36” wide. This aluminum, modular pool fence features industrial-strength mesh and powdercoated frames to ensure they look stylish and never corrode or fade. The provided access gate features self-closing hinges and an ultra-reliable magnetic latch.
This kit’s mesh material is rated to withstand up to 270 pounds per square inch, ensuring it can repel pets and children easily. The textilene PVC-coated material is great for the outdoors since it’s tear- and cut-resistant. UV inhibitors keep the mesh supple and free of any fraying or decay.
What’s nice about this kit’s gate is its adjustability. Depending on your pool and fence setup, you can change the provided gate to swing open to the left or right. A small detail, but an important one to ensure your pool fence is easy to install and won’t get in the way of your landscaping or hardscape.
This kit is just like our other options: It’s simple, it’s a DIY solution that’s removable and easy to set up, and it requires little effort to install. All you’ll need to do is drill those anchoring pilot holes for the fence’s steel pegs. Once drilled, just prop your fence up! You can pick up this kit, gate included, for just shy of $300.
If you’re the above-ground pool owner and still want a conveniently, easily removable fence solution that protects against unwanted entry and drowning, take a look at the Above Ground Pool Fence Kit by GLI! This innovative pool fence secures directly to your above-ground pool’s perimeter, making installation simple and convenient.
This kit features 8 sections of 64.5” wide, 24” tall fencing that’s made of a durable, rigid, UV-protected vinyl. This fence is great for the water and the sun – it’ll never fade, warp, corrode or rust like other fence options and it’s maintenance-free! Rounded edges keep contact and skin safe from cuts and marks.
To install, all you need to do is attach each fence section to your above-ground pool’s uprights – those spine supports that keep your pool standing. It’s included hardware kit is designed to work universally with any above-ground pool model. You can choose to install as many or as few fence sections as you need, making this kit perfect for above-ground pools that are connected to decks or patios. At just shy of $200, this is an affordable, removable fence solution that’ll keep pets and children safe year-round, or until it’s no longer needed.
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of top 5 pool fences is the Classic Guard Pool Safety Mesh Fence from Sentry Safety Pool Fence. This no-frills-but-effective mesh pool fence is one of the most affordable options on the market at just shy of $100.
This removable, modular mesh pool fence features 4 feet by 12 feet of coverage and is held up by sturdy 1” aluminum poles. Each pole is finished in a stylish and tough black powdercoat to protect against the elements and maintain an air of simple décor. This system is easily adjustable to accommodate 5-feet fencing in case you want some extra protection.
The mesh panels are protected on all four sides by a rugged lining to prevent tearing and fraying, while tough steel anchoring poles secure everything to your hardscape or pool patio.
Installation is a breeze, requiring just a few 1.25” pilot holes to be drilled so your fence can be anchored. Removal is just as easy- simply take everything out of the ground, roll up your fence and you’re set! If you’re located in NY, AR, CA or NV, you’ll need a 5-foot-tall pool fence, and so this is a great, affordable option to stay legal and safe on your property.