About Garry Long

Garry Long has been working in the Australian pool industry since 1978. A qualified canvas goods maker with a passion for innovation, he was inspired by the technology behind the sails used in America's Cup racing sails, and adapted and applied it to the pool industry at ABGAL. In 1990 ABGAL were the first company in Australia to use a single ply robotic cutting system to fabricate vinyl products. In 1993 Garry developed a 3D measuring system for complex shaped inground pools, which continues to be used today. Garry was President of the Australian Canvas & Synthetic Products Association in 2007-2008, and is the Managing Director at ABGAL Liners & Covers.
Jan 18

7 Ways to destroy a solar pool cover and void your warranty

  1. Not turning down automated chlorinators after a solar cover is installed. A cover reduces chlorine consumption by around 50% – if the chlorinator is not turned down, it will produce too much chlorine, and damage the cover. If your chlorinator is already running on its lowest setting, you can reduce the running time slightly, or add fresh water as needed.
  2. Not removing the cover after super chlorination. If you super chlorinate, always remove the cover first, and do not replace it until after chemical levels have returned to normal.
  3. Not keeping chemical levels to within the Australian Standard. Even being slightly over for a prolonged period of time will cause bleaching and brittleness of the cover. We recommend you test your pool chemicals regularly. You don’t need a full breakdown from your pool shop every weekend – just a quick check at home with some test strips is sufficient.
  4. Leaving a floating chlorine dispenser under the cover. While a floating chlorine dispenser is ok, they don’t float so well when they’re jammed under a cover. They will simply sit there, and cause a large concentration of chlorine in one area – and will damage your cover (causing bleach spots/burn), and probably damage the pool finish too.
  5. Leaving the cover exposed to sunlight when not on the pool. Solar covers are designed to attract and store heat. When a solar cover is rolled or folded, each layer gets hotter, and the temperatures build up through each layer. We have seen covers which have gotten so hot the layers closest to the reel have literally melted and fused together. To prevent this from happening, all ABGAL cover rollers are supplied with a protective overcover, which must be used when the cover is not on the pool.
  6. Improper storage. This picture? It wasn’t staged. It was literally what we saw whe7-ways-to-ruin-a-pool-cover-and-void-your-warrantyn we went to visit a pool owner – and they knew we were coming!! They didn’t want it on the pool at the time, so they’d ‘moved it out of the way’ for a few days. When on a reel, or folded, a blanket should be covered with a heat reflective cover. If storing for an extended period of time, it should be rinsed with clean water, and allowed to dry thoroughly before storage – and stored in a covered and protected area, at below 45 degrees celcius.
  7. Incorrect positioning on the pool. A solar cover shouldn’t be dragged over the pool deck, decorative rocks or sharp coping. And it should be cut to shape, so that it moves easily on the water. We’ve heard of people leaving them in a rectangular shape on a kidney shaped pool, then holding the edges down with bricks and rocks to stop them blowing off in the wind!
Dec 03

Are you thinking of buying a robotic pool cleaner?

In the past, almost everyone used a suction cleaner or pool vaccuum, and we all became accustomed to swimming around the hose, and listening to that ‘tick tick tick’ sound whenever we were near the pool!vacuum hose

However, in the last few years, robotic cleaners have become quite affordable, so are gaining popularity with pool owners. But while it is true that a robotic cleaner can be used in any pool, not every robotic cleaner is suitable for every pool.

If you have an abrasive pool surface such as pebble, you’ll need a cleaner that is strong enough to scrub the surface clean, and durable enough to tolerate any wear against the cleaner skirting.

On the other hand, if you have a soft and flexible surface finish such as vinyl, you need to ensure a robotic cleaner has no sharp edges, and that the tracks and rollers are gentle enough to not cause wear on the pool finish. With all pool finishes, it is also important to ensure there is enough clearance on the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping against the surface.

So which is better to use? Robotic or suction? It really is a matter of opinion. Suction cleaners have been the norm for many years in Australia, and they generally do a pretty good job, for a very reasonable price. But all pools are different, and no cleaner is perfect (there is usually a corner or step, or some other spot in every pool where the suction cleaner always seems to miss!)

Plus you have to wrestle with the cleaner and hose when you want a quick swim as most pool owners just don’t bother to remove the vacuum from the pool. And when you do finally take the vacuum out, no one ever lays the hose out nice and straight, to minimise any effects of hose kinks on the cleaner’s performance. (Suction cleaners rely on the hose to help control the area they cover and the direction they take).

I’ve personally owned a number of suction cleaners over the years, and a couple of robots, so I thought I’d put together some of my thoughts, to help anyone who is tossing up between a suction cleaner and a robotic cleaner.

Robotic cleaners are designed to be put in the pool once or twice a week for up to 2 hours to roam around the pool in a random pattern and vacuum all the dirt and leaves from the floor and walls. The biggest issue I have with robots is the cleaning! That’s right – you need to clean the cleaner! They need to be cleaned every time they do a full pool clean.

I liked my suction cleaner’s handling of the dirt and leaves, it just sends it all to the pool filtration system. I found my sand filter much easier to clean than the cartridges of the robot – it was just a matter of switching off the pump, turning the valve, then running the pump until the waste water was clear, selecting rinse for a minute and then back to normal filtration. Quite easy really, and only takes about 7 minutes.

The robot takes about 7 minutes each time I clean it – and I have to do this at least every week – whereas I only backwash my sand filter every 4-6 weeks. However, I love the fact that my pool has NO cleaner in the water most of the time and no annoying “tick”, “tick” sound or the surface of the water rippled all the time.

And, when I go for a swim, I jump straight in and don’t have to remove the suction cleaner and store it alongside the pool edge. Now putting the robot in the pool and getting it back out requires a bit of strength, especially getting it out when as you have to wait for the water to drain out before lifting it otherwise it is quite heavy.

Now – the effect of the cleaners on your pool finish. The suction cleaners are often left in the pool all the time as some people choose to swim with them as it is easier. The problem is, for 8 or more hours a day in summer, the suction cleaner is rubbing over the pool surface. If you have an abrasive surface, this will wear the cleaner skirt and some other parts. If you have a soft surface such as PVC, the suction cleaner can rub and wear the surface over time, and if it doesn’t move evenly over all parts of the pool, you may see its common path in form of a wear track, usually around the wall to floor junction.

The concept of a robot being more compatible with all pool surfaces comes from the fact they are only used for a short period of time – BUT you need to make sure you have the correct tracks and rollers for your pool surface finish.

If your pool surface is quite abrasive, then the robot will have less wear on its tracks and rollers as it is only used for relative small amounts of time, but the wearing parts need to be compatible otherwise you will need to replace them quite quickly. If your pool has a soft finish, the robot makes sense as again it is only used for small amount of time, but you need to make sure the areas of contact with your pool finish are compatible so as not to create wear spots.

One of the considerations for your pool before you purchase a robot if you have a softer finish is to ensure the shape of the surface is free of sharp edges, and that there is enough clearance of the underside of the robot to avoid rubbing and scraping these edges, as the hard plastic of the robot body can cause abrasions.

If you ever suspect your robot has caused abrasion to your pool finish, just check the tracks and the underside of the unit – you will likely see some of the pool surface colour on it and maybe some worn plastic parts.robotic cleaner print rub off on tracks

So in my opinion, if you are on a budget or don’t mind swimming with the hose and cleaner, or removing it every time you swim, a suction cleaner will work for you.

If you want the clean look of a pool without a hose and cleaner 99% of the time and happy to rinse off the cartridges after every clean, then a robot will suit you.

Remember, no cleaner is perfect, but they sure beat having to set up the vacuum hose, handle and brush and cleaning the pool manually yourself!

 

Sep 30

Pool Shops: How to give your customer a 10 year warranty on a pool cover

warrantySick of losing pool cover sales to that faceless stranger who continues to undercut you on ebay? You can’t beat them on price, but you can beat them on service. Talk to your customer, and help them choose the right product for their needs.

Offer an installation service too – not only do you make a few extra dollars , but by ensuring the cover is installed correctly, you extend their warranty. That’s right – we will extend the warranty on all 500 micron Oasis covers to a whopping TEN years (pro-rata), when profesionally installed.

The extended warranty is only on professionally installed covers, to give you an edge over web sales. All you need to do is arrange for a professional installation of the solar cover, and make sure your customer quotes the name of the installer when registering their warranty with us – we automatically upgrade their warranty from 8 years to 10.

Sep 30

Improved formula for Coral Sand print pool liners

As of Coral-Sand-web (Large) (Medium)today, all Coral Sand print above ground pool liners will be made from an improved material. Previously printed on a white base, we are now printing on a beige based film. The beige film has no effect on the appearance of the print, but it has shown to give higher resistance to chemical fade.

The colour has a real pebblecrete appearance, and gives the pool a pale blue hue when filled with water.

Aug 25

How to prepare a rusted water tank before installing a tank liner

Water Faucet RustIf you find your water tank has some surface rust, here is the process for treating it prior to the installation of the liner.

You will need enough rust converter / metal primer to cover the rusted area, and enough plastic film sheet to cover the treated area.

First ensure the rust is only surface rust and the tank is sufficiently strong enough to hold the weight of the water when it completely full. If in doubt, seek some expert advice on the structure of the tank before fitting the liner and filling it with water.

Using a wire brush, remove the loose surface rust from the inside of the tank. Treat the area with “rust converter/metal primer” available from your local hardware supply. Follow the instructions for applying the converter/primer, paying particular attention to working within a confined space.

Allow the converter / primer to completely dry and then install a protective sheet between the tank surface and the liner. You can use a Painters plastic drop sheet or builders film for this. If you are fastening the tank fixing extrusion at the top of the tank, you can secure the plastic sheet under the extrusion as you drill and rivet it in place. Add a layer to the floor of the tank if it has been treated with the paint primer and then using duct Tape, secure it in place before fitting the liner so it doesn’t move.

The plastic film sheet will act as a protective barrier between the rust converter/metal primer and the liner.

May 26

What makes Aqualux better than a regular inground pool liner?

aqualux pool finish in Bahama ABGALAn Aqualux pool finish is a specialist, flexible pool interior which is designed for Australia’s harsh climate, to out-perform other similar pool finishes.

The Aqualux difference starts with the chemistry. Some products perform well under certain conditions, and others just don’t make the grade – and it is all in the chemistry.

First we need to understand a little about the conditions, and that’s why Aqualux was developed here in Australia, specifically for Australian conditions. By studying the environmental conditions, we have been able to see over the years how small adjustments to the chemistry have improved Aqualux, and increased its performance.

The performance is measured by the resistance to the environmental elements like the sun and the chemicals in the pool water (like chlorine and salt). By carefully monitoring the performance of the pool finish, and adjusting the chemistry little by little, Aqualux has become the ultimate flexible pool interior for the Australian environment. It has taken many years of testing and expertise, and the end result remains a closely guarded secret that many try to immitate, but none have sucessfully reproduced.

Australia’s climate punishes standard grade plastics. A standard inground pool liner might work quite adequately in Asia, Europe or the Americas, but bring it to Australia and its a different story alltogether. That’s why the formula is the key and how chemistry makes all the difference to making your pool finish longer lasting. We have our own chemist with more than 30 years’ experience, employed to make sure each manufactured batch of Aqualux is carefully monitored and quality tested to meet our strict standards.

This means you can be assured that your Aqualux pool finish has been expertly manufactured to suit Australia’s harsh climate. But it is still one of the easiest surfaces to keep the pool balanced and looking good ready to swim. It is soft and silky to the touch which means it is more comfortable to swim in for you and your family. No rough edges or scratches or scuffs to worry about.

Don’t just install another pool liner. Choose the finish that’s passed the test of time, and been the choice of thousands of pool owners across Australia since 1976 – an Aqualux pool finish.

May 04

Is Aqualux suitable for a Glascon Pool?

A Glascon pool is a little unusual, as it has fibreglass walls and a concrete floor. The construction of this pool is a mix of two styles used for swimming pools – firstly – the wall is made from glass reinforced plastic (commonly known as ‘fibreglass”) and the floor is reinforced concrete.

The fibreglass wall has a smooth gel coat finish and was usually blue in colour, and the concrete floor was either painted or finished with a waterproof marble render. The problem with this system is, there is no chemical bond between the concrete and the fibreglass, so there is a risk of leakage at this joint. If there is some ground movement over time, the joint can open up slightly and pool water will leak out of this join, between the two structural elements.glascon-pool-steps-ready-for-measuring

The simplest and easiest way to fix this leaking, is to install an Aqualux pool finish. The design of the Glascon pool is similar to a prefabricated vinyl pool and therefore it is a very cost effective and straight forward process. The pool has an even wall height all the way around, and the floor slopes down into a bowl sort of shape to make the deep end. Having vertical walls means the vinyl finish will be economical and easy to fit. The pool just needs some simple preparation of new eyeballs fittings suitable for vinyl, a fixing extrusion fitted at the top of the wall and a face plate or under water extrusion around the skimmer opening.

The empty pool is measured for the Aqualux finish, which is made into a one piece waterproof membrane at the factory and then fitted in a day and the pool filled back again with water.

An Aqualux PVC membrane is an excellent solution to a leaking Glascon pool.

glascon-pool-wall-floor-leaking

Mar 30

Fibreglass Pool Resurfacing

Faded fibreglass pool

This fibreglass pool is faded and in need of resurfacing.

If your Fibreglass pool is over ten (10) years old it is probably start to show some signs of surface degradation –  both above the water level and below the water level. Fading above the water level will be signs of weathering. This is from the sun constantly beating down on the plastic resin surface of the Fibreglass gel coat. The UV in the sun’s ray attack the plastic and cause it to degrade and fade over time to the point where the surface becomes rougher and starts to attract stains and discolouration.

This is fairly obvious to see the fibreglass surface degrading, but it is under the water level that most of damage is being done, by the very chemicals that keep your pool looking sparkling clean.

What is this I hear you ask? It is the chlorine in the water. Now some people say “I have a salt pool, there is no chlorine” but that is wrong. Salt chlorinators by their very name generate chlorine from the salt that is added to the pool water. Therefore you still have chlorine in the water, it is just generated from the salt instead of being added to the water in the form of tablets or granules or powder.

Have a look at this empty fibreglass pool, you can see above the water level, the colour of the gel coat is in much better condition than below the water level. The chlorine used to keep the pool clean over all the years is an “oxidising agent”. And what it has done, is oxidise the fibreglass gel coated surface to become white and bleached and faded looking. But worst of all is the surface now has a “rough” feeling to the skin, it is no longer smooth like it was when it was new. This means algae and stains cling onto the surface more easily and make the Fibreglass pool surface much harder to keep clean. “What can I do to fix this” I hear you say? The answer is an Aqualux low maintenance pool finish. It is guaranteed and the ideal resurfacing option for a Fibreglass pool. The pool in the photos has been drained in preparation for a smooth to touch, soft and flexible low maintenance finish that will give up to 20 years of hassle free service. You can see how much the Fibreglass surface has worn and discoloured, time for a new look!

Nov 04

Pool Shops: 5 ways to compete with online sales

Whatever products you are selling, odds are, someone can find it cheaper online. While instinct may be to ‘fight fire with fire’, the overheads attached to running a bricks and mortar pool shop means that price matching to online competitors is just not viable.  So what can you do?

1. Value Add. Yes, you can buy a solar pool cover online on ebay and a whole host of pop up discount stores. While many of them are cheap imported covers that will only last one season, some of the covers will be of comparable quality (sometimes even the same brand) as you are selling.  If you can’t afford to price match, you can always add more value. Adding value doesn’t have to mean giving away another $10 worth of product with every purchase – it can be extra service (such as free water testing or troubleshooting), specialist advice, a loyalty program, or even upselling with an installation service. What about a free loan trailer to take home large items that don’t fit in their car? By offering more than just a ‘product in a box’, you are adding value – and giving your customer more than they would get online.

2. Build a Relationship. Be their local pool shop. Be their ‘go to guy’ for anything related to their pool. Don’t be there for the quick buck and sell them stuff they don’t need – while it might work in the short term, they’ll wise up to it eventually, and will never trust you again. Ideally, you want every pool owner within a 15 minute drive to your shop to know who you are. They should know your face, and your name. When they buy on line, they buy from a faceless, nameless stranger, who may well be operating out of his mother’s basement (and probably doesn’t even own a pool!) When they buy from you, they are dealing with someone they know and trust, and are supporting a local business as well. Most people are happy to pay a little extra when it comes to buying Australian, and supporting local business.

3. Online Presence. While you may not be able to compete with them online pricewise, you do still need to be there. Social media such as Facebook and Google+ – and your own website.  There are plenty of free do-it-yourself online options these days. You can even set up your own ecommerce website. It doesn’t have to be expensive – with platforms like wordpress and shopify, you can have your pool shop online, with checkout facilities for less than $50 a month. While you are not likely to make millions, at least you are there, as a valid alternative. And if you don’t want to be posting parcels out, consider a ‘click and collect’ type option. Buy online then hop in the car and pick it up next time you’re driving past? Why not? Beats sitting around for days or even weeks, wondering when your parcel might be delivered!

4. Convenience. Above all, a local pool shop is convenient. You’re generally there 7 days a week, you can talk to them and offer advice, and you are just a short drive away. If they have a problem with their item, they can go and talk to you about it. This is an extra service – another value add – something they can’t get online.

 

May 07

Can I pebble over a leaking fibreglass walled pool?

At least once a month we hear from someone who has a fibreglass walled pool, who has made the mistake of resurfacing it with pebbles.

This ‘Glascon’ pool in Brisbane is one of them. Glascon pools have a concrete base, and use a rolled fibreglass sheeting for the walls. A common issue with these type of pools which have a separate base and walls, is leaking in the joint where the walls and floor meets.

This leak between the walls and floor joint was precisely the case with this pool. The most effective way to solve these leaks is with the installation of a flexible, waterproof membrane such as a pool liner, or an Aqualux pool finish.

However, when the home owners approached some pool builders for quotes to repair the pool,  one told them resurfacing with pebble would be effective, and add more value than a vinyl liner. As you do, they trusted their pool builder’s advice, and decided to go ahead with the pebble coat.

Costing many thousands of dollars to install, the pebble interior lasted around 12 months before it failed. It leaked, it cracked – and then it literally fell off the walls.

The only thing the pebble added value to was the builders wallet.

pebble over fibreglass

The pebble finish cracked and fell off after 12 months.

Naturally that pool builder has since left the Brisbane area, and not covered by insurance, the homeowners were left to sort out the mess themselves.

Luckily, this time around they found themselves in contact with a reputable pool builder. And rather than just go ahead and build a whole new pool inside the existing one, he suggested installing a pool liner, and put them in touch with Complete Pool Liners.

Complete were able to resurface the existing pool shell with an Aqualux Pool Finish, creating a waterproof membrane which covers the entire surface. The pool was finished and ready to swim within 2 weeks. The owners were happy with the price, and couldn’t be happier with the result.

fibreglass pool resurfaced with Aqualux

The Aqualux pool finish puts a waterproof skin over the entire pool shell.