When builder Todd LaBarge wanted to install a vinyl-lined
swimming pool at his home, he looked no further than the stack
of ICF forms left over from the construction of his house and
workshop foundations. In fact, one of his ReddiForm
(www.reddiform.com) representatives had
shown him photos of a pool already successfully completed using
ICF walls. The system creates a wafflelike concrete grid within
the 9 5/8-inch-wide, 48-inch-long forms, and is reinforced with
a regular schedule of rebar, much like standard concrete pool
IFCs form the pool's walls and provide a
resilient layer beneath the vinyl layer.
The interior dimensions of LaBarge's rectangular pool conform
to the automated pool cover he installed. Pilasters inserted
every third of the way along the length help to brace the walls
and make up for the dimension lost to forming the pool's ends.
LaBarge formed the walls on a 2-foot-wide footing, flush with
the footing's interior edge.
The poured concrete steps are cushioned
with a thin foam underlayment typically used beneath floating
The pool's 4-inch-thick fiber-mesh-reinforced slab was poured
over an Insul-Tarp
(www.insulationsolutions.com) membrane to help
conserve water heat. The slab was poured in two flat sections,
one at the 6-foot-deep end and one at the 4-foot-deep end; the
two sections were then connected with a hand-formed "hopper"
— the sloping panel between the two levels — using
a vermiculite concrete bag mix. At this point, the sloped sides
of the deep end were formed as well.
LaBarge calls his ICF pool a "hybrid"
— somewhere between using a preformed plastic liner and
custom gunite construction. A bluestone cap conceals the
aluminum coping and pool-cover track.
Along with the forms' inherent insulating qualities, LaBarge
reasons, the 2 inches of foam in front of the concrete protect
the pool's vinyl liner from any cracks that may develop. And on
a sunny day with the cover closed, the pool's temperature has
actually climbed a couple of degrees higher than the heater
LaBarge is now bidding an ICF pool for a client — this
time with radiant tubing embedded in the slab and circulating
antifreeze, which should eliminate any need to drain the pool
in the winter.