Swimming Pool Fence VS Polycarbonate Pool Enclosure: The Ultimate Comparison

Owning a swimming pool is fascinating but, it becomes a nightmare if you can’t find a perfect answer to the following questions:

  • How can I reduce the cost of operating a swimming pool?
  • Which equipment guarantees swimming pool safety and security?
  • Can I use my swimming pool during the winter season?

I am sure many homeowners mainly weigh options between the swimming pool fence and polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure.

In fact, most of them can’t make the right decision when it comes to choosing the right enclosure.

In this article, I am going to compare two types of swimming pool enclosures. That is, a swimming pool fence and a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure.

I’ll focus on 5 main areas:

  • Structural design
  • Safety and security
  • Operational costs
  • Extending swimming pool season
  • Cost of a new accessory

By the end of this article, you should be able to choose the right equipment. This should be based on its usefulness and ability to fulfill basic needs of the pool uses.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. The Structural Design of Swimming Pool Fence vs. Pool Enclosure

First, I want you to have a clear picture of how these two structures look like. This will help you understand other features I am going to discuss later in this article.

A swimming pool fence is a barrier that is constructed around pools to prevent unauthorized access. It doesn’t have a roof.

That is, the upper section of the pool is open.

Swimming pool fence

A swimming pool fence

A polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure is also a barrier that prevents intruders from accessing the pool area. However, it has a roof. That is, the swimming pool surface is completely blocked from the external environment when you close the cover.


A polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure

Clearly, you can see that a swimming pool fence is completely different from a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure.

Therefore, you don’t need to confuse the two. Again, you cannot substitute one for the other.

To make this clear, I am going to focus on 4 essential factors you can use to describe these two accessories.

Type of Swimming Pool Fence and Pool Enclosure Designs

These accessories are available in different designs. It will depend on the creativity of your manufacturer or contractor.

For instance;

You can describe swimming pool fences based on their geometrical shapes. That is, you may have round, rectangular, hexagonal or round pool fence.

A swimming pool fence

This is a swimming pool fence that takes the shape of the pool (irregular shape). Image source – Superior Fences and Gates

In the case of polycarbonate pool enclosures, you may use a roof design to describe the structure. That is, you may have dome, mansard, gable, hip of slanting enclosures

Excelite swimming pool enclosure

A gable swimming pool enclosure

In both cases, you may have custom designs too.

Type of Material Used to Construct a Pool Fence or an Enclosure

Swimming pool enclosures are made from solid polycarbonate sheets and extruded aluminum rods. Where the extruded aluminum rods form the structure while polycarbonate is the glazing material.

Pool fences are constructed from a wide range of materials such as: wood, metal (aluminum, steel, etc.), polycarbonate sheet or wire (barbed wire of wire mesh).

Rules and Regulations for Installing Swimming Pool Fence and Enclosure

Swimming pool safety (I’ll discuss it later) being a major concern due to the increasing number of drowning cases; must adhere to certain rules and codes.

These pool enclosure installation rules vary depending on one’s geographical location. They stipulate the type of an enclosure or fence one should install around a swimming pool.

Now, I believe you clearly differentiate between a swimming pool fence and enclosure.

Next, I will focus on the key features of these accessories. From these features, you’ll learn why an enclosure is a better alternative than a fence.

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2. Which Accessory Guarantees Swimming Pool Safety and Security?

I want you to get this straight, a swimming pool without a fence or an enclosure is dangerous. This is according to a report by the CDC on unintentional drowning.

Sadly, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. This alone is a worrying trend.

It is actually for this reasons that governments insist on installing the best swimming pool barrier. One that can prevent kids or unauthorized persons from accessing swimming pool area without an instructor.

So far, a number of homeowners have been considering either swimming pool fences or covers.

I will explain how each accessory guarantees swimming pool safety and security.

Does Polycarbonate Pool Enclosure Guarantee Swimming Pool Safety & Security?

Yes, it does.

First, a swimming pool enclosure is an enclosed structure with either one or two doors. All these doors are equipped with a self-latching locking mechanism.

A swimming pool enclosure

A closed swimming pool enclosure preventing unauthorized people from accessing the swimming pool.

Once you’ve closed these doors, no one can access the swimming pool without direct permission from you.

Secondly, a pool enclosure is a strong structure. Therefore, no one can break into the pool unnoticed.

Again, during a storm or bad weather (windy day), the enclosure can neither collapse nor be blown away by wind. They support a weight of 900kg distributed within a 1.5 radius and a wind speed of 230km/hour.

Apart from these, a polycarbonate sheet filter all the harmful ultraviolet radiations. Thereby, reducing the possibility of sunburns.

Lastly, both aluminum and polycarbonate sheets are environmentally friendly. They do not emit harmful fumes or gases.

Since they last for more than 25 years, this alone reduces possibility of waste in the environment.

As you can see, a swimming pool enclosure has all the desired features that make your swimming pool safe and secure.

Does Swimming Pool Fence Guarantee Safety & Security of Pools?

To some extend it does, but does not guarantee 100% safety and security.

A swimming pool fence is a barrier that prevents unauthorized persons from accessing the pool area.

When it comes to a swimming pool fence, you have to follow a strict installation procedure to ensure safety and security.

Even if you follow all these procedures, a worrying issue is that one may use a ladder to access the pool area. This can still be a security risk.

Image result for a child climbing swimming pool fence

A child trying to climb swimming pool fence. Image source – Only Structural Armor

Anyway, let me review various measures that can help improve swimming pool security using a pool fence:

  • It must have a self-locking or self-latching door.
  • Equip the swimming pool with an alarm. In case someone jumps over the fence you can notice.
  • Go for permanent fencing
  • The height should be above 4 feet
  • In case you intend to use metal rods or wood, the space between them should be less than 4 cm.
  • Gate should open outwards

These are just a few important measures that will improve your swimming pool safety and security.

NOTE: Kindly review the swimming pool fence rules and regulations with your local authority.

Reasons Why I don’t Recommend Swimming Pool Fence

One, small animals such as snakes or frogs can still access the swimming pool. Remember, during the summer, when the weather is hot, these animals are looking for cool places.

Your swimming pool will be their first destination. This is very dangerous.

A swimming pool fence many allow snakes to enter you pool

A snake in a swimming pool

Two, a swimming pool fence does not have a roof. Therefore, you’re exposed to the external environment.

As a result, your pool is exposed to storm, snow and ultraviolet radiations. In case these finds you in the pool, then you’re likely to get injured.

Don’t forget that some people may even jump over your pool fence.

In short, if you want to secure the pool 100%, then a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure is the only option.

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3. Want to Save on Swimming Pool Operational Costs? Buy an Enclosure

Installing a swimming pool is costly. At times, you may be forced to apply for a loan to finance the project.

I am sure it can be frustrating when servicing a loan while incurring high swimming pool maintenance costs.

This why I want to give a simple and a permanent solution to this problem. One that can reduce all operational costs of your swimming pool.

What am I talking about?

You need to isolate the pool from the external environment. This is what I mean:

Swimming Pool Blanket Cover VS. Polycarbonate Pool Enclosure : The Utimate Comparation

A swimming pool fully covered with an enclosure

To achieve this simple objective, you need a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure. Unlike swimming pool fence that leave the upper section of the pool open, an enclosure covers the entire pool.

Here is how this accessory will help you reduce operational cost of swimming pool:

You’ll Save on Swimming Pool Chemicals

The ultraviolet radiation from the sun decomposes swimming pool chemicals. This will cause chemical imbalance by either increasing or lowering the swimming pool PH.

testing_pH swimming pool

Testing swimming pool water PH

A very high or very low swimming pool PH will make swimming uncomfortable. The water will most likely irritate your skin.

It is only a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure that will protect your pool from ultraviolet radiation. Polycarbonate sheet filters all the harmful radiations.

Remember, for a swimming pool fence, the entire surface of the pool is exposed the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

Protect Your Pool from Dust and Debris

With a swimming pool fence, dust and debris will definitely fall in your swimming pool. Therefore, you’ll hire a swimming pool technician to clean the pool every day.

Cleaning a pool with a swimming pool fence

The process of cleaning a swimming pool. Image source – Agenda Bretagne

This is a tiresome and expensive process. It will increase the operational cost of a swimming pool.

When you have a pool enclosure, this will be a thing of the past. No dust or debris will fall in the swimming pool water once you’ve closed the cover.

Water Evaporation is Expensive

As long as your pool doesn’t have a cover, evaporation is a phenomenon you can’t avoid.

Normally, as the sun heats the pool surface, water will begin to evaporate. This water will be blown away by wind.

 Swimming pool water evaporation process

A perfect illustration of evaporation. Image source – Eschool Today

When the swimming pool loses much water, you’ll be forced to refill the pool. Therefore, you have to pay for water bills and cost of operating pumps.

Moreover, this will alter the PH of the swimming pool. As a result, you will use more chemicals.

When you install a pool enclosure, there will be no evaporation at all. Therefore, you will save a reasonable amount of money.

Swimming Pool Exposed to Bad Weather

When swimming pool water is exposed to bad weather, you’ll spend more money trying to restore it back to normal.

 A swimming pool with a pool fence completely destroyed by snow

This is how snow affects pools without a cover. Image source – Geograph

An open swimming pool is exposed to acid rain, snow and harmful ultraviolet radiations. All these will require chemical treatment and cleaning.

Furthermore, during winter the entire swimming pool will be exposed to cold. Therefore, you will incur higher energy bills when the pool is not covered.

This will definitely increase the cost of operating a swimming pool.

As you can see, when you have a swimming pool fence, the cost of running a swimming pool will be very high. This is because it doesn’t protect the upper section of the swimming pool.

In short, if you want to save over 70% of the operational costs, then a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure is a must.

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4. Pool Fence Doesn’t Extend the Swimming Season; But An Enclosure Does

I am sure you’d wish to use your swimming pool throughout the year. In such situations, you have no choice but to buy a polycarbonate pool enclosure.

As I had stated earlier in this article; it is only an enclosure that will cover the entire surface of a swimming pool.


A retractable swimming pool enclosure

This implies;

During winter, the enclosure will protect your swimming pool from cold and snow. You don’t have to heat the swimming pool water.

The environment within the enclosure will remain warm, hence conducive for swimming.

When summer comes, the same enclosure will protect the swimming pool from the harmful ultraviolet radiations.

Tinted polycarbonate sheets will reduce the intensity the sun’s heat energy reaching the swimming pool surface. Therefore, you’ll have a conducive environment for swimming.

As you can see, with a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure, it’s possible to control all the weather conditions that can make swimming a nightmare.

On the other hand, a swimming pool fence cannot not control these environmental conditions. Therefore, the condition of the swimming pool will depend on the weather condition outside.

You’ll find that, people who cannot afford a pool enclosure may opt for swimming pool winter covers. A winter cover will protect the pool during this season, however, you can’t use the pool until summer.

In short, it is the only a swimming pool enclosure that extended swimming season. You can swim both during summer and winter.

Related Links:

Swimming Pool Winter Covers VS. Polycarbonate Pool Enclosure: The Ultimate Comparison – Source: Excelite Blog

How Retractable Pool Enclosures Guarantee Extended Swimming Season – Source: Excelite Blog

5 Reasons Why above Ground Pool Enclosure can Extend Your Swimming Season – Source: Excelite Blog

The Price of Pool Enclosure vs. Swimming Pool Fence

Generally, the cost of a swimming pool enclosure is slightly higher than that of a fence. The price difference can between $500 and $1,000.

The variation is due to a wide range of factors, which I will highlight shortly.

At the moment, you can get a swimming pool enclosure for as low as $2,999.

The price of both pool enclosure and swimming pool fence varies depending on:

  • Design; complex or custom designs tend to be expensive
  • Size; larger sizes are costly
  • Type of material
  • Season; when the demand for a pool enclosure or fence is high, expect to pay more.

Even though, the price of a pool enclosure tends to be high; the benefits it offers are worth the price.

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Bonus tip:

In case you have to choose between the two; I will recommend a polycarbonate swimming pool enclosure. Otherwise, I can recommend you install both.

I know installing both can be costly, but it is worth it.

For instance, during the summer, you can comfortably swim when the pool cover is opened while closing the gate of the swimming pool fence. You don’t have to worry about intruders or unauthorized people accessing the pool without permission.


As you can see, swimming pool enclosure is still the best accessory that guarantees safety, security and extended swimming season. Moreover, this is an enclosure will serve you for more than 25 years.

For questions or feedback, you can send an email or use the comment section below. We’d wish to hear from you.


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