Sarah Sheckells, Author at Blithe Sales Co.

Why Choose Aluminum Walls?

In our industry every manufacturer will say their inground wall is the best, and every dealer will say that the pool they sell is the best. Medallion Pools has always been honest and forth coming on the pros and cons of all pools. With this article we aim to give the Distributors and Dealers an honest comparison of all pools.

Let’s start with a little history of the aluminum pool panel. Aluminum pools go back to the early days of inground package pools. The first pool manufactured was a wood wall followed by a steel wall and then an aluminum wall. Later on in the 80’s the polymer wall was developed.

Going back to the late sixties and early seventies several companies over the years manufactured aluminum pools. However some made two mistakes when it came to the manufacturing of their walls.

Let’s first start with the other manufacturer’s walls. The first thing they did wrong was try to manufacture an aluminum wall just like they were manufacturing a steel wall. These companies thought they could use an aluminum sheet approximately the same thickness as their steel walls and use the same number of wall stiffeners, one stiffener every 4 feet. This will not and did not work. Since aluminum alone does not have the same strength as steel on just a sheet basis you must add more vertical stiffeners to bring the strength of the aluminum up to what it needs for the application. Let me give you a simple comparison example. If you are building a load bearing wall in a home you don’t use thicker sheet rock, but instead you would use more studs. Medallion figured this out 37 years ago and it has worked in over a 150,000 aluminum pool walls. Medallion’s aluminum walls have a vertical stiffener every 2 feet.

The second process that they went wrong on was the purchase of the alloy of the aluminum that they were using. What most manufactures did was go out and buy the lowest priced aluminum sheet that they could, rather than using an alloy designed for the application that it was going to be used in. In the aluminum industry you can select from eight different aluminum alloys. The eight alloys are:

1100 2011 2024 3003 5052 6061 6063 7075 .

Each alloy has a different amount of copper, magnesium, manganese, silicon, tin and zinc. The difference in the amounts of each of these elements will depend on the application of the alloy. All alloys have several features but listed below is what each alloy is known for.

  • Alloy 1100 – Excellent Formability / Workability / Weldability
  • Alloy 2011 – Excellent Machineability
  • Alloy 2024 – Can be Heat Treated / High strength aluminum alloy
  • Alloy 3003 – Excellent Weldability / Formability / Workability
  • Alloy 5052 – Excellent Corrosion Resistance (Preferred in marine applications)
  • Alloy 6061 – Can be Heat Treated / Structural Applications / General Fabrication
  • Alloy 6063 – Can be Heat Treated / Architectural Applications
  • Alloy 7075 – Aerospace Applications / Can be Heat Treated


The typical applications of the 5052 include marine, aircraft, architecture, general sheet metal work, heat exchangers, fuel lines, tanks, flooring panels, streetlights, appliances, rivets and wire. The exceptional corrosion resistance of 5052 alloy against seawater and salt spray makes it a primary candidate for the failure-sensitive large marine structures. With the other manufacturers purchasing the cheapest alloy instead of the 5052 the life expectancy would be greatly reduced.

Using any alloy other than 5052 would be like a steel wall company using plain steel instead of galvanized steel (faster to rust) or polymer walls without or with low quantities of UV protection (easy warping and deterioration in sunlight) and without or with low quantities of plasticizers (easily cracks in expansive soils). Medallion uses only 5052 for all of their aluminum walls.

Aluminum Galvanized Steel Polymer Steel coated with Aluminum, Zinc, & Magnesium
Can rust No Yes No Yes
Can crack No No Yes No
Warrantee void if not backfilled with stone No No Yes No
Can warp in sunlight before pool is finished No No Yes No
UV can affect life of wall No No Yes No
Wall can deteriorate if wall is scratched No Yes No Yes
Heavy to handle No Yes – Extremely Yes Yes – Extremely
Slower to install due to weight or excess number of walls No Yes Yes Yes


By figuring out these two simple items where others went wrong, Medallion was able to produce a wall with all of the benefits and none of the negatives as listed in the above chart. This makes the aluminum wall the pool wall of the future.

Why Insta Strips?

We are more than happy to represent such a strong product.  You may know LaMotte by their Spin lab, discs, Color Q and reagent kits, or you may recognize the name, Insta-Strips.

LaMotte’s R&D chemists have worked tirelessly to create the best test strip on the market.  You may be using competitor test strips in the field or selling them in your retail stores, but there’s a few reasons why you’ll want to consider using LaMotte from now on.

It’s as simple as one-two-three  ( or 0, 1, 30 – ha! )

  • 0 Wait – our strips are ready to read as soon as you pull them out of the water – no waiting 15 to 30 seconds (other strips can take over a minute!)
  • 1 Dip formula   – dip and read without the bleed!  Colors will not bleed or drip into the next pad.  Results are accurate an immediate.
  • 30 Month Shelf Life  – most of our strips have a 30 month shelf life. Delay or eliminate the need to throw out expired inventory.  Time is money, right!

If you’re not a current Insta Strip user, contact us and we’ll supply you with samples.





How to Kill Algae

1 oz per 1000 gallons is all you need.  Pour it in every 30 days – you’ll kill the existing algae and prevent algae re-growth… what could be better?

100% guarantee?  You got it!

If you experience algae growth while using this product as directed, Earth Science Labs will refund the purchase price of the product.

  • No pre-mixing required
  • No staining will occur
  • No foaming
  • Easy Application
  • Highly Effective
  • Rapid Dispersion
  • Low Dosage
  • Algae free guarantee!


2016 in Review

Even though we were still measuring pools in late 2016, this year flew by!  Now, with another year behind us, it’s time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future.  Here are some product highlights from 2016.


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This Super Value Max liner has been a very popular choice in 2016.   It has been manufactured using Merlin’s exclusive silk seam process. Super Value Max is a 27 mil wall and 27 mil floor at an economical price point.


As we predicted last year, SmartSync was a total hit in 2016!  SmartSync is a universal control for Brilliant Wonders LED waterfalls synchronized with lighting and controls from CMP, Hayward, Pentair, and Jandy.  It’s simple to install and field programmable.

Learn more here.


The all new Carvin StarBright LED light was designed to replace standard above ground pool return jet fittings. The StarBright lamp body is made out of Shock-Resistant Polycarbonate, is fully enclosed and waterproof, and an electronic light controller has been integrated into the lamp body.
With an easy to use remote control, you can change and create your own custom light display colors. Plus, the StarBright includes 5 color changing programs, 7 static colors, Stroboscopic effects, a gradual light change setting, and various light speed controls. The StarBright light body is made out of UV and shock-resistant polycarbonate material, is fully enclosed, and is fully waterproof.

Competitive pricing in both color (with remote control) and white (no remote), replaces the return fitting and provide bright (VERY Bright!) lighting for AG pools – both new and retrofit.


White (28 oz tubes only) and dark gray (2-liter pouches only) were introduced mid year.  You don’t need 3 days of good weather to seal deck joints anymore; in fact, a little moisture actually HELPS this product start to cure!  5 colors now available and samples available by request – please ask, you won’t be disappointed. Non-Sag versions of NovaLink  are available in numerous colors as well.





We’re very excited to see these products take off 2017!

1- CMP 4” LED Bubbler







LaMotte WaterLink Spin Instrument Upgrade & Warranty Offer

LaMotte has been making major growth in the pool and spa industry with products such as WaterLink Spin and Insta-test Strips.  Their superior products and renowned tech support and customer service  put them at their water testing solutions at the top of the industry.

Download the 2017 Catalog Here


As we well know, technology is ever-moving faster and faster.  LaMotte is an innovative company enhancing their product technology and software to serve their customers even better than their previous versions.  If you’re already using a WaterLink Spin that is over a year old, you may be interested in their Instrument Upgrade & Warranty Offer.


Instrument Upgrade & Warranty Offer

Trade in your old model and get a factory certified pre-owned SPIN with the latest enhancements for optimal precision.

When you send in your older Spin lab, LaMotte will send you a certified refurbished WaterLink Spin Meter that comes with the latest design enhancements.  Your upgrade comes with a one year warranty; LaMotte will cover shipping costs both ways.

You will likely prefer to send in your old Spin lab in the off-season as there will be longer lead times March – August.


Click here for more info on Upgrade program




Go to to enter an online order.
Do not send in your old model until you receive your new refurbished model.
The new model will come with a pre-paid shipper, use that to return your old model.


Need DataMate Web training?

Contact your Blithe Sales rep today to set up a training session.
Call LaMotte Tech Support if you need assistance with your software.


DataMate 10 – Software hard installed to your computer (comes to you in a disc)

DataMate Web – Subscription based and web hosted

Tips For Measuring Vinyl Pool Liners And How To Avoid Mistakes

Let’s face it, we’re all humans and we all make mistakes.  Unfortunately, our mistakes can sometimes cost us big time!  When it comes to measuring vinyl liners, we’ve seen 30 years worth of simple, human errors that CAN be avoided.  Here are some tips for measuring vinyl liners and how to avoid all too common mistakes.

Communication Is Key

– Eliminate verbal incoming data. The age of texting and e-mails is the way to go!
– Eliminate multi-correspondence of additional data for the same job. Just submit all data at one time without loose ends.

– Number the pages of submitted paperwork (1 of 3 ,2 of 3, 3of 3, etc.) so Merlin knows we rec’d everything at the first transmission.

  • Large 8 1/2 “x 11” drawings of pools showing :
    • Shape of pool
    • A & B location in relation to the pool
    • Point direction measured, and write in large enough penmanship so everyone can read after possible faxing
    • Include all pertinent data confirming special info like S/E & D/E break points and or start and stops of waterfalls etc.
  • When providing dimensions please be crystal clear as to what the dimensions are (Ex: 4′-3″ or 51″ )

– Measure and record what’s real about the pool in question. Do Not pre-tweak.
– If the bead is to be something other than the standard Merlin bead, specify other bead needed.
– Confirm how the step vinyl is to be secured to the vinyl-covered step. Example: rod pockets, Flaps, or bead

Tips for The Job

– Look for radius internal transitions when measuring. Just like a type and size of corner of a pool is critical so are the bottom internal transitions

  • Review wall seam locations. Yes, Merlin’s default is to design one seam in the centerline of the shallow end but if a fiberglass step or swim out is present please locate so the wall seam can be designed there. If there are no steps at all and the shallow end is very visible to the homeowner’s main point of view one can request a wall seam to be on a sidewall if desired out of site.

-Review Aqua Max pros (Northeast & northwest corners of pool) & known chemical damage to the old liner. Aqua Max is more homeowner friendly.

– FYI: All patterns can be ordered without tile with no additional costs,

-Watch out for convex and or concave back and side slopes. watch out for slanted side walls as well.(some pools actually have 3′-4″ offset walls )

-Measure depths of shallow end in front of all fiberglass steps also.
– be aware of hidden shallow end  coves and safety ledges when measuring almost empty pools when the old vinyl is just hanging on and angle from the bead inward.

– Warnings of radius fiberglass steps that potentially have a tighter radius than the surrounding walls. Measure either to a plumed bobbed line at deck elevation or measure from a straight edge to the center offset.


Be Prepared & Clean Up When You Finish Your Measuring Job

-Have ALL tools needed for measuring: 100′ fiberglass, 25′ steel tape, some sort of liner measure poles, plumb bob, kids sidewalk chalk, stakes to A-B measure from, assorted nails (12-16 penny) for nailing into an all paver deck, hammer.

Additional suggested items: Waders, float ring, laser measure( $75 one from HD),Samples of vinyl, covers, text tread, beads, brochures, and statistic sheets, samples of hardware.

-Wear appropriate clothes (getting dirty/wet and climbing around can always be possible)
-Close all gates when leaving a site.
-Erase all marks on the pool when completely done
-Leave phones in the car so you do not get distracted. Stay focused
-Go to the bathroom prior to any site work .No going on site!
-DO NOT measure green pools that are so murky you can not see the hopper pad. Don’t EVER assume dimensions.
-Dealers, please have the covers off the pool prior to training and/or measuring appointment with Merlin personnel or rep group.


Make it Easy and Fast!

-Use Magix whenever possible.


Contact us if you would like to become a Merlin dealer, need training, or have questions about measuring safety covers and vinyl liners. We give presentations and hold counter days at distributor centers often. Check out our Upcoming Events for a location near you.

Follow Us on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay in tune with our events and training days.

Improve Your Patio and Pool Deck Projects With ICT


We picked up a new line about a year ago and it’s pretty interesting.  Innovative Concrete Technology manufacturers concrete sealers which can be applied to concrete and pavers. Below is a list of the common questions, we’ve heard the most over the past year, from pool guys looking to improve their pool deck and patio projects.

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  • Should I seal my pavers?

While this is a matter of personal preference, there are several benefits that come along with sealing brick pavers in the ways of protection and beautification.

  • What benefits come with sealing pavers?

Sealed pavers have several benefits over unsealed pavers. Not only does sealing bring out the beauty of pavers using color-enhancing technology, it protects pavers from spills. Food, pool chemicals, and automotive chemicals are among the most common spills to occur. When sealed, contaminates can be easily cleaned usually with nothing more than a thorough rinse with a garden hose. While sealing makes pavers very resistant to contaminates, staining or discoloration to the sealer can occur if contaminates are allowed to sit for an extended period of time. Sealing will also keep pavers looking new for a much longer time and make the pavers very resistant to weathering.

  • What is the expected lifespan of the sealer before a recoat is necessary?

Life expectancy varies from sealer to sealer. ICT has two individual sealers that are recommended for sealing pavers. WET! is a user-friendly, single-part, “wet look” clear sealer. WET! has an expected lifespan of 2-3 years before a recoat is necessary. Ure-Seal H2O is a high performance, professional grade, two-part, water-borne, urethane clear sealer. The lifespan of Ure-Seal H2O is estimated at 3-5 years before a recoat is necessary. The expected lifespans may vary depending on traffic, climate, and maintenance.

  • Will sealing make my pavers slick or slippery?

Sealing pavers will take some of the grip from the surface however, grip loss should be minimal. ICT products for sealing pavers, Ure-Seal H2O & WET!, penetrate the surface of the pavers to avoid creating a thick film of sealer such as the sealers used on pavers in the past. To further mitigate any slipperiness, the use of a non-skid broadcast can be used during the curing process of the sealer.

  • Is there a wait time, or cure time, before sealing pavers?

Yes. The cure time, or wait time, for all concrete and concrete products is 28 days. This allows the pH levels in the concrete that was used in the manufacturing of the pavers lower to a more neutral level to ensure that no adverse reactions occur when applying a sealer. For additional information on any wait time, refer to the paver manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • What sort of surface preparation is recommended?

Surface preparation is among the most important steps in sealing pavers. For new pavers, it is imperative to wait the recommended cure time prior to sealing. During the cure time is also the most common time for the pavers to effloresce. Efflorescence is the white, chalkiness that forms on the surface. While sealing will not allow pavers to effloresce again, the efflorescence that occurs prior to sealing must be removed. ICT Total Prep is a very user friendly and environmentally friendly efflorescence remover. Simply dilute Total Prep to the recommended ratio, apply with a gardening can, scrub with a nylon broom to work Total Prep into the surface, and pressure wash thoroughly. For existing pavers, it is also necessary to use a high strength degreaser such as ICT Total Klean, to remove any grease and oils that have attached to the surface, in conjuncture with ICT Total Prep. If mold or algae is present, it is helpful to add a small amount of bleach or chlorine to ICT Total Klean to remove mold or algae prior to sealing.

  • Does the surface have to be dry prior to application?

Though the surface does not have to be completely dry prior to sealing, there can be no standing water or puddles on the surface. If puddles are present, it is necessary to wait until those puddles are no longer visible. It is, however, recommended to dampen the pavers if the surface is hot to the touch before sealing. This lowers the surface temperature to ensure that the product does not “flash dry” during application. The general rule-of-thumb is that damp is OK but no puddles can be present. Also, keep in mind that certain climate promote an excess of moisture beneath the pavers which may cause complications in sealing. The sealer must be able to dry before the sun goes down, to avoid complications. The exception to the rule is that thin pavers and/or pavers installed on top of a concrete slab must be dry prior to application, no moisture present.

  • Is there an optimal temperature range for sealing pavers?

The optimal surface temperature for sealing is between 55°F and 95°F.

  • How soon after application is it OK to receive rainfall? What action should be taken should it starts raining during application?

The general rule-of-thumb regarding rain is about 4 hours. If you have finished application at least 4 hours prior to rain, the sealer (Ure-Seal H2O, WET!) should not be effected. If rain occurs during application or within 4 hours of application, removal is necessary. The sooner you can remove the compromised sealer, the better. Pressure wash, scrape, rinse with standard garden hose, whatever you can do will greatly reduce any headaches that will result once the rain passes and surface dries. Temperatures and amount of sun exposure can greatly reduce or increase drying time.

  • Why are my pavers hazy or chalky?

Chalkiness is usually efflorescence that has occurred during or after the curing process of unsealed pavers (see Question #6). Haziness is usually a result of sealing the pavers with a solvent-based or xylene-based sealer. In the past, solvent-based sealers were the most commonly used sealers for brick pavers. In recent years, with the rapid growth and popularity of pavers, the technology behind paver sealers has advanced exponentially. Solvent-base clear sealers are non-breathable sealers that form a thick film across the entire surface, locking in any moisture. The haziness is actually the moisture within and under the pavers trying, and unable, to escape. With the paver sealers today (Ure-Seal H2O, WET!), the sealers penetrate the surface creating a semi-breathable protective seal.

If you would like to see a demo or schedule an appointment with our reps, contact us and we’ll be happy to meet you!