There are a few things we know about swimming pools. They should be beautiful, functional, and above all worry free.
There are two types of water removal systems you can have on your pool, traditional box skimmers or an overflow gutter system.Traditional box skimmers
Of the two systems, traditional box skimmers are the least efficient circulation systems. Placed usually about 20 feet intervals or more along the pool wall they do not capture a large amount of debris leaving dead spots of water in the pool. Skimmers also have underground pvc piping that breaks, freezes and leaks, causing costly repairs. Digging up a deck or worse, a pool floor to repair a broken pipe is no one's idea of fun.Gutter overflow systems
Gutter overflow systems were developed ( mostly in the 1970's ) to better filter and handle the water going back to the filter from the pool. Of the popular gutter systems two main types have emerged. The (not so) stainless steel gutter and the concrete (freeform) gutter, both of which, time has proven, have severe drawbacks.Natural flow's, tiled gutter overflow system is the natural evolutions of the swimming pool gutter.
But before we get into the many benefits and advantages of Natural flow, lets start by explaining why the other gutter systems are inferior and will cost you time, money and aggravation. Stainless steel is a good product, just not anywhere near a swimming pool, for one reason. The most corrosive chemical that rusts, discolors, and corrodes stainless steel is chlorine!
If you don't believe it, please follow the link how chlorine eats stainless steel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLFQFXlgF3k and watch the three minute you tube video. If you still don't believe it, call any YMCA or recreation center that has had stainless steel gutters on their pool for a few years and ask to speak to the people who maintain the pool.
Most steel gutters fail from the inside out, where you cannot see, at the weld joints which are typically every ten feet along the pool wall, or in the converter box that is buried under ground. Since a thin piece of stainless steel heats and cools at a different rate then the mass of concrete they are attached to, they almost always pop and separate from the swimming pool wall causing hidden leaks and other damage. And the #1 problem with a stainless steel gutter is... they are ugly. Sorry stainless, stay out of the pool!The Concrete Gutter
The second type or common overflow gutter is the free form concrete gutter. A concrete gutter is just a concrete trough with a heavy piece of coping capping the top that is permanently mortared to the gutter. Although they look better then stainless gutters there are unfixable problems with this system. The first problem is the fact that the coping is mortared permanently to the gutter top, making it impossible to access the inside of the gutter where the water flows except through a few "cleanout" holes usually spaced one along each wall. When the coping is laid in place cement from under the coping drops into the gutter and stays there forever. Over time debris collects in the rough lumps of concrete and slows the water passing by causing flow and filtration problems.
The other problem is simple human error. Since the concrete gutter has to be shaped at the time the pool shell is placed, it takes a very specialized craftsman to perform the work. Most pool builders will subcontract this work to a cheap concrete contractor who will have no knowledge of swimming pool construction what so ever and a multitude of failures follow. Either structural cracking of the gutter itself, only seen from inside, where, of course you can't get to or even see, or irregular shaped gutter boxes, walls and bottoms, all costing the owners money and time that no one wants to spend.
Natural Flow gutters have systematically addressed and overcome every one of the issues and short comings of other gutter systems.