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An edge on the competition

Viola Associates discusses the installation of an infinity pool in Barnstable

Mike Tsotsis

Photograph by Paige Biviano

Mike Tsotsis’s stunning property overlooking Sandy Neck Beach and Barnstable Harbor in Barnstable Village is a lovely spot to watch the sun lazily vanishing into the deep blue ocean. Complementing the natural beauty visible from the yard is an equally magnificent infinity-edge saltwater pool that appears to simply fade into that same horizon where the sun’s last rays disappear.

Infinity pools—also called vanishing-, negative-, zero-, or disappearing-edge pools–turn the whole pool into a mirror for the scenery beyond. The pools are a specialty of Hyannis-based Viola Associates, which designed and installed Tsotsis’s pool.

Since starting out as a small irrigation business in 1984, Viola Associates has blossomed into a well-known company that serves customers Cape-wide as well as on the Islands and the South Shore. Viola builds 40 to 50 pools a year, and owner John Viola estimates that high-end infinity pools represent about 80 percent of the company’s business.

In an infinity pool, the edge that mysteriously blends into the horizon is created by water spilling over that edge into a trough, where it is collected and recycled back into the main pool. It’s crucial that the stone veneers, which are on this negative edge of the pool where the water spills over, are installed properly. “You have to make sure the veneers are level so the water spills evenly,” Viola says. “One of the biggest issues with infinity pools is the water can seep in through the border on the stone veneers, so proper waterproofing is essential.”

Another key to successful infinity pool installations, Viola adds, is having the right ratio of cement to sand; otherwise the pool tends to degrade more quickly. If water penetrates that cement-sand mix, Viola says it will freeze and the pool edge may start to fall apart.

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