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Fibreglass Pools over Concrete and Tiles

A fibreglass baptistry tank has many advantages over a concrete and tile pit. Usually, it is cheaper in terms of building costs but where it shows its superiority is in its zero-maintenance.

Installation of a single-piece tank is quicker nor is it always necessary to have plumbing for drains or even filling – there are a range of options to suit the needs, budget and situation of the church.

Further savings can be made because our tanks are insulated as standard.

And you can choose your colour! And we make reinforced lids.

Lids (Part 2)

We’ve had another design break-through, one that saves you money. Once a baptistry gets above 1.75m in width, the lids need extra reinforcement if there is to be no flex in the lids. Up to now this has been done by using thicker timbers (which might use up valuable space) or by using stainless steel box-section tubes, which are expensive. Both options get heavy too. Now we can use box-section tubes of compressed GRP. The cost falls between timber and steel and the weight issues are avoided.

The Croydon – A New 10-sided Baptismal

Croydon 10 sided baptistry

We put the nonagon up recently and, when we came to put the liner on we found the liner too big and a side too many – we’d accidentally forgotten a panel and made an octagon. As the panels went together just as well with one missing, we tried it with one extra. Ten sides worked too and it gave a pool that is catching on. It is wider than our ‘workhorse’ pool the nonagon but not any deeper. As the first church to try it and buy it was in Croydon, the name stuck. It is a cost-effective way to get a large baptistry tank (nearly 7′ across) that can be stored easily and doesn’t required the larger steps of our deeper baptistry (The Apostle).

Baptistries Insulated as Standard

Insulated baptistry tank

The new range of our baptistries have insulation as standard – this saves £400 on the price and a lot in heating costs in the long run. Insulation is difficult to do with concrete and tile baptismals.

Elim style simply means the steps are an integral part of the baptistry and not a separate unit fixed in place afterward, so a whole range of dimensions, depths and configurations are possible. And, as we make timber moulds for each job, you can have bespoke at the price of ‘off-the-peg’.

How to Lose Your Bond #1 An Occasional Series…

The photos below are taken of the pool as it had arrived back. The two boxes with panels in had not been taped up and were open as seen. The green kit box was unsealed too. The other taped-together blob contained the two foam mats (which should have been protecting the side panels) and the liner (which was wet and had leaves on it). The crate contained all the other kit chucked in pel-mel. The pipes were still full of water and there was 1cm of water sloshing about the bottom. Aside from being cavalier, it loses the bond. The bond cheque gets presented and the extra time taken in drying, cleaning and checking the kit is deducted.

Badly packed baptistry 20120925_113245 20120925_113644 20120925_113835

Please repack the pool and equipment carefully, not only is it the decent thing to do, it might mean that the next church has no pool because it has been damaged in transit. It is a very good idea to delegate a couple of people to unpack, set-up, take down and repack. Problems are most commonly encountered in large churches where there is no person taking responsibility.

There is a one page guide, with pictures, on repacking. There is a number to ring. Please take care of the baptistry and your bond.

Ultra-flat Baptistry – A Very Affordable Baptistry

A new baptistry is born and what better way to test it than to let three kids loose on it during the heatwave!A new cheap portable baptistery The UltraFlat baptismal comprises four flat but flexible GRP panels that bend and bolt together to form a rigid circular frame. A very quick and very cheap portable baptistry. This four panel version is 150cm (5′) across. You could add a fifth panel and the pool would be 188cm in diameter (just over 6’3″). This baptistry dismantles into flat panels that can be easily stored. And what’s more this baptistry costs less than £400. You can buy extra pieces of equipment but a lot of the additonal kit can be easily sourced locally from a hardware shop. A very tough, simple, flat, storable, flexible and cheap baptistry!

Let’s Talk Drains!

This is the one topic that churches, architects and builders ignore at their peril. It is very often an ‘Oh, by the way…’BaptistryUK Elim Baptistry with part-width steps

The phrase ‘can of worms’ often gets used. Anyway, there are two options (assuming not emptying the pool ever is discounted):

  • a small sump into which a submerisble pump is dropped to pump the water out to a drain or toilet;
  • or a plughole.

And with the plughole waste there is the option of a plug and chain, an upstand waste (a metal tube stuck into the plug hole to act as both plug and overflow), and a valve (which would be on the outside bottom of the baptistry. Pop up wastes don’t work simply because of the weight of water. Upstand wastes can get in the way a bit as they need to be over a metre tall. Valves mean that permanent, easy access is needed to the lower part of the outside of the baptistry, which needs to be planned in. Another thing that needs to be understood is that a plumber needs to be able to get to the underside of the baptistry to physically connect the screwthread of the waste from the baptistry to the pipe work that will take the waste water away. To this end, a concrete pit can be cast overlong so that there is an access pit beside the baptistry for the installing plumber. This can be closed up if it is not needed thereafter. Or, we also make a baptistry with part-width steps. This means that there is an ’empty corner’, which again allows the plumber to get down to get a hand under the baptistry to screw the pipe to the waste thread. If a wooden stage is being built around then baptistry, then access issues are much easier to solve.

There are ways of dropping the baptistry on to existing pipework without having to get a hand under the baptistry (it involves a shower waste) but this requires some pretty accurate measuring to get the pipework and waste to line up exactly!

It doesn’t bother us which way you go just so long as it has been considered. Just over half of our customers opt for a sump and pump. This is sometimes because gravity drainage just isn’t possible in their case (not because gravity is absent you understand), sometimes because it seems to be too much faff, and othertimes because people do have an aversion to putting holes in water-bearing containers. In older baptistries that are leaking, it is generally the tiles/grouting that has packed up or the existing plumbing. It is perhaps natural, therefore, that churches would chose an option that does away with the need for plumbing.

This, along with such matters as colour choice, is something that needs to be explored and settled by or with the church members at an early stage. These blog entries can alway be a bit ‘over-summarized’ so do please feel free to get in touch to discuss anything with me either via the website, email (david@baptistryuk.com) or via twitter (@baptistry)

Baptistry Lids

When it comes to stopping people falling into a baptistry when not in use, the options usually boil down to getting a set of lids! If an existing floor is being cut through, the boards could be saved and reused by an expert carpenter / joiner. (I use the word ‘expert’ as a pointer to a later comment). This will enable the ‘lid’ to be in keeping with the flooring where the bare wood is to be preserved.

Architects may specify waterproof marine ply or MDF held together on a frame of treated timbers. I have no problem with timber, lovely stuff, use it all the time. Very cost-effective and easy to stick carpet to. Where the problem may arise is when builders / users forget that it is wood. Wood will swell and shrink and bend a little over the years but more especially because, as you will fully understand, baptistries are damp when in use. It is good sense to put the lids over to keep the warmth in when filling and heating. This will swell the lids and they and the empty pool are best left ‘open’ to allow them to dry.

Lids, whether of wood or reinforced fibreglass can be fitted with hand-holes, trap door ring pull handles or recessed threads which can take an eyebolt to give a convenient finger-hold. Wooden lids tend to be 100mm deep to have the necessary strength, whereas GRP lids tend to be 70mm. The GRP lids are reinforced by the incorporation of steel square section tubing – as you can see from the picture with a sturdily build Yorkshire gentleman stood on the lids – there is no bend. These lids rest flat upon the flange of the baptistry rim (the surrounding floor would hold them in place once installed), though we can make baptistries with a rebate so that lids are flush with the baptistry edge. The advantage with GRP is that it just does not rot, doesn’t need treating or painting and carpet tiles or such like can be stuck to the back.

(And why use the adjective ‘expert’.) Recently we despatched baptistry and wooden lids off to the south of England to a new home. Two months later the builder was having problems with the lids. Odd, we thought so off we went for a jaunt southwards. Perhaps we should have made it clearer that leaving wooden lids in the rain for weeks was not ideal. Nor do we feel a layer of building debris over the baptistry is beneficial to the ease of fitting the lids. And this was a major contractor. So, please, make sure your builder does not view wood as some novel material!

Baptismal Tanks

What do these sunken baptistries look like?

We can make them to whatever shape and size you like (so long as you can get it through the door!) but there are two basic patterns that keep coming up – the Elim model pictured here is a one-piece baptismal with integral steps; the Jordan a two-piece with a baptistry tank and a separate step unit that gets fixed into place within the pool at installation. Either model is reinforced with timber ribs to make the tank strong enough to hold water on its own without loads of extra support needed at installation.

Sizes very but again, 3m long, 1.5 wide and 1.2m deep are recurrent sizes as they correspond with 10′ by 5′ by 4′, which many churches seem to want. As we make all the baptistries from a timber mould, we can easily change to suit your preferred sizes – bespoke is normal! And colour is easy as well – any solid colour (choose from the RAL website) or we can also do a cream stone effect or a black granite effect.

I shall leave drainage for another day!