Although local municipalities in Texas are allowed to enact their own pool fencing requirements, the state has also done so. These laws apply to both public and private pool owners, and you could face hefty fines if you don't comply with them. When installing a new pool, always verify that you are in compliance with the state law as well as any additional local laws. Check with local code authorities to see what regulations apply to you. Be aware that local requirements can be more exacting than the state regulations, and that they take precedent over the state rules that define bare minimum safety requirements.

Fence alongside swimming pool
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/GettyImages
Pool fences like this one must meet strict guidelines in Texas.

Fence Requirements

Fences surrounding Texan swimming pools must be at least 48 inches tall and may not be constructed of chain link materials. If the fencing surrounding the pool contains any gaps or openings at the bottom, they must be small enough that they "may not allow a sphere four inches in diameter to pass under" the fence. This same rule applies to vertical spaces in between fencing slats. If the fence construction requires both horizontal and vertical slats, all horizontal attachments must be located on the inside of the fence, towards the pool. This stops children from climbing up and over the fence. Any decorative openings in the fence must be smaller than 1 3/4 inches in any direction.

Gate Requirements

Texas pool fence laws require that gates, like the fence itself, be at least 48 inches tall. They must also meet all of the other requirements of the fencing materials. Gates must be self-closing as well as self-latching, meaning that they must fully close and latch without any human intervention. The latch must be located on the inside of the gate, somewhere in the top quarter of the gate. In addition to latching on their own, gates must have the ability to be secured using either a padlock, combination lock, keypad lock or card-operated lock. Gates must also open outward, away from the pool.

Doors and Windows as Fencing

In some instances, the wall of a home or building may serve as part of the pool fencing. This is common, for example, when a home has french doors that open directly onto a pool area patio or deck. Like pool gates, doors that lead directly to the pool area must be self-closing and self-latching. The door must also have "a keyless bolting device" that is between 36 and 48 inches off the floor, according to the Texas Health and Safety Code. French doors and sliding doors have slightly different latching requirements. Sliding doors must have both bar and pin locks while French doors require a deadbolt lock. Walls may not contain windows that open into the pool area unless they are permanently sealed.

Above-Ground Pools

Although the rules may vary somewhat by municipality, it is generally best to assume that the same fencing rules apply to above ground pool as their in-ground counterparts. The City of Houston, for instance, makes it clear that their pool requirements apply to all pools, whether they are " located at ground level, above ground or indoors." Municipalities that don't require fencing around above-ground pools may still require owners to remove pool steps when the pool is not in use. Building decking and other structures around the pool may also necessitate the addition of a pool fence, as these structures make accessing the pool easier.