Owning a pool may seem like a great idea, but make sure you take the added costs and maintenance into consideration, too. An initial low cost may seem attractive, but that doesn’t guarantee a quality, long-lasting, or safe swimming experience.
Not everyone wants a pool for the same reasons. Decide why you want a pool and then consider designs that suit your needs.
A lap pool isn’t great for backyard entertaining and an infinity pool might not be the ideal choice if you have kids. Children need a pool with easy access, free from dangerously steep grades, and probably special ladders, handrails, and an automatic pool cover to increase safety.
Planning a pool involves more than just the structure, too. Consider what matters to you most before you begin the design process. Are you a sun worshipper that loves to hang out on a lounge chair? Do you like to have late night barbecues and drinks by the poolside? How about a fire pit or outdoor kitchen? It’s less expensive to accommodate plans now than modify your yard later.
Does Your Property Suit A Pool?
Just because you want a pool, it doesn’t mean your property can accommodate one. Some land is too sandy, wet, or rocky to install a pool affordably. Limited access to your yard can also make it nearly impossible to excavate the land.
Additionally, the zoning and building regulations for your area may not permit a pool unless it meets particular criteria. For instance, many municipalities limit the square footage a pool and decking can occupy on your property to prevent excessive water runoff. Most locales also require fencing around the pool with distance limitations to other structures.
Finally, every home has services on the property. Before you can consider a pool, you need to know where the sewage, water, gas, electrical and other lines lie on your land. It can become very costly if you need to move any of these.
Material Choices, Budget, & Maintenance
Plenty of pool materials exist to construct your backyard oasis, but not all materials suit all properties or budgets. Concrete, vinyl liner, and fiberglass are the most common choices for pools, but understand what you can afford and the ongoing costs before making your decision.
There’s no such thing as a maintenance-free pool. They all require upkeep. Fiberglass pools have the least maintenance, an affordable initial cost, and durability. You can also use salt systems with fiberglass; however you are restricted to certain shapes.
Concrete lasts longest and offers complete design freedom, but it is also the most expensive to install and maintain as it requires seasonal cleanings and re-plastering every 10 to 15 years. Vinyl liners are the least expensive to install, but also the least durable.
Also consider the energy efficiency of the pool. You’ll need a good filtration system to keep algae out of your pool as well as efficient pumps, skimmers, and sanitizers.
Find a Reputable Builder
Ask for a referral from people you know who own pools. Check the company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau and ask for recent customer contacts. Call them and ask what they liked and disliked about the builder.
Look for a builder with experience that offers a warranty, has a contractor’s license, and carries liability insurance. Always get a few quotes on the same design, labor, and materials.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Adding a swimming pool increases the value of your home, but it also increases risk. Don’t assume you’re properly covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, because this might not be the case. Some companies provide little or no coverage.
Discuss your plans with your insurance agent before you start to build. They can adjust your policy to include the added value, and increase your liability coverage. Standard liability limits don’t provide adequate protection since pools can attract people to your property, even when you’re not home. Drownings, pool injuries, and lawsuits are very common, so protect your assets before you build.