Building a pool is a commitment. Like any other remodeling project or major purchase, building a pool requires some planning before any actual construction takes place.
To be sure that installing a pool is the right choice for you, consider a few things:
Why do I want a pool?
Do you want to do laps before work every morning? Do you have kids on a swim team needing to practice diving? Do you have kids who like to splash around and play? Do you like to sunbathe on a raft while sipping a favorite beverage? Do you have grandchildren frequently visiting? Do you daydream of swim parties – and what are the guests doing? In all seriousness, ask yourself why you want a pool and how it will be used. The answers to these questions will help you decide what kind of pool will fit your lifestyle.
Know your budget.
Defining a solid working budget will protect your wallet. Once you have an idea of how you’ll use a pool, the next step is to work out a budget that allows for features you need and love. There are creative ways to combine beauty and function without breaking the bank.
Learn about different types of pools.
Each type of in-ground pool – concrete/gunite, fiberglass, vinyl liner – has its advantages and disadvantages. Concrete and gunite pools are likely the type you are most familiar with (most public pools are made this way) and can be made into practically any shape. Fiberglass pools are pre-formed and can be installed in an extremely short period of time. Vinyl lined pools can be quickly installed and can cost much less than the concrete/gunite type. The required maintenance varies between types, and the eventual cost of repairs should be investigated thoroughly. While researching the types, make a pros & cons list of each to make choosing a breeze.
Create a visual gallery for inspiration.
Use resources such as Pinterest, Evernote, links in a text document, or a mini photo book to gather your visual inspirations in one place. Clip photos and copy & paste pictures of pools, design elements, water features, neat lighting ideas, and landscaping. Collecting the elements you like will help your builder understand your vision.
Find a reputable, quality builder.
Look for a builder with a solid reputation, longevity in the market, and a process that focuses on your vision. Ask to see a portfolio of projects and client testimonials. Ask about financing options, design services, and maintenance education. And, of course, contact the Better Business Bureau and the Registrar of Contractors about the builder’s business practices.
Know building codes & insurance requirements.
Your builder should be well versed in current building, electrical, plumbing, and zoning codes in your state and city, but it’s always a good idea to look into the requirements yourself. Contact your insurance company to ensure you have adequate coverage once you decide to move forward with pool construction.
Think about the whole yard.
Your pool won’t exist in a vacuum! Take the time to imagine the entire space of your backyard. Talk to your builder about existing trees that might make maintenance difficult, as well as what landscaping features can make the beauty of your pool pop. With a little planning, your yard and pool have the potential to be a relaxing getaway.
Think about efficiency & the environment.
Pool equipment, pool placement, your home’s energy plan, and your location will all have an impact on your energy bill. Ask about equipment that will save you money, and help the environment, over the long term of ownership.
When you call your city to check on building codes, be sure to ask about safety codes. Cities differ in the exact requirements for securing your pool, but you want to create layers of protection. Metal or mesh fencing, self-closing/locking doors in the home, and water displacement alarms are all excellent ways to give your family and guests a few precious seconds of safety.
Think about maintenance.
Who is going to take care of the pool? Your builder should educate you on the regular maintenance your specific pool will need and recommend a maintenance schedule. If you decide that you’d rather have a pool service take on the maintenance, ask your builder and other pool owners for recommendations – be sure to check references and the Better Business Bureau.)
And one more thing… enjoy it!
Pools are a wonderful way to get outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, and get some exercise and fun packed into your day. Enjoy every minute of it.