Before you jump in, check out these 5 Practical Tips for Pool Owners
Thinking about buying a pool? Then join the club. There are an estimated 10 million pools in the U.S. alone, according to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, and millions are private installations. But before plunging in, consider these five pool-planning tips intended to help homeowners avoid making common, and possibly costly, mistakes.
1 Find your limits
Before dedicating the entire backyard to a pool playground, realistically consider how much space you can give up. Will there be enough room left for landscaping options, or to play?
2Follow the Law
Check state laws and local ordinances, especially on fence requirements. While you’re at it, check applicable homeowner’s association (HOA) bylaws. If the bylaws disallow fences, for example, but state law requires them, your pool dream could turn into a nightmare. Be aware, also, that some HOAs disallow pools.
3 Depth Matters
Experts advise aspiring pool owners to do some math before picking a design. Want to go deep? Then realize the deep end takes up a quarter to a third of the pool. That’s space where kids could have played water basketball or Marco Polo. How much would you use a deep end compared to a shallow area?
4 Budget for pool insurance
Prices depend on many factors, risk especially. Large pool size, diving boards and slides push prices up. Some insurance companies simply won’t insure pool owners because of a diving board. If they cover yours, expect potentially high rates.
5 Stay out of the shade
On a hot day, a little shade can be a wonderful thing, and trees provide it. Trees also provide leaves and possibly lots of opportunities for clean up. Some types continually drop buds, branches, berries or decaying flower petals.
Finding a contractor
Now that you know you want a pool, what’s the next step?
- Do some research to find at least three trustworthy pool contractors and obtain three estimates.
- Once you select a builder, try not to feel rushed or overly excited. Take the extra time to request three references — homeowners who recently worked with your new contractor.
- Call each reference and ask questions such as: Were you satisfied with the work? Did workers show up on time? Was the pool finished on time? Was the contractor responsive if you encountered a problem after the installation?
- Ask if the contractor has liability insurance and ask to see it.
- Before signing a contract, be absolutely sure you fully understand it.
From concept to finished pool
In general, installing a pool can take from two weeks to two months. Weather, backyard access, design features and complexity all factor into the completion date.
What kind of pool “container” you’re getting also makes a big difference. There are three basic types of in-ground pool.
- Installations of pools made from concrete/gunite, which is a reinforced form of concrete, are the most labor intensive. However, these pools are extremely long-lasting.
- Vinyl-liner pools also require the on-site construction of a “container” and can be made in custom sizes.
- Fiberglass pools come in premade shapes and sizes and are simply fitted into the ground, which makes for relatively speedy installation.
Step by Step
From start to finish, here’s a look at the basic building process for an in-ground vinyl-lined pool. Using Edwards Pools of Ohio’s examples, a contractor and his crew would:
- In conjunction with the homeowner, select the prime pool location.
- Excavate or dig out the area. If your yard’s too small for earth-moving equipment, the digging might be done by shovel.
- Place and secure wall panels around pool’s sides.
- Check pool measurements and square side panels.
- Pour a concrete footer or collar around the outside base of the pool. This, along with the pool’s sides, will be underground once work is done.
- Do plumbing and electrical work.
- Trowel in bottom material, often a porous type of concrete called vermiculite.
- Scrape bottom and prepare interior for liner.
- Install vinyl liner and fill pool with water.
- Anchor the walls by backfilling with gravel or sand.
- Clean up the pool and turn on the pump and filter.
- Invite you in for a swim.