Maybe your kids have been asking for years. Perhaps you were waiting until retirement. Whether you’ve given in or have been meticulously planning for this moment, it’s finally here—you’re ready to purchase a swimming pool. Let the following six steps serve as a rough outline to your planning process and dive right in…pun intended.
1. Contact a builder: You don’t have to commit to one yet; however, you should begin to collect several "no pressure" estimates early on. With guidance from a pool professional, you can start to visualize the precise area in which you’d like to build. Do you want your pool fully exposed to sun for comfortable, warm water or partial shade to decrease the rate of evaporation? Perhaps you need to build on an elevated surface to avoid flooding from seasonal storms. A professional can walk you through scenarios you might not be considering in these initial planning stages.
2. Decide on a pool: Don’t panic; but you’re moving on to one of the hardest steps. There are three main options for construction: concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl-lined pools. As the former is generally the most expensive and hardest to maintain, most homeowners opt for a custom vinyl liner pool (which consists of a polymer or steel interior shell) or a high quality / low maintenance fiberglass pool. Many builders offer multiple types of pools and can give you an informed opinion.
3. Draw up a budget: This task typically goes hand-in-hand with step two as the construction type will ultimately drive your level of commitment in terms of both time and money. Look into financing options with the builder if necessary; just don’t overlook the pool’s lifetime maintenance requirements. Also consider the costs of things like additional lighting, that gorgeous deck you’ve been dreaming of, cleaning supplies, safety covers, and anything else included in your overall vision.
4. Dot your Is and cross your Ts: Building permits and zoning regulations will likely apply before you can even think about breaking ground and building a pool. Check with the city and/or Homeowner’s Association to ensure adherence to local policies and laws. Additionally, most cities require a safety gate or fence that meets a specific height requirement and includes a self-closing mechanism to keep children safe. A local builder will be abreast of this information if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
5. Decide on the fun stuff: From classic kidney designs to custom shapes and dimensions, you can build and upgrade to your heart’s content. Similar to interior design, lighting is everything; don’t be afraid to experiment with a colorful, bold backlight. One-up your neighbor by installing a waterfall, tanning ledge, or spa. Even the most practical, minimal designs can be customized to suit your expected usage and aesthetic taste.
6. And the not-so-fun stuff: The two main elements to behind-the-scenes pool maintenance are filtration and sanitation. While a pool professional can advise you of the technical differences, just know that sand, filters, and diatomaceous earth are most commonly used in filtration, while chlorine remains the standard for cleaning and purification. Do you plan on taking a class on pool maintenance or hiring a professional? If you’re going with the latter, now is a great time to start researching local companies and asking friends and family for references.
Like any home renovation, purchasing an inground swimming pool can easily become overwhelming and stressful. However, by breaking down each step into small, manageable tasks, you can appreciate the process and revel in the excitement from the blueprint to that very first dip in the pool.