It's fun to imagine having a custom swimming pool in your backyard. Swimming is one of the best full-body exercises out there, and pools are fantastic for entertainment purposes. But before you break ground, you should consider all the pros and cons of this investment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before contacting a contractor about custom swimming pools.
Are You Planning on Staying in Your Current Home for Some Time?
If you aren't planning on moving any time soon, then installing a pool can be a great investment that can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. However, if you're only planning on staying in your home for a few years, it may be better to hold off on installation for a more permanent location. While you may think that adding a pool to your yard automatically means that you'll generate returns if you sell your house, that's not always the case. Pools are seen as luxury additions and may not grab home buyers like practical remodels in the kitchen or bathroom.
Furthermore, Costhelper says that high-quality materials in in-ground swimming pools, like fiberglass and gunite, can cost between $15,000 and $45,000. Again, if you aren't sure whether you'll be staying in your home for a while or not, then that is a lot of money to drop.
You may be wondering if there are any instances where installing a pool would be okay if you are only in your home for a few years. The answer is yes; there are some exceptions to the rule! For example, if you live in an extraordinary hot environment, like Florida, then owning a pool could give you an edge in the real estate market—this is especially true for higher-end neighborhoods where buyers are actively looking for conveniences.
In short, if you are on the fence about whether or not you should add a pool, look at your neighborhood and at the area's real estate trends.
Are You Willing to Be Flexible With Different Pool Styles and Materials?
If you cannot afford the biggest pool size or the best material out there, you may think your dreams of owning a pool are dashed. However, customizing your pool can let you save money in some areas and splurge in others.
For instance, while gunite can be pricy, it is one of the most popular in-ground pool materials because it can be poured into many different shapes/depths. What does this mean for you? It means you could still use gunite and save money by sacrificing square footage. A smaller pool size means you could splurge on other amenities, like waterfalls or built-in seats. Furthermore, smaller pools do tend to work better if you plan on selling your home, since the pool won't overrun the backyard's landscaping.
If you cannot afford gunite, then fiberglass shells, concrete, or vinyl liners are still good options. While these kinds of materials do need a little more maintenance, they are very durable in areas that have colder climates or distinctly four seasons. These less-expensive materials are great in northern climates since the liners won't break down or stain as much as they would in sunny climates.
Lastly, while in-ground pools are quite popular for customization, don't rule out above-ground pools. Above-ground pools are easy to install, much more affordable, and safer for kids and pets.
Do You Have Time and Money for Pool Maintenance and Security?
Before you install your pool, you need to educate yourself on proper chemical requirements and pH levels. If you aren't willing to maintain your pool, there are services that can clean it and maintain it for a fee. Besides chemical maintenance, you need to research filtration pumps and heating elements. Look into variable-speed pumps since they are much more efficient than single-speed pumps. You'll need to budget the filtration pump into your electrical utilities. To save money, you could forgo heating elements. Some people cover their pools with solar blankets to keep the water warm.
Besides maintenance costs, you need to budget out security costs. Do you live in an area that has lots of children—do you have children yourself? If so, your HOA may require that you have a cover and/or lock-operated fence around the pool. If your HOA doesn't require these additions, you may want to get them anyway since you could be facing great liability should any of your neighbors get injured in the pool.
As you can see, there are many questions to ask yourself before plunging into pool ownership. However, if you are in a stable living situation or in an area where a pool can give you some return during a sell, then you can proceed with contacting a pool contractor. If you are willing to put in the time and money for safety measures and be flexible with customization options, then you'll be better able to find a pool that works for your family.