Steps to Getting a Pool
Careful planning is an essential first step to any building project, and pools and spas are no exception. A site must be carefully chosen, budgetary and legal restrictions taken into account - decisions that need to be tackled before your pool or hot tub becomes a reality. As you begin to plan the addition of either of these water features to your own home or backyard, keep in mind that they are permanent structures and will be prominent features in or around your home for a long time to come. This fact alone should encourage you to spend the time and energy necessary to create an environment that will give you pleasure years after completion.
Step 1: Decide How You Will Use Your Pool
When planning your inground pool, the first thing you will need to consider is how you will use it. You may want a spot where you can relax and entertain guests, or as a healthy exercise or therapy center. Each use has certain requirements, and defining the uses now will help you choose the best location for your pool and decide on the style of pool that best meets your needs.
If you intend to swim for exercise, your best choice will be a rectangular pool - the longer the better, and deep enough at both ends to negotiate turns safely. But a pool used for relaxation and entertainment should have a large shallow area to splash around in, space around the pool for sunning, and adequate room to set up tables and chairs nearby.
Step 2: Consider Financial Aspects of Pool Ownership
In addition to the use of your pool, you need to consider the financial aspects of owning a pool or spa. The value of the property usually increases, when you add a swimming pool or hot tub to it. If the pool is attractive and not highly specialized, it will be considered an asset.
You will also have insurance financial considerations. Before work begins you would want to check with your insurance agent to be sure you have adequate protection. The need for insurance protection begins when the first employee of the pool builder sets foot on your property. Though the contractor and his subcontractors should carry liability and property damage insurance, make sure of these protections.
Maintenance costs should also be a factor in the type of pool that you choose. Routine pool maintenance will include keeping the water chemically balanced and sanitary, maintaining the support equipment, and cleaning the pool surfaces. You can contract a pool service professional to perform these chores, or you can do some or all of them yourself. If you elect to do your own maintenance, your major expense will be for sanitizers and oxidizers to keep the water clean. Their cost will depend on the pool size, the water temperature, the amount of time the pool is used, the number of people using it, and whether or not the pool is covered. Again, a pool service professional can help you calculate your maintenance costs.
Step 3: Determine Your Yard Size and Conditions
Besides determining the best fit for your yard's dimensions, consider your yard's slope, soil type and accessibility for construction equipment. Pools are easier to build or install when a yard is level, however, new technology makes it possible to install a pool in virtually any yard. Severe conditions such as steeply sloping lots, rocky soil and limited access require special construction and installation considerations and typically add to the overall cost and duration of the project. Pool size is primarily a personal choice. Some prefer to eliminate grass entirely and fill the space with pool and patiowhile others want to include yard in the new landscape. Remember that it's not just the pool itself that needs to be accommodated but the paving, fence around it and pool accessories too. Consulting a pool professional is a good idea as they will be able to tell you which shape would best suit your needs and whether or not it would actually be possible to construct a pool in your desired location.
Step 4: Design Your Pool
Once you have determined the yard size and conditions as well as what your pool will be used for, you can begin to design your pool. From here, the options are abundant! When you choose to design an inground pool you can add an abundance of customized features. Be sure to remember to design the entire poolscape including decks, water features and the patio area.
Step 5: Consult a Pool Professional
As mentioned above, consulting a pool professional is a good idea to help you determine which size and shape would be an ideal fit for your particular yard as well as determining possible maintenance costs. It is also very important at this stage to be sure that you and your contractor have the most up to date zoning and building restrictions for swimming pools and spas. Zoning is primarily handled on a local level and typically covers such issues as fencing and barriers, pool depth requirements for diving boards, set-backs and proximity to utility lines.
Step 6: Choose a Professional Builder
It is very important when choosing a professional pool contractor to do your research. Get referrals from friends and neighbors. You should also talk to at least three builders when getting estimates. When interviewing possible builders, determine the number of years they have been in business, ensure that they are bonded and insured, visit their work firsthand or ask for examples of their work, and determine if they subcontract the work or use their own staff. Doing research will not only ensure that you are getting the work of a professional, but also protect your property.
Step 7: Choose Your Equipment
Choosing the right pool care equipment directly correlates with how much you will enjoy the pool. A pool should be crystal clear and lavishly inviting no matter the time of year. Pool care doesn't need to be as time consuming and expensive as you think it is. By selecting the correct pool supplies for your needs, maintaining a gorgeous pool all year round will be an absolute breeze. In addition to choosing maintenance equipment for your pool or spa, you also want to consider safety equipment. Many specialty safety products are available on the market, including water alarms, high-tech laser technologies, safety covers and personal safety accessories like life jackets and pool floats.