What to Consider Before Adding a Swimming Pool to Your Home

What to Consider Before Adding a Swimming Pool to Your Home

With the summer heat already here, a backyard swimming pool is becoming an exciting idea, especially if your local pool is planning to remain closed this summer. Pools are fun and relaxing, and they can even increase the value of your home. In fact, some analysts note that adding a swimming pool to your home can increase its value by as much as 7%. However, with a 600 square foot in-ground pool costing an average of $35,000, embarking on a pool project is a serious journey and a large expense that you need to prepare for. When you factor in grading, landscape and hardscape, difficult site access, and additional structures, the cost of a pool can climb much higher.

As such, it’s important to plan out your pool project and consider all possible expenses in order to minimize cost and maximize value.

Getting started

Like many home projects, your first consideration should be utility: how much you will use the pool and how frequently you will do so. Warmer climates are far more conducive to owning a pool since you can use it virtually year-round.

The other major consideration is whether you are comfortable carrying the operating costs for heating and maintaining your pool. If you are the type of person that wants nice warm water, your electricity costs can be quite high – potentially thousands of dollars a year. With that in mind, in solar-friendly climates, installing a hot water solar heater for your pool can be a smart move.

Pool materials

There are a number of choices for in-ground pool construction materials. Concrete (also known as gunite or shotcrete) is the most popular due to its durability and adaptability to custom shapes and sizes. For concrete pools, a contractor must excavate the site and construct a steel frame out of rebar. The concrete can then be poured in place, followed by smoothing and color application.

Other types of pools include vinyl and fiberglass. Both of these construction techniques are less expensive than concrete, but they have more limitations. Vinyl pools are lined with a continuous membrane that is prone to piercing by pool toys and pets. Fiberglass pools require the form to be fabricated offsite and slotted into place with a crane.

Ultimately, every pool material has its advantages and disadvantages – you just need to consider your specific situation (cost, design, intended use, etc.) to determine the best option for you.

Above-ground pools

Although in-ground pools outnumber above-ground pools by about 1.5 million in the US, they are gaining popularity. The advantages of an above-ground pool include easy installation and lower cost. Additionally, the permits and excavation required for in-ground pools are generally not required for above-ground pools (although most municipalities in the US have safety requirements relating to the installation of both types of pools).

Planning your pool

Planning a pool requires much consideration and, in some cases, specialized knowledge. While it is not generally required to conduct a soil test, be aware that you may encounter rock, groundwater, roots, pipes and other obstacles when digging, which can add to the cost of your pool or (if the ground is unmanageable) may even require a relocation. Most locales nationwide require a call (usually to an 811 number) to determine the location of underground utilities before you can obtain an excavation permit.

Additionally, when you are considering installing a pool, ensure that your local zoning code allows it based on the zoning designation for your home. With community resources like Next Door, it is fairly simple to compile a list of qualified and experienced contractors if you are planning an in-ground pool. For above-ground pools, you can simply take measurements yourself based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Furthermore, your local fire department can advise you with regard to pool safety (i.e., fencing requirements), and as a homeowner, you must consult with your insurance company with regard to any relevant policy updates.

Ultimately, safety is essential: Pools can be highly dangerous for everyone, so follow all safety protocols.

Refinancing with First Centennial Mortgage can put more money in your pocket to help you save for a pool or other home renovations or improvements. Our dedicated team is here to answer all your home loan questions.

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