What to Consider Before Getting a Pool

What to Consider Before Getting a Pool

It’s August, and that means we are right in the thick of the summer heat. If these hot and sticky days have you dreaming of installing a private pool in your yard, here’s what you should consider before diving into this large and costly project.
The first question you’ll probably ask yourself is: “can my yard accommodate an in-ground pool?” and the answer is most likely “yes.” While your space may limit the size and design of your pool, with the different available options for pool construction, you will probably find a solution to suit your space. There are a few things that will restrain the options for your backyard pool. These include:

  • Local bylaws and zoning ordinances that may tell you what amount of your lot needs to remain as green space or what setbacks are required from your property lines.
  • Drainage and utility easements on your property that must be upheld or amended.
  • Overhead power lines.
  • Underground utilities, septic bed or holding tanks.
  • The shape and landscape of your lot.
  • Existing structures or retaining walls.

While this may look like a lengthy list, many restrictions can likely be resolved to still give you your backyard pool.

Cost

No doubt constructing an inground swimming pool will come with a hefty price tag, but there are additional costs to consider in addition to the initial pool installation. Other costs could include:

  • Ongoing maintenance including chemicals, filters and repairs.
  • A pool heater along with the filter pump will increase your electricity costs.
  • Installing a pool will also require landscaping to be repaired after construction or altered beforehand to accommodate the pool.
  • Some bylaws require locked fencing to enclose the pool.
  • Permits for the work.
  • Electrical work to attach the systems to the pool.
  • Dirt haulage from the excavation.
  • Retaining walls or other changes that may be required due to the landscape of your yard.
  • Winter covers and maintenance.
  • Possible increased costs to your home insurance.
  • The cost of water to fill the pool and maintain the water levels.

Not all pools will have the same cost for construction or maintenance. This will depend not only on what additional costs apply to some and not others (like fencing requirements or additional landscaping) but also the type of pool chosen. Generally, there are three types of inground pools options available: fibreglass, concrete and vinyl-lined. Concrete is likely the most expensive for both installation and upkeep. Vinyl is often the cheapest for installation with moderate costs for upkeep. Fibreglass pools will fall between vinyl and concrete for initial costs but are expected to have lower costs for upkeep.
Make a wish list for what features you want in your pool and compare that to your available budget to decide what you can include.

Design

It won’t be just your budget that determines the size and style of your pool. As described above, your property will have a say in what type of pool you can construct. A concrete pool can likely be constructed as big or small as you want, while fibreglass pools come in standard pre-built sizes. You’ll also want to choose your pool type according to the plans for use. Are you looking to increase your exercise by swimming laps? If so, you’ll want a long, rectangular pool. Will many kids be swimming your pool? You might want a pool with a standing ledge or sunning space, a large shallow end or other safety measures. Depending on your vision for your pool, you might opt for other features such as an infinity edge, a waterfall feature or other design add-ons to complement your backyard look.

When choosing the type of pool you would like, you’ll also need to consider time for construction. Interestingly, a fibreglass pool can be installed year-round and is the quickest for installation time at about 3-6 weeks. A vinyl pool installation takes only slightly longer at 4-6 weeks but needs to be installed during accommodating weather. The concrete installation will also depend on the season and has the longest installation time, expected to be between 3 and 6 months as just the curing on the concrete will take at least 28 days in optimum weather conditions. Of course, these timelines will vary depending on the contractors installing the pool, your property and your plans.

Planning for your backyard pool will be the most important step in your process. Once it’s built, you can’t change the size or location of your pool, so make sure you’ve thought through your choices and come up with a solution that suits you both now and the future.