Swimming pools are wonderful. They enhance your family’s quality of life with each use and also add value to your home when it’s time to sell. Swimming pools are also a very big investment, in terms of both time and treasure. There are so many factors to consider in big decisions like this one that it is easy to get confused.
But, if they focus on just three key areas, most people find that the other decisions are easier to make. The process is straightforward as well. Consider these three areas closely, collect as much information as possible (here) is a good place to start), make a decision, and do not look back.
Most in-ground swimming pools are concrete. This material is the most expensive, longest lasting, lowest maintenance, and most eye-catching choice. Concrete also takes the longest time to install, is truly customizable, and can later be updated, refinished, enlarged, or even completely rebuilt.
But a long-lasting, highly attractive, and customizable pool is not for everyone. There are some other materials choices as well, such as:
- Vinyl: Like concrete, most vinyl pools start with a steel wall. Unlike concrete, most vinyl pools are either a rectangular or L-shape. Vinyl pools aren’t nearly as sturdy as concrete, but upgrades are usually available that make the material more durable.
- Aluminum: These pools are very cheap and do not last very long.
- Fiberglass: These premade pools are lowered by crane into pre-dug holes, so the project may take as little as three days. Furthermore, the smooth finish usually means fewer cleaning chemicals. Pretty much all fiberglass pools are bowl-shaped.
Materials availability varies by region, so it’s usually a good idea to call at least three contractors to get an idea of the available options.
Cost varies significantly, but in general, prices are about 20,000 USD for fiberglass, 25,000 USD for vinyl, and 40,000 USD for concrete. Be sure and include the cost of pool landscaping and barriers in your budget. Most local governments have very strict rules for fences, gates, and other such items.
Supply and demand are kings in terms of swimming pool prices. Many contractors offer deals for out-of-season installations and charge a premium for in-season work. The cost of materials varies as well, mostly depending on the party that provides them, which is why it’s such a good idea to shop around.
There are no hard-and-fast rules in terms of financing, but for home improvement projects like a pool, most banks will want at least 10 percent upfront and they charge interest rates well above prime.
Hiring the Right Contractor
Once you know what you want and how much you want to spend, be sure your contractor can deliver. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Never hire anyone who comes to your house unexpectedly or sends an unsolicited flyer,
- Experience counts, so be sure the contractor has at least three years’ experience working with swimming pools (and not just decks or driveways),
- Ask for references and check them,
- Find out if the company will use its own employees or subcontractors on your particular job, and
- Use the payments to protect yourself, so never pay cash and, if at all possible, never agree to an ACH or another automatic draft.
Go with your gut during this process. If something does not feel right, walk away and do business with one of the other zillions of available pool contractors.
Author: Sophia Williams