So you want to install a pool to keep the kids at home, welcome the grandkids over, host your friends or enjoy healthy relaxation in your back yard. It’s your first time pool shopping — it might be the only time — but you can avoid rookie mistakes and make the purchase like a pro. Ease into the process, follow these steps, and you’ll be in the swim for years to come.
Check the rules
A swimming pool is a major construction project on your property. Make sure to line up the right permits with your local government and permissions with your homeowners association if your neighbourhood has one. That might include setbacks and fencing requirements.
Count the costs
Start with the sticker price. Depending on how much you want to spend, you might consider an in-ground pool or a much less expensive above-ground pool. Vinyl-lined in-ground pools are more economical than fibreglass or concrete pools. Chances are, you’ll want a heater to extend the swimming season.
Consider an automatic cover for added safety.
Calculate the long-term costs, too, including regular maintenance (which can vary significantly from pool to pool) and even the impact on your property taxes. A pool might increase your property value, but it might also limit your market somewhat if you decide to sell.
Choose your style
If your pool is mostly for exercise and swimming laps, you’ll need one at least 32 feet long, 16 feet wide and four feet deep. If you’re installing a diving board, you’ll need a deep end of eight feet. If your pool is mostly for recreation, you can choose a different shape, but be sure to have plenty of room for people to swim around.
Contract the install
Get estimates from at least three different contractors. See whether you can save money by having the pool installed during the off season. Check their references carefully, getting frank assessments of the experience from previous customers and even visiting pools they installed if possible to see the quality of their work firsthand. Make sure the contract is specific about costs and scheduling and meets any requirements or regulations in your municipality and neighbourhood.
You’re looking forward to healthy relaxation and fun in your own back yard with your new swimming pool. Following these simple steps can make getting there can be safe and stress-free. Congratulations on taking the plunge.
Kara Redden is a swimming pool enthusiast who is passionate about educating others to spend less time on their pool and more time with their family. Kara is a partner at R&R Pools in Halifax and is the Atlantic Chapter president of the Pool and Hot Tub Council of Canada