Investing in a swimming pool is a big decision. Choosing the right pool and the right company to construct your pool is critical to maximizing your enjoyment for many years. The trend is to create a backyard that homeowners can escape to that makes them feel like they are on a vacation, without having to spend a lot of money on expensive getaways. Vacations are wonderful, but how many times have you spent hard-earned money on a vacation only to have your expectations unmet? If you plan and do a little bit of research, you can enjoy a vacation every day.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT POOL FOR YOU
There are several different types of pools you can invest in. Each offers its own features and benefits. There are several types of pools: above ground, vinyl lined in-ground, shot crete in-ground and fiberglass.
Top Six Things You Should Know ...
1. Decide the type of pool that will fit into your budget and lifestyle.
2. Follow the steps listed here to select your pool builder.
3. Take the time to design your entire backyard.
4. Look at as many pool design options as possible.
5. Follow maintenance and safety guidelines.
6. Always check that the dealer has accredited awards and belongs to substantiated organizations such as the NSPI, has Aqua Hall of Fame Recognition, BBB, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
ABOVE GROUND POOLS
If you are on a tight budget, an above ground pool may be right for you. Above ground pools have changed dramatically over the years. They now offer neat features like fiber optic lighting, sturdy ladders, pool lights, and new designs on the outer wall. The construction of these pools has changed, making them sturdier, and most warranties are 15 years or longer. Some advantages to above grounds are that you can install them yourself, be swimming in a day or two and you can disassemble them and take them with you if you move. The price is right for these pools as well. Typical above ground pools start at around $300 and go to about $5,000. If you want the pool installed, installation prices vary, depending upon the site. Installation can range from $400-$2000, depending upon the size of the pool and site characteristics.
VINYL LINER POOLS
Vinyl liner pools are great because they can be completed within a week or two and are the most popular in Minnesota. Typical vinyl liner construction consists of steel, concrete or wood walls, liner, steps and surrounding decking. Vinyl liner pools are in ground pools, and you can vary the size and water depth of your pool. They also offer nice options such as fiber optic lighting, pool sweeps and many different shapes and sizes. Prices for vinyl liner pools vary, but typically range from $20,000 to $30,000 depending upon size, options, etc. Keep in mind that you will have to change your liner. Depending upon the initial quality of your liner and how well you maintain your pool, your liner should last an average of 10-15 years. Replacement liners cost $1800 to $3500, depending upon the thickness and size.
SHOT CRETE POOLS
After excavation, your empty shell is steeled with rebar. Then the shell is shot with shot crete, a special concrete mix that yields a 400-PSI strength. This is a monolithic shell and you can be assured that your pool is there forever. After your shell is complete, a marcite finish is placed on the shell and includes a 10-year manufacturer's warranty on your finish. There are numerous options when constructing a shot crete pool. Shot crete pools typically range from about $25,000 to $45,000, depending upon features.
Fiberglass pools are one-part shells that are lowered into the ground after excavation. Fiberglass pools are functional pools and can be designed in many different shapes and sizes. Fiberglass shells vary in methods of fiberglassing shapes and sizes. Manufacturer's warranties are only effective if pools are installed properly. Be sure your builder has experience in installing fiberglass pools. Research the type of fiberglass shells carefully. They typically range in price from about $20,000 to $50,000, depending upon size and options.
CHOOSING A POOL BUILDER
Now that you've decided on which pool you want to invest in, it's time to choose your builder. Talking with friends or family who have built pools is the first recommendation. When interviewing potential builders, ask them for a list of customers you can contact. Obtain at least three written quotes. Viewing one of your builder's finished pools is an absolute must. Many people do not take this extra step, but take the time to go and see a few of the pools that he has built.
A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD DO:
Ensure that your builder knows local zoning, grading, and building requirements; inquire about worker's compensation and general liability insurance; check with the Better Business Bureau; ask about location of your filtration equipment and electrical requirements; discuss possible damage to shrubs, trees, plants, and driveways and be clear about whose responsibility it is to repair possible damage; for in-ground pools, there is a lot of dirt that will need to be removed from the property. Be sure and ask your builder to remove the dirt; get the pool company's warranty in writing; and review the contract thoroughly.
Your pool is built and it is time to enjoy. Now comes the dreaded part, right? Absolutely not! Maintenance is a breeze. Automatic cleaners are inexpensive and will save you many hours of vacuuming your pool. Set your timer for whatever time you want the auto cleaner to come on, and by the time you get home from work, your pool is clean. The test kit is easy to understand and only takes a few minutes. Your builder should supply you with written instructions in pool maintenance so that you may reference them if necessary until you become comfortable with your maintenance schedule.
Common sense is the rule of thumb regarding safety around your pool. Supervise children, stow life saving equipment nearby, no running or diving in shallow water, install handrails if necessary and ensure deck area is non-slip. Accidents in and around pools are rare; however, you might consider an umbrella policy. Insurance companies will provide you with an umbrella policy if you ask. A typical $1,000,000 policy usually runs about $200 per year.
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