Custom Pool Frequently Asked Quesetions (FAQs)
What are the different types of in-ground swimming pools, and how do I choose the right one for my home?
Concrete, vinyl liner, and fiberglass are the three most common types of inground swimming pools.
- Concrete pools: These inground pools are the most traditional and common. These pools are extremely durable and can be tailored to any size, depth, or shape. The pool’s interior can be finished in several ways, including plaster, pebbles, or tiles. Concrete pools also allow for more custom features like waterfalls, beach entryways, and tanning ledges. They require more maintenance, and their lifetime costs are higher than other pool types.
- Vinyl Liner Pools: This pool uses a flexible liner. These pools are cheaper than concrete and have a smoother surface. Some homeowners prefer this. Liner is available in many patterns and colors, allowing for some customization. The liner must be replaced every 7-10 to add to the cost.
- Fiberglass Pools These fiberglass pools are factory-molded and installed as one piece in your yard. They can be quickly installed, sometimes in just a few weeks. The smooth surface is more resistant to algal growth than concrete and can help reduce maintenance costs. They are available in pre-designed sizes and shapes, which limits customization.
The type of pool that’s right for you depends on several factors, including your budget, how much maintenance you are willing to do, your aesthetic preferences, and the extent to which you wish to customize its size and shape. You should also consider the way you plan to use the pool. If you have kids and you want them to be able to play in the shallow end, or you want it deep for diving, then this could influence your decision. A professional pool designer can guide you in choosing the right option for your needs by discussing these factors.
What is the general process for designing and building a custom in-ground swimming pool?
Designing and building an in-ground custom swimming pool can be divided into several steps.
- Consultation & Design: First, meet with a designer for a consultation to discuss your needs and wants. The designer will consider the size, shape, and budget of your yard and any special features you may want to include. The designer will create a preliminary plan for your approval, including 3D renderings or a site map.
- Permitting & Approvals: After the design has been finalized, your pool contractor will assist you in obtaining the necessary permits. Your local building codes will determine the exact requirements, but they will most likely include submitting your pool design for approval.
- Excavation Once the permit is secured, the construction workers will mark the location of the pool and start excavation. The soil is removed to accommodate the pool, features, and other amenities.
- Pool structure installation: The next step depends on the type and size of the pool. It could be installing a fiberglass shell or a steel frame and applying concrete.
- Interior Finishing, The interior of concrete pools will be finished using plaster, tiles, or other materials. The vinyl liner will be installed on your pool. For fiberglass pools, you’ll already have the finished surface.
- Installation Additional Features: At this stage, you will install extra features such as diving boards, slides, and waterfalls. You can also add tanning ledges or a deck to your pool.
- Pool Equipment Installation: All pool equipment, including the heaters, pumps, and filtration system, are installed.
- Landscaping: After the pool and its equipment have been installed, the landscaping around the area of the pool can be completed.
- Filling the Pool with Water and Starting the Equipment: After filling the pool, the contractor will turn on the equipment, add the necessary chemicals, and test the system.
- Final inspection: A final inspection is usually required to ensure everything has been built according to safety and code standards.
Depending on your pool’s complexity, type, and timing, the process can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. Your contractor will be able to provide you with a timeline that is specific to your project.
How much space is required for an in-ground swimming pool?
The space needed for an inground swimming pool will vary depending on its size, design, and features. You’ll need to consider local building codes and any regulations or laws that may affect where you place your pool.
- Pool Size: First, the size of the actual pool is important. Most residential pools are typically between 14 feet by 28 feet and 20 feet by forty feet. However, you can adjust the size to suit your preferences and available space in a custom-designed pool.
- Additional Features Additional features like a patio, pool deck, diving board, or spa will require additional space. Even features in the pool, such as a tanning bar or swim-up bar, can increase the required footprint.
- Safety & Accessibility: Enough space is needed around the pool for safe, comfortable navigation. You’d typically want a few feet around the pool. Consider the space needed for equipment such as a heater and a pool cover.
- Building codes and Regulations: Finally, local building codes and regulations may require certain setbacks away from the home or property line. This will affect the location of your pool and how much room it takes up.
A pool area, including the pool and deck, can occupy a quarter or a third of a backyard. However, this size can be altered to suit your situation and design goals.
You can work with a pool designer to determine the right size pool and design for your yard by evaluating your space.
How long does it typically take to design and build a custom in-ground swimming pool?
The timeframe to design and build a custom inground swimming pool will vary depending on many factors, including the type of pool and the complexity of the pool’s design. Other factors include the weather and the local permit processes. As a general guideline, you can expect the following:
- Design phase: It can take a few hours to several weeks, depending on the speed at which decisions are taken and revisions approved. Finalizing more complex designs that include custom features can take longer.
- Permitting phase: The time is taken to obtain permits significantly impacts the timeline. It could take a few weeks or days in some places, but it can take months in others. You should check with your local municipal office to find out the timeline for obtaining a permit.
- Construction: Actual construction can take two weeks and a few months. Installing fiberglass pools is usually the fastest, taking only 3-6 weeks because the shells are already prefabricated. Vinyl-lined pools can take 4-8 weeks to install, while concrete pools take the longest, usually around 3-6 months, because the concrete needs to cure.
- Landscaping & Finishing Touches Lastly, extra time is needed to finish landscaping around the pool or add features, such as decks, outdoor kitchens, or fire pits. The project could be delayed anywhere between a few days and weeks.
You can expect to spend between 3 and 6 months on average to complete the pool, from initial design to completion. Remember that delays are possible, particularly due to bad weather, unanticipated site conditions, or changes made in the construction process. Your pool contractor will be able to provide you with a timeline that is specific to your project and the local conditions.
How much does it cost to build a custom in-ground swimming pool, and what factors influence the overall cost?
Costs for building a custom-made in-ground pool vary widely depending on several factors. On average, you can expect to pay between $35,000 and over $100,000. The cost will be affected by the following factors:
- Types of Pool: Your choice of pool will affect the cost. Concrete pools are the most costly due to their durability and labor-intensive installation. Vinyl-lined pools may be less expensive, but replacing the liner after 7-10 years is costly. Fiberglass pools fall somewhere in the middle. The pool shell may be more expensive but easier to install and less to maintain.
- Size and depth: Larger and deeper pools will cost more. Large, deep pools require more materials, longer construction and filling times, and more chemicals to maintain.
- Shape and design: Complex shapes or designs cost more than simple rectangular pools. If you add custom features like waterfalls, tanning platforms, beach entryways, or infinity edge, costs will increase.
- Equipment & Accessories: Pool equipment costs, such as heaters, pumps, filters, covers, and automatic cleaners, can be expensive. Accessories like diving boards or slides will also add to the cost.
- Site and Location Conditions: The installation cost can be increased if your site requires extensive excavation or is in difficult soil conditions.
- Decking and Landscaping: Decking and landscaping around the pool can significantly reduce the project’s cost. Materials of high quality and intricate designs will be more expensive.
- Local Regulations You should also consider the cost of inspections and permits required by your local municipality.
While the initial cost of a pool is important, you should also consider the maintenance costs that come with it over the years. To get an accurate estimate, you should talk to a pool contractor about your budget and requirements.
What are some common features or additions to consider when customizing my in-ground swimming pool?
You can add many features to your in-ground pool that will enhance its aesthetics and functionality. Here are some of the most popular options.
- Pool Decking: The area surrounding your pool can significantly impact the appearance of your pool area. Concrete, natural stone, pavers, or wood are all possible materials. Consider a range of colors, finishes, patterns, and designs.
- Hot Tub or Spa: Many pool owners choose to include a hot tub or spa in their design. They can either be integrated into the pool or separate.
- Water Features Like waterfalls, jets, or bubblers will add visual and auditory appeal. Infinity edges are popular, as they create the illusion of water without boundaries.
- Pool Lights: Underwater led lights will illuminate your pool and make it safer to swim in the dark. They also add a beautiful aesthetic touch. You can get lights that will change color.
- Pool Heating System: Using a pool heater, you can extend your swimming season even in cooler weather by keeping the water at a comfortable temperature.
- Automatic Cover for Pool: A pool cover that automatically closes can keep your pool cleaner, reduce evaporation and increase safety by preventing accidents.
- Swim-Up Bar: A swim-up bar is a great addition for entertaining. This feature usually includes built-in bar stools in stone, tile, or similar materials.
- Tanning Edge: This shallow pool area is designed for relaxation and lounging.
- Diving boards and Slides: These can be fun, especially for families with children. Make sure your pool is deep and wide enough to accommodate these features.
- Automated cleaning systems: Consider in-floor or automatic pool cleaners to decrease maintenance time.
- Saltwater Systems: A saltwater system is better than a chlorine pool. It can be more gentle on your skin and eyes.
The more features you have, the greater the initial and ongoing costs. You should balance your desire for these features against your budget and your lifestyle.
What kind of maintenance is required for an in-ground swimming pool, and how often does it need to be performed?
You must regularly maintain your in-ground pool to keep the water clean and clear for swimming. Here are some of the main aspects of swimming pools maintenance:
- Cleaning Skim the surface of your pool regularly to remove debris and leaves. To prevent algae growth, you’ll also need to brush the pool’s bottom and sides. You can do this by using an automatic pool cleaner.
- Maintenance of the Filter System: The filter system in your pool will require regular cleaning, and at times certain parts may need to be replaced. Backwashing is required for sand filter systems when pressure increases. Cartridge filters require that the cartridge be cleaned and replaced periodically.
- Chemical balance: Test your pool water regularly and adjust chemical levels if necessary. This includes controlling chlorine levels to kill bacteria and alga and balancing pH, calcium hardness, and alkalinity to protect pool materials and make the water comfortable for swimmers.
- Shock treatment: The “shocking” of the pool is done by adding a large amount of chlorine or an alternative to chlorine that does not contain chlorine. This will destroy any organic contaminants. This is usually done weekly or after heavy usage of the pool.
- Water level: Maintain a proper water level. Water can evaporate or splash during hot weather and active swimming. Add water to the pool and keep the level halfway up the skimmer’s opening.
- Check your equipment: Inspect the pool equipment regularly for signs of wear and damage. This includes the heater, pump, filter, and automatic cleaner.
- Opening and Winterizing: In areas where pools are closed for the winter months, it is necessary to winterize your pool by cleaning it, adding winter chemicals, and covering it. You’ll have to remove the cover in the spring, clean it, and rebalance the chemical balance to make the pool ready to use.
You can generally expect to spend a couple of hours a week on pool maintenance during the swimming season. Time and cost depend on your pool’s size, type of cleaning and filter systems, how often you use it, and local climate. You can hire a company to care for your pool if you don’t want to do it yourself.
What kinds of permits or permissions are typically required to build an in-ground swimming pool, and how can I obtain these?
Permits and permissions are usually required to build an in-ground pool. Local regulations will determine the exact requirements, but these are some of the most common.
- Permit to Build a Pool: The main permit required for a pool. You must provide a drawing of the pool, its size, shape, and location. Also, you’ll have to include details on the decking and fencing.
- Electrical Permits and Plumbing Permits Because pools require electrical and plumbing work, separate permits are required for this aspect of the project. It ensures that the wiring, lighting, and equipment, such as filters, heaters, and pumps, are all installed correctly and safely.
- Permit for Fence/Barrier: Many local governments require a fence around swimming pools to keep children safe and prevent unauthorized access. You may need a permit if your fence does not meet the standards.
- Grading License: A grading license may be required if your project requires significant changes to your property’s terrain.
You must submit a permit application to the local planning or building department. This typically involves filling out a form and providing detailed drawings of the pool and its features. A fee may also apply.
Your pool contractor will usually be able to assist you with this. They can assist with preparing the necessary plans, completing the application forms, and liaising with local authorities to obtain the required permits. However, it’s a good idea to check the permit requirements with your local municipality before starting any work.
Be aware that the time it takes to obtain permits can range from a few days to a few weeks or longer. So, be sure to include this in your project schedule.
Can an in-ground swimming pool be built in any type of soil or are there any restrictions?
Although an in-ground pool can be constructed in almost any type of soil, some soil types can present challenges that may require extra work or costs. Let’s look at the different types of soil that can impact pool construction.
- Sandy soil: Although the sand is easy to dig, it can shift and not provide a stable foundation for a swimming pool. You may need to take additional measures like soil stabilizers and pilings for sandy soils.
- Although clay soil is stable and can be used for pool construction, it can shift or crack over time if it expands when wet. These issues can be mitigated using special construction techniques such as reinforced concrete and an expansive soil barrier.
- Rock If you have a rock layer near the surface of your property, excavation may be expensive and difficult, as it could require heavy machinery or even blasting. Once the excavation has been completed, rock can provide a stable base for your pool.
- Sand: Sand is a mixture of sand and silt. It has good drainage and stability.
- Organic or Peat Soils: These soils are not recommended for pool construction due to their low strength and high compressibility. Peat soil must be removed from your property and replaced by suitable soil.
It’s also important to consider the level of groundwater in your area. The water table can make pool construction more difficult and may require extra measures, such as dewatering the area during construction or installing a permanent drainage system.
A soil test is typically performed before construction begins to identify the soil type and any issues that may arise. It is important to ensure that your pool is built and designed in a manner that considers the soil conditions on your property.
How does the construction of an in-ground swimming pool impact the value of my property?
In-ground pools can increase the value of a property. This impact is often positive, but it depends on several factors.
- Local market: In a warm climate, where swimming pools are popular and desired, an in-ground inground pool can increase the value of your property. The added value may be minimal in cooler climates, where pools are less used.
- Pool Maintenance and Quality: An attractive, well-maintained pool will increase the value of a property. A pool in bad condition can detract value from your property because potential buyers will perceive it as an expensive liability.
- Property value: High-end properties often have luxury amenities such as a pool. A swimming pool can increase the value of an upscale house.
- Buyer preferences: Pools can be an attractive selling point to buyers who are interested in outdoor recreation and leisure. A pool can disadvantage buyers who don’t want to maintain it or have safety concerns. This is especially true if you have young children.
- Pool Features Pools with upscale features (such as infinity edge, water features, and high-end materials) can add value to pools.
- Landscaping An attractive pool area can increase the value of your home by enhancing its appeal.
It is generally estimated that a swimming pool in the ground can increase the value of a house by anywhere between 5% and 8%. However, this number can vary greatly. Remember that the costs of maintaining and installing a pool can often be higher than the value increase. While a pool is a great addition to any lifestyle, it might not be the best choice if you want to increase the value of your home. Consult a real estate agent in your area to determine the effect of a pool.