Installing a pool costs thousands of dollars. While the end result is worth the cost for many homeowners, major mistakes along the way could really break the bank or sour the entire experience for you. Here are some of the most common pool installation mistakes, and how to avoid them:
There might be a reason that the home with the huge backyard you want to buy doesn’t have a pool already. Maybe the old owners just weren’t interested, but maybe there is a real problem that prevents a pool in that location. Pool plans could be scrapped for a number of reasons. First, maybe there’s not enough room to add a pool. Don’t be surprised if the yard that looks huge is actually only half-yours when the surveying is done. You might also be living on top of rock, making the digging process next to impossible. Sometimes, homes have pipes or tanks in the yard that would have to be painstakingly moved before a pool has room to fit. If money is not a concern, yes, you can fix just about any problem, but sometimes you’ll end up paying double or triple the amount. Before you buy a home solely for the pool space or sign a contract with a non-refundable deposit with a pool company for installation, make sure that you aren’t planning something that’s impossible.
Swimming pools don’t always cost less during the winter. In fact, in your attempts to save money, you might actually end up paying more. In some locations, the season doesn’t make a difference, but for others, pools make sense to install during the summer, even though the initial price looks higher. Why could your pool be more expensive in the winter? Well, although the cost of the pool itself, liner, and other pool materials might be on sale, your labor could cost more, since the ground is much harder to dig in the winter. In addition, you can’t fully fill and test a pool in the winter, so if there are any leaks, you won’t notice them until the summer. By that time, your warranty might have already run out. The price of landscaping and related materials are also usually higher in the winter. Never say never – it can sometimes save you money to install during the winter – but in general, this isn’t the default best idea if you’re on a budget.
When you plan a pool, it is important to consider the landscaping as you’re working on the overall design. However, don’t get so focused on the overall look that you forget the functionality of the pool. With your pool, even if it is above ground, you have to have space for the pipes, pumps, and filter system. For many, these things can’t be buried, and without them, your pool won’t be usable. It is also important to think about the flow of swimmers as they walk around the pool, making sure that there is enough space on all sides. Safety needs to be a top concern, so you may want a fence. In fact, some cities require pools to have barriers of some sort. Also consider the trees and other plants in your area, since falling leaves and insects mean more cleaning.
Not all contractors are created equal. Sometimes, the least expensive choice can end up costing thousands of extra dollars because the job isn’t done properly. Make sure you have a good contractor, refusing to work with anyone that won’t guarantee the work they do. If possible, visit other homes in the area to see work they’ve done in the past, and find out what to do if your pool needs work after just a few seasons of swimming. You should also get a clear schedule in place so that your contractor doesn’t disappear after a few days of work.
Pools are huge expenses, so some homeowners put in a cheap version of the pool they really want. Rarely is that a good idea, since upgrades will cost more later than if you’d include everything at the beginning. Sometimes, you can’t easily make the upgrades you want to make. For example, you can’t change the shape of the pool or make it bigger without completely starting over. So, it is usually much better to wait an extra year and save up some more money so you can get the pool you really want.
When you make a major mistake during pool installation, you’ll end up shelling out a lot of extra money. Instead, consider the points above and avoid making those mistakes as you are planning to put in your pool.