Pool time is fun time

Go over options when deciding on a pool

Customization is the biggest trend in pools. If you’ve got the money, you can create a tanning ledge and decorate your pool any way you want. photo courtesy of Latham Pools
It’s never too late or early to install your pool, no matter its shape or size. photo courtesy of Latham Pools
The costs of pools run the gamut — a spa with waterfall will cost you. photo courtesy of Latham Pools
Semi-inground pools are a popular trend — and cheaper than inground pools. photo courtesy of Olympia Pools & Spas

The presence of a swimming pool in your backyard can be a blessing or a curse, and quite often both.

And at the same time.

While pools are fun and can be an attractive complement to a home, it can be a high-maintenance, expensive feature which can also present a safety risk. All that said, swimming pools are incredibly popular and the industry has evolved to keep up with modern demands and taste. With expert care and advice from local industry leaders, the addition of a pool to your property can be an entertaining home improvement that lasts a lifetime.

What better way to keep cool in the sweltering heat of an Indiana summer than in the crisp waters of your very own oasis?

If you’re interested in adding a pool to your property, it’s vital to consider your max budget before deciding on a pool, which will help to determine what extras or upgraded features may be possible. For aboveground pools, there are inexpensive DIY pools for a few hundred dollars to very robust pools that can run several thousand. For inground pools, prices for a very simple pool are well into the tens of thousands and continue on up, depending on how large or complex the finished pool will be.

David Perkins, Sales Manager at Olympia Pools & Spas, says it’s vital for interested homeowners to know their property measurements, lines and easements, where all utilities are located and whether a pool or spa is allowed by a homeowners association, when applicable. Once all that has been determined, Perkins says the next step is to “come in the store to pick out the pool that’s right for you and your family” and then decide who will install the pool, as it can be done either professionally or by the homeowner. Then, the homeowner will be placed on an “install list”, which will commence once Indiana’s weather allows. Perkins says, “Don’t wait for the weather to change to make your buying decision. The current weather should not have an impact on your buying decision. The nicer it is outside, the longer the install list and the longer you’ll have to wait for your new pool to be installed.”

At Tredway Pools Plus, aboveground pools are a cash and carry item, according to company president John Denny.

“We then provide our customers with a list of installers from approved contractors,” Denny wrote in an email.

For inground pools, customers will speak with Denny about space, size, options and general pricing. According to Perkins, aboveground pools typically take a day to install. Inground pools can take three to six weeks depending on the type and features involved. Perkins said there are far more aboveground pools than inground pools in the Fort Wayne area, so Olympia no longer builds custom inground varieties.

“The decision typically comes down to price,” he said. “Inground pools can cost around $35,000 and up while an aboveground pool the same size will cost $4,000 – $5000 and with fewer maintenance costs.”

Consumers want and need to know how much time they’re going to spend maintaining the pools versus enjoying them. Fiberglass pools in particular are one of the fastest growing pools on the market today as they perform better than concrete, are virtually maintenance free, due to their algae-resistant surface, and can be installed fairly quickly.

Another popular trend to take off recently, according to Perkins, is the semi-inground pool. These pools take one to three days to install and cost less than a fully inground pool.

“You can create a custom backyard oasis with less than half the cost of your basic inground pool,” Perkins said. “But there are many different variations to these so buyer beware, not all are created equal!”

A semi-inground pool can sit on top of the yard, be sunk halfway into the yard or even sit flush with the yard. This very versatile option has opened up the idea of a backyard pool to a wider demographic. Customers who cannot afford, or don’t want spend mony on, a traditional inground pool but who do not like the bulky look of an aboveground pool now have a multitude of installation and design choices at their fingertips. What’s more, semi-inground pools are more robust than a traditional aboveground pool, which means they’ll also last longer.

Homeowners choosing a semi-inground pool then have a few aesthetic decisions to make to ensure the pool fits in with the style of house, the size of the backyard and with any existing structures, such as decks. Another big bonus to a semi-inground pool is that since it’s not considered a permanent structure, just as a more traditional aboveground pool, it may not raise property taxes like an inground pool will, depending on where you live.

As for which style and look of pool is best for the home, know the current trends before deciding on a plan. While standard swimming pools have tended to be aesthetically basic, current trends are anything but. Updates and upgrades have made pools a high-style, statement-worthy decorative feature. Go as custom as possible for the most unique features and look, if the budget allows.

• Instead of a slanted pool floor, some homeowners are opting for level floors to make pool games and sports more accessible and enjoyable. And instead of a rectangle, pools with interesting shapes can add a more organic look to the backyard.

• Opt for chlorine-free water by choosing saltwater chlorination for your pool.

• Built-in fire pits and fireplaces, adjacent to or even incorporated within the pool, add an interesting juxtaposition, help to light the swimming area at night and can help lengthen the swimming season beyond early Autumn.

• While swimming pools are often energy drains, energy efficient options abound to help homeowners save money. While some of these features cost more up front, the long-term savings is often worth the expense.

• Swim-up bars aren’t just for resorts anymore. Add this fun and festive built-in feature for your own pool parties.

• Other in-pool features such as benches, tanning ledges and stair cases offer even more opportunity for customization.

• Upgrade your pool deck while you’re at it with plush but weather-resistant furniture and fabrics. Outdoor bars, kitchens and living rooms extend the square footage of your home and add another gathering space for friends and family.

Already a pool owner? To get properly prepped for swimming season, Perkins said to “schedule your pool’s opening in advance, do not wait until it’s nice outside.”

Workers at Tredway have already started opening customers’ pools in the area, according to Denny.

“Most people want to be up and running by Memorial weekend,” he said.

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