Swimming Pool Do’s and Don’ts

Over the years I’ve talked about pools being pretty low on the list when it comes to return on investment. But that’s just financially speaking. When it comes to your own personal enjoyment, well that’s another story altogether.

I fully admit that I love having a pool. I use it regularly for fitness, I spend a lot of quality time in it with my kids, and there’s nothing better than throwing a good pool party for friends and family. For me the return on investment is all about quality of life.

But with every pool comes great responsibility. There are a ton of safety, maintenance and design factors that need to be considered if you’re installing a pool at your home. Here are some important do’s and don’ts.

DO think about what you want out of the pool before you get started. Is it for exercise, play, entertaining, or just for the kids? This might determine shape, depth, and whether you want any special features. Keep in mind that accessories like diving boards require certain considerations like having to go deeper in one end, and there may be additional insurance issues. Think all of these things through before you start digging.

DON’T focus on looks over practicality. There are a lot of great and interesting designs out there, and it’s easy to get carried away. Just keep in mind that your pool will likely outlast many trends and popular styles. You’re likely better off sticking with a simple design that is easy to maintain.

DO work with a trusted professional who can advise you on the best materials (ie – vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete). Like with any renovation or build project, you don’t necessarily want to go with the cheapest option, but rather the one that will get you the best return over time.

DON’T think that your costs will end once the pool is complete. You’ll have all kinds of potential fees including basic maintenance, electrical, liner replacements, fixing cracks, and so on. When designing the pool with the builder keep all of these issues in mind. Your builder may have some great ideas and be able to execute them for a reasonable price, but don’t forget to consider the cost implications that will come later.

DO look into municipal rules and bylaws regarding backyard pools early in the process. You’ll want to make sure you’re complying with local building and safety regulations so that you don’t have to alter your plans midway through the project.

DON’T skimp on the pool surround. Pools are very expensive, and by the time you’re done you’ll probably be looking to save money. But keep in mind that most people spend more time on the deck and pool surround than they actually do in the water. Be sure to invest in quality, low maintenance materials and design it in a practical way that suits your lifestyle.

DO emphasize safety in every possible way. Secure it with the appropriate fencing and make sure you have a safe and sturdy pool cover. An automatic cover like the one I have from Coverstar means kids and pets won’t have any accidental falls. Even if you don’t have children or pets you’ll want a cover to prevent other potential accidents and make sure you’re covered for any insurance purposes.

DON’T ignore the importance of dehumidification if you have an indoor pool. Due to the complex mix of heat, humidity, and chemicals, you can’t just use an average dehumidifier. To make sure your pool and its mechanical workings are as safe and efficient as possible make sure you’re working with a company that specializes in pool dehumidification. I opted for a unit from Seresco which is keeps the entire pool area comfortable and dry all year long.

DON’T build the pool too far away from the house. Sometimes you might think it will look better at the far end of the yard, but once you start using it you will quickly appreciate the convenience of proximity.

Photos courtesy of iStockphoto.com /TimAbramowitz, /Elenathewise, /rsenik, /stevecoleimages, /Terry J Alcorn