Friday, October 14, 2016


The average homeowner waits well over a
year from first considering a swimming pool to actually taking the proverbial plunge.  This is due to the many options and considerations when deciding if a swimming pool is right for you and your family.  If you are thinking that you may want to dive in (Ok, I promise I will stop), now is a great time to start thinking about it.  I always think of Clark Griswold in the movie Christmas Vacation when I think about the time and effort it takes just to get to signing the dotted line.  Like most big decisions in life, adding a swimming pool to your back yard is a process involving many steps.

1.  Research types and price ranges

Pool installation prices range greatly between areas of the United States.  A gunite swimming pool will triple (or more) in price when you build it in the Northeast region verses the south.  This is in part because of the climate and the need to use heartier materials that can withstand a cold New England winter.  

When looking at what type of pool you want to get, it is good to have a general sense of what you can afford.  Pools range in price from a few thousand dollars for an above-ground to skies the limit when you go in-ground and start customizing.  

Also, consider your future.  Are you in your forever home?  If so, it may be worth it to go higher end if you are going to spend many years enjoying the pool.  If this is your "for the time being home," you want to consider whether your investment will be worth it at the end of the day.  In speaking with a local realtor, a swimming pool in a higher end eighborhood is considered more of a must have.  There are also buyers that would like a home with a pool already so that they do not have to put the time and effort into building one.  

In the northeast, you really have four choices:  aboveground, inground vinyl, inground fiberglass, and inground gunite.

Above grounds are ideal for someone who is maybe on the fence, wants something for while the kids are young, or does not have the means or the yard to go inground.  They can be up and running in a day and while some can cost you $15,000+, the majority are quite cost efficient. The downfall?  In our harsh winters, many above ground owners find themselves having to replace their pools or the liners when the weather gets extreme.  

Inground Vinyl Liners have come a long way over the last decade.  With the ability to provide more options than ever before, they are a more cost effective way to get the luxury of an inground pool without the larger price tag.  That being said, as with many updates in the 21st century, vinyl liners have a much shorter life expectancy than liners installed 10 years ago.  A homeowner should expect to have to replace the liner ever 7 to 9 years, more if a small animal or pet decides to go swimming.  Vinyl liner pools also require some caution when it comes to vacuuming equipment and chemicals so as to not accelerate the decaying process.  Additionally, while a vinyl liner can look great in your back yard, the options for what can be put into it are limited, but if you are looking for a simple pool, a discount in the price (although here in the northeast, vinyl liner pool installation costs have substantially increased) or maybe you just aren't in your forever home, then this is absolutely the way to go.

Fiberglass pools have started to pop up more in the northeast in the last few years.  I heard a great comment about fiberglass pools the other day.  It was during a discussion about water tables and the lack of a hydrostatic valve in a fiberglass pool and the person said to me "you are basically putting a boat in your backyard."  So for those of you who may be new to pool lingo, click on water table to learn more about what it is.  Basically, if a pool is installed and there is a high water table, there is no where for water to go.  This ultimately causes the water to go under the pool and lift it from where it sets.  In both vinyl liner inground pools and gunite pools, a hydrostatic valve is placed inside the main drain of a pool and it opens and shuts to allow water in and out to allow the natural water table under your pool to remain level at all times.  A fiberglass pool has no hydrostatic valve so if you are living in an area with a high water table, a fiberglass pool has a higher chance of lifting out of place.  Fiberglass pools are generally a "faster" installation than other types of inground pools.  The price tag is akin to a custom gunite pool; however, homeowners are limited in their imagination as the pools are generally made in specific shapes and sizes so not a lot of customizing. 

2.  So you have reached the stage where you know what you want, but how are you paying?

We all know that the housing bubble didn't just burst, it exploded.  Years ago, people were able to use equity in their homes as an extra bank account.  Some people may still be able to do this, but if you are not in this group, then you may be trying to think outside the box.  The short answer is, there are options if you cannot take a home equity line.  Aquaknot Pools has an exclusive agreement with Paramount financing to offer financing options to our customers.  A preapproval can be completed with a few clicks of the button and you will soon be on your way to designing.  Beyond our financing, we would recommend you speak with your, or a, financial advisor to determine the best way for you and your family to get the pool you have been waiting for.

3.  Know your limitations and your hurdles

So many site issues can arise when looking at building a swimming pool, from zoning to conservation to septic placement, it is always important to do your homework.  Oftentimes, our sales and design department's first meeting will be spent going over many of the hurdles and all pool talk will cease until such hurdles are overcome.  This may mean seeking permission from your local conservation department, moving septic, or bringing in an engineer.  Depending on your yard, a pool may also require a structural wall be created to maintain the integrity of the site.  All of this is good to know in advance so that you can be prepared for what extra hurdles, and maybe more importantly, what extra costs you need to think about.  

4.  You have your money, you know what you want, you know what you need to get it, so what then?

Here comes the fun part...really, I mean it.  Now comes the design phase.  Any pool company can give you a rough estimate of what a pool will cost but it isn't until a design has been finalized that you can have the true number.  If you are doing a vinyl or a fiberglass pool, this part will be less cumbersome to you as your options are somewhat limited.  If you are going for a custom gunite pool, then it is time to let your imagination lead the way (well, so long as you know your limitations).  Custom gunite pools come with so many options, it can be over whelming.  From general shape, to entries (stairs, beach walkin), to attached spas or waterfalls, there are so many ways to make your pool suit your needs. Today's pool customer can add in water tables, fire bowls, LED lighting, floor cleaning systems and so much more.  

Then, just like building a house, you will get the options of surfaces, tiles, decking, and coping.  A somewhat overwhelming task but one we are with you for every step of the way.

Other options to consider are whether you want a heater to extend the time you get to use the pool, do you want an automatic cover as added safety, what about salt?  There are so many decisions and it is crucial to get real answers so that you know what is worth the money and what you may want to leave by the wayside.  If you aren't getting the pros and cons from your pool designer, then you may want to seek second opinions.  

If you are an Aquaknot customer, by the time you sign to start work you have 3-D photos of your pool and how it will look in your backyard, you have a detailed proposal, and you have a price.  You are ready to sign and start moving on your dream swimming pool.  

Considering a swimming pool?  Call us today for a free on-site consultation and free estimate.