An inground pool is not only an exquisite addition to your property but also an investment in outdoor living. However, choosing the right pool for you and your family may not be as easy as you think. There are many factors to consider when wanting an inground pool such as the kind of pool material you want, the pool design, considerations, maintenance and care, as well as safety measures. Throughout this comprehensive guide, we will examine all of these factors so you can feel comfortable choosing the right inground pool for your home.
Understanding Inground Pools
At Liquid Assets Pools, we recommend choosing concrete for your next pool for a multitude of reasons. Here is how concrete compares to other types of materials you can choose from:
Inground pools made of concrete typically add excellent value to homes. They usually come with two hours of maintenance per week, six to eight weeks of installation time, and are a bit more expensive than the other types of pools but are considered the best investment. You must drain the pool one foot below the surface level every winter. Benches and steps are custom-built as part of the pool and you have the choice between smooth plaster or a PebbleTec surface.
Inground pools with liners usually add a fair value to homes. They are typically installed between two to three weeks and require on average about six hours of maintenance per week. The main drawback to this type of pool is that the liners can stretch which makes them easy to tear and damage. Liner pools need to be drained every two years, have a slippery surface, and have few options for benches and steps.
Inground pools made of fiberglass normally don’t add much value to homes. They do have the shortest installation time of one to two weeks and only require about two hours of maintenance per week. The biggest drawback of fiberglass pools is that they can pop out of the ground due to hydrostatic pressure. These types of pools can not be drained, have a slippery surface, and have few options for benches and steps.
Steel Walls, Concrete Bottom
Similar to fiberglass, inground pools made of steel walls and concrete bottoms typically don’t add much value to homes. They take about three to four weeks to install, require about six hours of maintenance per week, and need to be painted yearly. The main drawback to these types of inground pools is that they are made up of many components, which can cause the pool to leak. Inground pools with steel walls are never drained, have a rough surface, and have few options for benches and steps.
As you can see, concrete has many advantages over other types of pools. With the excellent value added to homes, customizable options, and low maintenance time, it seems to be the best choice for pool material. Concrete is also the clear-cut construction method of choice in the United States, with 62% of units being made of concrete.
Planning Your Inground Pool
Becoming a pool owner requires a lot of planning and consideration. Here are some of the top things to plan for when wanting an inground pool:
Determine the Ideal Pool Size and Shape
You should first think about how you intend to use your inground pool. Do you plan on hosting large gatherings and parties in your pool or would you prefer only having a smaller group, such as your immediate family, using your pool? Considering factors such as the number of swimmers, available deck space and seating, and overall aesthetic is important in choosing the right pool for you.
Establish Budget and Construction Timeline
Having an inground pool installed can be costly, so it is important to know what pool styles and sizes that will fit your budget. It is important to consider the monthly or annual maintenance costs that will come with the particular inground pool you want as well as insurance costs. It is also crucial to discuss the estimated timeline for pool construction with your pool contractor, taking into account factors such as weather conditions and seasonal demands.
Assess Space and Zoning Regulations
You should evaluate the available space in your backyard or designated pool area. Consider factors such as the size and shape of the space as well as identifying any potential obstacles, such as trees, utility lines, or structures that may need to be moved or removed. You should also know the local zoning regulations and laws in St. Louis that may impact your pool project and acquire the necessary permits required by local authorities before you begin.
Seek Professional Advice
Consulting with an experienced pool contractor to discuss your ideas can be very helpful. You will receive expert advice tailored to your needs, space, and budget. A reputable pool contractor will provide you with a detailed design plan, including 3D rendering or sketches, allowing you to visualize how your pool will look in your yard.
Plan for Landscaping
Consider what aesthetic you want and how landscaping elements will enhance your pool area. Well-placed plants, trees, and hardscaping can create a tranquil and inviting ambiance around your inground pool. It is crucial to plan for proper drainage to avoid water accumulation near the pool and ensure a well-maintained landscape.
Inground Pool Design and Customization
There are many options in choosing how you want your pool to look. Here are some of the main design options to consider when customizing your ideal inground pool:
Pool Shape and Size
Choose a pool shape that aligns with your vision and complements your outdoor space. Popular options include rectangular, kidney-shaped, freeform, and geometric designs. You should also consider how the pool shape will affect the flow and usability of the surrounding deck area. A well-planned pool shape can enhance the overall visual appeal and functionality of your pool area.
Material Selection and Deck/Patio Design
The choice of materials for your pool’s interior surface plays a significant role in aesthetics as well as maintenance. Common pool interior options include tiles, pebble finishes, plaster, and exposed aggregates. Each material offers unique visual effects and varying durability. The surrounding area of your pool is just as important. You should design a deck or patio space that complements the pool’s aesthetics and provides enough room for lounging, dining, and outdoor activities.
Water Features and Lighting Effects
You can enhance your pool design with water features that enhances the ambiance. Some options include cascading waterfalls, bubbling fountains, and sheer descents. Lighting also plays a significant role in setting the mood and aesthetic for your pool area, especially during evening and night swims. You can choose from a variety of pool lighting options such as LED lights, fiber optic lighting, and color-changing features.
Professional Design Assistance
Collaborate with experienced pool designers or landscape architects who can bring your pool vision to life. They may also be able to offer valuable insights to fully optimize your pool design. A good designer will utilize 3D renderings or virtual models to visualize how your pool will look in your yard before finalizing the design. Liquid Assets Pools uses Pool Studio, the industry leader in professional 3D swimming pool design software, to help you make the right design choices.
Pool Maintenance and Care
Having an inground pool can be very fun and relaxing, but it also comes with maintenance and care to ensure you keep your pool in the best condition so it not only looks good but lasts a long time. Here are some factors to consider for maintenance and care:
Skimming and Water Circulation
You should skim the pool’s surface daily to remove leaves, debris, and insects to prevent them from sinking and creating stains on the pool floor. It is also important to regularly clean the pool walls and floor to prevent algae buildup and maintain a clean pool interior. Proper water circulation is essential, you should run the pool pump and filter system for eight to twelve hours daily to ensure all the water is properly filtered and circulated.
Water Level and Chemistry Balance
Ensuring the pool water level stays within the recommended range will help with proper skimming and filter performance. You may need to adjust the water level after heavy rainfall or pool usage. You also need to monitor the pH, chlorine, and alkalinity or calcium hardness by regularly testing the pool water. Adjust the water chemistry as needed to maintain balanced levels, ensuring safe and sanitary swimming conditions.
Filter, Skimmer, and Pump Basket Cleaning
You must clean the pool filter regularly to remove any trapped debris and maintain efficient filtration. Depending on your filter type, you should backwash, rinse, or clean the filter components by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Emptying the skimmer and pump baskets weekly will prevent debris from clogging the system and affecting water circulation.
Winterization and Seasonal Maintenance
If you do not plan on using your pool year-round, you should winterize it during the colder months to protect it from freezing temperatures. This includes lowering the water level, draining the plumbing system, adding winterizing chemicals, and other things depending on your pool. You should also perform seasonal maintenance tasks such as pool cover cleaning and inspection, before opening the pool for the swimming season.
Safety Measures and Tips
Pool ownership comes with a lot of responsibility and ensuring your pool is safe should be your top priority. Here are some safety measures and tips to consider before starting to build your inground pool:
Pool Fencing and Decking
A fence or other type of barrier is required around every outdoor inground pool by law. In St. Louis, it is required that the barrier around your pool should be at least four feet in height, including gates, and entrances should be self-closing and self-latching. Your fence should also have no gaps or opening that a child could squeeze through. It is also important to choose slip-resistant materials for the pool deck and surrounding areas to prevent slips and falls.
Supervision and Water Safety
Never leave children or inexperienced swimmers unattended in or around your pool, even if they know how to swim. Establish clear pool rules, such as no running, no diving in shallow areas, and no swimming alone, and make sure to consistently enforce them. You should also educate children and quests about pool safety, such as entering the pool feet first, avoiding horseplay, and not holding their breath underwater for extended periods of time.
Check Drains, Suctions Fittings, and Pool Covers
You need to regularly inspect pool drains and suction fittings to ensure they are in good condition and free from any obstructions. Inform swimmers that they need to stay away from drains and suction outlets to avoid entrapment. If you use a pool cover, make sure that it is securely fastened and able to support the weight of a child or pet if accidentally walked upon.
For extra peace of mind, you may want to consider getting pool safety equipment. Keeping items such as lifebuoys, reaching poles, and a first aid kit near the pool for quick access is helpful during emergencies. You may also want to consider installing pool alarms that can detect movement in the water. These alarms can alert you if someone unexpectedly enters the pool area.
Choosing the right inground pool for your family and home can be a daunting task. Throughout this guide, we’ve explored the different materials used for inground pools, the considerations and planning, pool design and customization, maintenance, as well as safety measures and tips. Hopefully, by reading through this guide, you feel well-equipped of taking on the task of choosing the ideal inground pool. Creating cherished memories, relaxation, and endless enjoyment await you and your loved ones in your own private oasis.