Infinity Edge Pools: Cost is One Big “Negative”

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Want to know what the next big trend in swimming pool design will be? Based on recent history, you might want to look at whatever’s popular at luxury resorts. Rather than installing a basic pool, many homeowners are willing to pay a little (or a lot) extra to replicate a vacation experience in their backyards.

Perhaps the ultimate example of the “staycation” trend are infinity edge pools – also known as negative edge pools. These pools have a short wall on one side, which allows water to spill over into a catch basin (or weir) below. The point of this is to create an optical illusion, making it seem like the water blends into the horizon. It’s easier to demonstrate than describe:

Woman in an infinity edge pool at a resort

Who wouldn’t want to have something like that in their backyard? Well, aside from the fact that most backyards don’t feature such breathtaking scenery, there are a few negatives that go with installing an infinity pool. You can probably guess the biggest one.

Infinity Pools Cost a Lot Extra

Obviously, installing the weir that catches the spillover water is an added expense. In addition, the weir wall (the shorter spillover wall) has to be treated on both sides to hold up under regular contact with water – while also, preferably, looking attractive. Last but not least, you need a special system to pump the water from the weir back into the pool above.

With any swimming pool installation, it’s always crucial to find a contractor who has experience with similar projects. Unfortunately, not all pool builders have installed infinity pools. Beyond the cost of extra materials and labor, you often have to pay a premium to get on the schedule of a builder with the expertise you need. The alternative of hiring a less experienced pool company simply isn’t worth the risk for a project like this.

The extra expense doesn’t end after you install your pool, either. Running an extra system to pump water from the weir back into the pool has a noticeable impact on maintenance costs. Also, most infinity pool designs do not lend themselves to pool covers, which are essential for preventing evaporation and keeping your energy bill under control.

The back side of an infinity edge pool

What an infinity pool looks like “behind the scenes.” For more info on how infinity pools are built, check out this article from Aqua Magazine.

The bottom line is that these types of pools aren’t the most economical. If you want to enjoy those stunning views, be prepared to pay extra at every step of the way. But then, you probably already knew that.

Other Disadvantages of Infinity Edge Pools

If you have the money and a suitable backdrop to work with, you’ve cleared the two biggest hurdles when it comes to building your own infinity swimming pool. But there are a few other concerns you might want to consider.

Safety is one issue. While they undoubtedly look more perilous than they really are, there is the danger of someone falling over the shorter weir wall into the basin below. Whether this is a likely scenario depends entirely on the sort of people who will be using the pool. Think it over, and also be sure to investigate any impact it might have on your homeowner’s insurance.

Another thing you may want to grapple with is the environmental impact of building and operating a pool like this. In addition to the extra energy it takes to keep these pools running, there’s the potential for landslides or other damaging effects on the environment. If you’re going to install one of these pools, make sure you find a pool company that knows how to do it right.