Should I get a pool? It’s not a question to take lightly, nor one that’s necessarily easy to answer.
In the final analysis, it boils down to whether the joys of having your own backyard pool are worth the costs and commitments. Of course, people differ in how they reckon the upsides and downsides of owning a pool. As a result, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that monumental question of whether getting a pool is a good idea.
If you’re on the fence about installing a backyard swimming pool, the best advice is to wait until you fall off on one side or the other. How will you know if you’ve fallen on the “go for it” side? Here are a dozen unmistakable signs:
1. You’ve always wanted a pool. Obviously, getting a pool isn’t something you do on a whim. Still, many people decide to install backyard pools only to regret it later when the initial excitement wears off. If you’ve wanted a pool for years – not days or weeks – the chances are greater that pool ownership really is for you.
2. You plan to stay in your home for the foreseeable future. Adding an inground pool generally increases property value, but other home improvements offer a lot more bang for your buck. Also, unless pools are commonplace in your area, having a pool could limit the market for your home. In short, if you’re planning to sell anytime soon, you should probably put your pool plans on hold until your next home.
3. You’re already an outdoor living enthusiast. If you already spend a lot of time relaxing in your backyard, you’re more likely to reap the full benefits of a pool. Why? Because a pool won’t just be a place to swim, but a backdrop for all of your outdoor activities.
4. You’ve talked to people who own pools. If you have friends or family members with pools, you have a leg up on understanding what it means to be a pool owner. Barring that, you can also “talk” to people online through swimming pool forums.
5. You’re familiar with the building code in your area. Your city and/or county probably has something to say about where you can build your pool and what sort of safety measures you have to put in place. An experienced pool builder can help you understand all the in’s and out’s, but you should have some idea of what to expect before you even decide to go through with the project. After all, it can seriously impact your cost/benefit analysis.
6. You know how long you can keep a pool open in your part of the country. In order to decide whether a pool is worth it, you have to know how much you can actually use it each year. See our state-by-state pool buyer’s guide for more info.
7. You don’t have any other major home improvement projects scheduled. Pool installation can be a hectic experience, even if you have a great general contractor who shields you from a lot of the day-to-day problems. To safeguard your sanity, don’t try to undertake any other major projects at the same time. In fact, because pool installs are notorious for setbacks and delays, you want your schedule to be as clear as possible.
8. You’re prepared to lose your backyard for a few weeks (or months). This mostly an issue for concrete pools, as vinyl and fiberglass pools can be installed relatively quickly. But no matter what type of pool installation we’re talking about, it’s going to turn your yard into a construction zone for some period of time. If now isn’t a good time for that sort of disruption, you might want to wait.
9. You have a realistic plan to maintain your pool. Keeping your pool clean and chemically balanced takes time and money. Before you decide to get a pool, you should know what’s involved and whether you will do it yourself or hire a pool service.
10. You have time to hire a pool builder. Finding the right company to install your pool can take a lot of time and effort, but it’s essential for a successful project. Make sure you have enough time in your schedule to do some research and meet with at least three candidates before making a decision.
11. You know what type of pool you want. The builder you choose can influence your decisions on specific pool features – there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you don’t have at least a preliminary plan for materials, size, shape, placement, and so on, then you haven’t put enough thought into it to decide if you really want a pool. Those big design decisions all have a dramatic impact on how you will use your pool, and how much it will cost.
12. You can afford the type of pool you want. A lot of people want to know how much a pool costs. But it’s not about a pool. It’s about your pool. You should make sure you have the money (or financing) to pay for a design that really excites you. After all, you’re going to have that pool for a long time.