If you build it, they will come. Every Iowan knows that quote exhorting the main character in Field of Dreams to build a baseball diamond in a corn field. However, it’s also a fitting prediction (warning?) for a would-be pool owner – install a swimming pool, and you can expect a lot of company from friends, family, and neighbors. Funny how that works.
While Iowa isn’t exactly heaven for swimmers, the summers in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and other parts of the state are reliably warm, with plenty of hot days to make non-pool owners wish they could take a refreshing dive into a backyard swimming hole. More importantly, summers are generally long enough to get decent value out of an inground pool.
In Iowa, high temperatures generally reach the 80s in June, July, and August (for example, the average high temperature in Davenport in July is 85). Depending on your tolerance for cooler air temps, you can stretch the swimming season further – especially if you employ a pool heater.
That said, many pool owners in Iowa and elsewhere are satisfied with a few months of swimming. Keeping your pool closed most of the year keeps those maintenance costs low and ensures that swimming in your own pool never becomes a humdrum experience.
Automatic pool covers are often a good investment in places that are a little bit colder. By covering your pool with the flip of a switch, you protect it from water evaporation and cooling. In the Midwest, where severe weather is common in the summer, this also helps keep debris from blowing in. The only downside – and it’s an obvious one – is that automatic covers are expensive to install.
Other tack-on features to consider include diving boards, slides, basketball hoop, volleyball net, or any number of water features. It all depends on how you plan to use your pool, and what your budget is.
The cost of construction labor in Iowa is around the national average, meaning you generally won’t pay any more or less than in other places. The bigger factors are the size of the pool, the type of liner (gunite, fiberglass, or vinyl), extra features, and the pricing of the builder you choose.
As always, you can save a bundle by doing some of the labor yourself or serving as your own general contractor. Of course, you can also get yourself into a lot of trouble if you don’t know what you are doing. When it comes to pool installation, there are a lot of advantages to working with a professional.
One of the big advantages of hiring a reputable pool builder is that they have (or at least should have) a firm grasp of the permit requirements in your area. The process varies by city/county, but you’ll generally to submit one or more building permit applications before the work can commence. Typically, you have to submit a blueprint with the application along with a permit fee. But don’t assume anything – check with your local building department to make sure you know what’s required.
As with permit applications, pool safety laws in Iowa vary by location. If you find something in your research that looks like a statewide pool safety law, it probably only applies to public pools. Check your local codes to find out what applies to you. In many cases, the main requirement is to enclose your pool with a safety fence that meets certain specifications. Once again, a good pool builder should know all the in’s and out’s.