TAKE THE PLUNGE
Create that backyard retreat now with an inground swimming pool installment or remodel
By Barbara Kuntz
It may be cold outside, but here at Houston House & Home, we’re thinking of those long, hot summer days ahead. Our solution to beat the inevitable heat: Swimming pools and pool remodeling. Now’s the time to make that backyard retreat a reality.
First things first: The cost of adding an inground pool or investing in a pool remodel depends on numerous factors, so price points run the gamut. From fiberglass to vinyl liners to gunite concrete, pool options are almost limitless. And also to consider are size, shape, salt water vs. chlorinated water and much more. With most pool installment or remodels, initial consultations with a reputable contractor are free. Now that’s an affordable starting point.
“From a relaxing oasis to a place to play, the process begins with what you want,” The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals presents on its website. “Small or lavish, modest or flamboyant, think not just about the pool itself, but the environment that meets your needs, suits your lifestyle and counts most when you’re slipping into the water.”
Generally speaking, fiberglass pools are nonporous, inhibiting the growth of algae; have nonabrasive surfaces; and are usually installed within weeks. However, they come in limited shapes and designs, and repairs on some colored finishes may not match.
Vinyl-lined pools have the lowest initial cost and are also nonabrasive. Con: A vinyl liner is short-lived — a question smart buyers know to ask if, and when, they may have to replace the liner before they purchase a house with a vinyl-lined pool.
Concrete pools can be designed in any size, shape or depth. Con: Concrete pools do take longer to install.
SALT WATER OR CHLORINATED
Salt water vs. chlorinated? That’s another personal choice.
“There is a greater up-front cost that comes when buying a salt system compared to chlorine, but over time that number decreases as you save more in the long run,” Waterside Poolscapes’ website comments. “It is more difficult to sanitize a pool if a problem arises, as chlorine or other chemicals cannot be simply added. Thus, correcting the issue may require the help of a technician.”
Chlorine, Waterside Poolscapes’ website continues, cleans the water much faster if bacteria is present, and the cost is less at the startup of your pool. However, chlorine pools require a bit more maintenance.
“And if you are maintaining the pool yourself, chlorine is a necessary component to have on hand. It is a corrosive material that can make storage difficult and dangerous if not done correctly.”
The Bottom Line
Just as with any home addition, the cost of installing an inground pool depends on the size and details of the overall project. Basic inground gunite concrete pool installation can begin at $35,000 and can take a minimum of 12-16 weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions and other factors that might cause unexpected delays. Renovation of an existing pool can range from $7,000-$35,000, depending on the scope of work involved. Also to be considered is the time for permit submittal and approval, which is needed on both a new and an existing pool.
When to Start
Your next question may be “when” to begin the process. Latham Pool Products Inc.’s website notes, “Your lawn will endure some wear and tear, as will the landscaping. That’s why having your pool installed before the landscaping — while your yard is nothing but dirt — really is the best option. Your plants will thank you.”
Winter weather provides the perfect opportunity to call a reputable pool installer before the spring growing season arrives — and, as we all know so well, the summer heat, too. Requests for pool renovations and remodels, particularly heater additions, come as soon as temps dip into the 50s and 60s.
One recent project by The Aqua Group Fiberglass Pools and Spas required a considerable amount of prep-work beyond the excavation and pool installation of a “Gemini”-style, inground pool by Triology from Latham Fiberglass Pools.
“Because of the grade of the back yard, we had to bring in well over 100 tons of soil to ensure the proper grade, leveling and foundation for the pool,” says Luke Chase representing Latham Pool Products Inc. “Once the style and features were determined, the pool was delivered, installed, plumbed and ready in less than a week.”
Those homeowners now enjoy the 16-by-32-foot fiberglass pool with perimeter tile, travertine coping, cascades, tanning ledge, bubblers and accent tile.
“All of the concrete patio work, landscaping and finishing touches were completed, and the homeowner has the backyard oasis and entertaining venue they always dreamed of,” Chase adds.
Homeowners in Hedwig Village recently turned to Tim Turner, owner and lead designer of Windswept Landscape Studios, for a pool and deck renovation with spa addition. The ongoing job started with taking the existing structure down to the gunite shell, replastering it in a classic white and raising a newly requested spa, designed in the same finishing, to spill over into the pool. Glass tile in a Versace pattern in blue and white limestone now serves as the coping around the water escapes.
“We have more requests for salt water pools,” Turner says, as opposed to chlorinated pools. “So all the pool equipment is for salt water, as clients like the way salt water feels.”
In addition to the feel, Turner says, the clients can use a phone application to operate the salt water equipment. Homeowners just designate a time to start the warming mechanisms to have the pool and/or spa at the perfect temperature when they arrive home and are ready to exercise, relax and indulge.
“LED lights in rotating colors are also very popular,” Turner continues, “especially with the kids and for outdoor parties centered around a theme.”
Turner and company take the pool experience further by designing and installing landscaping with native or adapted native plants, such as freeze-hardy Sabal palmetto palms. Windswept even creates golf putting greens with synthetic turf — whatever the client wants to add for an unforgettable and a personalized backyard experience.
“Pool areas are really like big, outdoor recreation rooms,” Turner adds. “People can play a few holes of golf, swim, gather for meals and rejuvenate in spas or by just being outside.”
The Aqua Group Fiberglass Pools and Spas
25730 Interstate 45 North, Spring
The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals
Latham Pool Products
Waterside Poolscapes Showroom
25311 Kingsland Blvd. Suite 110, Katy
Windswept Landscape Studios
1332 ½ Yale St.
Windswept’s Palm Springs home