Swimming pools can be great sources for exercise and fun and are often cited as an indicator of affluence. They can be a strong addition to a home then, both for family enjoyment and well-being, and for the potential value added by the increased desirability of your property to potential buyers.
When installing a swimming pool though, it is extremely important that you chose the right type of pool and get it installed properly if you are to benefit from the usage and increased resale value.
There are lots of important decisions to be made when installing a pool regarding the method of installation, position, size and type. If not properly considered, and without professional consultation, you could quite easily end up with a rushed, poorly fitted DIY job resulting in an oversized, non-heated pool, that is situated under a tree which appears to shed more leaves and twigs than it actually holds onto.
So, whether you are going to let a contractor take care of everything or plan to help out and do a bit yourself, whether you want an aboveground pool or a submerged feature, a block and liner body or a fibreglass one, the aim of this guide is to help you make the right decisions.
Swimming Pool Options: Contractors and Types
Unless you are experienced in this type of specialist job, it is highly advisable that you enlist a swimming pool contractor to design, build, or repair a swimming pool.
Swimming pool contractors are tradesman whose expertise lie in anything that is pool-related and will almost certainly – if used – do a better, quicker, and ultimately, maybe even a cheaper job than you could do yourself.
The two main types of swimming pool are aboveground and submerged. Because of the less complicated installation, aboveground pools tend to be cheaper but submerged pools are traditionally more popular as they are neater, less obtrusive and they provide easier entry.
Once you have decided the type of pool you want to go for, you will need to decide on the materials you would like your pool to be built from. Liner, fibreglass shell, and tiles are the three most common finishes available, and they all vary with regard to maintenance requirements and price.
You must also consider how you are going to keep your pool clean, what cover and filter system do you want? Is your pool going to be heated, how big will it be and what shapes compliment your garden? Then there is the question of the pools surroundings, would you like a patio/decking area or a pool house built?
All of these questions must be carefully looked at before you throw yourself in at the deep-end and begin your project as they will all add significant amounts of time and money to your build.
Now is the time to talk to a swimming pool contractor, as they will come and asses your plot and list the best possible options available for your individual space. You may think you have thought of everything but these contractors have years of experience and knowledge that allows them to tailor a project to your specific needs and get the best out of your space.
The Benefits of Using a Pro
Even the purpose built, ready made DIY swimming pool shells are not as easy to install as they sound and require a huge amount of time, commitment and skill.
The designing and building of a swimming pool from scratch requires even more skill and is massively demanding. Hiring a professional will allow you peace of mind and will probably lead to a much quicker, not to mention superior, completion.
Building a swimming pool is never going to be cheap, even the most basic DIY project will set you back around about £8000 and so it is definitely recommended, unless you are experienced and have access to all of the specialist tools required, that you enlist a professional.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, hiring a contractor leaves you with somebody to go back to in case of something going wrong. The risk of something going wrong is fairly high, especially if you have installed the pool yourself and when you consider the cost of re-doing an entire job, which could well be necessary if you have made a fundamental error, then that little extra expenditure on a professional will seem like short change in hindsight.
Choosing your Swimming Pool Contractor
As with any contractors the best way to go about hiring them is by way of recommendation. Talk to friends, family, neighbours, or anyone else for that matter, that you know that has had a pool fitted and their input could prove invaluable.
Should you struggle to get a contractor recommended they do of course advertise in the local directories. If you do end up going down this route, try speaking to a few different contractors and get a feel for, not only their pricing, but their attitude and attention to detail. You can also get a range of free quotes from local, recommended contractors from Rated People.
In addition to this, always check that a contractor has up to date insurance, covering him for any damage that might be caused to your property.
Qualifications/Accreditations for Contractors
To ensure you get a reliable and competent contractor you should check their qualifications. SPATA (the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association) members are vetted prior to membership to ensure that they are competent, professional and up to date in their methods and workmanship. This means that, if you can find one, a SPATA-accredited contractor is likely to be a good bet.
However, the most important thing that you should be checking for is that they have got several years of experience. Experience is invaluable with this type of thing as they will have knowledge as to what does and does not work and what is and is not suitable.
Depending on the nature of your design, the relevant complications, the materials chosen, and the extras that you have gone for, the price of a pool installation varies greatly.
You will receive an estimate made up of labour and material costs. Labour rates will of course vary between contractors but you should expect to pay at least £60 per person per day for labour.
Be wary of single quotes where it is all included because the quoted price is far more likely to allow for the project going a few days over than it is to be an optimistic estimate which will leave them selves short.
Obtain at least three estimates, ensure that you take things like guarantees into account and try to go for the contractor that feels right, even if they are not necessarily the cheapest. It is extremely important that you get a written estimate with a breakdown of all the costs as the final price should not deviate greatly from this guide price, provided no unforeseen problems surface. And if the price does deviate greatly, and there is no explanation, you will be in a strong position to object.
Swimming pool maintenance is another cost that you should be wary of before you go ahead and get a pool built as, depending on the size and insulating materials in your pool, this can set you back anywhere between £200 and £800 per season.
A properly fitted, nicely presented swimming pool, providing it is not overbearing, should add significant value to your home. However, you should be prepared to accept the fact that there is no guarantee that it will add enough value to recuperate what you have spent on having the work done.
Once you have confirmed the design with your contractor and given them the go ahead there is nothing stopping things from getting started very quickly.
The initial digging step will be the messiest, with JCBs churning up your garden and generally causing a lot of disruption.
Once the mayhem of the first step is over, and the earth that has been removed has been disposed of, the worst, in terms of mess and disruption will be out of the way.
Now your hole needs to be neatened up, flattened and evened out so that the floor can be screeded and the liner (or fibreglass shell) can be inserted.
Now that this is done, your pool is nearly ready, the steps, decking, cover system, diving boards and any other extras must now be installed before your contractor, and your pool, will be finished.