Need advice on Swimming Pool purchasing.

I’m just about giddy that I did a cursory search of the board and didn’t come up with any real advice for my question! Yay! Sort of.

We just refinanced the house, and I thought that maybe the best way to spend the money would be to install a swimming pool. A real, bonafide built in pool with maybe some nice accents. We do some entertaining in the summer, and I think it would be just the thing to accompany any bbq or festivities.

I think my question is, How would you begin to find out what the best value would be for your money? There are lots of swimming pool contractors out there, and aside from the obvious needing to know that they’re licensed and bonded, how would you begin to research product -vs- cost, and whom to do it?

Oddly, I’ve worked in construction for the last ten years, and my husband for the last 20, and you’d think this sort of thing would come naturally to us, but it just doesn’t. Not for residential constructions. I guess I’m research impaired. :smiley:

So, have any of you had this done? How did you begin? I’m very interested in all advice, but SoCal Dopers get a little extra credit, since that’s where I am.

I excitedly await your responses! I hope this is how this is done. I spend most of my time in the pit and MPSIMS. I am a foreigner in a foreign land!

The best advice I have to offer is DONT!
I assume you refinanced to result in lower monthly payments.
An in-ground pool is EXPENSIVE at best.
Next consider the chemicals, testing, cleaning, etc, which requires YOUR time and money.
Investigate all the pros and cons BEFORE jumping into the deep end, only to find there is no water there!

Far better to put it into a savings plan of some sort.

I agree w/ springears. The cost of a pool is just starting after it’s built. You should also consider legal requirements for limiting access, fencing, etc. Then you’d better check w/ your insurance agent, I’d bet you be in for a significant increase in premiums on your homeowners insurance.
Put the money in a good mutual fund and you’ll probably earn enough to take a vacation every year or so to some nice beach in Mexico or on a Pacific island.

It wasn’t really to lower our monthly payments specifically, but that was a nice side effect.

Maybe I should have mitigated my question with knowing what it costs after the fact, as I had a pool growing up that was my job to maintain, so I know how that goes.

But as far as jumping into something, I hear your advice loud and clear. Which is why I wanted help in beginning research. If I find something better to do with the money like, save it, if a pool is too expensive for me, then, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Have you had experience with owning a swimming pool?

While I didn’t exactly build a pool (I bought a newish house that had a pool already) there have been some improvements that make pool maintenance pretty easy these days. YMMV.

  1. My “Lifetime” pool has a special textured surface that makes it very easy to brush clean.

  2. My pool uses dissolved salt (NaCl) to generate chlorine so I don’t have to add any chlorine or bromine to the pool and I have yet to “shock” it… just clean the generator once a month, which is pretty easy. I do have to add acid monthly to knock down the PH though… again, not a big deal.

  3. My pool has automatic cleaners that pop up from the bottom with jets of water that push debris towards the drain. They work pretty well and I don’t need one of those mechanical pool cleaners (although I do enjoy watching them).

I get a lot of enjoyment out of my pool and wouldn’t give it away for anything. There is some maintenance and cost associated with it… most notably gas or electricity for heating (if you need your pool at 80 degrees in the Spring and Fall) and the pumps do use up electricity. But for an extra $75 a month (I live in NorCal) I think it’s more than worth it!

These were some of the features I thought I might like, and all of the pool contractor’s websites show that they do it, (like the NaCl).
Haven’t seen those pop up cleaners, though. That sounds interesting. I figured I’d wind up with a “Jaws”. That’s what we used to call the automatic sweeper my Uncle had in his pool before he went to the NaCl setup.

Another thing I’ve seen that seems to be a new development is concrete foundation with vinyl liner. They sound interesting, and they’re less expensive. I would worry, though about their durability. I’m sure that’s something I’d have to ask a contractor, but I’m not sure how to pick one.

All things considered, I’m not very worried about the maintenance cost, just the initial cost. Aaaand, I’m rambling. :o

  1. Make sure you do your homework. Surf the web and learn all you can about pool construction and technology before you lay down tens of thousands of dollars.

  2. I would get at least 3 competitive bids with as much detail in them as possible. Don’t settle for a phone bid… you need to meet these guys face-to-face and check out their references. If they know you are shopping around they are less likely to mark up everything…

  3. If you know someone who recently built a pool I would talk to them about the pitfalls and mistakes they made. You may learn something important…

Since there isn’t a factual answer to the OP, I"ve moved it to IMHO>

samclem GQ moderator

Last pool I had installed was in Newport Beach, CA in 1986. $40K Black bottom, spa custom built to our heights so the water wouldn’t be too deep or too shallow, waterfall, etc.

Thanks, samclem.

dolphinboy, So I’ve been doing #1, and they all look the same to me, the only real difference is the hard/vinyl option. It looks like most companies do one or the other. It sure is fun to shop the websites. #2, WILL DO. I have a special problem with access to my property, so I have to have them come out. I don’t trust phone bids anyway…if that was the only thing I learned from construction, it would have been valuable. Good tip on letting them know it has to be competitive, though. I think that gem might carry me far. #3 is the only thing I can’t really do. I know nobody with a pool that they put in themselves. It’s a bummer really.

Marconi & Schmeese, Did you have your pool contractor also do all the grading, decking, and landscape, or did you go just for the meat and potatoes? I luuurrrve the idea of a waterfall, and some of the contractors seem to do the main event by itself or the whole dang yard if you want them to.
Those black bottoms are so cool.

I’m lucky that I don’t need to attach a spa. I’ve already got one of those.