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Back when you were a kid, summers were all about running through the sprinkler, but now that you have your own home, there are substantially more luxurious ways to beat the Arizona heat. Taking on a pool isn’t something that should be decided on a whim. Planning and building a pool can be one of the most things you will ever do. It’s not only a huge investment, but it can dramatically alter your landscape and possibly your lifestyle.

A common mistake people make when thinking about the idea of having a pool built, start thinking about the idea in March or April, when in reality they should start thinking about it way earlier, possibly fall time. Building pools is a really complicated process and something that can’t be done overnight.

How to get started with your pool scheme…

First, start by prioritizing your wants and needs, these questions are a good place to start:

  • Is my yard suitable for a pool?
  • What zoning restrictions or HOA problems do I face?
  • What’s my final budget?
  • Am I prepared to maintain a pool, or do I have the possibility to hire help?
  • What will be the primary use of this pool?
  • Exercise, entertaining, or lounging?
  • What things should I know about safety and insurance?

Next step, what kind of pool types are out there…

When talking about an in-ground pool, there are generally only three types: vinyl-lined, concrete and fiberglass.

Vinyl Swimming Pools: This type of swimming pool is generally made from a preformed flexible liner that comfortably fits into the hole and attaches to a reinforced wall frame made out of steel, polymer or aluminum. Generally these pools are rectangular in shape, although l-shaped and freeform shaped liners are also available. Construction usually takes one to three weeks. Vinyl-liners come in many colors and patterns, but be-warned…sharp objects can puncture and damage them.

Fiberglass Swimming Pools: This kind of pool is factory-molded and set into a pre-dug hole, which is produced by a crane. These kinds of pools often times have a smooth finish that’s quite durable and stain resistant; they are also nonporous, which means they require fewer chemicals as compared to concrete pools. Shape and size of fiberglass swimming pools are significantly more limited than other types of pools, but installation can be much faster.

Concrete Swimming Pools: This type of pool is custom-built and allows for the most flexible design taste. Interested in a beach entry or possible tanning ledge? If so, you want a concrete swimming pool. These typically take longer to install than any other type of pool – generally three week to three months. But concrete pools are considered the strongest, and most durable kind of pool. They will need to be remodeled or resurfaced every 10 to 20 years, and because the concrete surface is porous, you will more than likely need to add more chemicals and extra filtration systems to keep algae away.

How to find your swimming pool inspiration…

Some good tips to find a swimming pool inspiration is to read pool magazines, or research pools on websites, such as Pinterest or Zillow Digs. Another idea would be to visit expos where pool contractors are present. And if there are home shows or tours in your area, which may be another great source for swimming pool inspiration!

How to go about gathering pool estimates…

When you begin your pool pricing/gathering estimates venture, make sure that you understand the bids that you are receiving. Oftentimes, pool contractors provide price estimates per square foot, including pumps, heaters, etc. Pool companies that specialize in natural-setting pools will often give price estimates per linear foot, still including pool equipment such as pumps, heaters, etc.

When trying to find a pool contractor, ask friend, family or neighbors first for referrals.The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals are also able to help you locate a qualified pool builder/contractor in your area. Make sure to view the potential builders’ designs and portfolio of pools. And last but not least, check their references and ensure the contractor is bonded and insured.

Good luck on your swimming pool adventure, it will all be worth it in the end!