By: Julie Parrott Shannon Townsend

Backyard Pools: Should you jump right in?

Tags: Backyard Pools: Should you jump right in?

Nothing quite says summer more than the splashing and swimming in a backyard pool. Or lazily relaxing on an inflatable raft, without a care in the world. So, here’s the big question… is it worth it? Living in beautiful Ontario, we don’t get much time to enjoy such an expensive luxury each year, but can you really put a price on a backyard oasis? A place where your stress melts away? Where you can get together with friends and family and enjoy life? Yes. Yes you can. And it’s a very big number. 
Throughout my research, one main thing became apparent. People who are thinking of installing a pool need to educate themselves. Kinda like buying a car, so you don’t get sold all the “extras” that you don’t really need. Either way, even without the extras, you’re probably looking at dropping a minimum of $35,000 for a basic pool. Ouch. Am I the only one who things this is a crazy high number? (Understand, that even though I just can’t fathom parting with $35,000 of my hard earned money, or taking on $35,000 of debt – I still want a pool). At a minimum price like that, I find the constant pool installations I see going on in my neighbourhood shocking. But this blog isn’t about being smart with your money. God knows a pool doesn’t tend to increase the value of your home. It’s about that emotional investment. Because let’s face it, when we ask ourselves if something if worth it, it’s not just about monetary value. It’s about quality of life. If a pool is going to bankrupt you, then get your head out of your ass and grow up, but if the emotional value of a pool is worth dropping a crap-load of money or taking on manageable debt, then that’s a choice that is up to you to make.

So, there are a plethora of options for backyard pools. Above ground or in-ground. Vinyl, Fibreglass, or Concrete. Salt water or Chlorine. My head is already spinning.

Above Ground vs. In-ground
Common sense – above ground pools are significantly cheaper, however definitely don’t look as nice. There is also the option of a partial in-ground pool which could be a good choice if you have rocky soil because excavation costs can increase.

Type of Pool
Concrete: For a top-of-the-line custom designed pool with all the bells and whistles, you want concrete. With proper maintenance, including interior resurfacing every 20 to 25 years, a good quality concrete pool will have an unlimited lifespan.
Vinyl: Vinyl is an affordable alternative to concrete that can be partially customized to deliver a stunning upgrade to any property. Vinyl liners should be replaced every 8 to 15 years. Vinyl pools have a 25 to 30 year lifespan.
Fibreglass: Fibreglass pools cost a little more than vinyl pools and are made from a mold, which means they cannot be customized. A fibreglass pool's lifespan, and the amount of resurfacing it requires, will be highly dependent on its quality.

Now, I’m not going to go into depth here about variable maintenance issues and costs associated with each type of pool. Otherwise, this blog would drag on and on, so that’s your job. And I advise you to do it. While each type of pool will require their own special type of maintenance, regular maintenance for all pools includes clearing out the skimmer basket once every day or so, plus weekly brushing, vacuuming, chemical balancing and backwashing. Tools and toys (and snazzy pool boys!) are available to help with this burden.

Salt water vs. Chlorine
Pool owners often spring for salt water systems because they sound more natural than chlorine. But the truth is the sodium chloride molecules in the salt are split in an ionizer to release chlorine into the pool. Although chlorine is present in a saltwater pool, the levels are low enough; it won’t sting your eyes or smell the way a chlorinated pool does. Salt water pools also do require regular maintenance and you will have to balance the chemicals like you do with traditional chlorine pools. The only difference is chlorine based pools tend to have a low pH, whereas salt water pools have a high pH. Either way, these levels will need to be balanced. However, chlorine pools may require balancing more often than salt water.Once you’ve conducted a little research, touch base with a Certified Pool Professional. You want to be armed with knowledge because let’s face it… you’re not buying a pool, you’re buying a lifestyle.

Good luck and know that if you do choose to move forward with a pool, I'm extremely jealous.

Written By: Julie Parrott