Why ask the Questions?
We know that investing in a swimming pool is a big decision. And since a lot of this may be foreign to you (unless you have been through this process before) you may be experiencing a bit of the “FUD Factor”: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Anytime we deal with things that we don’t have a lot of experience with – we tend to get a little uncomfortable (some more than others). The investment in a swimming pool is a big decision. But it is one of the best decisions you can make as a backyard swimming pool can bring many years of enjoyment and wonderful family memories to your life.
So pardon the pun but please DIVE IN to this informa-tion. It should address many of your concerns and help to educate you as you begin this process. If you still have questions after you read this we welcome the opportunity to discuss any and all of your questions or concerns.
How to Choose the Right Pool Builder
REFERRALS – talk to your neighbors, friends, business associates, etc. to see if they have experience with any local pool builders. If you don’t produce some builder names in this process then at least ask any pool contractors you may be considering to provide you with a list of some recent customers that you can contact. Now it is unlikely that a contractor will give you a list of unhappy customers – but there still is merit in speaking with people who have been through the process. You should ask them what went right and what to watch out for along the way; and how did the contractor resolve any issues along the way. Some questions to consider asking include:
- How long did the total project take from start to completion? All things considered was everything completed in a reasonable amount of time?
- What did the contractor do to educate you on the construction process? Was this done at the time of sale or at a pre-construction meeting?
- Did any unforeseen or unexpected costs arise that you weren’t warned about up-front? In other words – did the pool builder complete the entire project at the original contract price? And, if there were changes (deletions or additions) were they handled via a written contract addendum or change-order?
- How was the communication throughout the process?Did the builder keep you informed as the job moved ahead and in the event of any unforeseen delays, inspections, etc?
- Was a final walk-through conducted giving you the opportunity to address any/all concerns prior to completion? Did all of your concerns get addressed to your satisfaction?
- Lastly, are you satisfied with your pool builder to the point where you would not hesitate to recommend the builder.
INTERNET – you are reading this article because your search; whether because of a referral, curiosity, or whatever reason – got you to our website. We recognize the internet as a very valuable tool to help people conducting research. Obviously our goal is to provide some educational assistance in your decision on your time and on your terms. If your research leads you to the decision to acquire your own backyard pool we hope you will give us an opportunity to earn your business. We would like nothing more then to help you achieve your backyard dream as we have done for many other families.
Can They Help You Create the Right Pool Design for You?
The pool builder you choose should be able to professionally guide you through the design process. The designer will help you explore with pool shape and size will fit your lifestyle and backyard. Below are the most common pool shapes to consider.
Geometric is a pool with straight lines and/or more geo-metric curves. A geometric type of pool usually takes on more basic shapes such as rectangular and/or “Grecian” and usually takes on a more “classical” look. Homes with more symmetrical property lines accommodate geomet-ric pools quite well. A simple geometric design in the right setting provides a very elegant look.
Freeform pools have “non-symmetrical” curves. This style of pool design is often used to create a more “natu-ral” look. Rock trim and pebble type interiors are often used to accentuate a freeform pool. Homes with irregular and non-symmetric property lines accommodate a free-form pool nicely.
Lap pool is the term applied to a swimming pool that is used for swimming “laps” for exercise or training. Most lap pools are geometric (for example, rectangular), but can also take on a freeform shape with enough length left in one direction, perhaps on a diagonal line, that lap swimming can still be accomplished.
Vanishing Edge/Infinity Edge/Negative Edge: you may hear any one of these terms and they all basically refer to the same style of pool. A portion of the pool is left just slightly below the water level allowing water to flow over that area into a catch basin – creating the illusion that the water is flowing into whatever the backdrop view consists of. In the right setting, typically where the backyard falls away – perhaps into a steep cliff, into a lake, etc.- the ef-fect can be extremely dramatic.
Cocktail Pool: this is a fairly new term that describes an oversized spa or small pool that can be used for parties, entertainment and relaxation. Many people choose a “cocktail poo or spooll” to accommodate a smaller space. Cocktail Pools can range from simple to extravagant depending on the features incorporated.
There are many other design considerations that can arise based on the terrain, your desire for water movement/wa-ter features, etc. A good designer will assist you through this process while insuring that what is conceived is buildable.
How Detailed is Their Estimate and Contract?
An accurate estimate can only be arrived at by thorough conversations between you and your pool builder. The initial consultation will identify your desired pool design. From there the design will measure accurately your backyard. From there, the following should happen:
- Provide you with a 3D rendering and scale drawing of the pool and backyard. This process is not complete until you are 100% satisfied with the plan and it may require a few revisions to get to that point. While it is re-ally at the discretion of the builder you should not expect the contractor to leave the drawings with you for other, less talented designers to copy. This is the work product for which he is paid, and it is not a standard practice to leave it behind. When a decision is made and the final plan is prepared, you are entitled to a complete copy before the actual construction process begins.
- Provide you with a written proposal/contract that defines all of the features included in the project. This document should define the responsibilities of both the contractor and you as the homeowner.
What will the Contract contain?
A typical proposal should include at least the below information.
- Pool and Spa (when applicable) lengths, widths and depths
- Materials to be used for the interior finish, the waterline tile, any water features, rock materials, etc.
- Type and amount of decking
- Utility runs and hook-ups as applicable (electric / gas)
- Equipment to be installed (Pumps, Filter, Heater, Controller, Etc.)
- Cleaning system
- Water sanitation system
- Responsibilities of homeowner
- Contact information (Office and/or Cell phones)
- Warranty information
A swimming pool is an investment that keeps providing returns year after year. Those returns are in the form of family fun and family memories. You’ve worked hard to get to a place in your life where you can make your back-yard dreams a reality. We hope this article has provided you with some very valuable information on choosing a pool builder. We would love to work with you if you reach the point where you are ready to “Build your backyard dream”. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.