Pool Time

You have two options when buying a pool: aboveground or inground. The cost for an inground pools start at about $20,000, by varies depending on the size of the pool and degree of customization, the quality of the equipment, and the quality of the construction process. Other details, such as decking, landscaping, safety equipment and automated maintenance and heating systems cost extra. If selecting an inground pool, you’ll first need to decide on they type of construction.  In the Gulf Coast area most of the pools built are done our of Gunite.  Gunite is a form of concrete that is generally much stronger than convention wet mix concrete.  It is applied under high pressure and allows the builder to form curves and walls without the need for double sided forms.  In addition to gunite there are companies that offer vinyl liner and fiberglass pools.  There’s a variety to choose from. APSP pool professional should direct you to which model is best for you and your yard’s shape and size.

Do your homework

Make sure the builder is following your town’s codes. Check with the zoning board to find out what kind of permits and fees are involved with building a pool.

Check several sources of financing to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Dealers and builders can often assist with identifying financing options. Be sure to include in your budget the costs for any landscaping or lighting, water and safety features and audio systems. You can save additional money by building a pool in the off-season.

Make sure you understand all the specifics before signing a contract. Get everything included in the purchase price in writing. Ascertain whether the total cost includes delivery and installation.

The pool and its equipment should come with a warranty. Know what is covered in the warranty and what isn’t covered.

Be independent

When pool shopping, contact the Better Business Bureau to check out the track record of any pool builder.

Don’t forget to ask about warranties, and make sure there are no hidden costs in your contract. The builder or contractor should include all required permits and electrical hookups.

Finally, research the company to insure your family time isn’t spent trying to fix what you should be enjoying.

The history of the manufacturer and the pool company is important. Also for your own safety, try to avoid buying a pool from a company without a storefront. Pool companies come and go, so make sure the one you choose is committed to being there for you for years to come.

Purchasing tips: Factors to consider

  • Make sure the vendor or contractor is a member of the APSP.  The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals is the largest trade organization in the Swimming pool and Spa industry.  The offer training and require members to subscribe to a code of ethics.  The State of Texas does not require any sort of contractor licenses to install swimming pools but certain aspects of construction may require licensed sub contractors depending upon the local jurisdiction.
  • Hire a company that has been in business long enough to have a track record you can check.
  • Avoid those who don’t have an actual business address. Longevity at a location can be a sign of stability and reliability.
  • Consider vendors with a showroom. A showroom not only permits inspection before buying, it’s another sign of stability.
  • Check experience and knowledge. How many spas or pools does the company build or sell? Can they explain the pluses and minuses of models they carry?
  • Does the builder or installer’s insurance cover liability and workers’ compensation? Ask to see a certificate of insurance.
  • Free estimates have been the standard for many years but more and more companies are charging for their designs and quotations.  The old adage of “you get what you pay for” is very true in the pool industry.
  • Check references. Satisfied customers are the best tools to get new business and reputable contractors will be happy to provide them.
  • Hire a contractor who belongs to multiple trade organizations.
  • Do not sign a check until you sign a contract. Your contractor or vendor has a right to a down payment, but be sure to clarify the payment schedule and terms. Understand your contract, including your responsibilities and obligations, as well as the contractor’s. Sometimes down payments can be negotiated.