Before you dive into the intricacies of building a swimming pool, you should first ask yourself why you want one. Your reasons could include personal fitness, practicing water sports, entertaining guests, providing a fun place for your kids, improving your backyard aesthetics or any combination of these and other reasons. From large luxurious lap pools to compact plunge pools, there are several things to know when building a pool like costs, developing pool plans and designs, the building process and permitting requirements.
Cost of Building a Swimming Pool
Once you’ve decided you want a pool, the biggest question you’ll probably have is, how much does it cost to build a pool? The cost of building a swimming pool varies greatly, depending on numerous factors. First, you’ll see a major price difference between inground and above ground pools. In the Pacific Northwest, Inground swimming pools can start around $40,000 and go up; while a quality above ground pool can start around $15,000. The size, structure, building materials, and any additional design features also play a large part in the final price tag. Finally, don’t forget to account for permit requirements such as the need for an automatic pool cover or protective fencing.
Start Your Pool Plan Early
The swimming pool construction process and permitting takes time, so start your pool planning efforts several months in advance. Due to weather constraints in the Pacific Northwest, the pool building season can be shorter compared to other areas of the United States. That said, reputable pool builders can book up fast. A good pool builder will walk you through the planning process which includes choosing a swimming pool design, mapping an appropriate location for your pool, and completing paperwork for required building permits. Initial planning can potentially take several weeks, which is one more reason to start planning as early as possible.
Choose a Pool Design
There are numerous items to consider when designing your pool. Assuming you’re designing an inground pool, you’ll need to decide whether you want a vinyl, fiberglass or gunite pool, as well as, the size, shape, and depth of your pool and what features you want included.
- Gunite pools are known for their strength, durability, and ability to be formed to fit any size, shape, or depth desired. However, they are typically the most expensive, require the longest building time, and need more hands-on work to maintain.
- Vinyl-lined pools are popular among builders and homeowners alike because they’re easy to care for, easy to refurbish, economical and resist algae and staining. Like gunite pools, they can be formed to fit most desired shapes, sizes, and depths. most average-size vinyl pools can be installed in as little as three weeks.
- Fiberglass pools are the fastest growing pools in the Nation. Like the vinyl-lined pools, fiberglass pools are very easy to care for. Their pool finishes look high end and offer lifetime warranties. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and can be customized with real tile. They are competitively priced and can be installed in as little as two weeks.
All three pool types uniquely affect other aspects of your design. When comparing pool designs and cost, factor in the size and location of your space and zoning regulations, before definitively deciding on pool shape and additional features like slides, large diving boards, waterfalls, stonework, integrated spas, and decking.
Pool Building Process
While part of the building process varies based on the type of pool you choose, some steps remain the same. The first step is to outline the pool on the ground to establish where to dig and to help visualize the end product. Next, comes the actual excavation.
The next stage is installing necessary piping and wiring to effectively operate your pool, and add-ons like the heater and filter are installed. Then, the pool material itself is installed, potentially followed by tile and coping, and a deck and/or fencing. Once installation is complete, your contractor starts the mechanical systems to ensure everything works, then you’ll add startup chemicals.
Get Required Permits
Before you actually begin the pool building process, you must first acquire the appropriate permits for your area. A reputable pool builder will assist you with this process. Be prepared to have some wait time, because many things impact the processing time of your permits, like soil analysis, waterfront and setback considerations, drainage issues and backlog of the permit office. In Pierce, King, Mason, and Kitsap Counties, all residential swimming pools require a permit and some form of barrier safety protection. If you reside in the City of Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Tacoma, Olympia, and other surrounding communities you may also need additional land use permits. All pools must meet current zoning requirements in your area.
To feel more comfortable about building a swimming pool, be sure you carefully consider:
- How much it costs to build a swimming pool. Remember, swimming pool construction costs are directly influenced by the type of pool you want.
- How soon to develop your pool plan.
- All the details required in designing your pool.
- The building process for your specific type of pool.
- Permitting requirements.
Why Choose Aqua Spas & Pools as Your Contractor
Aqua Spas and Pools, located in Gig Harbor, Washington, knows swimming pools! We’ve been building and installing beautiful pools since 1978 and our experienced staff understands all aspects of pool ownership. Read what our former customers have to say about our professionalism and swimming pool knowledge and view our past projects to generate your own swimming pool design plans!