Demand for backyard pools skyrockets during the pandemic
With public pools closed during the pandemic, the demand for backyard swimming pools is in high demand among homeowners who crave a dip during the lockdown. Staycations are trending, and homeowners looking to make the most of their enforced vacations are desperate to install an inground pool right at home, making this the hottest and most desirable home outdoor amenity! This demand has pushed prices up, and only those who are prepared to wait it out or pay a hefty premium are able to hop on to this growing trend.
While real estate prices have skyrocketed, homes with pools are selling for $50,000 to $100,000 more than those without pools, making this a value-add that is guaranteed to push the value of your home higher. Even though the lockdown is now lifted and despite many people being fully vaccinated, there is still very low attendance at public pools. Pool contractors are fully booked till next year. In many cases prices have doubled, or even tripled and only the well heeled are now able to afford this amenity.
Designers who are adding an inground pool for their projects should keep these important considerations in mind:
Size of the pool. This will really depend on the space that is available. Typically, the average pool is 15 feet wide by 30 to 35 feet long. A lap pool can be constructed with a width of just 10 feet, provided the length is extended to 50 feet or so.
How deep should it be? Again, the depth will vary depending on the site conditions and the usage. Pools that are primarily for leisure will usually have a shallow depth throughout, as there is no need to have the minimum depth for diving. Typical pools are 3½ feet at each end and 5½ to 6 feet deep in the middle.
Shape. Elegant rectangular pools are now trending, and the kidney or oval shaped pools are a thing of the past. Top deck pools are in vogue.
Materials. Today’s pools are constructed of gunite, which makes them both durable and sustainable. The interior is plastered in grey, and looks like a chalky blue when the pool is filled with water. For decorative purposes, a layer of tile is added at the top. While fibreglass pools are popular because of their lower costs, they do not last as long as they can crack, chip or peel.
All around the pool, the deck is usually paved in some type of stone, such as travertine or concrete, which stay cool even in hot weather. Tiles with grass interspersed look good and add a natural touch.
Solar heating. Pool heating costs can be prohibitive, and many homeowners prefer to install solar panels on the roof of the house. An electric heater that is connected to the panels will heat up the water in the pool, which is a very sustainable solution to conserve energy from the mains.
Cleaning the water. While salt water in the pool was a popular practice that helped to avoid chemicals that can irritate skin and hair, this is not a good solution as salt water is known to damage the valve actuators that operate the pool pump. Chlorinated pools are the better option, in such cases. There are some new-age companies that are exploring the possibility of using a natural, chemical-free option where a biological filter of aquatic plants or ‘good’ microbes are introduced into the water to control algae and keep the water clean.
Extra embellishments. While rectangular pools are considered to be in vogue, pools that are on the high end of luxury often incorporate extra add-ons, like wider and longer steps or a ‘Baja shelf’ to accommodate a chaise for sitting in the water. Luxury pools also have spaces for umbrellas, poolside sunken bars, or attached spas. They could also be designed with a waterfall that recirculates water. Fire bowls or underwater lights add a dramatic touch and create a lovely ambience.
Safety. Home pools for families with young children require an alarm that senses movement in the water, to ensure safety. Instead of a diving board that can cause accidents, a design with a slide is the better option.
Remodeling or constructing a new pool. It costs just about half the amount to remodel a pool rather than starting from scratch, with costs varying according to the labour and embellishments. Costs for remodeling start at $35,000, while costs for a new construction start at $75,000 or so.
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