The first step in planning an in-ground pool is getting your finances in order. After all, a typical installation starts at about $30,000 to $35,000 and depending on the size and style of pool, number of accessories, and how easy (or difficult) it is to access the installation site, the price can easily climb to double that or more. “You can drop $20,000 on a waterfall [alone] if you wanted to,” says Jeff Cassack, construction manager for International Pool and Spa Centers in Toronto. You'll also likely need to factor in some landscaping costs since a pool and its deck will radically alter your yard.
While you're budgeting, there are a few other financial matters to consider: the taxman will take note of the increased property value on your next assessment; your insurance premium may rise to cover potential liabilities; and there are annual operating costs to factor into the equation. (More on these later.)
Round or rectangular? Kidney or Lshaped? Do you want a diving board? Will you be doing laps? Or do you plan on doing both? When it comes to in-ground pools there is a limitless combination of variables in size, depth, and shape to choose from. That said, “Bigger isn't necessarily better. Don't try to cram the biggest body of water you can in your backyard,” advises Cassack. “You want to have a nice blend between the living space – deck, tables, chairs, loungers – and the pool.”
Also keep the vertical dimensions in mind: Most pools slope down from a shallow, three-foot deep wading section to an eight- or 10-foot diving area so family members of all ages can have fun.
There are three basic types of in-ground pool construction materials: concrete, vinyl-lined concrete, and fibreglass. Concrete and vinyl-lined pools both start out the same, with concrete poured into a galvanized steel or polymer frame. The difference is in the surface finish. With concrete, you can paint it, line it with tiles or, most commonly, trowel on a specialized plaster. With vinyl, the liner in your choice of colour and pattern is stretched over a concrete base. The additional finishing labour and materials push concrete to the top of the price list. The last option is a preformed, one-piece fibreglass frame that is laid into the pit. The main downside with fibreglass is a relatively limited number of shapes and sizes to choose from.