Adding a swimming pool to your backyard will create wonderful opportunities for outdoor activities with family and friends. You can enjoy backyard pool parties with the kids, relaxing weekends with friends or just relaxing by the pool with your favorite book. A pool installation in NJ will give you endless hours of outdoor fun during warm spring and summer weather.
While pool ownership provides many lifestyle benefits, it also creates extra responsibilities for proper pool care and maintenance. A swimming pool is a substantial home investment, so you need to make sure you get things right.
If you’re thinking about a new swimming pool for your home, proper planning, local building code regulations, building the right size and style, landscaping, budget and maintenance are all important factors to consider for your pool installation in NJ.
Since a pool is a substantial financial investment, proper planning is essential. It typically takes from three to six months to plan, design and build an in-ground swimming pool, so plan early!
Although Bergen County winters often bring snow and ice, it’s a good time to talk to a design/build pool contractor, like Borst Landscape & Design, to get things started. If you start the planning process during the winter, you can enjoy your new pool when warm weather arrives.
When you’re planning for your pool, it’s important to consider how you want to use it. Sit down with your family and discuss everyone’s wants and needs. Whether your primary focus is on entertaining, exercise, relaxation or all three, determining your wants and needs for your new pool will create the best plan for long-term enjoyment.
Check Local Building Codes
In-ground swimming pools are subject to building and zoning regulations just like any other home-improvement project, so you must apply for a building permit and receive approval before any work begins. During the planning stage, it’s important to check Bergen County building code regulations.
Local building codes often restrict what you can and can’t build on your property. Every county has restrictions on zoning and safety ordinances, proximity to property lines, utilities and even mandatory green ordinances that could limit the size, style and location of your new swimming pool. There are also codes that regulate gate hardware and pool barriers.
Your community may also have specific laws that regulate lifesaving equipment, protective fences and gates and water quality. There are some communities that incorporate pool regulations into their health and safety codes instead of their building codes, so you should consult both departments to determine pool requirements and the jurisdiction that each department has.
To make things easier, talk to your pool contractor about city or county building codes that may impact your pool installation in NJ. A licensed, professional contractor will be familiar with local building codes in your area.
Choose the Right Location
The location of your pool will impact outdoor activities, as well as pool installation in NJ. Choosing the right location for your pool is as important as the pool itself. Depending on the size, shape and landscape conditions of your back yard, here are some important design tips to consider when choosing your pool site:
Let the Sun Shine In
Take advantage of free solar energy by choosing a pool location that’s open to the sun and away from large trees. A sunny location will keep the water warmer and reduce the amount of leaves that fall into the pool.
Block the Breeze
Don’t build your pool in a windy location. Strong winds will make you feel cold and uncomfortable when you’re wet and will increase water evaporation in the pool. Create a windbreak with proper landscaping or fencing around your pool.
Stay High and Dry
Avoid a pool site that’s in a low-lying area. The pool can flood with mud and debris during heavy rains. If you have to build at the bottom of a hill or steep slope, talk to your contractor about ways to protect your pool installation in NJ.
Create a View
If possible, choose a site location that has an interesting view of the landscape and the house. A beautiful view will enhance the beauty of the pool and add visual interest for swimmers. A view from the house will help you keep an eye on swimmers, especially kids, while you’re indoors.
Build the Right Pool
There are three main types of in-ground swimming pools – concrete, vinyl-lined and fiberglass.
Concrete pools, also called Gunite pools, are considered the strongest, most durable type of in-ground pool. They can be custom-built to any size and shape and easily enlarged or remodeled, if necessary.
During the building process, the concrete can be plastered smooth, finished with a textured surface, tiled or painted once the concrete cures. Concrete pools can even be built into a hillside with structural concrete and a poured foundation.
Typically, it takes longer to build a concrete pool. A NJ pool installation can take up to 12 weeks, but a concrete pool can easily last over 50 years with proper care and maintenance.
Vinyl-lined pools are made from a preformed flexible liner. The liner fits snugly into the hole for the pool and attaches to a reinforced steel, aluminum or polymer wall frame.
Although most vinyl pools are rectangular, free-form liners and L-shaped liners are also available, and they come in a wide variety of patterns and colors. When considering a vinyl pool, be aware that sharp objects like pool accessories, toys and cleaning tools can puncture the liner.
It’s best to select a liner that’s at least one-inch thick to help prevent damage. Vinyl-lined pools are faster to build, typically three to four weeks for NJ pool installation.
Fiberglass pools are factory-molded into one giant bowl-shaped piece. It’s then set into the excavated pool site by a crane. Fiberglass pools are limited in sizes and shapes since they are factory-molded.
They have a very smooth finish that’s extremely durable and stain resistant because fiberglass is non-porous, unlike concrete and vinyl. Fiberglass pools require fewer chemicals for maintenance, harbor less algae and can be installed in as little as three days.
Consider Your Landscaping
Before you make any decisions about the location of your pool, take a close look at how it will fit within your existing landscape. When you add an in-ground pool, you may have to re-design your landscape to work with the pool.
You may need to remove trees and shrubs, plant new shrubs and plants, build a patio, pergola or pool house and add landscape lighting that allows you to use your pool at night. If your pool is located far from the house, you may want to add outdoor walkways that connect the two areas.
If you want or need privacy around the pool, consider landscaping with taller shrubs or plants around the least private pool areas or around the entire pool perimeter. You can also build a perimeter wall or fence that enhances the style of your home and surrounding landscape.
For added safety, especially with young children around, consider mounting alarms on all house doors and gates that lead to the pool. You can also install a power safety cover over the pool.
Set a Realistic Budget
There are many factors that determine the price of a swimming pool. It’s important to hire a qualified, licensed contractor like Borst Landscape & Design that help you with pricing and ensure pool quality, durability and safety. When planning for your NJ pool installation, consider things that will impact overall costs:
- The type of pool you choose
- The size, shape and style of the pool
- The filtration system
- Pool accessories
- Site preparation
- Building materials and craftsmanship
- Pool warranties
Concrete pools are the most expensive to build, followed by vinyl-lined pools, then fiberglass pools. While the average cost of building a pool varies by region, an in-ground pool can range from $20,000 to $50,000. Customized options, automated features, and special materials and finishes will increase your costs.
When establishing a budget for your new pool, remember that costs go beyond basic construction and pool installation in NJ. You will also need to enhance your landscape and invest in pool maintenance. You will need to think about outdoor lighting, pool fencing, shade structures, outdoor storage and pool accessories.
Take Care of Your Pool
A swimming pool is a great outdoor feature that will boost your property value, enhance your landscape and provide fun-filled outdoor activities, but it will require care and maintenance on a regular basis.
Although pool maintenance is fairly simple, it requires a regular routine of care to prevent problems. Since pool repairs can be expensive, it’s best to take on any problems before they occur with regular care and maintenance:
Maintain Water Balance
Maintain a level water balance all the time. Improper water levels can cause damage to pool liners, ladders and equipment.
Sanitize the pool to prevent the growth of bacteria and contaminants. Chlorine is the most commonly used sanitizer, but new, advanced salt chlorine generators actually transform common table salt into chlorine.
Check Water Chemistry
Check alkaline, pH and calcium hardness levels on a regular basis. During hot summer temperatures, it’s best to check the water chemistry several times each week.
Change/clean filters regularly and allow adequate time for filters to run. The optimum way to run a filter is to turn your filter system on in the spring and off in the fall. Running the filter during warmer weather will provide the best protection during swimming season.
Lubricate O Rings
Check electrical and lubricating O rings and keep them properly lubricated.
Use a pool skimmer to remove surface debris and leaves in the water.
Vacuum the pool to remove organic material that can stain concrete and vinyl-lined pools.
If you choose to do your own pool maintenance, your major expense will be for sanitizers and oxidizers to keep the water clean. Their cost will depend on the pool size, the water temperature, the amount of time the pool is used, the number of people using it and whether or not the pool is covered.
For a better understanding of pool maintenance requirements, talk to your pool contractor about maintenance and NJ pool installation. Your contractor at Borst Landscape & Design can help you calculate your maintenance costs.