Don’t Drown in Unexpected Pool Installation Expenses

There are a number of good reasons to invest in a swimming pool for your backyard: they invite your family to spend more time together, provide a great backdrop for parties and gatherings, create a space for fitness and exercise, and are a cost-effective way to create a vacation experience right at home. But one of the biggest concerns that a homeowner has regarding a new pool is the cost to install and maintain it.

As Jason Hargraves of Angie’s List points out, asking a pool company to estimate the cost of installing a pool will only ever get you a partial answer, because there are a lot of hidden factors that might not be considered in the estimate. For an in-ground pool, it’s dead easy to factor in size, water features, enclosures, patio elements and heaters, and the typical estimate ranges widely from $25,000 to $50,000 for an in-ground pool of an average size in an average city.

According to Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas, what rarely gets factored in to these estimates are the hidden costs. “I’ve seen examples of homeowners getting hit with such costs after the start of the project by their pool company many, many times,” he says, but that “most can and should be caught, or at least brought to light, beforehand.” There are six major costs that can balloon a pool-building budget: dirt, landscaping, e

Dirt Disposal: In-ground pools generate a lot of dirt. When the pool is built, a lot of dirt is taken from the ground, and that dirt has to go somewhere. Make sure that your pool builder has included the cost of hauling dirt with in the project budget estimates.

Pool Surround: pools need patio space around them. Usually, this means additional concrete for the patio. The extra cost of prepping and pouring a concrete deck is one of the more expensive hidden costs of pool installation, so ask the installer if this costs have been factored in.

Retaining walls: to ensure that the in-ground pool and surrounding decks are very stable, and to help with proper yard drainage, one or more retaining walls may be necessary. Talk to the contractor beforehand to make sure that the price of retaining walls has been settled and included in the budget.

Landscaping: The procedures used to dig out and install a pool require heavy equipment. The coming and going of these machines will wreck havoc upon your lawn, especially if some of your nicer flower beds and terracing have to be trampled or ripped out to accommodate the machines. Any grass that was disturbed during pool installation needs to be re-seeded, and any terraced plant beds will have to be reinforced and re-planted after the pool has been installed.

Fences: nearly all city ordinances require that a pool be enclosed within a fence of some form. It is better to add the fence while the pool is being installed rather than wait until the pool has been finished. In fact, the fence should be included along with the pool design and deck while the pool is being planned.

Electrical: the surprise expenses of this item can really shock homeowners (pun intended). Some pool builders include electrical hook-up as part of the pool installation package. Others invoice poolside electricity separately. The extend of the electrical hook-up will depend on the number of pool lights, spa jets, or water features that the homeowner requests. Be sure of the costs involved and how electric will be invoiced by your pool installer.

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