Connecticut Home & Garden: Steps to Creating Your Perfect Pool
Now that summer is in full swing, time spent with family mainly takes place outdoors. Dinners are devoured al fresco and many lazy days are whiled away basking in the sun. Those lucky homeowners who have pools in their back yards are able to beat the late summer heat by taking a dip.
Being invited to a pool party this August may inspire you to add a water feature to your property next summer, but as Michael Giannamore, vice president of Aqua Pool & Patio Inc. in Wilton, explains, “Building a pool is a lot more than digging a hole and filling it with water.”
There are many things to consider when designing a pool for your back yard, and it’s best to start early and take your time. If you want to be splashing in your dream pool next year you should ideally start the process in the fall.
“Those customers who buy in summer/fall and do fall/spring construction tend to be the happiest customers and that is because in the fall there’s no Memorial Day on the horizon,” says Giannamore. “Don’t be in a rush. It’s a long-term project.”
A pool can be a great investment for your family, and an added value when you sell your home, but if done incorrectly, it can be a serious liability.
Aqua Pool & Patio was named 18th best pool builder in the nation by Pool & Spa News in 2014—the third consecutive year the company has made the list. It’s safe to say they know a thing or two about building quality pools. Just as he would with any customer, Giannamore walked Connecticut Magazine through the process of buying a pool—from getting the correct permits to filling it with water.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
The first step for any pool customer should be visiting town hall and getting a copy of the “as built” plot plan for your property. This will help you see what is actually feasible on your piece of land as well as property setbacks, leach fields and other restrictions. Perhaps having a pool isn’t even possible on your property. It’s best to learn this early, so you’re not disappointed once you start planning your dream pool.
“When you finally meet with a pool builder, you’re working off of realistic plans and not hypotheticals,” says Giannamore, which can alleviate headaches as you move through the process.
This time should also be spent finding a reputable pool builder (someone who is properly licensed and has done quality work) and doing some research about what features you want. “The best customer is the educated consumer who’s not in a rush,” he says.
PLANNING YOUR POOL
Next up is a series of interviews, both by you and the potential pool builder. It’s during this time that the customer should make it clear what they need and are looking for in a pool, while the builder should make it clear what’s possible and what’s not.
Giannamore says his staff will then create a proposal including size, shape and price point after considering everything a customer wants in a pool. They then provide an “à la carte” menu of different add-ons and options to enhance the foundation.
“We will not try to design you a pool that’s beyond your budget,” says Giannamore. “At the same time, we want you to know what’s available and why you should consider it.”CONSTRUCTION
Now comes the permits. This may have been started in Step One with the trip to town hall, but now it’s important to take another trip back to determine specifically what your town requires for pool installation. Giannamore says the pool company should help the homeowner through this process and provide the necessary documentation—engineer drawings, licenses, etc. The time it takes to get the necessary permits can vary project to project.
A pre-construction meeting will follow where the customer can choose colors, materials, etc. for their pool. “[Our] next job is to hold the hand of the homeowner through these selections,” says Giannamore, who will take clients on a tour of swimming pools in the area. Nothing compares to showing people live examples of what their pool could look like.
Once plans are nailed down, construction can begin. Giannamore warns customers to be wary of builders who promise that you will be swimming in three weeks. A realistic timeline for an inground pool is six to eight weeks from excavation to water, he says. Fiberglass pools take a shorter amount of time.The construction process has many steps: excavation, the dig (for Gunite—or cement—pools, the hole must be dug exact), pre-plumbing, steel structure and reinforcing, spraying cement, finishing plumbing and heating, tiling, coping (the material that edges the pool and covers the top of the pool), electrical finishes, fencing and interior finishes.
Builders are typically working on multiple pools at once, so all of these steps may not be completed in immediate succession. Certain steps of the process need to set before moving on to the next. “There may be nice days when we’re not working in your yard,” says Giannamore, but that doesn’t mean that the builder is wasting time on your project.
The builder’s job isn’t done when the pool is filled with water. Giannamore says an important step is teaching the homeowner how to care for their investment.
Aqua Pool & Patio Inc. gives an education seminar on the day the pool is filled, and then returns once a week for a month to help take care of it. After that, technicians are on call to answer questions.
“It’s a big deal and people are spending a lot of money on an inground swimming pool,” says Giannamore. “They deserve the attention to know how to take care of it.”Having a pool built can be a fun experience. You’re able to customize each choice to make it exactly what you want—from shape to size and tile color to accessories. The real key to having a pool you’ll love is taking the time to consider all of the options, and working with a reputable builder who can ease the stress of making those decisions.
(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)
This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of Connecticut Magazine
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