PUTTING IN A POOL
If you’re thinking of installing a pool, be sure to read Three Birds’ Lana Taylor’s tips first
Choosing your material This is the most important decision you’ll make, so do your research. Fibreglass pools are usually cheaper and quicker to install than their concrete equivalents (three weeks instead of three months), and their smooth surface makes them easier to clean and gentler on the skin. Concrete pools, on the other hand, have the huge advantage of being able to fit any shape you want. With concrete, you can add ledges, alcoves and swim-outs, but with most people opting for clean, rectangle shapes these days (bye-bye, kidney styles!), fibreglass is definitely worth a closer look (I’m biased, I have one).
Deciding on a cleaning system Chuck out the pool vac and skimmer, and get yourself a “self-cleaning” pool system. These pools have nozzles in the floor, which pop up and flush water around, pushing all the leaves and debris towards an in-floor drain in the deep end. This drain sends the debris into large leaf baskets that you empty maybe once a month (and it takes all of 30 seconds). It’s a massive labour-saver and there’s no ugly tubes floating around on the pool surface to spoil the vista.
Finding the right colour Don’t rush this important decision, because I can guarantee that you will look at your pool more often than you’ll swim in it. So ask yourself, “What colour water do I want to see?” Find some examples from mags or online and show them to your pool company, who can advise what interior surface you need to achieve that look. Some other things to remember: darker colours absorb heat and make your pool warmer; lighter colours show the debris at the bottom of the pool more easily; and depth is what really brings water colour to life.
And before you lock in your decision, ask your pool company if you can visit and view some actual pools. Nothing beats eyeballing the real thing. Demystifying mineral water When I was growing up, it was a big deal to have a saltwater pool over chlorine. Now there’s also the option of mineral water, and I’m not talking about the stuff you order in a cafe. Mineral pools claim to deliver a range of health and wellbeing benefits because the tranquil water is filled with natural emollients that relax and rejuvenate you with every swim. The best bit? Any pool can be converted to a mineral pool system.
What about heating? If you can’t swim in anything less than 28 degrees, there are three main types of heating for you to check out: #1 Gas – it heats the pool quickly, but can be costly to run.
#2 Heat pump – the initial cost outlay is larger, but they’re efficient and environmentally friendly.
#3 Solar – despite a large initial outlay, this can be the most cost-effective option, however, it’s very reliant on the weather.
Don’t forget pool lights Here’s a tip if you want your pool to light up the night: ask your pool company if you can install the submerged pool lights on the walls that can’t be seen from your house. Why? You want to see the projection of light rather than the actual light bulbs. This is only an option with concrete pools, as fibreglass shells are pre-fabricated with the light locations pre-determined.