swimming pool house

Increasing House Value: 5 Things You Need to Consider Before Installing a Swimming Pool

Adding a pool to your home swimming pool house can be a great way to improve your lifestyle. It’s a great way to entertain guests and is a fun outlet for bonding as a family.

Having your own pool means that you can swim whenever you want – night or day – with no one looking. It also means that you don’t have to deal with strangers splashing you or sharing lanes when you want to swim laps.

This summer, give your friends and family a new place to gather while adding value to your home. Build a swimming pool.

But make sure you think through the construction process first. There are a lot of concerns specific to swimming pool construction and if you don’t think it through, you could end up with a serious construction mess on your hands. Read on to learn the factors to consider before you begin.

1. How You Will Handle the Financing

Whether you decide on a small above ground pool, or you want to excavate the land around your house to build a swimming pool, there will be a lot of costs involved.

You may have been considering installing a pool at your home, but you aren’t sure how you will handle the pool financing. Fortunately, many of the pool building companies out there will allow you to finance through them. Consider getting a consultation to find out what kind of funding is available.

You can also consider refinancing your home to use some of your equity to create a pool. Just make sure that the other homes in your area had an increase in value when they added a pool. You don’t want to lose your equity on an asset that won’t add value to your home.

2. What Other Homes in Your Area Have

Not everyone considers a pool to be an amenity. Some people are concerned about the amount of upkeep that they require and costs of maintenance in the future. 

If you add a pool, you could be distancing some buyers when you go to sell your home in the future. Ask a local real estate what families in your area are looking for. If there are a lot of families begging to see homes with pools, then great. But if they get a lot of clients who are concerned about owning a pool, you may want to reconsider the option.

Homes without pools can sometimes sell for a higher value in areas where a lot of homes have pools since they are rarer.

3. How You Will Design the Surrounding Space

In order to have a nice outdoor swimming pool, you also need to spend some money creating the space that surrounds it.

You will need to make decisions like what kind of plants will surround your pool and take into consideration how much foliage they might drop into the pool. If you have a lot of trees surrounding your pool, you will need to invest more in a strong filtration system to collect the leaves.

You should also look into the laws in your area surrounding swimming pool safety. Some areas require you to install a fence of a certain height or have a screening enclosure around your pool to protect you from liability if someone’s kid were to wander into your pool.

4. The Ongoing Cost of Pool Maintenance

Pools aren’t a one time cost. You will need to pay for the chemicals and tools to keep your pool clean. Every time someone comes out to clean your pool, they will charge you around a hundred dollars.

Most years, your swimming pool may be able to get away with cleanings monthly, depending on how much you are using it. But if you have a summer where there is a lot of rain, you may end up balancing and cleaning your pool water every week. 

If you live in a cold weather climate, you will also need to consider the cost of winterizing your pool. Each year you will need to lower the water level, backwash the filter, clear the water lines, and put a cover on it. 

Opening your pool after the winter comes with its own costs. Someone will have to reassemble the filtration system, refill it with water, and test the water chemistry to get it back in a normal range for swimming.

5. Whether You Need a Swimming Pool House

If you plan to build a large swimming pool on your property that you will use to host events, then it may be a good idea to build a swimming pool house. 

It could be as simple as a small cabana with an outdoor shower and a toilet so that your guests don’t have to go in the house to use the restroom. Or you could build a larger structure with a bar and outdoor kitchen to take your entertaining to the next level.

Other optional features include creative lighting in the swimming pool for night swims, equipment for playing games like volleyball and basketball in the pool, and specialty tile work.

When You’re Ready to Dig It

Whether you decide to create a swimming pool house structure and a complete backyard oasis, or if you’re just trying to put in a small dipping pool, we can help your vision come to life.

At Sahara Construction, we have been helping families in the Katy, Texas area invest in the luxurious backyard of their dreams. You’ll be impressed with the high-quality materials we use to create your vision. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation. 

swimming pool builders

Swimming Pool Builders: 7 Tips for Finding the Right Builder for Your Pool

Did you know that swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the entire country?

And if you live in Texas… we are gonna make a safe bet that swimming is even more popular in your area. 

Which is why putting a pool into your yard may just be the best idea ever. A beautiful pool can be a source of many benefits including family fun, entertainment, and great exercise.

But, there are a number of common pitfalls that can turn a pool installation into a potential nightmare.

Fortunately, you can avoid these pool pitfalls. Because we are going to walk you through just how to screen swimming pool builders. So that your pool installation goes like a dream.

Read on to find out how you can set yourself up for hassle-free pool installation.

1. Research the Type of Pool That You Want

The first thing to do to ensure a smooth pool build is to research the type of pool you want. You can check out swimming pool designs and trends, and draw up a list of your requirements.

You can also research pool filtration systems and get to grips with the types that will suit your preferences. 

Getting clear on what type of pool you want will make finding a great contractor that much easier. For example, if you establish that you want to have an indoor pool, then you can narrow down your search and focus only on indoor pool builders. 

2. Visit the Premises of Your Local Swimming Pool Builders

The next step to finding a reliable contractor is to visit the premises of your local swimming pool contractors. 

Although you might be tempted to simply call up potential contractors, and get them to come to you, visiting their premises poses a big advantage. 

You will get to see how professional their offices are, and whether they have displays or a showroom. This will help you gauge how trustworthy the different companies are. 

If a contractor does not have any premises at all, this is a definite red flag.

3. Check for Certifications and Licenses

The next thing to do when screening swimming pool contractors is to check for certifications and licenses. 

  • Check for a contractor’s license: Check whether a contractor has a contractor’s license or not. You can check the status of a contractor’s license by searching for it on the license search function of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
  • Enquire about what certified builders are on staff: Ask contractors whether they have a certified pool builder on their team. 
  • Master Pools Guild: Ask if a contractor is a member of the Master Pools Guild. If so, that’s great, but not a requirement like the licenses and certifications are.
  • Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP): Another indication of excellence to check for is if a contractor is part of the APSP.

4. Ask About Warranties, Insurance, and Permits

The next thing to ask swimming pool contractors about is warranties, insurance, and permits.

Here are some of the warranties and insurance types to inquire about:

  • Workers compensation and liability insurance: Ask for solid proof from contractors that they hold insurance in the area. If not, in the advent of accidents, you may just find that you are liable.
  • Pool warranty: Be sure to ask the contractors you are screening whether they offer a warranty on their finished pool. A company that does not offer a warranty is usually one to be wary of.
  • Workmanship warranty: Besides a good pool warranty, you also want to have a workmanship warranty. This ensures that any mistakes made on the job do not make a hole in your pocket.
  • Building permits: Double check with your contractor that they undertake the submission of building permits for your pool. If they omit to do this and you don’t know about it, you could be fined for a hefty sum. 

5. Ask for References

When interviewing potential companies, be sure to ask for references. But before you ask for references, inquire as to how many pools the company installed in the last year. 

If they then hand you a significantly smaller amount of references for that period, you will know that not all of the installations resulted in happy customers!

Besides client references, you can also ask for partner references. Partner references are references from other companies in the trade. Such as pump suppliers and hardware stores. 

These references will give you an indication of how the company does business in general. 

6. Check for Complaints with the Builder’s Business Bureau

Another precaution you can take is to check for complaints with the Builder’s Business Bureau (BBS).

On their website, you will be able to see:

  • How long a contractor has been in business
  • How many complaints they have had lodged
  • How many of the complaints were resolved

If the contractor has been in operation for some time, a few complaints are to be expected. But if there are numerous complaints, and mostly unresolved, then this is a warning sign. 

7. Get It in Writing

If you are negotiating with a contractor and they are promising ‘extras’, such as a free pool pump, be sure to get this in writing on your quote.

When offered freebies, you may think you are snagging a bargain. But if the contractor conveniently forgets his promises the quote could turn out to be just as, or more expensive, than competitor rates. 

8. Double Check Details on the Contract

Once you have received a contract, double check all the details. If anything doesn’t make sense, question the contractor.

Also, make sure that the contract covers the following:

  • Clear descriptions of services
  • The terms of payment
  • The deadlines of the project
  • An item-by-item list of materials
  • A breakdown of your and their responsibilities

Final Word

Building your dream pool does not need to turn into a nightmare. Now that you are armed with these tips, you’re more than ready to find a team of reliable and professional swimming pool builders. 

So, start planning those pool parties!

If you are eager to get going with planning the build of your swimming pool, then why not take advantage of our free consultation

 

pool water features

Chasing Waterfalls: 10 Stunning Swimming Pool Water Feature Ideas

Thinking about improving your backyard in time for summer? Adding some pool water features might just be what you need.

If you live in Cypress, a pool is an essential way to beat the heat. Whether you’re adding a pool for the first time, or looking to upgrade your current one, there are lots of cool water features that can make it even more enticing. With the right upgrade, your pool can become a part of a chic outdoor oasis that’s relaxing even when you’re not in it.

Wondering what the best pool water features to add are? We’ve put together a list of our favorites here — keep reading to learn which ones you should try this year!

1. Poolside Fire Pits

Didn’t think fire and water could mix? Think again.

A firepit is always a great addition to an outdoor space, making it appealing even in the cooler months. But when you add a firepit (or several) alongside your pool, you also create a cool contrasting effect. 

Your firepits can go right next to your pool. The contrast of flames and water, with flickering reflections of the fire at night, will transform the way your pool looks.

2. Poolside Garden

Why not extend your garden all the way up to the edge of the pool?

Both swimming pools and decorative ponds look great when they’re fringed with foliage. If you have trees in your backyards, you’re going to get plant matter in the pool anyway, so adding a nearby garden won’t change your pool cleaning requirements.

What it can do, though, is lend your pool a sense of natural appeal, so you’ll feel like you’re bathing in Hawaiian hot springs. A poolside garden feature goes well with other natural touches, like a natural stone edge.

3. Walk-Up Bar

If a swim-up bar isn’t quite your style (although that’s certainly an option too), you can add a walk-up bar to the edge of your pool.

All you need is for the ground at one side of the pool to be low enough that the pool’s edge can be used as a bar. Add some high stools or chairs, and you’re all set. Now, you know where to use that cool new cocktail recipe you’ve been dying to try!

4. Rock Waterfall

If you’re looking for something a little more natural, why not create a cascading rock waterfall that ends in your pool?

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as the sound of softly running water. The addition of natural-looking stone makes this an even more appealing feature. It pairs perfectly with a pool with other natural elements (like the garden idea above).

5. Mixed Materials

Mixing up the materials you use can give your pool area a luxe feel. Try combining outdoor-friendly surfaces like brick, wood, and stone to add interest to even a small pool. This is also a great way to seamlessly combine your pool with your patio!

6. Poolside Fountain

Poolside water fountains can add interest without disrupting the surface of the pool itself. If you don’t want a fountain in your pool, or can’t afford one, consider installing a small fountain (or a row of them) at the edge of the pool.

This will give you all the benefits of hearing running water near your pool, without having to pay to add a new feature to the pool itself.

7. Sheer Waterfall

Want to give your pool a modern, minimalist vibe? A sheer waterfall is a great way to go.

This takes a step away from the natural look of other waterfalls, like the rock waterfall listed above. Instead, the water will fall straight over an edge at right angles, syncing perfectly with a more modern look. These pool water features suit contemporary home designs perfectly.

8. Edge Wall

Putting a wall along one side of your pool opens up all kinds of cool possibilities.

It would work as a bar, but it can also work as a place to hold decorative plants, lights, or even as a place to sit. You can also add water features in the wall if you want to level it up further.

9. Jet Features

For more excitement than a simple fountain or waterfall, you can also position jets that will shoot water into the pool in graceful arcs. A row of jets along each side of a rectangular pool looks especially chic and glamorous.

10. Artificial Rainfall 

Love the idea of the jets, but want to go even more spectacular? Consider an artificial rainfall feature that will give your pool the effect of having rain falling from the ceiling in luxe curtains. This is a great way to upgrade a covered pool.

11. Pool Water Fountain

If you prefer to keep things classic, you could add a water fountain inside the pool. This simple yet grand water feature will never get old, and it gives that soft, splashing sound that so many people love to hear when poolside.

12. Spillover Pools

If you have a raised pool and a lowered hot tub, or a similar setup, you can elegantly transfer water using a spillover design. It will connect the main pool with the smaller, lower pool or tub beautifully.

13. Scuppers

You can’t go wrong with scuppers, which create a tiny waterfall effect that falls from a raised wall into your pool. Carefully placed individual scuppers, or rows of them, can work well depending on your pool design.

14. Sculptured Fountains

Do you love art? Want to incorporate it into your pool design? You can add fountains that come in the form of sculptures for an additional unique touch to your pool. The design of the sculpture is up to you, so you can pick one that suits your style perfectly. 

Ready to Try These Pool Water Features?

Whether you choose one, or mix and match a few, these pool water features will give your pool an upgrade that makes it feel like new. These ideas range from inexpensive to high-end, so there’s something here for every budget.

Not sure you can afford to install the pool of your dreams, much less the water features? It’s easier than you might think — check out our financing options here.

in ground swimming pool

7 Key Things to Know Before Installing an In-Ground Swimming Pool

Having an in ground swimming pool is a great feature for any house. But it’s especially nice for houses located in hotter areas. And the Texas sun isn’t shy.

So having a cool escape in the hot summer months is more than enjoyable! But installing in-ground pools comes with a lot of dedication. You’ll want to make sure that you know the most important things about buying a pool before doing so.

If you’re not sure what you need to know about in-ground pool installations, you’re not alone. Most people aren’t aware of important things to know before making the purchase. Luckily, we’re here to help!

Keep reading for 7 key things you need to know before having an in-ground swimming pool installed. 

1. Know Why You Want The Pool

Make sure everyone in the household is on board with the decision. It’s a big investment that requires a lot of work. And if everyone in the household isn’t ready to make such a large commitment, then having the pool installed won’t be easy. 

How many people will be swimming in the pool? Do you want a small sized in ground swimming pool for you and your partner? Or do you need a large sized one for family gatherings and parties? 

You should also know why you want the pool and what you plan on using it for. If you plan on swimming during the colder months, then consider installing a pool heater or warmer. If you only plan to use the pool during the hotter months, then a pool heater may not be needed. 

Consider the area where you live. Think about how often it’s cold and how often it’s hot. And think about how often you want to use the pool. 

2. Know If Your Property Is Pool Ready

There are several ground factors to take into consideration before having a pool installed. Is the ground on your property pool ready? If your property has a high water table underground, then this can significantly add to the cost.

Also, keep in mind that the type of soil plays a key factor in construction and price. Sandy soils or soils that are rocky might be a concern. It’s also a good idea to note that the equipment needed to build the pool will need a way in and out.

3. Know Where You Want To Put It

Not only do you need to look into the zoning and building laws for your property before building, but you also need to know where electrical, gas, or water lines run. Both of these factors play a huge part in deciding where to build your pool.

There may also be deck restrictions and laws that require proper fencing around the pool. And once you’ve gathered all of this information, you can then decide where the entrance and exit of the pool will be. And you should consider placing the pool in an area that receives maximum sunlight.

4. Know How Much It Will Cost & The Upkeep

It’s important to know your budget beforehand. In-ground pool installations are expensive. And you should have your pool financing plan in place as one of the first steps. 

It’s not uncommon for pool buyers to put down a deposit and schedule a service before realizing that they couldn’t get the financing that they needed. So it’s crucial to have this step completed before starting the process.

5. Know What Materials You Want

Your in-ground pool can be made from several different materials. In-ground pools can be made with vinyl liner, concrete, or fiberglass. It’s never a bad idea to do some research on each type of pool before making a final decision. 

Vinyl liner pools are the least expensive, but the upkeep and maintenance of the pool can be quite expensive. Concrete pools are the most expensive, but they are a much more durable choice. Fiberglass pools land in the middle with price, but the upkeep and maintenance cost of them is significantly lower than vinyl liners.

Make sure you have a reputable company provide you with high-quality pool maintenance and repairs. This will ensure that you get the most out of your pool.

6. Know The Construction Time Frame

know how long it will take to build your in-ground pool. The amount of time it takes to complete the job is dependent on several factors. If you are installing a small pool, then the time to construct it will be less than the time to build a larger pool. 

The weather conditions also play into the amount of time it takes. Bad weather conditions can extend the time frame. And lastly, the type of pool you are having installed can determine the time frame as well. 

Customizations, materials used, and add ons can all be reasons for longer construction time. 

7. Know What Customizations You Want

Before going through with an installation, be sure you know what types of customization you want for your pool. Pools can be built in many different shapes: not just square, rectangle, or circle. Waterfalls, landscaping, waterslides, bridges, pavements, and more can all be customized to meet your dream pool’s needs. 

Check out these photos here to get an idea of what kinds of customizations you might want for your own pool. 

What’s Your Dream In Ground Swimming Pool?

After reading these 7 key factors to consider before making a final purchase, do you know what your dream in ground swimming pool is? If you keep these 7 tips in mind, then it’ll be easy sailing for you as you install your very own underground pool!

And that you know everything there is to know before buying an in-ground pool, stop by our contact page and request a free consultation today. Your dream pool is waiting for you! 

pool cleaning

Pool Cleaning Made Easy: 8 Tips That Lead to a Spick and Span Clean

When you imagine taking your first dip of the summer, you picture a crystal clear pool, right? It’s not hard to achieve this, but you’ll need to put in a little work.

If you own a swimming pool, there’s a good chance your home is a popular place once the mercury starts to rise. However, with family, friends, and neighbors enjoying your pool on a regular basis, you’ll need to take measures to clean it.

You’ll need to establish a pool cleaning routine and adhere to it all summer. This will ensure it looks great and the water’s safe to swim in.

Let’s go over eight tips to help you maintain a clean pool.

1. Start with Skimming

The cleaning job you’ll need to perform most frequently is skimming. This involves removing leaves, bugs, and other debris that gets into the pool and floats on the surface.

Skimming on a regular basis helps you cut down on your pool maintenance time. A quick skim every day ensures debris doesn’t sink to the bottom where it’s harder to remove.

All you need is a long, telescopic pole and a net. Make sure both of these tools are clean before using them so you don’t get your pool dirtier in the process.  

2. Take a Brush to It

There’s nothing you can do about dirt and algae accumulating on the side of your pool.  Sometimes this buildup is hard to see, but it’s there.

The best way to tackle this problem is with a pool brush. You’ll need to brush the sides of your pool, stairs, and ladder once a week.

You can use your brush in one of two ways. Get a model that attaches to your telescopic pole and do the job from outside the pool.

Or, do it from inside the pool with a hand brush. Who knows, you may end up enjoying this cleaning job.

Make sure you do a thorough brushing once a week. The longer you put this off, the harder the job will be once you decide to do it. 

3. Regular Vacuuming

To effectively clean the bottom of your pool, you’ll need to use a vacuum. Do this at least once or twice a week or when you feel your pool needs it.

If you don’t already have a vacuum, make sure you get one that’s compatible with your pool. Different surfaces require different styles of vacuums.  

To do this job manually, you’ll attach the vacuum head to your telescopic pole. Run the vacuum along the bottom of the pool slowly. Go too fast and you’ll stir up dirt and debris at the bottom.

You can also opt to invest in an automatic vacuum. These will take some of the legwork out of the job.

4. Good Circulation

It’s important you maintain good circulation at all times. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a cloudy pool and can even damage your pump.

Healthy circulation requires you to run your pump for 8 to 12 hours each day. This slows down the buildup of algae and stops bacteria from forming.

Make sure you clean out the skimmer baskets on a regular basis. It’s also important to keep the filter on your pump clean at all times. Doing so helps ensure steady circulation.

5. Backwash the Filter

Your pump filter plays an important role in keeping your swimming pool clean and healthy. One of the best ways to clear it is by performing a backwash.

As water passes through your pump, the filter traps dirt and debris and prevents it from entering your pool. However, over time the filter can get clogged.

Performing a backwash means reversing the flow of water through the filter. This washes away all the debris that’s accumulated.

Check your pump manual for instructions on backwashing. If you still need assistance, call a professional pool technician to help.

6. Maintain a Healthy pH Balance

The pH balance of your pool refers to the amount of alkalinity and acidity in the water. It’s important for this number to remain between 7.2 and 7.8.

The pH balance could get thrown off by things like heavy rains or daily swimming. A high or low pH balance could cause skin and eye irritation. It could also damage your pool equipment.

Pool supply stores sell test kits for measuring pH balance. Test your water a few times a week and after storms. If your levels are off, there are chemicals you can add to correct the balance.

7. Sanitize with Chlorine

Maintaining a good chlorine level is crucial during the summer months when your pool gets frequent use. Chlorine helps kill bacteria and keeps your pool sanitary for swimmers.

Keep chlorine tablets on hand all season. All you have to do is throw them in and let them dissolve. Invest in a chlorine test kit to help you determine if your level is too low.

Before you start using your pool for the first time this summer, go ahead and shock it with chlorine. After that, if you keep your pool in good shape you may not need to add chlorine too often.

8. Cut Back Foliage

A preventative measure that will help keep your pool clean is to do a little landscaping. Cutting back foliage around your pool is a great way to keep leaves, limbs, and other organic debris out.

If you have trees in close proximity to your pool, thin them out. You should also cut back any surrounding bushes or shrubs.

Keeping the landscaping around your pool well-manicured will reduce the number of insects that end up in the water. It also improves the aesthetic appearance of your pool and backyard.

Practice These Pool Cleaning Tips on a Regular Basis

Having a swimming pool makes Texas summers so much more pleasurable. Do yourself and your family a favor and keep your pool looking its best all season.

Tackle these pool cleaning tasks on a regular basis and enjoy and long, hot summer.  

We provide residential pool services in Katy and the surrounding areas. Contact us today.  

pool contractor

Don’t Get Ripped Off! Key Tips for Finding a Reliable Pool Contractor

If you’ve decided this is the year of the swimming pool, congratulations!

You’re joining almost 500,000 people in the state of Texas who also dreamed of a pool in their backyard. You’re also about to become the most popular house on the block.

You’re excited but also a little apprehensive. You’ve heard at least a few swimming pools gone bad stories, right?

Investing in a custom built swimming pool isn’t like purchasing a pool-in-a-box from your local discount store. If you don’t like it you can’t pack it back in the box and drop it off at the customer service desk.

If you choose a reliable pool contractor, you won’t need to worry about swimming pool nightmares. Nor will you wish you could put the dirt back in the ground and put up a swing set instead.

But how do you pick the best pool builder?

It’s not difficult if you follow our tips. Read them and get ready to break ground.

Meet in Person

We live in a world where life’s transactions happen with a click of the mouse. For many purchases, we never talk to a human over the phone much less in person.

Even for major purchases people often don’t consult with someone face-to-face. Consider the latest trend of ordering a new car from what amounts to a vending machine.

Most people wouldn’t dream of picking a contractor from a vending machine sight unseen. It’s the same with your swimming pool installer.

Feel free to call and get estimates over the phone or by e-mail. Just make sure you meet in person before the first shovel digs into your backyard.

A reliable pool contractor expects to come out to a prospective client’s home before beginning work. This is a consultation where you talk about your dream swimming pool and your budget.

They inspect your site. They’ll share some of their own ideas. By the end of the consultation, they should have enough information to create a swimming pool proposal.

Meet with at least 2-3 contractors before making a final decision. As long as you’ve asked the right questions, this first date should give you a good idea of which company is right for the job.

Ask Key Questions

Don’t let the excitement of building a pool overwhelm you to the point where you can’t think straight. Right about now you’re dreaming of sinking into the relaxing cool waters of your very own pool.

Before you take the plunge, ask questions—lots of questions. Your questions should go beyond the price of the pool and how long it takes to build. 

Dive further into the question of how long they’ve been in business. Of course, you’re looking for experience but more important is how much experience they have building the type of pool you want. If their niche is fiberglass pools and you want a gunite pool, keep looking.

Another obvious question is whether they’re licensed but you should also ask about insurance. Be aware that not every state requires licensing for pool builders. All pool companies should carry general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

Both types of insurance protect you. One protects you from poor workmanship. The other ensure you’re not liable for injuries that happen to your contractor or one of their employees.

You could also ask them if they can have your pool ready by next weekend for your kid’s birthday party. A sense of humor is important when building a pool, no?

Request References

A reputable pool contractor doesn’t earn their reputation by accident. Most pool builders keep a list of their happiest clients who don’t mind talking about how happy they are with their swimming pool.

You ask your babysitter for references. Your employer asked you for references. Why wouldn’t you ask a pool builder for theirs?

The key to a reference list is actually contacting the references.

You’re looking for information about what kind of experience previous clients had working with the pool company. You also want to know what it was like working with their crew and any subcontractors.

Ask about the final product. Were the results what the client hoped for, or were there things that didn’t meet expectations?

The most telling question is whether the client would hire the contractor again.

A swimming pool is a major investment and an emotional purchase. There’s a certain level of trust that comes along with the entire process. A good pool contractor builds that trust well before breaking ground.

Don’t feel awkward asking for references.

Don’t Sign a Contract on the First Date

Did you buy the first home you walked through? Most home buyers look at an average of 10 homes before making an offer. You probably don’t need to see that many pool installers.

Remember earlier when we suggested meeting in person with 2-3 pool builders before making a decision? Even if you fall in love with the first one, it’s still a good idea to talk with at least one other builder.

After your initial consultation, you’ll get a proposal. The proposal should include information about the type of pool, the estimated time-frame and cost. This is a proposal, not a contract.

Read each proposal and ask for modifications if necessary.

Compare proposals. One builder may offer an extra water feature at a discount. Another builder might throw in an upgraded deck.

Take time to go over all proposals before you hire your builder. This can prevent future problems with contracts.

It’s in the Details

Few people enjoy reading contracts, especially when they have a lot of fine print.

Your contract contains the details of your swimming pool project. Details include:

  • Description of services
  • Itemized breakdown of materials
  • Project deadlines.
  • Inclement weather agreement
  • Equipment
  • Responsibilities of pool company vs. homeowner
  • Payment terms

Read the contract and ask for explanations of every detail. No, you’re not a pest. Understanding your contract helps prevent future misunderstandings.

Ready to Hire Your Pool Contractor?

Whether you want it for the endless vacation factor or you hope to add value to your home, building a pool is a big deal.

If you follow our tips, you can find a reliable pool contractor who will ensure you get the pool of your dreams.

Ready for the next step in the swimming pool project? Contact us and we’ll set up a complimentary consultation.

pool design

Modern Oasis in Katy, TX: 10 Pool Design Trends for 2019

There are over 10 million residential swimming pools in America. While they can be found all over the country, California, Florida, and Texas are the most popular states for in-ground pools.

So, if you live in Texas (or another warm-weather state), it may feel like you’re the only one in the entire neighborhood without a pool. Installing one may cost a pretty penny, but your home’s value will likely increase, and you’ll have an amazing form of entertainment right in your backyard.

Of course, you’ll want to ensure you pick a pool design that’s stylish and relaxing.

Do you need some inspiration? Keep reading to discover our top pool design trends for 2019.

1. Sleek and Simple Shapes

Once upon a time, every pool was curvy. But in 2019, more and more homeowners are going to opt for a sleek and simple shape, like a rectangle.

This gives your pool a modern and sophisticated look. Plus, a classic rectangle shape will never go out of style, so your pool will look great for years to come.

2. Pools That Compliment the Home

In an age where pools are highly customized, an increasing number of homeowners are seeing the importance of picking a pool design that compliments their home. Pools that don’t match the home’s aesthetic often look a little awkward and out of place.

For example, a sleek modern pool would look a bit odd behind a rustic style house. But when installed behind a modern home, it can really elevate the backyard and create cohesion between the home and yard.

Many homeowners are also considering the materials they use when designing their pool. For example, you may want to use decking materials that compliment your home’s exterior.

3. Dark Interiors

Light blue has been the go-to color for pool interiors for quite some time now. But all that is changing in 2019.

Darker shades of blue, like cobalt and azure, are becoming increasingly popular. They create a more soothing, luxurious, and lagoon-like effect, making your pool the perfect place to relax.

4. Thoughtful Landscaping

If designing a pool that compliments the home is trending, it should come as no surprise that people are considering their landscaping too. Bushes can be used as a privacy wall in lieu of a traditional fence, and utilizing plants and trees that compliment your pool design is a great way to complete the look.

You’ll also want to ensure the plants you choose don’t drop a lot of leaves or petals. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck skimming your pool every day.

If you don’t want to change your landscaping, you can also incorporate this trend by using potted plants around your pool. Depending on what plants you use and how many, you can make it feel like you were transported to a tropical paradise.

5. Swim-Up Bar

Nothing screams “luxury resort” more than a swim-up bar. But now you can enjoy this feature in your very own backyard.

These convenient and luxurious bars will be trending in 2019. Plus, they make the perfect addition if you love to entertain.

6. Self-Cleaning Pools

One of the biggest downsides to owning a pool is all the maintenance required to keep it clean. That’s why self-cleaning pools will be popular in 2019 and beyond.

While the installation will be a bit more expensive, you’ll save tons of time and money on maintenance throughout the years, making this investment worth it.

7. Sunning Shelves

Who doesn’t love tanning on a relaxing Sunday afternoon? But when you’re battling that intense Texas heat, this can be easier said than done.

And let’s face it—those mesh inflatable pool floats can be uncomfortable and inconvenient when you can’t even sip on a cool drink while soaking up the sun.

That’s why sunning shelves are growing in popularity. These allow you to sunbathe or socialize on a shallow shelf in your pool, so you can still enjoy that refreshing water. You can opt to include built-in lounge chairs for a chic look or use your own, so they can be taken in and out as desired.

8. Infinity Edge Spas

If you really want to relax, you may want to include a spa in your pool design. To take this element to the next level, many are opting for infinity edge spas to add some interest and a touch of luxury.

9. Smart Lighting

The right pool lighting allows you to enjoy your pool at night and ensures nobody accidentally falls in when walking around the backyard. But lighting has come a long way over the past few years.

In 2019, smart pool lighting is going to be trending. With this feature, you can control the brightness, color, and timing of your lights right on your smartphone.

10. Timber Pools

Who says concrete and classic tile are the only options you have? If you want to go for something more relaxing and rustic, you’re in luck! Timber pools are a unique option that will be trending in 2019.

However, these pools typically aren’t made with all real timber. Porcelain tiles designed to look like wood are used to surround the pool and then combined with timber decking for a cohesive look that’s also durable.

2019 Pool Design Trends

Don’t stick to the same old boring pool design you had growing up. If you’re thinking about installing a pool this year, you’ll want to incorporate some of the latest trends to ensure it looks modern and stylish. From opting for a sleek and simple shape to trying out a timber pool, there’s sure to be a pool design that you love.

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us for a free consultation today. We can make your dream pool a reality.

inground pools

The Scoop on Inground Pools: How to Start Saving

There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States. Swimming is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities for children and adults alike.

But the cost of inground pools prevents many homeowners from installing a pool in their backyard.

Read on to learn how to save money for a pool you and your family can enjoy for decades to come.

Save Money in a Pool Bank Account

Inground swimming pools are a hefty investment. Just like any other major home renovation, it will take time and dedication to amass the funds for the project.

The best way you can work towards this goal is to set up a bank account that is just for saving for your inground pool costs. 

As a family, think about what expenses you could cut back on to go into the pool account. You might have subscriptions or memberships you don’t use. Or you could take local vacations instead of ones that are further away and cost more.

Your sacrifice will be worth the hours and hours of enjoyment you’ll get out of your backyard pool.

Also, once your pool installation is complete, you can keep this pool account for ongoing pool maintenance and future repairs.

Maybe You Don’t Need the Heater… Yet

Putting in an inground swimming pool is pricey. But you can reduce your total cost by saving some additions for later years.

For example, the heater is something that you can add down the road. Plus, waiting to add a heater will let you truly understand how much you need a heater and what kind would work best for you.

You might be surprised that with a solar blanket and some sunny days, your pool is quite refreshing without a heater.

Delaying adding a heater can save you several thousand dollars initially. Then after a season or two, you can add the ideal type of heater for your inground pool.

Opt for a Simple Patio

Often, a huge portion of the inground pool cost is the patio. In fact, this could be the most expensive part of your pool installation.

You can get your pool that much sooner if you choose to go for a simple patio for now. You could always add a fancy, extended patio later on if you really want it.

A basic concrete patio of just 3 feet is enough. Then, down the line, you can add pavers that will blend well with your concrete. Plus, pavers offer you tons of options and versatility.

Don’t Go Deep

Many people don’t realize that inground pool prices largely depend on the depth of the pool.

Take some time to really think about what you would use the pool for. Most people use it for their kids to swim and play in. And when they have friends and family over for a BBQ.

In both of these cases, you don’t really need a deep end. A 10-foot deep pool will cost you big bucks compared to a leisure pool that has a 5 or 6-foot deep end.

Unless you have a competitive diver at home, you are probably better off without much of a deep end.

Not only will you get more use out of the shallow end, but people also won’t have to squeeze into one small section of the pool for a game of water volleyball.

And don’t forget, the smaller the pool, the easier and less expensive it is to maintain. 

Keeping your inground pool dimensions modest will save you a lot of money.

Plumb for the Extra Feature

Just as you should consider adding in the heater in the future, you can add slides, diving boards, and waterfalls later. But, you need to make sure you get the plumbing done for these items during the pool’s construction.

Much of the costs of pools comes from the extras. Just a slide will be upwards of $2000.

Maybe it’s your dream to have a rocky water feature that cascades into the edge of the pool. Plan and design it, now. But save up for it.

It’s better to have a pool you can afford now and add the fancy extras later than it is to wait years and years for the pool of your dreams.

Now, here are ways you can save on owning a pool once it’s installed in your backyard.

Save Money on Maintenance

Once your pool installation is complete, there are things you can do to reduce the operating and repair costs of pool ownership. 

For one thing, once you have a heater, keep the temperature down. Even lowering the heat by one degree can save you 10% in fuel costs for a gas heater.

Get in the habit of running your pump and filter at off-peak times. 

Keep your pool cover clean in winter by regularly brushing off debris and dirt. This will extend the life of your cover. 

Also, set a pool care schedule and stick to it. Doing regular maintenance on your pool is less costly than having to fix issues once they’ve gone unattended. Also, buy your pool chemicals in bulk (and ideally before the summer season).

This will save you money and ensure you have the right supplies on hand to take care of your pool.

Final Thoughts on Inground Pools

Thanks for reading! Now you have some practical tips on how to save for a pool.

Though it takes some effort to save for inground pools, they are so worth it.

Review these 10 benefits of owning a swimming pool

pool water

Keep a Clear Pool Longer: Your Guide on Effective Water Treatment

There are 10.4 million residential swimming pools in the United States. A backyard swimming pool is a luxury that many Americans cherish during hot, sunny days.

But having crystalline waters doesn’t just happen on its own. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to maintain clear pool water in your swimming pool.

Test the Water with a Pool Water Test Kit

The secret to crystal clear pool water is frequent testing and balancing.

You should test your pool water regularly for best maintenance results.

A pool water test kit will test the free available chlorine, the total chlorine, the pH level, the calcium hardness, and the total alkalinity.

All of these factors work together to make your pool water inviting and enjoyable. Cloudy or green pool water is caused by some kind of imbalance of these ratios.

You should test the pH levels every other day.  Aim for a pH level of 7.2–7.6 parts per million (ppm).

Test the total alkalinity every month so long as the pH levels are in the right range.

For plaster pools, the ideal total alkalinity range is 80–120 parts per million (ppm). For vinyl, painted or fiberglass pools, the ideal range is 125–150 ppm.

Depending on what your pool water test kit reveals, you will need either an alkalinity booster, a pH product that will either boost or lower the pH range to the right range.

Select the Type of Chlorine You’ll Use

One of the main differences between a saltwater pool and a traditional pool is the use of chlorine.

You’ll need to use chlorine to kill bacteria and algae in your swimming pool water if you don’t have a saltwater pool.

Chlorine is available in tablets, sticks, granules or liquid. The active ingredient is the same regardless of the form.

The only differences are the concentration levels of the active ingredients as well as the way the chlorine dissolves.

Some types of chlorine dissolve slowly and so need less pool maintenance. 

Once you know the kind of chlorine you’d like to use, you need to decide how to deliver it to your swimming pool.

You can use a floating chlorine feeder or an automatic chemical feeder. Automatic feeders require little effort. With them, you can control the amount of chlorine added to the pool at any time.

With these feeders, you might not need to adjust your chlorine level until the next week.  

Shock the Pool Water Weekly

Combined chlorine happens when the chlorine you put in your pool binds with other chemicals in the water. For example nitrogen or ammonia.

When it binds to another chemical, the chlorine is no longer effectively doing its job. Worse still, this is when it can sting and irritate the eyes and skin of your pool users.

You can combat combined chlorine through a weekly shock treatment.

Ensure Good Circulation of Pool Water

You know that stagnant water, whether in a lake, pond or pool is unhealthy and not safe for swimming.

Green pool water is a sign of algae. If algae can grow that means that you don’t have enough circulation in your swimming pool water.

Moving water is vital for healthy clear, swimming pool water. Keep your pump and filter system running daily to keep circulation flowing well.

You can’t run your pool pump too often. But as that can get expensive, you should aim for at least 10 hours a day when you run your filter. 

Clean Your Pool Thoroughly 

It’s not enough to treat the water inside your swimming pool. You must also clean the insides of the pool.

You’ll need a net, a pool brush, and a pool vacuum to keep your swimming pool in crystal clear condition.

You should brush, skim and vacuum your pool at least once a week. This routine keeps buildup from accumulating on the walls and floor of your pool.

You may need to use a brush and some elbow grease to clean tough spots on tile or the liner. 

Even if you own an automatic pool cleaner, you’ll still need to skim and brush the pool regularly. Though having an automatic pool cleaner makes it easier and faster to clean your pool. 

Backwash Filters

To avoid cloudy pool water, you must frequently backwash your filters.

Backwashing means reversing the flow of water through the filters. This process pushes out dirty water and tiny contaminants out of your swimming pool. 

Create a Maintenance Schedule

One of the most important ways that you can be sure to maintain a sparkling pool is to create a schedule and keep it visible.

This allows you to keep organized and on track for your important pool maintenance tasks.

Pin your schedule to the fridge or in the pool shed where you’ll see it most often. You can include tasks such as what to do to close your pool in your schedule. 

If you have others enjoying the pool, why not assign them each a task to divide the work? If you divvy up the tasks, everyone will be able to spend more time in the pool and less time cleaning it.

If you are away from home for a few days, the schedule will ensure that the right tasks get done to keep your pool looking great.

Final Thoughts 

Thanks for reading. We hope this guide on how to maintain crystal clear pool water is helpful.

Though the process of maintaining a pool can be daunting at first, you will soon get the hang of it.

Next, learn how to care for your pool in winter.

best deals on swimming pools

Getting the Timing Right: How to Get the Best Deals on Pools

There are over 5 million privately-owned inground pools across the U.S. and 50,000 more are constructed each year. Pools are the perfect gathering spot for holding family barbeques, entertaining invited guests, or simply escaping the summer heat.

Maybe your next-door neighbor just had a new inground pool installed and now you can’t help but fantasize about owning one of your own.

There are so many different materials, manufacturers, and times to install. Finding the best deals on swimming pools seems anything but simple.

But trust us: It’s easy.

You could save thousands of dollars — or more — on your next pool purchase.

Before you make a big splash at your next house party, simply skim through our guide of cost-saving tips.

1. Fall for the Best Deals on Swimming Pools

Like many labor-intensive services, the prices on swimming pool installations vary throughout the year.

Summer

Typically, the busiest time of year for pool services is the summer. Who could blame them? Swimming is the favorite recreational activity of people under 18 years of age. It’s a great form of entertainment during their summer break.

But because of the increased demand, it’s extremely unlikely to find special deals on either labor or materials.

Along with paying full price, the laborers will be spread thin across a variety of projects and your pool may take longer to complete. If you start too late in the summer, you may not even be able to enjoy your pool before the beginning of early fall.

Spring

So what about spring?

Spring is the second most popular time to construct a pool. Since the demand is still significant, don’t expect deals or special services and discounts. Construction during this period may also be extended or delayed because of the season’s significant rainfall.

Wet earth and mud are not good factors for digging out your pool, and the machinery used could sink deeper into your lawn and leave muddy ruts.

Fall

For most people, fall is the absolute best time to buy an inground pool. You’ll save both time and money on your purchase.

Since the demand for pools is lower during the cold months, many pool builders will offer discounts and deals to entice customers. Depending on where you live, they may also be trying to empty their inventory of materials before shutting down for winter.

This can net you huge savings on both labor and material costs.

Opting for a fall installation has more than just financial benefits.

Due to the low demand, pool companies can give your project the undivided attention it deserves and complete it more quickly. It’s also doubtful that significant weather delays will occur.

During the fall, the dry weather will make construction a breeze.

And to top it all off, fall is the best time to landscape. After your pool is installed, you can plant your hedges and seeds and they’ll have bloomed and sprouted by the time summer rolls around.

Winter

Depending on where you live, winter is also an option for good deals. In many climates, the pool builders won’t work during the season. But in warmer climates, they’ll still be available and the ground will still be soft enough for construction.

However, sharp drops in temperature or winter storms can cause installation delays.

Also, at the turn of a new year, most businesses increase their prices. While you may be able to snag a good deal during January or February, you’ll also likely be paying at a higher rate compared to last year.

2. Choose the Right Materials

So you’ve decided to buy a pool during fall to snag those great deals before the winter price hike. Great!

But the opportunities to save don’t end there.

If you’re getting a custom swimming pool, you’ll have a ton of materials, finishes, and appliances to choose or exclude from your purchase.

Gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl liners are all popular options, but they come with their own upkeep requirements and initial cost.

Gunite

Gunite — which is concrete — is a complicated material and process, so there are no options for you to save money by providing some of the labor.

The initial cost of a gunite pool averages around $75,000 dollars. But that’s just the initial cost.

Of these three popular options, gunite requires significant upkeep fees. Over ten years, you can expect to spend an additional $30,000 dollars across its annual chemical and electrical fees and occasional acid washes.

Over ten years, an average gunite pool is a $100,000 dollar investment.

Fiberglass

The benefit of choosing fiberglass is the possibility of installing portions of it yourself, saving cash on labor.

But most people don’t have the know-how or desire to handle even small portions of the pool installation.

In general, you can expect to pay around $60,000 dollars for a full-package installation.

While this cost is nearly identical to the gunite option, fiberglass does not require an acid wash and also costs less in electrical and chemical fees.

Over ten years, you might pay an additional $5,000 dollars. That makes the final price of a fiberglass pool $65,000 — significantly cheaper than the gunite option.

Vinyl Liner

On a vinyl pool, the vinyl liner covers the structure of the pool. They aren’t prone to cracking or scraping, unlike concrete. Vinyl liner pools are relatively easy to make on your own and are undoubtedly the cheapest option.

You should expect to pay around $50,000 dollars for a hands-off vinyl pool installation.

Unfortunately, vinyl liners need a replacement once or twice every 10 years. Along with regular pool fees, expect to pay an additional $10,000 throughout the decade.

With these prices in mind, choose either a fiberglass or vinyl liner pool to save the most on your pool installation.

Ready to Save on Your New Pool?

With the right materials, timing the construction of your new pool could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Now that you know how to get the best deals on swimming pools, it’s time to get yours installed and become the neighborhood favorite.

Not sure where to start? Contact us to get a free quote or discover more about cost-saving options for your future pool.