type of swimming pool

How to Decide on a Type of Swimming Pool for Your Home

Are considering putting a pool on your property?

If so, you probably already know there are many styles, sizes, price ranges, and options to choose from. Not all pools are created equal, and since they are an investment, it pays to do your homework in advance. This way, you know you’re getting the best pool that your family will get to enjoy for years.

Here’s a helpful resource to help you decide what type of swimming pool to add your property!

Above-Ground Pools

A common pool style is an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools put pool ownership within reach for more people, as they have a lower price tag than most other types of pools. They are also portable, so they can be a smart option for a family that intends to move.

The drawback to these pools is that they simply don’t last indefinitely. The materials that allow them to be less expensive and portable mean they don’t stand the test of time.

In-Ground Pools

If you’re looking for a fully customizable pool that will last, in-ground is the way to go. In-ground pools are a great investment, and with the right maintenance and care, you’ll have years of enjoyment.

In-ground pools are customizable to your needs. You have say over the shape, depth, plaster color, and look of the pool. They can be outdoors, indoors, or partially covered.

Points to consider are the price and your property. Since they are considerably more labor intensive than an above-ground pool and require professional installations, they will cost more. They also require a certain amount of space in your yard.

Lap Pool

Perhaps a less-common but still useful and enjoyable pool style is the lap pool. This long, narrow, in-ground pool is used primarily for exercise. They aren’t as useful for recreation, but they also have a smaller footprint on your property.

They are certainly worth considering if your intended use is exercise and you don’t have a need for a full-sized pool.


If relaxing is the name of your pool game, a spa might be a great choice. These smaller, hot-tub style pools are perfect for decks or sunrooms. In addition to being relaxing, the warm water can be great for sore joints and muscles.

They are more affordable than large pools and don’t need much space, making them a great option for urban lots.

Due to their size, however, they won’t allow for much recreational use or water exercise, however.

Natural Pool

When it comes to different types of pools, you may not have considered the natural pool.

They are becoming a more popular and viable pool option. Natural pools use plants and other biological materials to clean the water instead of chlorine and other chemicals. This means they are better for the environment (and easier on your skin!).

Natural pools can also be truly beautiful and serene places, as they are often constructed in organic shapes that mimic a natural pond.

The drawback to these pools is that they are not cheap. They also require a good amount of upkeep to keep the water properly clean and filtered.

Still Wondering What Type of Swimming Pool Is Best for You?

This list is really just a portion of the options and styles you might consider when pool shopping. If you’re in the Katy, Texas-area and are pool shopping, get in touch with our experts.

We’d love to provide you with a free consultation where we can discuss your needs and help you select the right type of swimming pool. Get in touch today!

above ground vs. in-ground pool

Above Ground vs. In-Ground Pool: Why You Should Choose In-Ground

Summertime means a lot of great things. Ice cream. Road trips. Barbecues. One thing that’s on everyone’s must-do list for summer is going swimming.

But going out to the beach can be a real hassle. You’ve got to load up the family in the car and fight traffic. Plus,  the ocean water is often too cold, and then you get sand everywhere.

Public pools can be a little iffy. Plus, public pools are only open at certain times.

It only makes sense to put in your own pool. After all, 10.4 million pool owners can’t be wrong.

But should you go with above or in-ground? We’re going to break down the pros and cons of having an above ground vs. in-ground pool.


Let’s get the big question out of the way: what’s it going to cost. Putting in a pool isn’t going to be cheap, but it can be affordable.

An in-ground pool will cost on average a little over $20,000. Depending on the materials needed and what size you want, the cost goes up from there.

Above ground pools have an advantage here. You can purchase one for around $2,000.

Set Up

Here’s another example where an above ground pool is the better option – or so it seems.

With an above ground pool there’s some minor assembly, but after that, you’re good to go. An in ground pool is a definite project.

Here’s the thing: in-ground pools are way more durable. While the cost and set up might be more up front, it will last you a lot longer.


Let’s face it: above ground pools aren’t pretty. They stick out in your backyard and they come in very limited sizes and shapes.

With an in ground pool, the sky is the limit when it comes to looks. While you can splurge and make any shape you want or get something stylish like an infinity pool, even a basic in ground pool instantly makes your backyard look better.


If you want a plain old swimming hole, the above ground pool is the way to go. Set it up and start swimming.

And in ground pool, however, can be adapted to your lifestyle. There’s a myriad of different styles and functions that you can work with.

For example, if you want to use the pool just for exercise, you can create a shorter lap pool. Do a lot of entertaining? Install a swim up bar in your pool or put in a hot tub.

Above Ground VS. In-Ground Pool: Make Your Choice

Looking forward to the many physical and mental health benefits of swimming or you’re just looking to have some fun? In-ground is the clear winner in the above ground vs. in-ground pool debate.

While above ground has a few good positives, in-ground is the way to go for a long-lasting, customized, stylish choice.

Ready to put in your in-ground pool? Let’s talk!

Our team of experienced pool pros are ready to help you make a splash. Contact us today!

Toddler Swimming Pool Tips

Pool Safety for Toddlers: How to Keep Little Ones Safe Around the Water

Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1-4 years old? These children are most likely to drown in a swimming pool. Swimming pool deaths are entirely preventable.

Even if you don’t have toddlers or older children of your own, it’s still necessary to take safety precautions for guests or other children who might swim in your pool. Keep reading for some tips for pool safety for toddlers.

Pool Safety for Toddlers: How to Prevent Drowning

Some simple steps that parents and caregivers can take could prevent drownings. Pool safety combined with vigilance will ensure that your children and guests are safe in your pool.

1. Teach Your Kids to Swim

Enrolling your kids in swimming classes at the earliest reasonable age (some experts say that kids as young as 1 should start taking swim lessons) is a smart idea. Learning how to swim, what to do if they fall in a pool, how to float, and how to tread water are skills that children should have, especially if they have a pool at home.

However, it’s important to remember that even if your child does know how to swim, they should not be left unattended in the pool or around the pool.

2. Install a Safety Fence

A child safety fence around the pool that is between 4 and 5 feet high, has a locking mechanism, and has a gate that will close and latch on its own is necessary. The lock should be out of the reach of kids and if there is a key, it should not be left in the lock.

In addition to a fence around the pool, homeowners might consider a fence around the entire yard as well. This would keep any children out of the pool area and add an additional layer of protection.

3. Install an Underwater Motion Alarm

An underwater motion alarm is preferable to one that goes off when there is any movement on the surface of the water. A surface alarm could be set off by wind, a leaf, or bug and has more false alarms. One that goes off when there is motion under the water is less likely to have a false alarm.

4. Identify a Water Guardian

Drownings often happen when adults assume other adults are watching the children. There are many stories of children drowning among many adults. Because no one person has been tasked with watching the children in the pool, adults think someone else is doing it.

The water guardian should not have any distractions such as a cell phone, drink, people to talk to, etc. They should be focused solely on watching the children in the water.

5. Learn Lifesaving Skills

If you have a pool or a toddler learning to swim, lifesaving skills such as CPR could save your child.

If your child is drowning, the most important thing you can do is to pull him or her from the water and start CPR immediately. You should also have a phone nearby to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

The Take-Away Message

Drownings are preventable. When planning for your new pool, you should consider pool safety as well. Use these tips for pool safety for toddlers to keep your youngest swimmers safe.

To learn more about pools and pool safety, check out some of our other blog posts. If you’re ready to get the ball rolling on your own pool installation, contact us today for your free estimate and consultation.

Katy Swimming Pool Builder hold heart

Going Above and Beyond for Our Customers is What Sahara Construction is All About

We love it when our customers take time out of their day to share their experiences with Sahara Construction & Custom Pools on our Facebook page.

Just the other day, Jared and Stephanie Sears posted this message to our timeline:

Chris and Sahara built our pool two years ago. This past week a pair of goggles and a sock somehow found their way into a suction line (kids – have to love them). We called out a local plumber (name withheld) who struggled to resolve the issue. Throughout the ordeal I was in touch with Chris. Chris provided much needed help and info to share with the plumbing company. Eight hours later the local plumbing company left without clearing the pipe while also managing to break their auger bit – in the clogged line. This was on Friday evening at 5 o’clock. Having already drained the pool for the work we were a bit stressed. I called Chris to give him and update to which he replied, “Relax. My guys will be there tomorrow morning.” Mind you, this would be Saturday morning! His team showed up, worked their tails off and got us up and running again. This is who and what Shara is about. They aren’t a company who just builds your pool. Sahara is a company who takes care of their customers. Loyalty! To anyone considering a new pool feel free to reach out.

Being able to take care of our customers is what our business is all about. Whether it’s designing and building a custom pool or outdoor patio, or swooping in to fix an issue at the drop of a hat, we’ll be there for you.

To find out what we can do for you, request your Free Consultation to speak to us today.

Hurricane in Swimming Pool

Preparing Your Pool for a Hurricane

With Hurricane Harvey quickly approaching the Texas coast, and the Katy and overall Houston area anticipating heavy rainfall anywhere from 15-25+ inches, it’s time to do some hurricane pool preparation to protect your investment and get things back to normal quickly and easily.

Do NOT Drain Your Pool

First thing’s first… do NOT drain the pool. This applies before AND after the storm. Depending on the amount of rain or flash flooding that occurs in the area, your pool may overflow. Let it. The water in the pool will help to reinforce the walls and floor against any outside pressure caused by overly saturated ground.

Shock it Beforehand

Give your pool an extra dose of chlorine to “shock” it and let the system run for a few hours for good circulation. This will prep the pool for the extra rainwater. You’ll want to get it more toward a 7.2 pH level.

Clear the Pool Area of Items

As most people would naturally assume, clear the area of any patio furniture, floats, toys, etc. that could be damaged in the storm or find their way falling into the pool. If you can’t bring them inside, see if you can weight them down or move them to a more sheltered area, such as under a patio cover, close to an outside wall.

Cover at Your Own Risk

Depending on the severity of the storm, covering your pool to keep out debris could cause costly damage to the cover itself. In many respects it will be easier to simply remove any debris that enters your pool versus risk damaging an expensive pool cover.

Disconnect Power and Protect Your Pool Equipment

The easiest method would be finding the main breaker dedicated to the pool and turning it off. Once you have safely disconnected power, you can do a combination of things to protect your pool equipment. Use a waterproof wrap to cover your pool pump and any exposed equipment. If possible, you could remove your pump and bring it indoors to protect it from damage. If your pool’s pump is submerged in water, it could lead to permanent damage.

After the Storm Passes

Whether it’s a hurricane, tropical storm or just a major series of downpours, you’re going to be faced with some pool cleanup. You’re going to want to get started soon in order to avoid any potential staining due to debris and imbalances in the pool’s chemistry.

As stated above, leave the water in the pool. Also keep the power turned off to your pool equipment for the time being.

Next, start with any large pool debris, such as branches, leaves, your neighbor’s patio umbrella, etc. Use a leaf rake skimmer to get leaves and such off of the pool’s floor.

Dry Out Your Equipment before Turning Back On

Uncover your pool equipment and let it air dry for a day before restoring power to the system. If you removed your pump, go ahead and reinstall.

Once dry, turn the filter pump on and let it run for most of the day. It will take a few days to get everything nice and clear again. Backwash the filter as needed to keep things flowing efficiently.

Restore Chemical Balance and Add Chlorine

At this point, you can work to adjust the pH and other levels to get them back to their normal points. Check levels daily.

Another shock will be due to protect against the storm water. If your water is discolored due to dirt and debris, you can use a flocculant to draw the solids to the floor for vacuuming. A phosphate remover will also help counteract the effects of soil in a flooded pool.

Alternatively, you can have a professional come out and perform a thorough check of your pool equipment and begin treatment to restore normal operation.

Safety First

As with any major storm, the safety of you and your family and friends is the most important part. If you are uncomfortable or unsure of how to handle the preparation or clean up of your pool, especially with regard to the electrical equipment, consult a professional or experienced person to either guide you through the process in detail, or perform the work themselves.

Be safe out there!

Photo of a swimming pool pump

How Long Should You Run Your Pool Pump

Your pump is one of the main pieces of equipment that helps keep your pool water clean and balanced. It is important to run it daily to ensure there is enough water circulation. Stagnant water promotes algae growth along with warm temperatures.

With that being said, consider extending the time you are running your pool pump during the warmer months in the summer. During the cooler winter months, you can get away with a reduced run time as bacteria and algae are also less active during this period.

To determine how long per day you should run your pool pump, first check your pump’s turnover rate. The turnover rate refers to the period of time in which the pump is able to circulate all the water in your pool. You can find this out by dividing the pool volume with your pump’s filtration rate, and then multiplying by two.

To find out your pool’s volume or capacity, you can ask your pool builder. Or you can also find out yourself. This process requires pool measurements – average depth, length, width, and finally the amount of water it can hold per cubic foot, which varies depending on the shape of your pool. Multiply these measurements together and the product would be the volume of your pool in gallons.

Aside from the pool volume, another factor to look into is the size of your filter. If your pump size is large for your pool (2hp+), then you can reduce the pump run time.

Normally, a pool pump would complete 2 to 3 full cycles in a day. The downside though with running your pump 24 hours every day is that this costs a lot. At least one complete cycle a day could be enough, taking into consideration the weather condition(s) and pool usage.

Reducing operation time for your pump also allows you to save on your electric bill. The professionals at Sahara always recommend investing in a pool pump timer. You can help your pool pump perform efficiently by ensuring regular pool maintenance and that includes cleaning your pool filter.

If you have any questions about how long to run your pool pump, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

ancient statue next to a pool

The History of The Swimming Pool

You have seen above ground and in-ground pools your entire life, but have you ever thought about the history of swimming pools?

People have been swimming since 2500 BC in Egypt! In the years that followed, swimming as a pastime spread to Assyria, Greece and Rome. The Greeks held swimming races while Romans built their baths and in-ground pools separately. It is said that Gaius Maecenas may have built the first heated swimming pool in the 1st century.

In Japan, there is evidence of swimming races as early as the 1st century. By the 17th century, swimming lessons were mandatory in schools. There was a distinct lack of swimming in Europe until the late 17th century, when people swam at sea-side resorts. By the mid-1800s London had indoor in-ground pools for recreation and sports.

The first swimming championship was held in Australia in 1846. It was a 440 yard race that was held annually in the years that followed. By 1869, London had founded the first club for enthusiasts of the sport called the Metropolitan Swimming Clubs of London which became the Amateur Swimming Association. The ASA is an organization that still runs today.

Swimming became an internationally recognized sport when it was included in the first modern Olympic Games held in 1896. The 100 mile and 1200 mile events were won by a Hungarian swimmer named Alfréd Hajos.

Back in the U.S. there was plenty of history happening with swimming that included a president swimming in the nude and an underground pool. For starters, did you know which founding father invented swim fins? That would be Benjamin Franklin. When he was 11 years old he invented a prototype of the swim fin. Although the pair was made for his hands, the concept would later be applied to footwear.

John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, preferred to deal with the stresses of presidency by going skinny dipping at 5 AM in the Potomac River. As for the underground pool? In 1933, money was raised so a pool could be built for president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as part of his therapy for polio. Then in 1970 a room was built above the pool for press briefings. That room is still used for press gatherings to this day, although the swimming pool has been covered. Of course, they still have their outdoor swimming pool which was built in 1975 by Gerald Ford.

Swimming has such a long and interesting history. If you are thinking about building an in-ground pool, contact the professionals at Sahara today!

Halloween Masks in Swimming pool

Easy Ways to Decorate Your Pool for Halloween

Halloween is just a few days away, and even your pool can get dressed for the occasion! What’s more fun than an outdoor swimming pool party on Halloween? Take a look at some awesome things you can do to decorate your swimming pool for the holiday.

Pose plastic skeletons 

Position them as if they’re real people lounging on deck chairs, sitting on the pool slide or dipping their bony toes into the shallow end. Finish the look with carved pumpkins and battery-operated candles glowing around the pool deck.  

Stretch spider webs around the pool

Use fake spider webs and place fake giant spiders in the webs. Add smaller spiders on the pool deck for a creepier effect.

Blow up a number of latex gloves

Add multiple white glowsticks inside, tie the end and float the hands in the water. The dismembered hands effect adds a great spooky effect to your pool.

Place battery-operated candles in plastic pumpkins 

Float them on the pool’s surface for a festive Halloween look. It’s quick, easy, and very affordable!

You don’t need to do a lot to create a great Halloween scene in your swimming pool. Use some of these simple suggestions and transform your backyard into a spooky landscape for your Halloween party!

Have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone at Sahara Pools!

spa Builder Katy

5 Steps To Enjoy A Spa In Time For Cooler Weather

Spas provide many benefits other than just the enjoyment of warm, massaging water. Spas can aid in joint pain, muscle soreness, sleep and can even reduce stress. This can come to fruition this fall or winter if you start purchase process now.

Sahara Pools offers more than just custom built swimming pools – we offer custom in-ground spas too! To help you through the spa consideration process, we’ve provided a list of 5 steps that will help you be on your way to enjoying your spa during cooler weather.

  1. Location, Location, Location

You may already have a place in your backyard, patio or home that you wish to have the spa installed. If you’re not sure where the best place is, a Sahara Pools professional can help you find the best location. The great thing about a spa is that even if you don’t have enough room to fit a pool, you can likely fit a spa!

  1. Choose a Design

Sahara has many, many in-ground spa designs. Our square designs have a modern look with sleek lines whereas our round designs offer beautiful curvature. All Sahara Spas have strategically-placed jets to create an ideal place for practicing a variety of calming, comforting and healing routines. All spas are available with spillovers that provide stunning cascading water.

  1. Choose a Color

Sahara Pools’ spas are available in the same beautiful plaster colors as our pools. Each color has a built in sparkle that looks like diamond shimmering across the water. These colors not only look beautiful, but they also have excellent UV and chemical resistance.

  1. Landscaping & Outdoor Decor

You can make your spa space unique and your own with the right landscaping. When you look out at your spa, landscaping can add to the stunning and aesthetically pleasing look. It’s never to soon to start collecting ideas and plan out how you envision this space. Decor can also add to this space by choosing the furniture, color schemes and decorations that complement your spa.

  1. Contact Sahara Pool Builder

The professionals at Sahara Pools can assist you throughout this process, ensuring you have a spa that fits your needs and desires. Contact the professionals at Sahara Pools today!

a swimming pool with winter cover

Pool Safety in the Winter

It’s the beginning of fall in Katy and winter is right around the corner. Whether you want to heat your pool up so you can swim despite in the colder weather, or you simply want to keep your pool in sparkling clean, the pool pros at Sahara Pool Builder have compiled a list of tricks and tips to keep everyone and everything – safe.

Be Sure to Balance the Water

When it comes to protecting your pool from cold weather, there is nothing more important than making sure the chlorine levels are correct. Before closing up your pool for the winter, it’s important to bring the chlorine level up to 9-13ppm (parts per million). It is very important to make sure the chlorine, alkaline and calcium levels are balanced. This is your greatest tool against algae buildup or plaster corrosion.

Don’t Forget About the Heater

Planning to skip winter swimming sessions? Then you will need to take care of your pump(s) and heater. First, start by disconnecting the filter and pump. It is important to drain out any trapped or isolated water, as well as removing all drain plugs. Make sure you drain your heater with the same thoroughness.

If you live in an area that is prone to frequent freezing weather, think about your pool’s equipment like this: without any water trapped in your pump and/or heater, it cannot freeze. If it cannot freeze, you don’t have to worry about expensive damage come the spring.

You will want to protect your family by doing the following:

Make sure you purchase a high quality pool cover to protect from debris and the possibility of freezing temperatures. Make sure your pool cover is clean by inspecting it regularly. If you wanted added security or protection, install a pool alarm. You can view our article about pool alarms here.

So if you are planning on swimming during the winter, or if you simply want to keep your pool safe and healthy while it is closed down until spring, follow our guidelines for safe and happy pool!

If you have any questions about winterizing your pool, please contact the pool professionals at Sahara Pool Builder and they will be happy to answer all of your questions.