Abby's Guide to Swimming Pools
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Swimming Pools

Having your own swimming pool used to be a sign that you had a lot of money to spare. These days, it's a lot more affordable and just about anyone can have a pool in one form or another. But buying your first pool can still be tricky. After all, the huge number of options means you can have the ideal pool for you, but you still have to find it! Let's take a quick look at what you need to know about buying a swimming pool for your home. It's really not all that difficult.

Above Ground Pools
Self assembled above ground pools are the least expensive choices. These come in a number of varieties and sizes. There are splasher pools that give you enough space to cool off, and extremely large pools that allow for a comfortable swim. Their price ranges vary widely, from low end inflatables (almost like a giant kids' pool) to four-foot deep, thirty-foot long luxury pools on the high end. Above ground pools often sacrifice aesthetics for price, unfortunately, but they're an inexpensive way to get a pool big enough to do a lap or two.

The higher end of the market also includes pools that are quite attractive on their own. Timber pools offer the beauty of wood, instead of flat plastic panels. These pools can end up being very expensive, but are a beautiful addition to every home. They can be dug into a sloping site for a partially in-ground effect, or dropped into raised decks and patios to create a sunken pool. You'll usually get the plumbing, pumps, and assembly tools with these types of pools, but if you'd like a pool heater, that'll need to be purchased separately.

Above ground pools have several advantages: mostly lower cost, the ability to avoid excavation, and easy assembly. However, an above ground pool can also take up a lot of ground space and may be an eyesore. Some neighborhoods even have rules against them. Check with your neighborhood association if this could be a concern.

In Ground Pools
In ground swimming pools are an old concept - versions of them date back to Ancient Rome. They have a much lower profile and can be a lot more durable than an above ground pool. They're also usually bigger and deeper, reducing the chance of feeling like you're in the shallow end or in a big bathtub. An in ground pool will often cost more and require more effort to put in than an above ground model, however - especially if you're going to do the labor yourself. That's worth taking into account when you do your shopping.

Block and liner pools or concrete are the most traditional variety. They're put in by digging the hole for the pool, laying a concrete block base, and then installing a waterproof liner. Some of these pools can even be done on your own, but most people will hire a contractor to get the work done. This is pricier, but it's also a lot faster, and you know the work's being done by professionals. However, there are other options, as well. In ground pools are available in metal and plastic panel varieties that make putting in an in ground pool a lot like assembling an above ground model. Dig the hole, lay down a concrete pad for a base, then create the sides by clipping together panels. One piece fiberglass pool inserts are also available. They're placed right into the excavation and are quick and easy to use. Thermal panel pools are new on the market, but may help keep your in ground at a more comfortable temperature.

Indoor Pools
If you've got a lot of money to spare, and want to make the most of it, there's always the heated indoor pool. These are usually done in sprayed concrete, and can include all kinds of luxury options, including spa jets and more. They allow you to swim as much as you want, no matter how unpleasant the weather may be. They're also nearly impossible to put in yourself. If you aren't a contractor, stick to having this kind of swimming pool installed by a professional.

Pool Maintenance
If you're thinking about buying a swimming pool, you'll need to consider more than just the cost of buying and installing it. You'll also want to think about the cost and difficulty of maintaining your pool. This can vary according to the size of the pool, how much you use it, whether you cover it, and where you live. In warm areas, you can heat your pool with solar energy - just use a set of black panels to warm the water. In cooler areas, an electric heater will be necessary. This can drive up heating bills considerably.

Water treatment and pool cleaning will also be required. The expenses will vary, depending on how much debris your pool is likely to accumulate, and whether your area has hard or soft water. Larger pools are more difficult and expensive to clean, treat, and heat, of course. Remember that enclosures and covers can help reduce the money and effort you need to spend heating and cleaning your pool. There are all kinds of different enclosure and cover options on the market, ranging from big plastic bubbles and telescopic covers to permanent pool buildings that keep your pool semi-indoors.

Is a pool just what you and your family need? It could be! Do a little bit of research and think about your needs and your budget. That'll help you determine the ideal choice, and avoid a potentially expensive mistake. Learn all you can about the different types of pools, and what's permissible in your area. You'll get a great pool and a wonderful way to relax.

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