SWIMMING pools are as popular a fixture in Australian backyards as barbecues and there are few better ways to cool off on a hot summer's day than with a refreshing dip.
But pools are big-ticket items and require much thought and research before you decide to take the plunge.
There are many things to consider like budget, size, type, shape and depth that it can quickly become overwhelming.
The size of your pool is of course dependent on the space you have to play with and money you are able to put forward.
While a pool, more especially an in- ground one, will increase the value of your home, they can often run over budget so ensure you can afford one before the first sod is turned.
So now that you've decided to dip your toe in you need to decide on whether you want an in-ground or above-ground pool.
The latter is usually much cheaper ranging from $500 - $8000, quicker to install and comes in two types, rigid or soft sided.
Rigid above-ground pools like the Regal from Classic Pools (stockists at 07 3805 8999) are more of a permanent structure with walls of steel, wood or aluminium.
Soft-sided pools (Portable Kool Pool, $970 from Atlantis Pools) are cheaper still with the reinforced liner forming part of the actual structure. They can be packed away in the colder months or go with you when you move.
Soft-sided pools are also required to be fenced so check with your council for regulations.
In-ground pools are a better bet if you are looking for a more permanent structure or a specific look.
Given the space and budget they can be custom made with a variety of finishing options.
They take anywhere between 8-12 weeks, longer in poor weather, to construct so keep that in mind when having yours built.
In-ground pools can be made from concrete (Beach, from $29,970, Environ Pools) which are excellent for irregular spaces and start from about $25,000, fibreglass (Platinum Plunge from Leisure Pools, 1300 775 274) which is manufactured off site and costs from $20,000 - $25,000 or vinyl liner.
They can be finished in range of colours with tiles, glazes, paint and pebbles.
Most people build a pool for recreational reasons and they are commonly between 1.1 metres and 1.8 metres deep with a shallow entrance on at least one side for small children.
If you want a diving board you will have to go deeper, which although fun to have, costs a lot more.
If you want to get the maximum use out of your pool you will have to consider heating options.
These can be solar, electric or gas with a cover also needed to keep in the heat and reduce the amount of debris in the pool.
Safety is paramount when you have a pool and you are required by law to have a non-scalable fence that is at least 1.2m high.
When building a pool. It is necessary to:
- Install temporary fencing around the pool area while it is under construction
- Inform your local council about where your permanent pool fence is going to be located, to make sure that its location meets council guidelines
- Arrange a final inspection by your local council or private building certifier as soon as possible after the permanent compliant fence has been installed.
After the pool is built, the owner should ensure:
- The pool is surrounded on all sides, at all times, by a child-resistant fence separating the pool from the house and any adjoining premises
- All doors and gates providing access to the pool must be kept closed at all times
- A warning sign and CPR chart must be displayed near the pool.
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