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Choosing between in-ground, above-ground pools

Above-ground pools can be loads of fun for your family.
Above-ground pools can be loads of fun for your family. - 123RF Stock Photo

By Kara Redden

The Nova Scotia summer feels so fleeting that you’ve decided to take full advantage of the hot months and invest in a pool. Just imagine being poolside everyday with the sun on your face, breeze through your hair and your feet dangling in the water. What a life!

First and foremost is to decide what type of pool would work best for your needs and budget. There are two basic types of pools — in-ground and above-ground — and, of course, numerous models and styles of each to choose from. Let’s unpack the two types of pools.

In-ground pools: upfront investment, big value add

As you might imagine, of the two types of pools, in-ground pools are more expensive. After all, your yard must be dug out and graded, and the pool installed. Depending on the finished product, and how in-depth the project is, all-in costs start at about $40,000 and more common run around $65,000. If this seems like a big investment, consider the following:

The cost includes your pool patio — which may be more or less expensive depending on what materials you choose to enhance the look of your property — as well as the needed accessories, maintenance equipment, even landscaping and cabanas.

In-ground pools last longer than above-ground pools, so the initial investment is more spread out — think 20-plus years.

Financing is often available in the form of lines of credit specifically designed for home improvements.

An in-ground pool can significantly increase the value of your property by adding a gorgeous water feature, which home buyers appreciate.

Above-ground pools: family fun on a budget

Above-ground pools can be big, bold and loads of fun for your family. The maintenance is the same as with in-ground pools, and today’s high-tech models can last as long as 15 years with proper maintenance and replacement of the pool liner. While aboveground pools are available in a wide variety of sizes and can even be larger than their in-ground counterparts, they will typically be of a single uniform depth rather than the customizable depths which are possible with in-ground pools. Costs associated with an above-ground project are usually around $5,000 to $15,000 for the pool. The wooden deck around the pool can run somewhere from $5,000 to $35,000 depending on your vision.

So which pool should you choose? Some other factors to consider:

  • budget
  • esthetics
  • available space in your backyard for placement
  • access for equipment
  • neighbourhood for resale
  • how long you plan to live in your home

If you cannot get a small excavator into the backyard or the neighbourhood may not support the add-on cost in four years, an above-ground pool may be more suitable for this particular property. On the other hand, if you have a large budget, ample space and this is the forever home, an in-ground swimming pool might just be perfect.

Pool ownership has many advantages. You should contact a few different pool companies and speak with them about your needs and budget. Now that you know a bit more about the two types of pools, a knowledgeable company can help you determine what type of pool — in-ground or above-ground — would best suit your needs.

Kara Redden is a swimming pool enthusiast who is passionate about educating others to spend less time on their pool and more time with their family. Kara is a Partner at R&R Pools in Halifax and is the Atlantic Chapter president of the Pool and Hot Tub Council of Canada

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