Perfect Pool
5 EASY STEPS TO CHOOSING THE
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES
& HAVING A POOL YOU ENJOY FOR A LIFETIME.
A FREE HOMEOWNERS REPORT BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
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Why do you want a Pool?
Before deciding on size, shape and accessories, it is a good idea
to think about your REAL motivations for wanting a pool. The more
thought you put into this one question will make all the other decisions
coming your way very easy. It will help your builder better advise you
and enable you to end up with your dream pool that you will enjoy
for a lifetime.
Often, homeowners don’t put enough thought into how they will use
the pool and this can lead to problems later on. If you buy a new front
door and don’t like the color, you can paint it easy enough. But, if you
don’t like the shape of your pool after it is complete - it’s not going to
be that easy to change. And, people often don’t think size, shape and
even the plumbing can affect how you will be able to use the pool.
Most people want a pool for at least one (and often more) of the following reasons. Rate the following questions by what will be the most
(and least) important to you.
1. A pool would look so good in my backyard and make our home
much more attractive.
2. A pool would be the center of our backyard parties and entertaining with family and friends.
3. A pool will be great for my kids and get them outside more.
4. A pool would be wonderful for my health and exercise routines.
5. A pool would be a replacement for the family vacation or amusement park with so many toys and fun things to do in the pool.
6. A pool would be great to dive in, take an occasional dip and then
work on my tan.
7. I just love being in the water - playing and swimming.
8. I just love being beside the water – reading and relaxing.
Each of these statements has an impact on the size, style, shape and
functional requirements for your new pool.
If you want a pool for the aesthetic value, it will be important to con-
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Not all pools
ARE CREATED EQUAL.
sider how it will fit into and complement your existing or new landscape. The materials, shape and visual effects will take precendence over other features.
Custom Built for you...
If your pool is for parties and entertaining, you want to consider how many people
would use the pool at the same time and size the pool accordingly. You may also
consider ambient lighting and water features to draw attention to your pool as a
focal point while entertaining.
A pool used primarily for excercise will have long straight spaces for swimming
laps.
A pool for the occasional dip may feature a larger pool deck surface to lounge and
relax.
A pool for the family to play in would feature a larger middle area between the
entry and deep end or a sports style pool with an even depth.
A pool for the busy professional would have the latest automated technology to
minimize maintenance.
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Step 1
SIZE & DEPTH
Most homeowners have a place in their yard where they can already envision a pool. Besides your
preferences you should consider your yard’s slope, exposure to the sun, accessibility for drainage,
equipment placement and your yard’s dimensions.
Try laying a large tarp or garden hose in the area you have in mind for your pool. Play with the
size until you are happy and then consider you will need a bare minimum of three feet around the
perimeter of the pool for decking. Your decking can extend more than three feet in different areas
depending on whether you want an area for sunbathing or entertainment. Go as large as feels comfortable when you lay out the hose and then consider how much surface area will be subtracted for
the decking.
In a pool where you intend to have
diving, there needs to be a deep
end. To accommodate a pool with a
shallow side and the depth required
for diving, the pool needs to be at
least 38’-39’ long. You can purchase
and install diving boards of different
heights. As the height of the board
increases (or the springiness), the
required depth of the pool increases
as well.
1. Shallow end: suitable for small children
2. Play Area: anywhere you can stand with your head above water
3. Deep end: suitable for diving & swimming
Studies have shown that most people will spend about 80% of their time in the play
area of an inground pool. A pool suitable for diving usually has about a third devoted
to the shallow end, a third devoted to the required slope and a third to the deep end.
That means very little space is left for the play area.
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If your primary use for the pool will be playing – you may want to reconsider the diving board. Most residential pools built today don’t include a diving end for this reason. Diving will also add to the safety risk
and possibly your homeowners insurance. Non-diving pools tend to have so much more play area than
traditional diving pools so even if the kids want a diving board, they will definitely love the increased
play area. If you still just need the diving board – talk with your builder to make certain the depth of your
pool and the size are suitable and safe for its use.
Your builder will have information about zoning and building restrictions. Zoning is primarily handled on
a local level and typically covers such issues as fencing and barriers, pool depth requirements for diving
boards, set-backs and proximity to utility lines.
NEED HELP DETERMINING THE RIGHT SIZE & DEPTH?
Call PoolMax - we’ll help you measure, determine shape, provide a lot of useful advice
and best of all - it’s free! Call us at: 410.320.7817 to schedule a time.
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Step 2
SHAPE
There are two basic shapes when it comes to your new pool: freeform or geometric. Geometric
can also be described as traditional like the standard rectangular shape you often see. When
choosing your shape, take into consideration these things.
1. What style do you typically prefer and how will it fit into your landscape?
2. Will you be using the pool mostly for fun, parties or swimming laps?
If space is limited in your backyard or your pool will be used mostly for laps, you may want a
traditional rectangular shape in order to maximize the swim area. Rectangle pools never go out
of style and will always coordinate perfectly with the surroundings.
With a gunite pool, you are not limited to pre-designed shapes. The sky is the limit when it
comes to shape. You can choose a basic rectangle to maximize space and then soften the
shape giving it angles or curves in any direction.
INFINITY POOL
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DOG BONE SHAPE
If you want to use the pool for laps but need space for children to play too, you may consider
an “L” shape to accommodate both types of use. Or, if space is not limited, you may consider a
beach entry for relaxing with a deeper end for swimming.
If beautifying your yard is the prime motivation for building a pool, you may want to consider a
vanishing edge (infinity pool) which are particularly impressive in pools built near lakes or cliffs.
A lagoon or natural style pool can add a tropical look and feel and have a dramatic effect on
any landscape.
For the shape, start by collecting photos of pools you like and then narrow the list to those that
primarily fit your use and the space you have available. Spend as much time as possible on this
step - size and shape would be the most difficult and costly elements to change once your new
pool is built.
LAGOON SHAPE
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Step 3
FEATURES & ACCESSORIES
This is an area where you should not spare expense. Some features or accessories are going to
be dramatically less costly when they are included in the original design of your new pool. Since
your pool is built to offer a lifetime of enjoyment, you definitely want to think far into the future
about the features you may want or need.
CUSTOM STEPS
BUILT-IN FUN
Built-in features like custom entries, tanning ledges, and swim-up bars can add
more fun and function to your pool. With a
gunite pool, steps can be large and flowing, offering plenty of space to lounge,
sit or play. With a beach entry, you can
walk out like you are in the ocean – but
they can also take up a lot of space – so,
depending on your pool size you may
consider ledges. Ledges can be placed
anywhere and offer an area to lounge or
sit or even large enough for toddlers to
play.
Water Features like waterfalls, jets and
fountains can bring a touch of beauty to
any pool and offer romance and relax-
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ation. Using water features combined with ambient lighting can take any pool theme to the next level.
Built in spas or spillover spas can connect to your pool transforming it into a WATER SLIDE
whole other level of entertainment. Add a spa and your pool instantly becomes more elegant, exotic and more fun!
WATERSLIDES & DIVING
A swimming pool waterslide integrated into the pool landscape gives
you the feel of a water park in your backyard! Diving can be anything
from the traditional diving board to a beautiful diving platform built from
natural rock.
DIVE ROCK
ROCK WATERFALL
BEACH ENTRY
NEED HELP SELECTING THE PERFECT WATER FEATURES?
Call PoolMax - we’ll help you determine what features fit your lifestyle and your budget. Call
us at: 410.320.7817 to schedule a time.
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Step 4
FUNCTION & MAINTENANCE
WATER TYPE
You can choose to have either saltwater or freshwater in your pool. Both saltwater
and conventional freshwater pools use chlorine to keep the water clean and sparkling. The difference is that the saltwater pool system creates its own chlorine, while
the freshwater requires that chlorine be added continually.
If you have ever been in a saltwater pool you’ll notice the salt is not the same high
level as in the ocean but rather the amount of salt found in a teardrop. You may be able to feel the difference because the water leaves your skin feeling softer. However, the saltwater can be more corrosive to
metal ladders and equipment.
Saltwater equipment will add to the initial purchase price, however, salt costs much less than chlorine so the
savings in chemicals more than pays for the extra equipment cost in the long run.
POOL INTERIOR FINISH
The decision on what interior finish to use will depend on looks, economy and what kind of durability factor
you wish to acheive. While plaster is the economical choice during
the initial build, it is highly susceptible to discoloring, staining, and
harboring bacteria due to the porous nature of the material. Aggregates, on the other hand, can be a little rough to the touch but they
last much longer and require less maintenance than plaster. Often,
homeowners choose aggregates for the wide variety of colors
available - from white to blue to black and everything in between.
PEBBLE TEC FINISH
White Plaster Finish
Standard white plaster remains a popular choice in spite of the innumerable choices that have come into the market in recent years. It
is simply a combination of white cement, white marble aggregate
and water and that makes for an economical choice that will give
you that classic swimming pool look. When filled with water, white
plaster finish creates a brilliant, clean, light blue appearance. It is
also very smooth to the touch. Although it is the most economical
approach, it is susceptible to developing blemishes in appearance
WHITE PLASTER FINISH
over time especially if chemistry is not balanced.
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Aggregate Finish
Aggregates are basically a very specialized form of ceramic-coated sand that
comes in a variety of products. Some (like
PebbleTec) are made up of naturally polished pebbles creating a slightly bumpy
texture with a non-slip surface. These finishes come in a wide variety of colors and
textures delivering an elegant, long-lasting beauty combined with resilience and
durability. While it is more expensive than
plaster initially, it has more longevity and
the ability to hide chemical residue.
POOL DECK
Pool decking should be a minimum of 3 feet around the perimeter of the pool but often is larger in areas
where you want people to sunbath, sit or entertain. It can even extend from the pool to provide pathways to
the pool house, home, garden or entertainment areas. While a pool deck may essentially look and function
like a patio, it has unique requirements for slip resistance, sun reflectivity and orientation.
Concrete is the most economical option for your pool deck. Decorative concrete, pavers or natural stone
are some of the more expensive options that can complement the exterior of the home & merge with the
outdoor environment or décor.
POOL COPING AND TILE
The coping is the capstone for the beam, and is used to finish the pools edge and bring it up flush with the
pool deck. Pre-cast concrete coping with a bull-nose front edge has been the standard for many years.
Modern designs are making use of bull-nose brick coping in many colors and textures. Flagstone is also a
popular choice.
Ceramic tiles may be used as a border by installing a row of tile at the water line, or they may be installed
to cover the entirety of the pool’s walls and floor. This adds an attractive accent to your pools finish and
design.
FILTERS
There are three main types of swimming pool filters, D.E. (which stands for Diatomaceous Earth) Sand and
Cartridge pool filters. There is not a right or wrong choice here, it’s more about what you prefer. Sand filters
are less expensive to purchase, though slightly more expensive to operate. They will generally keep the
pool water clear, though probably not as sparkling as the water cleaned by DE. And lastly, Cartridge filters
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are really easy to clean or replace with no backwashing ever. So, discuss with your pool builder
the pros and cons as it relates to operation and the size of your pool before you decide.
CLEANING
With today’s technology, you’re able to automate much of the cleaning processes, making maintenance less of a chore and pool ownership more relaxing. Talk to your builder about the options
before building so the appropriate plumbing can be installed to accommodate the automation
options you choose.
SAFETY COVER
COVER
With an inground gunite pool, you have a couple
options for winter. You can use a standard cover or
safety cover. A standard cover is relatively cheap and
made of a tarp-like material held down by water bags.
You have to be vigilant during the winter and pump-off
any excess water that accumulates on top of the cover. You also have to be wary of any person or animal
falling through the cover. A safety cover has a trampoline type look that is custom sized for your pool. It has
spring-loaded straps and anchored into the concrete.
It is usually made of a mesh material so that it will hold
STANDARD COVER
a person or animal but it will let water pass into the pool so
there is no accumulation.
With a safety cover, the water usually takes a few days to
clear but there is little (if any) winter maintenance.
HEATING
If you live in the Northeast, a heater can extend your swimming season by up to several months. Heating your pool can
be accomplished with a heat pump, gas or solar system. If
you’re planning to heat your pool, gas heaters are the least
expensive to purchase, but they typically have the highest
operation and maintenance costs. Many pool owners opt instead for electric heat pumps, which
take longer than gas to warm the pool, but they’re more energy-efficient, costing $200 to $300
less to operate per swimming season.
Regardless of heating system, covering the pool with a solar blanket to trap heat and reduce
evaporation will promote lower operating costs.
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Step 5
FINANCING & COSTS
Building a new pool is a major investment. Most homeowners opt to finance some or all of the purchase.
Financing through a home equity loan or a secured
mortgage usually makes sense since the interest rates
with these methods are the lowest.
If you are financing, it’s truly important to consider everything you will want now and into the future. Skimping
on a feature here or there to reduce the price of your
pool may seem practical. But, you need to consider
the fact that the feature you eliminate only adds $20/
month now but may cost thousands of dollars later.
If you are worried about affordability, talk to your
builder about the practical alternatives. Things like
water slides and lighting can be affordably eliminated
now or upgraded later while built-in features like steps
and shelves are way more costly to add after the build.
Most people don’t build a pool in order to increase
the value of their home. However, a well planned and
well-built pool can add value to your home. And, it
can certainly add value to your life and enhance your
enjoyment of life – those are things you can’t put a
price tag on.
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Time to take the plunge!
At Poolmax, we’ve been creating quality pools in the
Maryland area for nearly 25 years. By combining our
solid reputation with the personal one-on-one service we
provide to customers, we’ve built a reputation as the pool
builders Maryland area residents can trust.
Free design consultation
When you call us for a free design consultation, we’ll help
you decide on the type of pool, add-ons and elements
that will achieve your vision and stay within your budget.
Let us be your partner when it comes to planning your new
dream pool!
WHAT SETS US APART?
Simply put, our pools are excellently built but we’re often
able to do it for less than anyone else in Maryland. How
do we do it? We don’t have a huge advertising budget,
high overhead or board of directors to support & we pass
the savings directly to your bottom line.
Serving the Maryland region building
quality pools and providing superior pool
service.
Our customers know they can count on us to take our
time to answer their questions and answer them honestly.
If there is a less expensive way to accomplish your goal
or even if someone else can do it better – we’ll tell you.
We’re honest with our customers - even when it doesn’t
benefit us. That is why “word of mouth” is our best advertising.
We maintain a staff of industry professionals, including project manager, and licensed construction professionals. This not only allows us
Phone: 410-320-7817
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greater efficiency and quality control, but ensures that you receive the
full resources and specialized attention you deserve throughout every
phase of your custom pool construction.
Give us a call for an estimate & we’ll give you a free Polaris Automatic Pool Cleaner if you choose us to build your pool.
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