Indoor pools are indulgent, so it is important to spend time over the design, installation and maintenance to ensure you create something truly beneficial to your property and lifestyle.
A swimming pool in the home is a true indulgence and could be considered the height of luxury, which means it’s extra important to ensure you spend time considering the design, installation and maintenance before you commit. There is nothing luxurious about an unsafe, overpriced swimming pool that never gets used. So where do you start? What is a great pool and what is a terrible pool? How do you know which type of pool suits your home the best? Let’s take a look so that you can avoid investing in something unusable, or that you grow to dislike very quickly.
In the UK climate, an indoor pool is a great idea. Some might even suggest that it’s the only sensible option. If you have a house that is able to comfortably house a pool, there’s no doubt it will become an asset to the property. An outdoor pool in this country really isn’t likely to add value to your home, so building one indoors is certainly the better idea because you will get the most use out of it.
It is cheapest to have an outdoor pool that sits above ground level, which you could install yourself easily for a few thousand pounds. However, this won’t add value to your property. An in-ground outdoor pool can be self installed (with some DIY and building knowledge) for around £5,000 pounds, or you can have a high end outdoor pool installed from around £25,000 pounds. Clearly there is no ceiling price as you can have an outdoor pool as extravagant as you would like. You could say that a higher priced outdoor pool may add value to your property, but when you balance out usability, running costs and desirability it still makes sense to opt for an indoor pool. The prices of indoor pools vary greatly but tend to start at around £65,000 and again, there is no ceiling price.
With an outdoor pool you don’t tend to need any permission unless you have a listed building or there are special restrictions on your property and grounds. Your indoor pool may need permission though. It is advisable to think about contacting an architect who can draw up some basic sketches to aid the planning application. This will help the application process and also help with gaining accurate estimates from contractors. In all cases you should always check with your local authority before planning on installing a swimming pool to check if you do need to apply.
It is so important to consider the usability of having a swimming pool installed. Clearly it is a worry, investing thousands of pounds in an indoor swimming pool only to find it gets used rarely. Clearly it is less of an issue with an indoor pool than with an outdoor pool, as the use of outdoor pools depends on the weather and the seasons. Heating an outdoor pool is necessary for year round use. With an indoor pool, you don’t have to worry about the seasons affecting the usability at all. You do, however have to think about the running costs against how much the pool gets used. It is a very personal decision as to how much use justifies the costs.
Clearly swimming pools can be any size and shape, it really is all about how much you want to pay for it. It is certainly tempting to opt for a smaller pool to keep costs down, however, it is important to consider the usability. Your budget should reflect the maintenance of the pool, the usability and the installation. You might find that a smaller pool will cost you less up front but it makes for a feature you and your family are a lot less likely to use. When considering the size and shape of the pool, think about how you would like to enjoy the pool first, before considering your budget.
The heating of your pool will amount to the majority of the maintenance costs. Swimming pools need a lot of energy to keep them heated. A pool heater resembles a boiler and can be run on all manner of energy; gas, electricity etc.
One of the key issues is that unlike heating up a room, with a pool the heat isn’t held and tends to start getting lost after the optimum temperature is achieved. It is hard to consider the heating costs without getting into the specific numbers of your intended pool however, you should expect to spend hundreds of pounds over a season. Pools that require over 15 thousand kWH will cost more, especially if they are run on electricity or oil and not gas. There are products you can get which go over the pool and help to keep the heat in when it isn’t in use. However, if you can afford to invest in eco-heating that will save you the most long term. A renewable energy set up, like heating run from solar panels, ground-source heat pumps or biomass boilers, is extremely cheap after the initial installation costs are accounted for. You could also consider a combination system which utilises any renewable energy collected before then using gas, electric or oil, so you’re not entirely relying on the renewable energy. Certain renewables like ground-source heat pumps require electricity to run anyway so, a combination system might be necessary. In all cases the more eco-friendly a property is, the more desirable it is as eco-appeal becomes much more of a consideration in the property market. Just ensure you seek specialist advice from a reputable, experienced company.
Maintenance is often the biggest consideration with indoor swimming pools, following the initial installation costs. Regulating the PH levels is an important part of maintaining a swimming pool and it is something you might have to do daily because the chlorine breaks down with heat. You can also invest in a water purifying system to avoid this, but they are costly. There are also apps and devices you can purchase which enable you to track the PH levels in the pool. An indoor pool will also need to be serviced regularly. You don’t have to winterise the pool like you do an outdoor pool, but you will need the water treatment, air handling and heating units servicing. Any renewable energy units will also need servicing. The actual structure and design of the pool may also need maintaining, with poolside floor tiles being replaced, or any structural issues rectifying. Weekly, your own pool maintenance plan should include:
There are lots of ways to build a pool, but in terms of construction it’s down to 4 specific methods; block and liner, gunite shell, polymer and insulated panels. The insulated panel method is by far the most expensive, but also cost effective method and has only been available recently. Whichever method you choose, make sure you choose a SPATA member who will be registered with the Swimming Pools and Allied Trades Association.
As well as the costs of the actual pool, there are extra costs like maintenance fees. We discussed the costs of installing a pool, so an indoor pool will cost upwards of £60,000. This may include the necessary filtration and heating systems, or those systems might cost £5,000-£10,000 in addition, possibly more if you opt for a complex renewables system. Your maintenance will include all the servicing which is specific to each supplier. It also includes up to £1,000 for your chemicals and heating based on using gas. With water purifying systems and renewables you may see lower maintenance costs.
Water is dangerous, even a very small amount with minimal depth to it. A person can drown in the sea, or in 7 inches of water in their bath. If you invest in a swimming pool it is important to consider the safety elements of it. As you have an indoor pool you will have more control over who is exposed to the safety risk of the pool. It is important to remember that a huge part of the safety element of your pool is human and pet related, and no one product available to buy can make your swimming pool 100% safe. The best approach is with vigilance, education, awareness and common sense. Try to consider safety rules like:
Another way to help with the safety of the pool is with its design and the products used. An automatic safety cover is a great idea. You should also consider anti-slip tiles when choosing the surrounding floor tiles.
The design of your indoor swimming pool largely depends on your taste. There are endless designs and the way the pool looks comes down to your imagination and budget. High end unique designs will cost you as much as you want to spend. You could have a pool shaped like a guitar or a cat if you wanted. In the more standard selection of shapes and designs, try to consider your usability of the pool. If you are using it for exercise, ideally you will be able to swim a length. If it is for relaxation, perhaps additional factors like streams running into the pool and the view of the pool room are the priority. One of the biggest design factors will relate to the tiles themselves. Tiles are the natural, easy to maintain, watertight choice. Will you opt for designer floor tiles? Or perhaps an ombre tile effect with splashes of gold or borders of vintage florals. You could opt for a very dark, opulent design with golds, blacks and plums, or go for a light, bright pool with neutral tones. In terms of selling the property on, a more neutral and light look is more desirable than one which is deeply individual in taste. And this should be on your mind, as it is a lot easier to redesign a living space than it is a swimming pool. It isn’t something you can change that easily if you need to.
Regardless of the pool design, the lighting is what will really highlight the aesthetics. Lots and lots of natural light is ideal with large windows and skylights to let as much natural light in as possible. When the sun has gone down, consider the options for lighting. Underwater lighting and a set of wall lights are the usual choice for those wanting adequate and safe illumination. Any ceiling lights used should be made from fixtures than can be accessed remotely, as standard bulbs will be extremely difficult to get to. The lighting is so important, it should be considered carefully when working on the overall design of the pool.
An indoor pool is certainly the height of luxury and something that will likely add value to your property in many instances. However, getting the right set up is no easy feat, so it is important to take your time to consider all the different stages of development and installation, and design and safety. With lots of careful consideration, time and planning, you will gain a beautiful indoor pool which is likely to bring you, your friends and family plenty of fun and relaxation in the years to come.