Thinking of putting in a pool? A pool builder checklist.


By Bruce Bagin

As winter relaxes its freezing grip on the Northeast, many of you are looking forward to the heat of summer.

You might be thinking of putting a refreshing pool on your property. You might even be thinking of installing one as soon as possible, so you can enjoy your backyard pool before the weather becomes torrid.

You may well have questions about installing a pool.

Matching your dreams to your budget

Though you may have a pretty good idea of your vision, there are probably factors you haven’t considered when imagining your dream pool. To synch your dreams up with reality, you need an experienced pool builder/designer who can tell you what you can really afford on your budget.

Check out your pool builder before diving in

To find the right pool builder, you need to perform due diligence, as investors and smart business people advise, to find out all you can about the contractor before you commit to a project.  Any competent, ethical pool builder will have a good reputation that you can easily uncover with a bit of research. When talking to a pool builder, you should also stay alert to warning signs. Pay close attention to how the builder treats you as you talk about your project.  The builder should be interested in discovering your desires, rather than directing them. You should be able to work with the builder as a team member, rather than as someone making demands.

Look at your pool builder’s previous projects

Ask to look at a builder’s previous projects to see how well they have endured. Examine their pools’ seams to make sure they are even and neat.  Check out the equipment pad. See whether the plumbing and piping look well organized.

Find out what third parties have to say

Check whether your pool builder is certified by the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP). They should have a rating of A or A+ by the Better Business Bureau.  Use caution when searching on the Internet for accurate information. Seek trusted sources; not all review sites can be taken as gospel. Nor does everyone who posts always give their true opinion. It doesn’t hurt to exercise some skepticism.

Anticipate the unexpected

The unlikely can occur with any construction project. We’ve run into buried obstacles on property. Be sure to ask how your builder will handle the unexpected, well before you sign a contract.

Determine the importance of price

Although we all try to save money on big-ticket items, we are not always best served by companies offering the lowest prices. Make sure that a prospective pool builder is not cutting corners in building or employing low-grade materials to deliver your project.  Remember that while inferior work may look fine initially, you’ll end up paying more to repair it than you saved by not purchasing a higher priced pool in the first place.

Questions to ask

  • Here are a few of the questions you should ask the company you’re interviewing to build your pool:
  • How long will the building take?
  • How will you get your equipment into my backyard?
  • How many workers will you put on my property?
  • Who has responsibility for hauling away the dirt?
  • What will you do if the unexpected occurs?
  • What materials are being used to build my pool, and why do they matter?
  • What is the best pool equipment?
  • What kind of shape will you leave my backyard in?
  • Will you hook up my electrical equipment?
  • Will you connect the heater to the gas lines? Or will you prepare the heater for propane?
  • How do I factor in the cost of maintaining my pool?
  • And most important, how soon can we go swimming?