Decking around a pool can be poured concrete, stone, brick, tile, or any of a variety of pavers. Wood may also be used, but it will demand more maintenance, can be slippery when wet, and is prone to causing splinters. Don't skimp on area. The pool deck, which will be used for lounging, sunbathing, and dining, is likely to get more use than the pool!
Pool costs vary by type of pool and region. For example, in many parts of the country a fiberglass pool costs less than a concrete pool-but not everywhere. Size is probably a more important indicator of price. Small pools will cost roughly between $20,000 and $30,000. Medium-size pools will run between $30,000 and $40,000. Large pools begin at $40,000 and go up from there. Add in the extras-diving boards, slides, decking, lighting, and automatic cleaners-and the costs can easily rise by another 10 to 20 percent. Some pool contractors may be able to give you a more accurate estimate based upon the pool volume. For example, concrete pools in many parts of the country cost about $10 per cubic foot. As with any home improvement, request several quotes from reputable contractors along with as many references as possible.
In addition to initial cost, plan for ongoing maintenance expenses. Vinyl liners, for example, last about 5 to 10 years, at which time they need to be replaced at a cost of about $4,000. Concrete pools need to be resurfaced every 10 years or so, a job that can cost even more. Fiberglass pools have a life expectancy of 25 years, making them a low-cost option in the long term. In addition, fiberglass is less likely to stain or support the growth of algae, thereby reducing maintenance hassle and expense.
The cost of a new pool doesn't end with its construction. Depending upon how much of it you hire out, maintenance, supplies and electrical costs can run between $1,000 and $3,000 a year. There's opening and closing, cleaning, checking connections, adjusting pH, adding algaecide, surface repairs, and liner replacements. Cost-saving green alternatives are available. Before deciding upon chlorine as your primary sanitizer (it's a major pollutant), consider some of the natural water purifiers. They include saltwater, ionization, oxidation, sonic waves, and certain types of plants. And if you're thinking about heating your pool to extend its use into the cooler seasons, consider solar thermal heating. Of all the solar technologies, its payback is the fastest.