Everything you need to know about swimming pools

Everyone loves summer, and backyard swimming pools offer the perfect way to enjoy it. Even if you live in a climate that only allows you to swim outdoors a couple months per year, you won't regret making the investment come the dog days of July.

Before you go ahead and take the plunge, though, you should know about municipal building codes in your town or city and how to select a pool type and pool company.

Do Your Homework Before Choosing a Pool

The type of pool you choose will depend primarily on three factors: the space you have available in your yard, the amount of money you have to spend and the relative skill level of the swimmers who will be using it.

Backyard pools come in two basic varieties: inground pools and above ground pools. Inground pools require a lot more room, not only because they tend to be bigger, but because they need to be constructed using bulky equipment. You'll need adequate clearance beyond the perimeter of the proposed pool to allow room for the digging and construction equipment.

Above ground pools, on the other hand, can fit in almost any moderate-sized yard. Because these vinyl pools and gunite pools don't require bulky equipment to assemble, they make a better choice if you have limited space. Inground pools are also far more expensive than above ground pools, so they're the pool of choice for the budget-conscious.

Also, if you have younger children, or if the people who will be using the pool aren't skilled swimmers, keep in mind that above ground pools tend to be safer. Their shallow waters make diving impossible, and the depth of the water can be customized and controlled.

Select the Right Pool Company

If you elect to install an inground pool, you'll have to deal with a pool contractor, and it's vital that you have the skills to evaluate contractors and determine who's good and who you should avoid.

Generally speaking, you should look for a well-established swimming pool contractor with a good reputation in the community. Any reputable contractor will happily and readily provide you with references and show you concrete pools they've successfully completed. State certification is also a requirement.

You should also insist on working with a builder who offers guarantees and has no complaints filed against them at the Better Business Bureau or state licensing board. Finally, go with your gut – if you get a bad feeling from a certain contractor, it's for a reason. Similarly, if you get a good feeling from another one, don't be afraid to go for it, even if they aren't the most experienced option available.

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