Feb 17, 2022
In a tropical country like the Philippines (where it’s hot most of the time and scorching during summer), taking a dip in a swimming pool is one of the best ways to feel refreshed.
While most people would head to higher altitudes with cooler climes (like Tagaytay or Baguio), others prefer going to the beach or to some private resort to beat the heat of summer.
There are also the lucky ones who don’t have to go through all that hassle because they have their own swimming pool at home. Indeed, having a swimming pool built at home can be a good investment for your health and well-being. It also increases the value of your property.
This article will give you everything you need to know about having your own swimming pool at home, down to the last drop. We’ve packed it with important details, from the compelling reasons why you need to have a swimming pool at home, the construction costs and maintenance, to how to make your swimming pool area gorgeous.
Having a swimming pool in your backyard is great for a number of reasons.
Fun for family and friends
Pools are great because they can be enjoyed alone or with family and friends. Instead of spending too much time indoors to get away from the heat, the pool allows for all kinds of gatherings from pool-side drinks, barbecues, and swimming parties.
An in-ground swimming pool is a good investment not only for the relationship between family and friends, but it actually increases your home’s value. A study published by the National Association of Realtors showed that in-ground swimming pools have increased the value of homes in the United States by about 8%..
You can do different kinds of workouts in a swimming pool without having that sticky, sweaty feeling—literally! Swimming involves the movement of the whole body, which increases endurance, arm and leg strength, and lung capacity—all while keeping you cool and refreshed. It definitely beats working out at the gym, especially in the summer.
Beneficial to health
Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout that will keep your muscles, heart, and joints in shape.
If you are now convinced that you really need to have a swimming pool at home and you have the financial capability for it, here are a few things that you need to do.
Create a wish list and a lookbook
Gather up ideas and designs you may want to see in your swimming pool before reaching out to a builder. Read magazines or online articles to get inspirations and the latest trends in swimming pools.
Find a credible pool builder
Once you’ve consolidated all your plans and ideas for your dream pool, the next step is to choose an established pool contractor. Finding a reliable and competent builder will help you avoid any headaches and ensure overall pool quality.
Decide what kind of pool design you want
There are different shapes and designs of swimming pools that suit different occasions and uses. Read more about this below.
Consider if your area is prone to floods
What you don’t want to happen is for your swimming pool to be ruined by floods that regularly happen during the rainy season.
Think about how you want to use your pool
Some homeowners build pools for entertainment, for their kids, or as an investment. You will have to decide how you will use yours in order to come up with the right budget and design features you would want in your swimming pool.
Establish your budget
Knowing your budget allows you and your builder to know the possibilities you can explore for designing your pool. Though the total cost may change during the construction phase, it is crucial to establish an initial budget with enough allowance to cover the extra or unexpected costs.
Expect long-term costs
Costs do not stop after construction. You will have to consider maintenance costs (including replacement of parts) and higher electricity and water bills. Consult with your builder on what extra features you want to use and the quality of pumps and filters.
Consider your insurance policies
Reach out to your insurance company to find out how a swimming pool will affect your current home’s policy.
As there is no definitive “perfect” pool shape, you should pick the one that fits your available space and preferences most. Here are some common pool shapes and the advantages and disadvantages they have compared with others.
Straightforward enough, rectangle-shaped swimming pools feature simple 90-degree corners – conveying a sense of minimalism, formality, and sleekness.
This pool shape is elongated, therefore it is perfect for lapped-swimming exercises and aerobics. If your yard happens to be long and narrow, this is the perfect pool shape to use—the pool would be a “skinny” rectangle.
Finding pool covers (to keep the water clean from debris and other unwanted objects) for this shape is also easy.
Considering construction costs, rectangular pools generally cost more than curved pools because they result in perimeter footage as opposed to curved pools.
The perfect rectangle does not allow any flexibility in structure, and you will have to remove or excavate any object along its way. If there are permanent structures such as a part of your house or a tree you would want to preserve, you’ll have to make your pool smaller.
The kidney shape became popular in modern homes in the 1950s and 1960s. To visualize, a kidney shape resembles a bowl with an indentation on one side of the pool.
The kidney shape has a long stretch that also allows lap swimming. The indentation of the kidney shape gives room for different designs and features. For instance, you can place a bench or a pocket of landscaping. If your yard happens to be long and narrow, this is a great pool shape to have.
The design is quite outdated, making it less ideal to incorporate with contemporary homes and yards.
An extension of a small portion is added to the rectangle, forming an “L” shape.
The small extension or “foot” is a space that can be made as a shallow end, great for teaching kids how to swim. If your yard happens to be long and narrow, this is an ideal swimming pool shape.
This pool shape would require a larger space in your backyard. Just like the rectangular shape, this design can be a bit more costly compared to curved pools because of its increased perimeter footage.
Geometric shapes can come in the form of ovals, circles, squares, triangles, hearts, and so on.
Geometric shapes give room for modern and contemporary designs. These fit quite well with houses that feature many exterior angles, found most in modern architecture.
These shapes also have increased perimeter footage, costing generally more than curved shapes.
The classic design dates back to Greek and Roman architecture from many centuries ago. This features a rectangular shape with a combination of radius and angled variations at both ends of the pools.
These classic pools provide a simple yet elegant style. These can be well incorporated into classical and formal architecture.
The classical design may take a bit more work to incorporate into modern and contemporary settings. The mixture of edges and curves may result in greater perimeter footage, costing more.
Right off the bat, expect that the construction costs for a swimming pool to not come cheap, but it will be worth it. There are many components needed in your swimming pool to make it beautiful and functional.
According to a pool contractor in the Philippines, a basic rectangular swimming pool (10 meters long, 5 meters wide and 4 feet deep, declining to 6 feet deep) should cost around Php700,000.
Take note that this is just to give you a general idea on what to expect as costs may vary depending on the designs and features you would like in your swimming pool.
Here’s what a swimming pool construction entails:
Before anything else, the homeowner will have to secure building permits to ensure a smooth construction process in accordance with their subdivision or community’s guidelines and policies.
The ground will then be excavated to make way for the pool shape, drainage, valves, and lights. A truck or two will have to haul away the soil, which will also cost you extra.
This will act as the frame and support of the pool before the concreting process. 10-millimeter steel bars are cut and bent to shape the pool.
Installation of a network of pipes for the water to run through.
After the steel bars have been placed, a monolithic concrete structure is applied, reinforcing the pool with an average of 6 inches of thickness for the flooring and walls.
Filtration system, pumps, and hydrojets
Pool pumps and filters are used to circulate and filter swimming pool water to keep it clean and sanitized. A filter can be costly depending on quality and durability, but will save you on maintenance costs in the long run.
In order for the lights, filters, pumps, and jets to work, the pool will require a properly fitted power supply.
Pebbles are bonded with concrete, mounting over the top of the pool’s upper portion of the wall and intersecting with the surrounding deck. Not only is this necessary for the structure, but this also greatly enhances how your swimming pool looks.
Tiles are then fitted, with style and design according to your liking.
Dirt, dust, and any other by-product of the construction will be cleaned out right before the pool is filled with water.
Before the contractor turns the pool over to you, they will have to treat the pool with chlorine to ensure the water is clean and ready for you to jump in!
Your brand-new swimming pool should be ready after a month or two. Take note that the total cost will depend on the size, design, location, and overall build quality of your swimming pool.
In addition, the costs do not stop there. Apart from maintenance costs, you will also find yourself shelling out for beautifying and hazard-proofing your swimming pool area.
Sourcing a competent contractor to build your pool is crucial, as this will ensure quality and to avoid any headaches in the long run. Here’s a list of well-established swimming pool specialists located in Metro Manila, Northern and Southern Luzon, and the Visayas.
Metro Manila contractors
North and South Luzon contractors
Here are some precautionary measures you can take as a homeowner to ensure a fun and safe swimming environment:
Now that you have your swimming pool, the next step is beautification. Factors such as heat, safety, and aesthetics will have to be taken into account. Here are some tips to consider when making your perfect swimming area.
Measure the swimming area
Before you go crazy in designing a pool area, it is crucial that you find out the dimensions you are left with. From this, you can now determine how much furniture (such as lounge chairs) you can place, what other features you can have, how much hardscaping you need, and such.
You also need to take into account the distance between the water and the grass and plants so that they are not damaged by the chlorine or salt water.
Don’t forget durability
Designing the pool area may seem simple until you factor in durability. Not only do you have to consider looks, you also have to choose materials that can withstand water and chlorine. Natural stones such as travertine, limestone, and sandstone are a go-to for their appearance and less water-absorbent property.
Keep it cool
Consider using less heat-conducting elements and materials for your pavement and furniture for your swimming area. Especially when you’re in a hot place like the Philippines, opt for materials that are lighter in color so they do not take in too much heat and scorch your feet and skin.
Consider building a pergola
To those unfamiliar, pergolas are outdoor garden features that consist of vertical posts supporting cross-beams, providing some adequate shade. Adding a pergola also creates vertical lines to the design, enhancing the look and making the pool area appear larger by drawing the eyes upward.
Add pool coping
Swimming pool coping gives your pool an extra layer of protection and adds to its style. It’s basically an additional border around the pool’s perimeter. It can help prevent water damage and provides swimmers an area to grab onto when getting out of the water. The coping can also double as seating overlooking the pool and the pool area.
Screening and privacy
Sooner or later, you’ll realize that you need privacy in your swimming area. Walls, hedging, planting, and hardscapes can provide privacy as well as shade. You can also experiment in creating “rooms” and different sections with such, making the most out of the space you are given.
It is essential to keep the pool area both atmospheric and safe at night. Place a couple of lights around the yard and color-changing LEDs inside and around the pool to create different moods.
A pool house, maybe?
If you’re lucky to have a big enough yard, it is definitely worth it to build a pool house. Apart from having an additional element for aesthetics, you will have space to change in and out of swimwear, a place to store furniture and floaters, and safe storage for pool chemicals.
Incorporate different hardscaping materials
Keep your eyes interested visually by incorporating different hardscaping materials. For instance, you can combine concrete, tile, grass, and decking to keep your eyes moving around.
What plants you can get
For starters, choose plants that do not shed leaves into the pool. Instead, go for herbaceous plants, trimmed topiaries, and grass. Place these plants in the awkward spaces created by the shape of the pool and the rest of the pool area.
You may want to add some more color and energy to your swimming pool area. For instance, add accents with patio umbrellas, patterned pillows, and outdoor rugs. If you enjoy being outdoors after dusk, add lanterns and soft lighting to make the atmosphere cozy.
Pool chemicals / Do-it-yourself
If you are blessed with plenty of spare time or have household help, all you need is some pool chemicals and equipment. Four kilograms of chlorine-90 should cost about Php1,200, and 2 kilograms of anti-algae (amount depends on your algae problem). This should cost you approximately Php500 per month.
However, balancing the chemicals and maintaining the pool’s hardware can be very complicated tasks. Therefore it is highly recommended that you approach a pool specialist first.
Hiring maintenance services
Paying for labor should cost Php400–Php800 for weekly service, Php500-Php1,000 for bi-weekly service, and Php600–Php1,200 for monthly service (depending on the size of the swimming pool). However, you will still need to factor in additional costs for chemicals and equipment.
Running the water pump
It is necessary to run the water pump for 4–8 hours a day to keep the water filtered and clean. This should add about Php1,000–Php2,000 to your monthly electricity bill.
Replacing the pool water
It is a common misconception that swimming pools need to have their water replaced regularly. In fact, most residential swimming pools require a water change only after 3-7 years, depending on preservation and maintenance.
The cost of refilling the pool water
Let’s say that a pool is, once again, 10 meters long, 5 meters wide, and 4-5 feet deep. This should equate to about 65 cubic meters in volume. Based on Maynilad’s Average Basic Charge of Php36.24 per cubic meter in 2021, refilling the pool once should cost about Php2,355.60 additional to your water bill.
The Philippines generally has a hot climate with searing temperatures reaching 32°C and above on a typical summer afternoon. As this may make you want to build a swimming pool even more, this can also mean more work and costs in maintaining your pool.
Brushing algae more often
Hotter temperatures prevent water from mixing, allowing algae to grow at a faster rate. This is a concern because significant amounts of swimming pool algae create breeding grounds for bacteria that are harmful for the swimmers. You will have to brush the pool two to three times a week instead of just once because of the hotter temperature.
Chlorine dissipates faster
The hot sun can be quite damaging to the swimming pool’s chlorine concentration. Depending on strength, the UV rays can dissipate chlorine as quickly as two hours. Chlorine is essential in getting rid of bacteria and algae, so you will have to monitor chlorine levels more frequently.
More plant and tree debris
As the season becomes hotter, trees and plants wither and more debris like dried leaves and branches end up in the pool more often. This debris decay and also become breeding grounds for algae. You will have to skim the surface more often to ensure that your pool is clean.
At this point, you should already be well aware of the time, money, and effort you will have to spend on building and maintaining a swimming pool. If you feel like you aren’t ready for such a commitment just yet, here are some alternatives to having a swimming pool at home.
If you really love the feeling of submerging yourself in water, you can opt for something smaller and more affordable. Inflatable pools and framed pools are among the most popular alternatives to having a built swimming pool at home. You can also choose to install a hot tub.
While inflatables cannot substitute as your swimming pool, they can at least keep young kids busy and cool in the summertime. These should cost around Php1,000–Php10,000 depending on size and quality.
These steel-framed swimming pools aren’t as glamorous as in-ground pools, although they are quite sturdy and can fit your family or friends to keep cool in the heat. Framed pools cost anywhere from Php5,000 to Php150,000 depending on size and material used.
Although these are much smaller than in-ground pools, hot tubs can still spruce up your home with a touch of luxury. These can save up so much space and cut substantial costs compared to building and maintaining a pool. Prices of hot tubs hover in the hundred-thousands depending on brand, size, and specifications. But you would have less to worry about when it comes to maintenance costs.
If being outdoors under the sun and swimming are all you’re after, you may want to skip building a pool and just visit resorts and beaches instead. Day tours should cost you only a few hundred pesos and memberships a thousand or more.
You can also opt to find the perfect condo with a swimming pool in Metro Manila. You would not have to worry about maintaining a pool anymore, and it’s easily accessible as it’s within the condo building or compound.
Here’s a list of properties with access to swimming pools at Enta.PH:
It is definitely worth building a swimming pool if you have the space for it and resources for its construction and maintenance. Having a swimming pool at home can be a good investment not only to increase the value of your home but also to provide you, your family, and your friends with a means of fun and relaxation.
The process of building a swimming pool at home can be expensive and challenging, but the result is absolutely rewarding. Keep updated and read our blogs for more resources about your home.
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