By Mary G. Pepitone
Andrews McMeel Syndication
Lap up a watery design this winter with an indoor swimming pool.
You don’t need to live in a warm winter climate to sit poolside. People are designing pools to create a resort-like atmosphere inside their home, says Teri Wiltshire, spokesperson for Master Pools Guild Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. “People are drawn to water and want to bring that experience inside their homes,” she says. “Homeowners who build indoor pools are focused on health and well-being year-round, and also use it for entertaining family and friends.”
But homeowners who are diving into indoor swimming pool construction need to have a plan before going financially underwater on a stylish swimscape, says Mark Reed, president and chief executive officer of Memphis Pool in Tennessee.
“An indoor pool is a way to prolong a six-month swim season, when compared to the backyard variety,” he says. “Homeowners can expect to pay up to 30 percent more for an indoor pool, as opposed to the same construction in the backyard.”
But swimming laps in luxury isn’t as easy as filling a hole in the ground. Reed says the average indoor-size pool is between 15,000 and 20,000 gallons and is typically built on-grade. In a stroke of ingenuity, indoor pools built in a solarium-style space can feature panels on the roof that can be opened and closed for an indoor-outdoor feel.
The poolroom can be a sunny segue from the inside of the house to scenic views outside. Usually attached to the back or side of a home, the poolroom can be the centerpiece of an in-home spa experience, often surrounded by a hot tub or gym equipment.
Before breaking ground on a watery respite, the site needs to be prepared and graded so water flows away from a home’s foundation. Water also travels the path of least resistance, so it’s important to make sure it doesn’t seep into the house by having an equipment pan in the pump room, in the event the filtration system springs a leak.
“You need to have a plan for water drainage, because you don’t want the water splashed from the pool to end up inside your home,” Reed says. “There also has to be a plan for the ventilation and dehumidification of the house with an indoor pool, so the evaporated water doesn’t condense on walls and ceilings.”
More people are swimming in style with splashy features built around their indoor pools. “Homeowners are educated about options they want,” Reed says. “Each pool we build is unique and built around the personality of the homeowner and design of the house.”
The size and shape of an indoor pool depends on how it will be used. A classic geometric shape is perfect for a lap pool, while a naturalistic, curving shape can be more conducive for recreation with a waterslide and diving boards.
Reed says the inside and bottom of many indoor pools are tinted to give the illusion of blue hues. Finishes inside the pool using aggregate, such as colored pebbles, are as beautiful underwater as they are underfoot. Also, the indoor pool can be an illuminating project, with underwater light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that cast cool lights in color.
But just as important as how an indoor pool looks is how it smells. “We’ve all been to the hotel that greets you with the chlorine smell of their indoor pool,” Reed says. “You don’t want that smell permeating your home.”
Reed says one of the most effective water sanitizers for a pool is an ultraviolet (UV) and ozone water treatment system. “This system reduces the need for chemicals, and there’s little off-gassing of chloramines, which leads to that strong chlorine smell in the air.”
Swimming and safety must go together like a foot and flipper in an indoor pool. “It’s really important to go over water safety rules at your pool and have layers of safety precautions in place,” Reed says. “Since you can’t put a fence around an indoor pool, local building codes have guidelines, which often include having an alarm on the door to the poolroom.”
Extra amenities surrounding an indoor pool, such as a sauna, workout equipment and lounge chairs, give families more opportunities to enjoy the poolroom. “Our team isn’t just building a pool,” Reed said. “We want to create a relaxing oasis that families can dive into.”