HOW TO STREEEEETTTCH THAT DOLLAR – The adage, “you can’t get there from here”, often applies to buying a fiberglass pool. I sometimes meet people who have a list of things they want done on their project, and the list is extensive and expensive. After adding everything up, the cost far outweighs the budget, but there are a few things you can do to get the pool you want without breaking the bank – play now pay later. That sounds good.
Here are a few things that can be deferred until a better time, and in the meantime this will show you the road to “get there from here”.
1. HEATERS – they can be added at any time. I suggest you have your builder leave room on the pad, and prepare to add a heater at a later date. You may find that the season was long enough without the heater, or you might decide you need a way to take the edge off the cool water. You can wait a year or five years, but a heater can always be added later.
2. WATER FEATURES – for a small fee to cover plumbing and valving, we will often install the plumbing under the concrete decking, for a future water feature. If you have a pretty good idea of what you want, or even if you don’t, it is very easy to lay extra pipe in the trench for a future waterfall or jet. A valve can be added at the equipment pad, and a pipe capped at the deck of the pool, and many years later you can build that beautiful water feature. Often the hardest part of water features is getting the plumbing to the site – now it is done for you, and all you need to do is imagine and build – the connection is the easiest part. This same idea works for electrical as well.
3. AUTOMATION – there are ways to do things with your pool at the touch of a button. In fact there are Apps for your iPhone, that will let you call your pool/hot tub combo, and have the hot tub turn on and heat up to temperature, for when you arrive home. Because so many things are wireless today, without too much effort you could go back to your builder and completely automate your pool, long after it has been built. If you know this is something you would like to do in the future, tell your builder to prep your pool for future automation. It should cost very little, and when you are ready to upgrade, it will be very easy to do.
4. DECKING – patios and decks are always too small when your project is completed. We could bring in a crew and cover the entire back yard, and some folks would try to squeeze in a few extra square feet. With very little effort you could have enough patio concrete poured to suit your initial pool deck while having everything ready to add more later. Ask your builder to leave a bonding point exposed so you can continue to bond your decking, (for electrical safety), and at any time in the future you could add more concrete decking. If you are using pavers, same deal. You might be surprised to find that just a little planning can make future expansion very easy.
5. SALT SYSTEMS – these are being retrofitted every day to old pools and new pools. The whole Salt Water package can be added at any time, without restriction. If you want to trim the price until you are ready to add, here is a simple line item you can defer and use the pool as long as you would like, without adding a grain of salt.
6. DOWNSIZE – I meet with people all the time, who feel they need to have the biggest pool available, to make everyone happy. This is probably the most common mistake I see as homeowners stretch the budget and forego things they want, to get the “Mac Daddy” at the top of page one. The truth is a moderate sized pool will let you have just as much fun as the large pool, but for much less cost. Now I have many customers who have very large pools, and for them it was the right decision. Just take a moment and think about whether a smaller pool will serve your needs, and then perhaps you might be able to squeeze that heater into the budget.
The things that cannot usually be retrofitted to your fiberglass pool, are the things that travel under concrete or are in the concrete. Adding another light to the pool is a very big deal, and often cannot be done. If you want those LED color sparkling lights, put them in as the pool is being constructed. For all these other things, take a moment to reduce your initial investment, get the pool you want, and dress it up with your accessories over the years.