If you’re like most homeowners who are interested in installing an in-ground swimming pool, paying cash would be a difficult (if not impossible) proposition. It is quite common for pool owners to finance the cost of building a swimming pool, and in this day and age there are more options than ever before to do so. There’s no need to let a price tag break your dreams of owning your own swimming pool. Most borrowers can obtain pool financing at competitive interest rates and favorable repayment terms.

Read on to learn about the different pool financing routes you can take and see which fits your situation best.

First Mortgage

If you are buying or building a home, you can include the cost of pool construction into your home loan. This is a very convenient option because you pay for the house and the pool all in one payment every month. The pool is treated as any other part of the home by its inclusion in the original home loan. Most mortgages in the U.S. are for 30 years, so the cost of your pool is stretched out over the years into monthly payments. Over that period of time, the cost of the pool will not seem as significant to the borrower as it would on a shorter-term loan. All of these benefits plus the fact that you can take advantage of historically low mortgage rates to finance your house and pool make this option extremely attractive to many homeowners in the market for a pool.

Second Mortgage

A reputable pool builder will have financial institutions they partner with to offer you financing options so you don’t have to look to outside sources to help pay for your dream pool. This source of financing is advantageous in its convenience: You don’t have to shop around for lenders, and your pool builder will help facilitate the deal with the lender for a smooth experience.

A second mortgage pool loan uses your existing home as collateral for funding. This type of loan offers the borrower minimal closing costs, low monthly payments, low fixed interest rates, and the interest paid is often tax deductible.

The amount of equity you have built up in your home will be used to determine the terms of the loan — the more equity you have, the better terms you can expect to be offered — however, it is not necessary to have any equity to qualify for a second mortgage pool loan.

Typically, these types of loans require that you have a good credit score. Look for second mortgages that don’t require you to pay mortgage insurance. Often, you can also roll your closing costs on these mortgages into the loan so you pay almost nothing out of pocket when you close. 

Home Equity Line of Credit

With a home equity line of credit (HELOC), you are turning the equity you have in your existing home into cash to finance pool construction. As with mortgages, you can write off interest payments on your taxes. 

A HELOC is similar to a traditional second mortgage in that they are both loans drawn off the equity in your home; however, a home equity line of credit functions more like a credit card in that you are given a credit limit and you decide how much to spend within that limit. With a traditional second mortgage, the loan is disbursed as a lump sum to be paid off in regular intervals.

HELOCs generally offer flexible repayment options, which can be the deciding factor for borrowers when weighing financing options.

Unsecured Loan

This type of loan is not tied to the equity you have in your home (thus unsecured) and is a solid option for people with good credit scores. Interest rates offered typically depend on your credit score, and more emphasis is placed on having a good score since you are not using your home as collateral.

Well-qualified borrowers can get interest rates as low as 7% to 8% with an unsecured loan. Also, the approval process for these simple types of loans is typically very quick so funds are available right away, which is convenient for homeowners who are especially eager to get started on pool construction. 

Credit Card

This is an option for people who have great credit and high limits on their credit cards. One advantage is that you don’t have to put your house up as collateral, so this is a good option for folks who may have an excellent credit score but who don’t have a lot of equity in their home. If you plan to pay off your pool loan quickly, i.e. in under a year, you may be able to secure a credit card with a 0% introductory rate and actually finance your new pool without paying any interest at all. Most credit card transaction will incur a 3% fee on the amount charged.

California Pools & Landscape can help you not only make the right decision on your pool design but also work with you on the ideal pool financing option. Fill out our convenient financing application today.

If you’re in the process of looking for a pool company to build your in-ground swimming pool, no doubt you’ve carefully researched and thought about different construction options for your pool. But, did you know that the pool deck is just as important to consider as the pool itself?

The pool deck surrounds, complements, and protects the swimming pool. It is also the area where you will ultimately spend most of your time when outside enjoying your pool. Don’t make material selection for your new or remodeled pool deck an afterthought: Learn about the five best materials used today for deck surfacing — and which is right for your project.

1. Artistic Pavers

Unlike plain poured concrete, artistic pavers add a distinct touch of elegance to the overall look of a pool space. Artistic pavers can be manufactured with a variety of looks and finishes such as stone, coral, seashell, and tumbled finishes to mimic the look of many types of natural rock for a fraction of the cost.

Besides their pleasing appearance and overall aesthetic versatility, artistic pavers have a huge durability advantage over concrete as they rarely develop cracks. Artistic pavers are generally more expensive than basic concrete up front, but their durability spreads that extra investment across a longer time period.

Artistic pavers also have the advantage over concrete of being slip-resistant when wet. They also tend to stay cooler than concrete.

2. Travertine Pavers

Travertine, which is a kind of limestone, has been used as a building material since ancient times. Not every pool company offers travertine as an option, but it happens to be a superior choice for a pool deck.

Travertine pavers come in many different sizes, patterns, and hues. They are often distinguished by their pitted holes and wavy patterns that resemble those of marble. The different-size pavers available allow pool companies to create unique decorative tiling patterns. Many pool owners prefer travertine for its classic look of sophistication just as much as its durability and resistance to many different types of weather.

 

Travertine nicely complements custom “natural” yard features like waterfalls and boulders. The material is also slip resistant and stays cooler to the touch than many other options.

3. Concrete Pavers

Concrete pavers are manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made to look like stone or brick. These types of pavers are made to interlock without grout in the joints, so they are water-permeable and thus a great choice for pool decks. The sheer variety of sizes, colors, and textures means that concrete pavers look good with nearly any type or shape of pool.

Concrete pavers are a smart choice for buyers who want something with a classier look than poured concrete but whose budget may not allow for the higher cost of natural stone pavers.

4. Acrylic-topped Concrete

Concrete is probably the most common material used to create pool decks, but its two main drawbacks are its tendency to crack over time and the fact that it absorbs and radiates heat so readily. Acrylic topping offers a solution to both of those problems. It’s applied as a liquid to the hardened concrete, and when it dries it forms a protective coating that makes the underlying concrete more resistant to cracking and heat.

Acrylic coating also offers better wet traction than basic concrete, so it makes concrete pool decks safer for walking.

Acrylic can be applied by a pool company to your existing concrete, requiring no demolition, so it’s a great choice for remodeling an older pool deck on a budget and in a much shorter time.

5. Flagstone

Flagstone is a soft, porous rock that is another excellent choice for pool decking. It absorbs water and dries faster than most other deck materials in use today. Because of those characteristics, as well as its semi-rough texture, it is also one of the most slip-resistant options. Flagstone is very low maintenance and extremely durable.

Flagstone can be cut into tiles to complement a formal or traditional deck design. It can also be set in natural slabs to complete the quintessential look of an oasis-style pool area.

Any of the materials discussed in this article would make a great choice for your pool deck. It really comes down to your budget and the look you’re after.

If you’d like to see and experience these deck options in person, check out one of California Pools & Landscape’s two Arizona showrooms. We’ll be happy to help you choose the perfect material for your dream pool deck.  

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re conducting research about installing an in-ground swimming pool. Below is a handy list of basic pool construction terms you are likely to encounter as you search for the perfect pool builder to create your dream swimming pool. We hope it makes doing your research that much easier and helps you make an informed decision.

AUTOMATIC POOL CLEANER 

A pool cleaning system that removes debris from a pool’s interior automatically.

BACKFILL

Refilling soil around a completed in-ground pool shell.

BACKWASH 

Cleaning the pool filter by reversing the flow of water through it.

BOND BEAM

The top, horizontal portion along the perimeter of an in-ground pool that is reinforced to resist horizontal forces on the pool.

CAPACITY 

The number of gallons of water a pool holds.

CENTRIFUGAL PUMP

 A water pump consisting of an impeller that creates the pressure to pump pool water with centrifugal force.

CHLORINE 

Chemical(s) used as a disinfectant in pool water to kill or control bacteria and algae.

COPING 

The top lip on a pool wall that provides a finished edge around the pool’s perimeter.

D.E. 

Diatomaceous earth. A porous substance used in some pool filters.

DECK

The area immediately around a pool typically constructed of masonry or wood.

DEEP AREA

Any area of the pool in which the water depth exceeds 5 feet.

DRAIN 

A fitting installed on the suction side of the pump in a pool and located in the deepest part of the pool. The drain directs water to the pump for filtration and circulation.

FILTER 

A device that removes particles from pool water by recirculating the water through a porous element. The three types of pool filters are: sand, cartridge, and D.E. (diatomaceous earth).

FLOTATION POOL COVER

A cover that lies of the surface of the pool as opposed to a hardtop pool cover, which rests on the coping. A floatation cover is mostly only effective at keeping debris from getting into the pool water.

GROUT

A type of concrete used to anchor rebar within pool walls, connect sections of masonry (as in a concrete deck), seal joints, and fill spaces. Grout is usually composed of a mixture of water, cement, and sand, which is applied as a thick liquid and hardens over time.  

GUNITE 

A pneumatically applied concrete mixture of cement and sand sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to construct pool walls. As opposed to shotcrete, gunite is mixed and pumped dry, and water is added as the gunite exits the applicator (a hose). Plaster is usually applied over the gunite.

GUTTER 

An overflow trough at the edge of a pool used to remove debris from surface water. Pools with gutters usually do not have skimmers.

HARDTOP POOL COVER 

A cover used on pools whose edges rest on the coping of the pool or deck (as opposed to a flotation cover that sits on the surface of the water). The pool cover functions as a barrier to swimmers and debris and helps control pool temperature.

HEATER 

A device used to heat the water of a pool or hot tub.

MASTIC

A rubbery sealing compound used by a pool builder to waterproof joints in pool coping. Think of it as caulking for your pool.

OVERFLOW SYSTEM

The system in a pool that removes excess surface water.

PEBBLE OR PLASTER INTERIOR 

A type of material commonly used by pool builders as an interior finish applied over the concrete walls of an in-ground pool.

PUMP 

A mechanical device, usually powered by a motor, which is used to move water to a filtration system or to be heated and circulated.

PVC 

Polyvinyl chloride, which is the plastic material used to make the PVC pipe used in pool plumbing.

REBAR 

Reinforcing bar. Steel bars used to add support to concrete or other masonry. In pool construction, a steel “cage” is built out of rebar, and the gunite or shotcrete is sprayed over and around it to form the pool shell.

SHOTCRETE 

A pneumatically applied concrete mixture of cement, sand, and water sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to construct pool walls. As opposed to gunite, shotcrete is mixed and pumped wet.

SKIMMER 

A pool cleaning device installed in the wall of a pool that is connected to the pump. It draws in water and debris and skims off large debris from the water on its way to the filter.

SKIMMER BASKET 

The removable basket or strainer part of the skimmer that traps floating debris.

SOLAR COVER 

A pool cover that increases pool water temperature by absorbing and transferring heat from the sun.

UNDERWATER LIGHT

A light fixture that illuminates the pool under the surface.

WALLS

The interior pool surfaces.

WEIR

A device that regulates the flow of water into a skimmer.

In the event your pool builder mentions a term not listed here, don’t be shy about asking for an explanation — a reputable company will want to make sure you understand every step of the process and will be happy to answer your questions along the way.

While you may impulsively purchase a new bathing suit or a pair of sunglasses, you likely aren’t going to build a new swimming pool on a whim. It’s a major investment and that means doing your homework before diving into the deep end. Follow these six tips for decisions you want to be clear on before you hire a pool company.

1. Your Motivation

Why, exactly, do you want this pool? Is it to swim laps in? To host pool parties and entertain guests? To take a quick dip in when you’re done lounging the sun? For the kids to splash around in? Any or all of the above answers are good ones — you just want to be clear on the purpose this pool will serve so you can pick the proper type to correspond with your intended lifestyle. This could mean the difference between a plunge pool, a play pool, diver, and a lap pool, which are far different projects.

2. Amenities and Atmosphere

Once you’re clear on how your pool will be used, it’s time to think through its design and features. Perhaps your vision of a swimming pool won’t be complete without a slide or a diving board. Or maybe you’re looking for something more romantic, like a grotto hidden behind a waterfall. A spa with fountains and fire features is a great idea for evening entertaining. But it’s also easy to get carried away with your wish list of custom features before you’ve established a budget. Be clear on your must-haves and nice-to-haves before you meet with a pool company.

3. Budget and Funding

It’s important to have a good sense of what budget you have to work with, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have that amount available in cash. There are many ways to pay for a pool, including a home equity line, second mortgage, unsecured loan, or credit card.  Ask your pool company about their financing options to see what the best option is for your situation. A quality pool builder will have lending sources available for you.

4. The Right Timing

Building a pool takes time, so it’s important to have realistic expectations about when you can expect to take your first deep in that sparkling blue water. If you want a pool ready for early summer, you’ll need to plan ahead. And while some pool companies offer promotions at various times a year, most of the time you’ll find pricing pretty consistent. Costs such as labor, materials and overhead remain level throughout the course of any year, meaning there’s no “ideal” time to buy a pool. The best time is whenever you are ready.


5. The Number of Quotes

It’s easy to get analysis paralysis when comparing quotes from multiple pool companies. They may each present you with a different option and explain why their way is the best. They may use different terminology to talk about the same things, making it tricky to do an apples-to-apples comparison. And they may structure their pricing differently, further complicating your evaluation. It’s best to get three to four quotes from reputable pool companies and then make your decision.

 

6. Insurance

Call your home insurance company and inquire about how a swimming pool installation might affect your policy rate. Because pools can be a safety risk, you may be required to do certain things for coverage, such as installing a fence or door alarms to protect children from drowning. It’s better to know this cost prior to moving forward with your pool-building project.

 

Once your firm on your decisions for the above items, it’s time to ask friends, family and colleagues for recommendations of pool companies and formally begin the pool-buying process. Also online resources like BBB, Yelp, and the local contractor licensing board are great resources when considering a pool builder.

YEAR-ROUND BACKYARD BLISS!

Enjoy deals on Baja shelves, Sea Glass Pebble pool interiors, and discounts on all paver deck installations. And for year-round backyard bliss, take advantage of September specials on pool and spa heaters!

Summer is winding down, but the backyard building just getting started! Get ready for that magical holiday season.