A swimming pool is always a fun addition that adds a cool factor to any home. With summer just around the corner and everyone still encouraged to stay at home, a pool at home will be an instant hit with kids and adults.

A swimming pool is also a major investment, and your range of options – fiberglass composite or concrete, above or in-ground, tiled or painted, lap pool or infinity-edge – continues to increase. The key to making a wise and beneficial investment decision starts with doing your research. Whether you want an infinity pool or a couple of inground pools, it pays to do your homework.

Pool projects can be costly, so you need to know if you’re ready to take the plunge or not.

Consider answering the following questions.

“Why Do I Need a Pool?”

Start your project by establishing the “Why?” behind wanting a pool. Your reason influences the pool’s depth, shape, size and type of construction. Will you use it for relaxation, recreation or swimming laps? Is it for the use of your loved ones, to enhance a view or an aesthetic addition to your garden?

If you know the purpose of the pool, the rest of your decisions (and there will be plenty of them) will be easier to sort out. But before you progress any further with your pool project, you must answer the most important question – are you going to use the pool enough to justify the expense?

“Can My Property Accommodate a Pool?”

The location and size of your property determine the shape and size of your pool. Tiny residential sites have stricter requirements regarding the type of construction close to boundaries. Also, shading from neighboring trees or buildings will limit the position of your pool. A designer can help you address these concerns.

Swimming pools are easier to build on a level site so if your open space is in a steep position, the construction costs may be higher. Ground conditions, like unstable, sandy or rocky soil, can also make building trickier. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you may need a soil test done to assess the sustainability of your site.

“Where Am I Going to Install My Pool?”

Once you’ve decided on a pool type, work out its position. Start by checking the building and council regulations regarding pool fencing requirements, site coverage allowance, wastewater fields proximity and more. Also, consider the location of utilities like cable, telephone, electrical, gas and water lines.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Does your location maximize sun exposure to keep your pool water warm? Large trees surrounding the pool will block out the sun plus their leaves will drop into the pool water.
  • What is the view of the pool from the inside of your home and the rest of the backyard? Adding water features or lighting will make the pool more attractive when not in use. Being able to see the pool from your house is important, especially if you have kids.
  • How will people enter and exit the pool area? Consider circulation routes.
  • Will there be a designated hangout around the pool?
  • Where will you keep the pool cleaner, sun umbrellas and filtration equipment? Do you also have room for a shade structure, seating or changing area?

How Much Will It Cost?”

In-ground pools are expensive due to the excavation required to install the pool. The cost of a standard in-ground pool (minus the bells and whistles) can range from $35,000 to $65,000. The material used to build the in-ground pool also contributes to its hefty price tag. Concrete and granite are the priciest, with a price range of $35,000 to $100,000. If you’re looking for a middle-range option, go for fiberglass. But if you want a more affordable material, vinyl’s price range plays from $20,000 to $50,000.

Above-ground pools are more affordable since excavation is unnecessary. Your budget will run from $1,500 to $15,000.

“Who’s Going to Build It?”

The Internet is a well-spring of information. Search for reviews on Yelp to find which local pool builders can guarantee quality services. You can also ask for referrals from family, friends and colleagues who have pools at home.

Mistakes to Avoid

Once you’ve answered the questions above, make sure you steer clear of the following pool building blunders:

  • Getting a diving board you may not use regularly. You’ll need a deep end for these boards, which contributes to the cost of your pool.
  • Choosing the wrong location for your pool so you can’t easily move it around.
  • Buying on price alone. Never cut corners with your swimming pools.
  • Skimping on paved or decking areas around the pool to save money.

There’s nothing better than lounging around the pool, even during the holidays. You can take a dip in a heated pool and cozy up with the family to watch, for example,Christmas episodes of Friends. Pools are fun additions to any home, but they are also big investments. So answer the questions above before you build a pool at home.