Choosing the right pool for your backyard

by Nicole Rosselot

Homeowners throughout Northeast Ohio are investing in pools and turning their backyards into personal resorts.

“Backyard pools have skyrocketed since COVID-19. Everybody is about a year and a half out as far as building [in-ground pools],” said Chris Hlavin, vice president and co-owner of Aqua Pools Inc., a company offering residential and commercial pool renovation and service throughout Northeast Ohio. “When COVID-19 hit and nobody was traveling, people wanted to stay home and build pools, so business is booming.”

Once a homeowner commits to an in-ground pool, there are several different types of pools from which to choose. According to Hlavin, the most economical option is a vinyl-lined pool built with steel walls. A higher-end option is the concrete pool, which comes at a significantly larger cost. Concrete pools can be finished with a Diamond Brite surface, a concrete-based product that offers a lot of different color options, Hlavin said.

“Another kind of pool is called a Family Fun Pool and that would be fiberglass walls with a concrete bottom, so you can shape those walls to whatever the desired look would be,” Hlavin explained.

Family Fun Pools, located in Louisville, Ohio, builds commercial and residential pools using their patented Uniwall system of fiberglass walls.

“That’s a really neat type of pool,” she said.

A fourth option is the prefabricated fiberglass pool. With this type of pool, “you just dig the hole and drop them in,” Hlavin said. She cautioned, however, that “those aren’t really that great for the freeze/thaw cycle.” Hlavin explained that while many Ohioans choose this type of pool, the extreme winter weather can cause cracking problems.

“I wouldn’t suggest it for Ohio, [but I would] for Florida,” she said. 

During the building process, new pool owners choose their chlorination system and select the equipment they will use to operate their pool.

“It is all preference,” Hlavin explained. “You can upgrade, upgrade, upgrade until you blow the bank.”

A newer trend among pool owners is using saltwater rather than chlorinated water. Saltwater is better on your skin and hair, according to Hlavin, and “not as harsh as chlorine would be.”

Yet another trend is managing your pool from your smartphone.

“Technology has come a long way, and there are a lot of really nifty systems out there where you can operate your lights, your heater, even your auto cover through your phone,” she said.

Once the pool is built and the operating equipment installed, Hlavin advised homeowners to protect their investment by hiring a reputable company to service their pool. 

“There are a lot of do-it-yourselfers, but I would say use a service company at the beginning,” she suggested. “Then, if you want to take it on and do it yourself once you learn how to do it, that is the best route to take.”  ∞