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5 Things to Consider Before Installing a Pool

May 3, 2023

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This post is sponsored by Anthony & Sylvan.

We haven’t even hit the year mark of our finished pool installation, but as the weather’s been warming up, the girls have been enjoying weekend swims in our heated pool, and I’ve been reflecting on our new life as pool owners. I never had dreams of having an in-ground pool in our backyard, partially because our lifestyle in Idaho would never permit such a thing–It’s just too cold for too long. With our decision to move to North Carolina came the decision to build a pool, and somehow, we’re now pool people. And now that we’re on the other side, I wanted to offer some helpful pool knowledge, so here are five things to consider before installing a pool.

1. Hire an experienced pool company you trust

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Our landscaping company Agape actually recommended we hire Anthony & Sylvan Pools to get the pool of our dreams. Since landscaping and pool building cross a lot of paths, they had a lot of experience working together, so we trusted the recommendation and went for it. And I’m so glad we did! Since we knew little to nothing about the pool designing and building process, A&S took charge of the whole project from start to finish.

It wasn’t until after hiring Anthony & Sylvan that we realized they are an extremely reputable, Nationwide company. In fact, they’re the #1 residential pool builder in the country, and they happen to have a design location right in Raleigh.

2. Get a quote and set a budget

Pools come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets. We were kind of terrified that there would be a barrage of unexpected expenses and upcharges when it came to designing and building a pool, but A&S was extremely transparent in pricing from the very beginning. Once we decided on the size of pool we wanted, they showed us a range of budgets we could arrive at, depending on which finishes and features we wanted.

The final budget we landed on was $148,000 for a 20×36′ pool up to 6′ deep. That includes permits and plans, demolition, digging, labor, the concrete shell, all of the plumbing, a filter system, a maintenance kit, a heater, pool pumps, umbrella sleeves, a pebble finish, steps into the pool, waterline tile, travertine coping, a hot tub, a tanning ledge, deck jets, pool lighting, a motorized hardcover, water to fill it up, and salt.

A&S worked with us to land on the perfect pool size, proportional to our yard and lifestyle. And spoiler alert, there were no hidden fees or unexpected costs.

3. It’s all in the details

Chaises | Umbrellas | Umbrella Stands

My favorite part of the pool-building process was going to the A&S design center in Raleigh. When we were making selections, they showed us so many different materials, but what really helped us decide was flipping through photos of how the materials look in a water-filled pool.

Turns out the color of pool water is a science. Chris and I chose a gunite pool with a hybrid plaster (with quartz and mini pebble) in the color “Sharkskin.” At first glance, it looks too dark and too gray, but interacting with a pool full of water, it’s the exact dark blue-green pool I hoped for. Since we don’t live in Malibu, I didn’t want a light blue pool – I wanted something more classic and traditional, which is an extension of our home aesthetic.

I also got several questions on the texture of the bottom since it almost looks rough to the eye, but it is a subtle pebble texture and actually very smooth to the touch.

No regrets. 

The waterline tile is this 6″ slate tile in the color pewter.

And more than the material selections, A&S really guided us in making decisions on the overall design and features of the pool. We ended up with the pool of our dreams with an integrated spa, tanning ledge, ledges near the deep end, deck jets, an automated hardcover, and more. They took into account our family lifestyle and preferences and designed a stunning family-friendly pool that doesn’t compromise on form or function.

The girls still don’t know the code to open and close the cover, and we’re going to keep it that way! Check out more info on the details of our pool hardcover here.

4. Consider saltwater vs. chlorine

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Another big decision that A&S guided us on was going with saltwater over chlorine. Though both options are perfectly safe, ultimately, saltwater turned out to be the best choice for us. It’s less expensive than chlorine, and it hit the mark on our preference for fewer chemicals that can irritate our eyes; plus we get to avoid the harsh chlorine smell. Actually, saltwater turned out to be easier to maintain for us. We hired a pool person for $200 a month, and they come once a week for cleaning.

One thing we didn’t know before this process is that a gunite pool actually has to cure for 30 days before the salt can be added in. (Curing entails brushing it two times a day to prevent dirt from settling into the plaster.)

5. Patience is key

The official demo in the backyard started in December of 2021; however, they couldn’t start digging the hole for the pool until January. Overall, it was about 24-25 weeks once they officially started the physical labor. Add a few weeks on for designing and permit-pulling.

They told us ahead of time that there were going to be weeks where we felt like nothing was happening and then weeks where it seemed like everything happens–just the nature of pool building. I would be lying if I said I was patient, but really I was nervous that all of the money and time wouldn’t be worth it or wouldn’t turn out how I expected. Not only did they meet expectations, they completely blew past them. This pool is the best investment we could have made for our family and overall happiness.

Since the pool is heated, we’re using this pool 11/12 months in the year. The girls were in the pool every day and night in the summer and even on cold fall and spring days. It feels like we spend all of our time there!

There’s nothing I would change about our pool-building experience with Anthony & Sylvan, and I wanted to give you a list of things to ask them for if you want to end up with the same pool as us. Book a consultation with A&S today!

What to ask for if you want this pool

  • 20×36′
  • up to 6′ deep
  • Tanning ledge
  • Integrated hot tub
  • Pebbletec hybrid plaster finish in “Sharkskin”
  • Waterline tile is this 6″ slate tile in the color pewter
  • Safety ledges in the deep-end
  • Deck jet fountains
  • Heated salt water
  • Multi-colored pool lights
  • Motorized hardcover

I hope this gives you a good place to start if you’re wanting to install your dream pool in your own backyard!

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What do you think?

  1. Kara P. says:

    This pool is STUNNING! I live in Texas and we just moved to a new home that doesn’t have a pool. We decided we need to redo the entire backyard to now include a pool. I have started the initial work by getting the dumpster rental and digging up the grass, rocks, and old plants. We are going to be taking a note or two from these blog posts, thank you!

  2. Barbara says:

    Hey Julia – can you share what pool decking you went with? Travertine? What color? That’s my sticking point right now. *sigh*

  3. Trudy says:

    My husband and I have already had Branden at A&S out to our house, based on your recommendation. The consultation was extremely helpful and informative, and inspiring. We hope to settle on a design and move forward this summer. Thank you for sharing all the details, C&J! Finding a trustworthy company is not easy…thank you again.

  4. CJ says:

    Hello,
    I just want a small dip or plunge pool for my small backyard. The space I have to work with is 12x 7. Absolutely no company immediately within my area will call or email me back. Can someone please help?

  5. Sonia Covington says:

    Your pool turned out gorgeous!! 🥰 Your have such classic and elegant taste. It’s truly exquisite and a look I would adore! 🥰 I’m saving this information for the day we can save up enough money to install one for our home. 🤞🙏🤞 Can you expand on the details regarding the surrounding area? I love the concrete and grass combination and pattern. It looks like real grass but I’m curious if turf. Did this same company complete all of that surround well? Thanks in advance.

      • Alexis J M says:

        This blog post says up front that it was sponsored by the pool company, which explains why it reads more like an ad than the homeowner’s personal experience.

        The biggest missing points to consider here:

        Safety considerations. In most jurisdictions you need to have a fence around your yard to protect against liability issues.

        Annual operating costs. Some friends of mine are in the (very expensive) process of removing their pool because it is just too expensive to operate for what they get out of it. This is especially true as the climate changes and water rates are climbing fast in many areas.

        Affect on resale ability of the home. Pools rank pretty high on the list of home improvements where the affect on resale price is less than the investment.

    • Hey, Alexis. This was a sponsored post, but it truly is Chris and Julia’s experience with their pool (they wrote it; we didn’t). We didn’t pay Chris and Julia to build the pool (as a matter of fact, our team didn’t know they were so awesome until after the work was completed!).

  6. Nicole says:

    This is very helpful! We are debating about putting a pool in our backyard and I really want to make sure we go with the right people so that it’s done correctly.

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