Table of content
- Overview of Building a Pool in Maryland
- Cost Analysis of Building a Pool
- Evaluating the Worth of an Inground Pool
- Long-Term Costs and Maintenance
- Legal and Safety Considerations
- Final Considerations and Conclusion
Overview of Building a Pool in Maryland
Guide to Pool Installation in Maryland
Climate and Seasonal Use: Consider Maryland’s climate and how it will affect the pool’s usage and maintenance throughout the year.
Imagine a peaceful winter in Maryland, with your pool quietly hidden under a layer of snow. Sounds beautiful. Doesn’t it? However, winterizing your pool is a good idea to avoid turning this picturesque scene into a frozen nightmare. This may involve installing a freeze protector, using a winter cover, or adjusting the water chemistry to prevent freezing and damage.
Think of winterizing your pool as tucking it in for a long winter’s nap, ensuring it wakes up fresh and ready for the sunny days ahead.
- Maryland experiences distinct seasons, impacting pool usage and maintenance. During winter months, you might need protective measures against freezing.
- In summer, frequent use will require more regular maintenance to maintain water quality.
- Consider pool heating systems to extend usability into cooler seasons.
Local Regulations and Permits: Research local building codes, zoning laws, and necessary permits for pool installation in your specific area in Maryland.
- Each county in Maryland may have its own permit requirements and building regulations. It’s crucial to contact local authorities for the most up-to-date information.
- Permits might involve safety inspections, building code compliance, and proper fencing and barriers.
For example: In Prince George’s County, the following are required to obtain a pool permit:
- Three copies of the site plan
- Two copies of the pool plans
- An electrical permit
- A building permit
- Site plans showing the pool’s location
- Detailed building plans
- Tree Conservation plans or a letter of Woodland Conservation Exemption
Building permits can be applied for online via the Momentum portal. Once you’ve entered the necessary information, print out three copies of the application and take them to the Permits Center.
For more information, visit: https://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/departments-offices/permitting-inspections-and-enforcement/permits/building-permits#:~:text=Building%20Permit%20applications%20are%20completed,NOT%20available%20onsite%20for%20customers.)
In Montgomery County, the following are required to obtain a pool permit:
In Montgomery County, Maryland, any pool deeper than 18 inches requires a permit. The permit cost for a private above-ground pool is $221.45, while an inground pool with a fence costs $298.70. The DPS post-issuance of the permit will determine the final fee.
For pools in historic districts, additional steps include:
- An extra 50% charge on the permit fee
- Approval from the Historic Districts Landmark Commission and the Vieux Carre Commission
Montgomery County also enforces specific building codes for pool fencing, such as:
- The pool fence must be a minimum of 48 inches tall
- All gates accessing the pool must be equipped with a self-locking mechanism
- Above-ground pools over four feet in height do not require extra fencing if they have a removable ladder.
For more information, visit: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DPS/Codes/residential-const-codes.html
Note: Please be aware that regulations and requirements can change anytime. If you are handling the entire process yourself, stay up-to-date with the regulations governing your state, county, and HOA, among others.
On the other hand, if you are undertaking a project with us at BMA, we will obtain all the necessary permits.
Type of Pool: Above-Ground vs In-Ground Pools.
Considering factors like cost, longevity, and aesthetics.
Are you dreaming of adding a pool to your backyard but need help deciding between an in-ground and an above-ground option? You’re not alone. This decision can be as deep as the pools themselves, with various factors like budget, maintenance, and aesthetics playing a pivotal role. Let’s dive into the details to help you make the best choice for your home.
In-Ground Pools Pros:
- Value Addition: An in-ground pool can significantly increase your property’s value and appeal.
- Aesthetic Enhancement: These pools blend seamlessly with your landscape, offering a stunning view and a luxurious feel.
- Customization: From shape to size and materials, in-ground pools offer endless customization options to match your dream design.
- Cost: The initial investment for in-ground pools is substantial, depending on your needs.
- Maintenance: They require ongoing maintenance, including cleaning, chemical balancing, and seasonal preparations, which can add to your annual expenses.
- Installation Time: Building an in-ground pool is time-consuming, often taking several weeks to complete.
Above-Ground Pools: Budget-Friendly Fun
- Affordability: These pools are much more budget-friendly.
- Quick Installation: Above-ground pools can be set up in just a few days, making them a convenient choice for a quick splash.
- Flexibility: They offer the flexibility to start small and upgrade as your needs and budget grow.
- Resale Value: Unlike in-ground pools, above-ground pools generally do not add to your home’s resale value.
- Aesthetic Limitations: They might blend better with your backyard’s overall look and can be seen as less permanent or luxurious.
- Depth and Size Restrictions: Above-ground pools are typically limited in depth and size, which might not suit all swimming needs.
Making the Right Choice:
Your decision will ultimately depend on your specific needs, budget, and long-term plans for your property. If you’re looking for a long-term investment that enhances your property’s value and offers a luxurious touch, an in-ground pool might be the way to go. However, an above-ground pool could be your perfect match if you’re seeking a more budget-friendly, flexible option for immediate fun.
Key points to remember:
- Inground pools, while more expensive, can add significant value to your property and are customizable in terms of shape and design.
- Above-ground pools are generally more cost-effective and quicker to install but may not offer the same longevity or aesthetic appeal as inground pools.
- Consider factors like the landscape, usage, and personal preference when choosing the type of pool.
Space and Size
Assess the available space in your backyard and determine the appropriate size and shape of the pool.
When envisioning a pool in your backyard, it’s essential to consider your dreams and the practical aspects of space and size. This step is crucial in ensuring your new pool fits perfectly in your backyard and aligns with your lifestyle and intended use.
Evaluating Your Backyard Space
- Start by taking a good look at your backyard. How much space do you have available for a pool? Remember, it’s not just about fitting in a pool; you must also consider the surrounding area for movement, landscaping, and possibly a patio or deck.
- Measure the dimensions of your potential pool area. This will give you a clear idea of the maximum pool size that can be accommodated.
Local Zoning Laws and Regulations
- Before getting too attached to a specific pool design, check the local zoning laws in your area. These regulations might dictate how close your pool can be to your property lines, house, and other structures.
- Understanding these laws early in the planning process can save you from future headaches and ensure that your pool installation goes smoothly.
Choosing the Right Pool Size and Shape
- The size and shape of your pool should reflect how you plan to use it. Are you looking for a cozy spot for family gatherings, a robust area for exercise and laps, or a grand space for entertaining guests?
- Consider different pool shapes and how they might complement your backyard. A rectangular pool might be ideal for lap swimming, while a freeform or kidney-shaped pool could blend more naturally with your landscaping.
Balancing Pool and Backyard Activities
- Think about the balance between your pool and other backyard activities. Do you plan to have a garden, play area, or outdoor dining space? Your pool should enhance your backyard, not overwhelm it.
- Planning for future additions or changes to your backyard can also influence the size and placement of your pool. Flexibility in your design can accommodate evolving needs and preferences.
- Assess the available space in your backyard, keeping in mind local zoning laws that may dictate pool placement and size.
- The pool size should accommodate your intended use, whether for family recreation, exercise, or entertainment while leaving room for other backyard activities.
Understand the steps involved in the installation process, including excavation, construction, and finishing.
Embarking on installing a pool in your backyard is an exciting venture that transforms your outdoor space. Understanding the installation process is key to ensuring this transformation happens smoothly and effectively.
1. Design: Crafting Your Vision
- The first step is designing your pool. This stage is all about turning your dreams into a tangible plan. It involves deciding on the pool’s size, shape, depth, and style.
- Work with a designer or a contractor to create a blueprint that meets your aesthetic desires and aligns with the practicalities of your backyard space and budget.
2. Excavation: Laying the Groundwork
- Once the design is finalized, the next step is excavation. This is where your backyard starts to transform, as the designated area for your pool is dug out.
- The excavation process must consider factors like soil type and depth requirements. It’s crucial to have skilled professionals handle this to avoid structural issues later on.
3. Pool Construction: Bringing the Design to Life
- With the hole for your pool ready, the construction phase begins. This includes framing the pool, laying out plumbing lines, and installing electrical systems.
- The construction phase varies depending on the type of pool. For instance, a fiberglass pool involves placing a pre-formed shell, while concrete pools require building the structure from scratch.
4. Lining and Decking: The Finishing Touches
- After the pool structure is in place, it’s time for the lining, which could be vinyl, fiberglass, or plaster, depending on your pool type.
- Decking around the pool is also crucial. It’s functional, providing a non-slip surface, and adds to the aesthetic appeal. Choices range from concrete and pavers to wood and composite materials.
5. Working with a Reputable Contractor
- The most critical aspect of the installation process is choosing the right contractor. A reputable contractor like BMA will guide you through each step, from design to finishing touches.
- They play a vital role in ensuring that each installation stage is executed correctly and efficiently and are equipped to handle any challenges that may arise.
- The installation process involves several stages, including design, excavation, pool construction (framing, plumbing, electrical work), and finishing touches like lining and decking.
- Working with a reputable contractor who can guide you through each step and handle any unforeseen challenges is important.
Landscaping and Surrounding Area
Plan for any landscaping or modifications to the surrounding area that may be required post-installation.
Installing your pool is just the beginning of creating a backyard haven. The landscaping and surrounding area are crucial in transforming your pool into a central feature of an inviting outdoor living space. Here’s how to plan and execute the perfect landscape to complement your new pool.
1. Enhancing the Pool Area with Landscaping
- After your pool is installed, it’s time to think about the landscaping that will frame and highlight your new aquatic feature. At BMA Landscaping, we can assist you with this aspect of the process.
- Consider plants that add color, texture, and privacy around your pool. Choose pool-friendly species, meaning they don’t shed excessively or have invasive roots that could damage the pool structure.
- Consider incorporating elements like flower beds, shrubs, or even small trees to create a natural, serene backdrop for your pool area.
2. Ensuring Privacy and Comfort
- Privacy is a key consideration in poolside landscaping. Hedges, privacy screens, or fencing can provide seclusion and create a more intimate space.
- Additionally, consider the placement of lounging areas or sunbathing spots. Strategic planting can offer shade during the hottest parts of the day, enhancing comfort for you and your guests.
3. Integrating Patios and Decks
- Patios and decks are essential components of a comprehensive poolside area. They provide a practical and aesthetic transition from water to land.
- Materials like wood, pavers, or stamped concrete can be chosen to complement the pool and your home’s overall style.
- Ensure that these areas offer ample space for outdoor furniture, making them perfect for relaxation, dining, or entertaining.
4. Considering Outdoor Kitchens and Additional Features
- An outdoor kitchen near the pool can be a game-changer for those who love entertaining. It allows for seamless hosting of pool parties and barbecues.
- Other features like fire pits, outdoor lighting, or water features can add to the ambiance, making your pool area a place to swim and a focal point for outdoor living.
5. Creating a Cohesive Outdoor Living Space
- The goal is to create a cohesive look that harmonizes your pool, landscaping, and additional features.
- Work with a landscape designer or contractor who understands your vision and can help bring it to life, ensuring that each element complements the others and contributes to your outdoor space’s overall aesthetic and functionality.
- Post-installation, you may need to consider landscaping to enhance the pool area and ensure privacy.
- Plan for additional features like patios, decks, or outdoor kitchens to complement your new pool and create a cohesive outdoor living space.
Key Factors Influencing the Decision to Build a Pool
Deciding to build a pool involves more than just the allure of a beautiful backyard. It balances financial considerations, including installation costs and ongoing maintenance, against the potential increase in your home’s value. Reflect on how a pool fits into your lifestyle, whether for relaxation, fitness, or entertainment, and be prepared for the regular upkeep and safety measures it demands. This decision concerns today’s enjoyment and a long-term commitment to maintaining your new aquatic addition.
Here are some key factors that you need to consider:
- Budget and Costs: Consider the initial installation costs, ongoing maintenance expenses, and potential property taxes and insurance increases.
- Return on Investment (ROI): Evaluate the potential increase in property value and whether the investment in a pool is financially justifiable.
- Lifestyle and Usage: Reflect on your lifestyle, how often the pool will be used, and the primary purpose of the pool (e.g., recreation, fitness, entertainment).
- Maintenance Requirements: Be aware of the regular maintenance tasks, costs, and time commitment required to keep the pool in good condition.
- Safety Considerations: Plan for safety measures, including fencing, pool covers, and possibly increased liability insurance.
- Long-Term Commitment: Acknowledge that owning a pool is a long-term commitment, and consider if you’re prepared for the ongoing responsibilities.
Cost Analysis of Building a Pool
Inground vs. Above Ground Pool Costs in Maryland
When considering adding a pool to your Maryland home, one of the first decisions you’ll face is choosing between an inground and an above-ground pool. Each comes with its own set of costs and considerations.
- Initial Costs: In Maryland, the cost of installing an inground pool can vary widely, typically ranging from $20,000 to $100,000+. This broad range is due to size, materials, and additional features like waterfalls or custom lighting.
- Materials: The choice of material significantly affects the cost. Vinyl liner pools are often the most budget-friendly option, but they may require more maintenance and liner replacements over time. Fiberglass pools offer a middle ground in cost and maintenance, while concrete pools, though the most expensive, are highly durable and customizable.
- Additional Expenses: Remember to factor in the cost of landscaping, decking, and fencing, which are often necessary to complete the pool area. These can add several thousand dollars to the total cost.
Above Ground Pools:
- Initial Costs: Above-ground pools are much more affordable, with prices in Maryland typically ranging from $1,500 to $15,000. The lower end of this spectrum will generally get you a basic, no-frills pool, while the higher end includes larger sizes and more durable materials.
- Installation: One of the advantages of above-ground pools is that they are cheaper and quicker to install. Some homeowners choose to install these pools themselves, saving on labor costs.
- Longevity and Maintenance: While above-ground pools are less expensive upfront, they usually don’t last as long as inground pools and may not add the same value to your property.
Breakdown of Installation Costs for Different Pool Types
1. Vinyl Liner Pools:
- Initial Costs: Among the most budget-friendly options, vinyl liner pools in Maryland typically start from around $20,000 and can go up to $40,000.
- Components: This cost includes the pool kit, liner, and construction materials. The liner must be replaced every 5 to 9 years, adding to long-term costs.
- Installation: Labor for installation is relatively less expensive than other types, but the liner’s vulnerability to tears is a consideration.
2. Fiberglass Pools:
- Initial Costs: Fiberglass pools generally range from $30,000 to $65,000. The price varies based on the size and style of the pool.
- Ease of Installation: These pools come in pre-formed shapes, simplifying the installation process and reducing labor costs.
- Durability: Fiberglass requires less maintenance than vinyl, making it a cost-effective option in the long run.
3. Concrete (Gunite) Pools:
- Initial Costs: Concrete pools, the most customizable and durable option, can cost anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000 in Maryland.
- Customization: The higher cost is due to the labor-intensive installation and the ability to customize shapes and sizes.
- Maintenance: Concrete pools require more maintenance and periodic resurfacing, which should be factored into the overall cost.
4. Additional Features and Considerations:
- Decking and Landscaping: Decking and landscaping can significantly increase the total expense. Options like natural stone or custom patios add both aesthetic and financial value.
- Features: Additional features like waterfalls, lighting, and heating systems contribute to the overall cost.
- Permits and Fencing: Remember to include the cost of necessary permits and safety fencing in your budget.
Landscape Preparation and Additional Construction Costs
Evaluating the Worth of an Inground Pool
Assessing the Return on Investment (ROI) for Inground Pools
When installing a pool, the landscape preparation and additional construction costs significantly impact your overall budget. These costs vary based on the project’s complexity, the condition of your existing landscape, and the additional features you desire.
1. Landscape Preparation:
- Clearing and Leveling: Costs for clearing and leveling the land for your pool can range from $1,000 to $3,000 in Maryland, depending on the size of the area and the terrain’s condition.
- Soil Testing and Grading: If soil testing or grading is required, especially in uneven or rocky terrain areas, this can add $1,500 to $5,000 to your project.
2. Additional Construction Costs:
- Decking: The cost of decking around your pool varies widely based on materials and design. Simple concrete decking might start around $2,500, while more elaborate designs with premium materials can exceed $10,000.
- Fencing: Pool safety fencing is often required and can cost between $1,500 and $10,000, depending on the length and materials used.
- Utilities and Plumbing: Extending utilities to the pool area, including electrical and plumbing work, can add $1,000 to $3,000 to the total cost.
3. Additional Features:
- Lighting and Water Features: Adding lighting, waterfalls, or fountains can enhance your pool’s aesthetic appeal and increase costs. Depending on the complexity, these features can add anywhere from $500 to $5,000.
- Landscaping: Beyond the immediate pool area, additional landscaping to integrate the pool into your yard can range from $2,000 to $20,000.
4. Permits and Inspections:
- Permit Costs: The cost of obtaining necessary permits can vary but typically ranges from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars.
- Inspection Fees: Inspection fees, if applicable, can also add to the overall cost.
Impact on Property Resale Value in Maryland
- Increased Value Due to Pandemic: Before the pandemic, homes with in-ground pools sold for about $16,137 more than homes without pools. This value increased to approximately $27,199 more during the pandemic, a 69% increase, as pools became a sought-after feature for homeowners seeking safe outdoor activities.
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Is an Inground Pool Worth the Investment?
The short answer is YES!
When considering whether an inground pool is worth the investment, looking beyond the financial aspect is essential. For homeowners who have long contemplated the addition of a pool and envision it as a central part of their family and social life, the value of an inground pool can indeed be immeasurable.
1. Enhancing Quality of Life:
- An inground pool is more than just a home improvement; it’s an investment in your family’s lifestyle. Whether hosting family events, enjoying fun times with friends, or simply having a tranquil, relaxing space, a pool can significantly enhance your quality of life.
- The joy and memories created around a pool, from children’s birthday parties to relaxed weekend barbecues, are priceless. These experiences often justify the investment for many homeowners.
2. Health and Wellness Benefits:
- A pool offers a private, convenient space for exercise and relaxation, contributing to physical and mental well-being. Swimming is a low-impact exercise suitable for all ages, and having a pool readily available encourages a healthier lifestyle.
- The therapeutic benefits of water, both in terms of physical therapy and stress relief, are well-documented. A pool provides a personal retreat for unwinding and rejuvenating.
3. Long-Term Value:
- While the initial cost and maintenance of an inground pool are considerations, it’s also important to consider the long-term value it adds to your home. A well-maintained pool can increase a property’s attractiveness and market value in many cases, especially in warmer climates.
- For homeowners who plan to stay in their homes for many years, the cost of the pool can be amortized over many years of enjoyment, making the investment more palatable.
4. Social Hub and Entertainment Center:
- A pool often becomes the social hub of the home, a place where friends and family gather. It enhances the home’s entertainment capabilities and can be the centerpiece of social gatherings.
- The ability to offer a unique entertainment space can be particularly valuable for those who enjoy socializing and hosting events.
Long-Term Costs and Maintenance
Ongoing Maintenance Costs for Pools
- Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, balancing chemicals, and equipment checks for a typical pool, can cost between $1,200 and $1,800 annually.
- Seasonal expenses, such as opening and closing the pool, add approximately $300 to $500 annually.
Long-Term Financial Implications of Pool Ownership
- Over a decade, pool owners can expect to spend $12,000 to $18,000 on maintenance, not including potential repairs like liner replacement or resurfacing, which can cost several thousand dollars.
- Energy costs for heating and running pool equipment also contribute to long-term expenses.
Comparing Maintenance Costs: Saltwater vs. Chlorine Pools
- Saltwater pools often have higher initial setup costs but lower ongoing chemical expenses, potentially saving owners money in the long run.
- Chlorine pools, while cheaper to set up, require regular chemical purchases, which can add up over time. However, they may have lower initial equipment costs compared to saltwater systems.
Legal and Safety Considerations
Understanding Permits and Regulations in Maryland
- Before installing a pool, homeowners must obtain the necessary permits, which vary by county. These permits ensure that the pool meets local safety standards and building codes.
- The process typically involves submitting detailed plans for approval, including inspections during and after construction.
Safety Requirements and Insurance Considerations
- Safety is paramount in pool design. This includes installing barriers like fencing with self-locking gates to prevent accidental drownings, especially for homes with children.
- Owning a pool can impact homeowners’ insurance policies. It’s often necessary to increase liability coverage to protect against potential accidents, which can slightly raise insurance premiums.
Compliance with Local Zoning and Fencing Laws
- Local zoning laws dictate where a pool can be placed on a property, including specific distance requirements from property lines and structures.
- Fencing laws are also crucial for safety and privacy. Maryland law typically requires pools to be enclosed by a fence of a certain height with specific gate specifications.
Final Considerations and Conclusion
As we reach the end of our comprehensive exploration of pool installation, it’s clear that the decision to build a pool in your backyard is multifaceted, involving a careful assessment of costs, benefits, and personal preferences.
- Making an Informed Decision:
- Building a pool is a financial decision and a lifestyle choice. It requires considering how a pool fits into your family’s life, whether for relaxation, entertainment, or health and fitness.
- Legal and safety considerations and long-term maintenance commitments are also crucial factors.
- Is Building a Pool Right for You?
- Ultimately, the investment can be incredibly rewarding if you’ve been contemplating a pool for a while and envision it as a central part of your family and social life.
- The joy, health benefits, and social opportunities a pool provides can outweigh the costs for many. However, entering this commitment with a clear understanding of the responsibilities and costs involved is essential.
Building a pool can be a fulfilling addition to your home, offering years of enjoyment and potentially enhancing your property’s value. By carefully weighing the costs, benefits, and circumstances, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle and long-term goals.