Swimming Pools 101: How to Choose your Dream Pool

by BW Group on Friday, August 19, 2022

Here in Montreal, our summers may be short, but they’re certainly beautiful. As the temperatures rise and the flowers bloom, there’s nothing we love more than the great outdoors, and enjoying the sublime heat. 

While the rest of Canada might rely primarily on vacations for their pool time, in Quebec, there’s nothing we love more than a backyard pool. In fact, with over 300,000 pools – equating to one in every 26 homes – the province is only rivalled by Florida for the most pools per capita in North America. 

You might think that the benefits of owning a pool simply include fun, sun, relaxation and exercise. But there’s another important added bonus for homeowners: installing a good quality pool can also increase the value of your home. However, given that this investment comes with a high wallet dent – in terms of installation and maintenance costs – we advise clients to only add a pool if they’re going to get proper use out of it, not just to try to add value to their property. 

If you’re thinking of installing a pool, there are many options and variables to consider, so it’s vital to do your research before making the financial commitment. 

First of all, here are some key questions you’ll need to consider:

1. What’s your budget?

Before you start skimming magazines and the internet, have an idea of your budget. There are many different types of pools, and installation and maintenance costs will vary considerably. So before you set your heart on a Pool Kings level of installation, make sure you’re aware of what your budget will stretch to. 

2. Are there any local bylaws of restrictions? 

Here in Quebec, our Residential Swimming Pool Safety Regulation sets out the bylaws for pool ownership. This includes criteria such as permit requirements and the safety standards that must be met. If you’re planning a pool, make sure it will comply with this legislation. 

In fact, if you already own a pool, you need to make sure you’re aware of any modifications to these safety requirements. 

One such change happened last summer, concerning the installation of safety enclosures. Pools built before November 2010 previously held acquired rights, exempting them from this requirement. However, from July 1 2021 the provincial Government modified this rule, stipulating that all swimming pools, regardless of age, must be surrounded by an enclosure. Pool owners had until July 1 2023 to install an enclosure or pool fence that’s at least 1.2 metres in height on all sides. However, given the current labour and supply shortages, the 
deadline to install a pool enclosure has now been pushed back to September 30, 2025. 

3. Do you want a salt water or chlorinated system? 

Chlorine is the most commonly used sanitizer for pools. It helps prevent bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Chlorinated pools will need to be regularly monitored and the chemicals balanced to ensure the chemicals are working properly. 

Salt water systems are gaining in popularity. This is because once set up they don’t require frequent monitoring; the salt is also kinder on the eyes, skin and hair than chlorine. However, as salt is highly corrosive, it can be damaging to lighting and pool surfaces. 

4. How much will it cost to maintain? 

As well as the upfront purchase and installation costs, you need to be aware of the pool’s ongoing operating costs. This typically equates to 10-15% of the initial pool cost, depending on the type of pool installed. Heating, chemicals, water bills, as well as maintenance of pool pumps and filters, it all adds up. Don’t forget to factor in pool opening and closing costs, as well as a small increase in your home insurance premium. 

Once you’ve considered your options, it’s time to choose your 
contractor and pick your pool! Here are the main types of pools available within the province:

Inground pool

As the name suggests, inground pools are built into the ground and are permanent fixtures. Perfect for swimming and diving, these high-end pools can be completely custom-designed. Installation costs for an inground pool will vary widely, depending on the type and size of pool. Costs for a fibreglass pool will on average start at $30,000; for a custom-designed concrete pool you could be looking at $60,000+. However, it’s important to bear in mind that inground pools will add the most value and the best aesthetic appeal to your property. 

There are several types of construction, the main ones being:

Vinyl liner – this is the lowest cost option. It consists of a metal or polymer wall frame, covered with a vinyl liner. The disadvantages of this type of pool are that there are limited design options, and as a result they won’t add the most value to your home. Also, the liner will need to be replaced every 7-12 years.

Concrete – the fact that these pools are completely customizable makes them very popular. However, they take a long time to construct and – given that the surface is porous – aren’t the best choice if you want to go with a salt water pool.

 Fiberglass – although quick to install and easy to maintain, these pools are more expensive than concrete alternatives. Also, as they come pre-manufactured, make sure you’ve factored in how to bring it into your yard!

Above ground pools

These pools sit entirely above ground. Traditional above ground pools are made of resin, metal, or a combination of the two, and will require a liner. Costing between $3,000 to $12,000, you’ll still have the ‘fun’ factor with these pools, but they don’t have the looks of an inground pool and won’t add value to your home. They also don’t tend to last as long as inground pools (their life span is, on average, 7-15 years), and are less resistant to Canadian winters. In addition, they’re more susceptible to temperature fluctuations. 

Semi-inground pool

Finally, if the cost of an inground pool is just too steep but you want something sturdier and deeper than an above ground pool, why not consider a semi-inground pool? Costs range from $10,000-$25,000, making them an affordable option for lifting the design aesthetic of your exterior space. Although shapes and sizes are more limited, these pools still look amazing and will add to the value of a home if they’re beautifully landscaped. Semi-inground pools are also ideal for sloped land or where there’s an issue with height restrictions. 

We hope you have a wonderful summer, whether that’s enjoying your backyard pool, or having fun at one of our wonderful 
West Island community pools. 

If you’re looking for a dream home with a pool, our BW Group real estate brokers can definitely help. Contact us on 514-612-8041 or email info@broadywindsor.com to find out more!