(Angie's List) - It cools you off during the dog days of summer and can serve as the go-to-spot for family fun, but a pool can be a lot of work, too.
In this Angie's List report, what you should know about pools before taking the plunge.
Homeowner Shannon McCollom added a pool to her backyard last fall.
"We decided to have a pool installed because our kids love to swim, and we felt like it was a good thing we could do as a family and we have a lot of land so we felt like it was a good use of our backyard," says McCollom.
A pool can provide hours of entertainment, but it's also a costly project that you should research thoroughly.
In-ground pools can cost between $20,000 and $70,000 and above ground is usually between $1,000 and $5,000.
Ask yourself ‘what will it cost versus what will I get out of it?'
"In the heat of the summer a pool might sound like a fantastic idea, but the reality is unless you are the only house in your neighborhood that doesn't have a pool you should skip it. Pools tend to scare off potential buyers of your house and you usually only get about 50 cents on the dollar return on investment," says Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.
You should also factor in maintenance. Regular tasks include vacuuming the pool floor, balancing chemicals and checking the pump.
Weekly care plus opening and closing a pool can run about $2,000.
Building that perfect pool – and keeping it that way – depends a lot on who you hire
Because installing a pool can be a lengthy project – sometimes taking a month or more – develop a good dialogue with your contractor.
Adds Bill Lambert, a pool builder, "This is not a surgical maneuver. This is sort of like open heart surgery on your backyard. So it's going to be messy. We can try to contain the mess as best as possible, but you are going to have dump trucks, there's going to be a lot of dirt moved around."
Says Hicks, "Remember a pool is going to be with you for a long time so you want a find a reputable pool company who is going to stand behind their project. You want to know what kind of warranty is going to be on the pool. And remember this is a project that can take a long time, especially given that you might hit some rainy days during installation. You want to have a well laid out plan to make sure you hit your deadlines."
Adds Lambert, "Generally the pool company gets the permit and any pool company that does it another way that's probably a bad sign. There's a swimming pool permit. Note different communities require more permits. Marion County requires no less than four permits. They require one for drainage, they require one for electrical, what they call an improvement location permit, and a structural permit. Now most places just require one but Marion County requires four."
Before building a pool, Angie's List says you should contact your local building department and/or homeowner's association for a complete list of rules, regulations and required permits.