Pools: planning and Design Cost for you
Though a pool room or enclosure adds significantly to the cost of a pool, it also guarantees perfect swimming conditions year-round. In many regions of the country, a pool enclosure can turn a 90-day swim season into a 365-day pool party.
Any type of pool–gunite, fiberglass or vinyl-lined–can be constructed indoors, and the installations can be as simple as a lap pool or as elaborate as an indoor water park. Many people add changing rooms, showers, exercise facilities, steam rooms, saunas, wet bars and other amenities to their indoor pool installations to create a health spa atmosphere. The possibilities for indoor swimming pool ideas are limited only by imagination and budget.
Indoor Pool Cost and Construction
The best time to plan for an indoor pool is during the design and construction of a new house. With the right architectural help, however, it may be possible to seamlessly add an indoor pool to an existing home. Either way, it is important to work with an architect who has a lot of experience designing indoor pool rooms, says Kevin Ruddy, owner of Omega Pool Structures, Inc., Toms River, NJ. “To do it right, you need a complete HVAC system, and that takes someone who knows what they are doing.”
Indoor Pool Ventilation
The air quality of indoor pool environments has come under heavy scrutiny in recent years. Ideally, the humidity level should be maintained at 50 to 60 percent, either by exchanging humid air for fresh, drier air or by installing a dehumidification system. Any dehumidification system should be carefully designed to make sure that air is not forced across the pool surface, which can speed up evaporation. Rather, air should be evenly distributed over the outside walls to prevent condensation.
Evaporation and humidity can be reduced dramatically by using an automatic pool cover, which can cut evaporation by 50 percent. Ruddy notes that an automatic cover is the most effective tool for reducing dehumidification costs-sometimes by hundreds of dollars each month.
Proper deck drainage is also important because it prevents puddling, which further contributes to evaporation and high humidity levels. From a design perspective, a low-profile strip drain placed around the pool’s perimeter looks much cleaner than traditional hub drains placed every 8 to 10 feet, says Tim O’Neil, operations manager for Downes Swimming Pool Co., Inc., Arlington Heights, IL. To further keep deck areas dry and reduce evaporation, O’Neil suggests installing a radiant floor heating system, which will dry up standing water and ensure that bare feet will not get cold in the winter.
Indoor Pool Structural Support
As with any wet indoor environment, plastic vapor barriers are needed behind walls to prevent moisture from reaching the structural framing members, where it can encourage the growth of mold and cause freeze/thaw damage. Some builders believe that greenboard (a water-resistant drywall used in bathrooms) is sufficient for pool rooms; others recommend a waterproof board, such as Wonder Board. Still others suggest Dryvit, a material designed for exterior applications, which is available in several textures and can be painted.
Indoor Pools with Skylights and Retractle Roofs
Windows, skylights and sliding glass doors are a great way to create an open feeling, but they can also lead to excessive heat in the summer. Ruddy says it is important to have skylights or high windows that open to let hot air escape; otherwise, you could spend more on cooling your indoor pool room in the summer than you do on heating it in the winter. Better yet, an open roof system and lots of sliding glass doors enable you to treat your indoor pool like an outdoor pool in the summer, he says.
Indoor Pool Lighting
Incorporating lots of skylights, windows and sliding doors lets natural light flood the space, but when the sun goes down you will need adequate lighting for nighttime enjoyment and safety. A combination of underwater lighting and wall sconces typically provides sufficient and attractive illumination. Avoid overhead lights, because the bulbs are too difficult to access when they need changing. If you want lighting near the ceiling, consider fiber-optic cable fixtures, which use remote illuminators that are easily accessible. According to Ruddy, the lighting should be subtle-just enough to create the right ambiance. If it is too bright, it could draw unwanted attention through the windows, he reasons.