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Into The Pool

story Mike Beggs

While outdoor patios increasingly take on a designer flair, the pool remains the focal point. Mind you, pools themselves are looking pretty trendy these days between the assorted sizes, shapes and textures, and the variety of bells and whistles that go with them (built-in benches, waterfalls, etc.).

“People are getting more attentive to the details,” says Paul Jameson, general manager of the local Jameson Pool & Spa. “It used to be – put in a pool and a concrete patio. Now it’s like how the basement has evolved – it’s not just a rec’ room anymore.”

“There are all kinds of specialty products. People are amazed by how much choice there is.”

Of the three types of inground pools available, vinyl still commands the lion’s share of the market, according to Ted Philchuk, owner of the local Blue Hawaii Pool Service.

Jameson notes that vinyl pools are affordable, can be built in virtually any shape or size (at a substantially lower cost than concrete), are smooth on your feet, and go in relatively quickly.

Of the 16 or so different shapes of vinyl pools his company offers, Jameson says, “The trend I’m seeing is the linear contemporary look (rectangles, etc.). For the last 15 to 20 years (people) did the curvy pools, and natural rockery.”

“They’re getting away from the rounded look to clean lines. There have been great updates in the stonework that’s available at affordable prices, and what we can do with the pool structure in a linear way.”

“It’s cleaner lines,” Philchuk agrees, “The lagoon oasis is kind of over.”
At the higher end, also trendy are the “Infinity Edge” or Vanishing Edge” pool (where the edge of your concrete pool leads the eye to a restful backdrop  – gardens, rockery, etc.) and the Beach Entry (where you wade gradually into the pool).

Jameson says vinyl pools may start out at $35,000 to $40,000, but with the additional landscaping and other trimmings can easily escalate to $60,000 – or even upwards of $100,000. He gives detailed quotes to avoid any surprises for the customer and finds, “They still want to do it.”

Saltwater pools remain popular. “It’s way easier on your skin and hair than a regular chlorine pool” Jameson relates. “It’s better than being in a lake. It’s gentle. Its low-maintenance and that’s what everybody wants.”

Darryl Rundle, manager of residential pools for PPL Aquatic Fitness & Spa Group says, “Fibreglass is becoming more and more popular.”
While more expensive than vinyl, he notes it requires less maintenance (chemicals, etc.) and energy to run. It can be installed quickly (because it comes in a one-piece shell that gets craned over your house), looks great, and typically increases your home value.

“They’re halfway priced between vinyl and concrete. They go in quickly and once they’re installed, you’ve got a very high-end look,” he said.

“The biggest advantage of fibreglass is it cuts down on future maintenance costs. You have to replace the vinyl liner every five to seven years and with concrete you have to replace the bottom, which is very expensive - every seven or eight years, retile, and remodel. Fiberglass comes with a 25-year warranty.”

“Automatic safety covers are real big,” Rundle adds. “It saves you money (on heating and chemical costs), because it acts as a solar blanket – but the main thing is safety. You can walk right on it and you won’t fall into the pool – it’s safe for kids, and pets and it’s automatic. You’re not rolling out the traditional solar blanket.”

Then there’s LED lighting, which alternates in five different colours, giving off a festive special effect at night. “You can light up the whole bottom of your pool to look like stars,” Philchuk grins.

  “We love it when the project comes together well” says Jameson.  GL

ABOVE Linear contemporary design with light and waterfall features by PPL

Pools are getting away from the rounded look to linear clean lines
- this
is a vanishing edge pool by Gib-San Pools

Pool image
The contemporary trend is toward rectangles - this is a salt water
swim spa with automatic safety cover by Jameson Pools