Sell Your Car and Buy a Pool – It’s Florida

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Photo: Kelly Dean

Sell Your Car and Buy a Pool – It’s Florida

By Kelly Dean

It’s the dry season, so now’s the time to consider building a pool.

Not all pools are created equal. Some are quite elaborate with naked statues and waterfalls and built-in bars. But these amenities truly don’t matter in the end because they all feel the same when you jump in: wonderful – like Mother North just bent down and blew you a kiss — or maybe she bent down and licked you. That might be a bit more accurate.

There is nothing like coming home from the beach, hot, sweaty, covered with a layer of sand, followed by jumping into the cool clean water — followed by an icy beverage of grown-up go-go juice. But hey, I don’t have to go into depth here. That’s what the vacation fantasy is all about. Who hasn’t experienced this? A pool can whisk you into vacation mode every single day.

But if you’re relocating to Florida and do build a pool of your own, know that there are some things you should think about. Most of the things are more long-term than short-term. Everyone enjoys pools when they are brand new but down the line, they require some maintenance.

Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools, which are pre-formed shells that are placed into a hole, eventually become chalky and brittle with age, developing small cracks and blisters with black spots called cobalt oxide stains. Although all pools can eventually develop leaks, concrete pools tend to be the more stable. Water can get under a fiberglass shell eventually and cause air pockets which can make them more susceptible to cracks from foot traffic when they’re older.

There are chemicals that can temporarily clear the spots from the fiberglass for a few weeks, but they return. It ultimately requires complete draining and refinishing, which can take weeks. Symptoms crop up after about 10-20 years. At this point, they must be drained in the wintertime (to avoid rain and heat) then resurfaced and repainted.

Concrete Pools

As mentioned, poured concrete pools are more stable and can be repaired more easily when they develop a leak, but they cost more up front to build. They are also heavier and more resistant to popping out of the hole due to groundwater seepage underneath.

Also, keep in mind that all pools require skimming leaves and bugs off the top, pumping and filtering equipment and maybe a pool heater if you want to use it in the wintertime. All these incur costs when they fail. If you aren’t the do-it-yourself type, but rather, hire that handsome pool guy or gal, it requires a monthly fee. They brush the walls, check the chemicals, make adjustments and give your dog a hissy fit.

Summer and Winter

As a side note, I once had a realtor tell me that people don’t use their pools in the wintertime. I say, “Poppycock, property peddler!” If you have a pool heater (heat pump) just turn it on in the morning and by the warmest part of the day, it’s ready to go at about 88 degrees — for a typical 12,000 to 13,000 gallon pool. One can also turn the pool heater on the night before if you’re planning morning guests. There are also solar panels that can be mounted on the roof for this purpose as well.

The Lanai

And don’t forget about the Florida screened-in lanai and pool cage, collectively called just “the lanai.” This structure keeps the bugs away, dampens the wind, blocks the leaves and allows you to swim all year more comfortably.

In the summer, I enjoy swimming in the rain under the screened pool cage. The cool rain on your head while swimming in the warm pool water is sublime. Or you can just sit under the dry lanai with a drink and watch the rain come down on the pool. The temperature drops enough to actually feel it happening. It’s heaven.

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