By Chris Walker, Money Magazine
In our capital cities lots of companies offer a wide array of pools, finishes and equipment. Apart from choosing a reputable and capable firm, the main choices to make are whether it will be above-ground or in-ground and choice of construction materials.
The cheapest option is an above-ground pool made from Colorbond or resin, with a vinyl lining. Sydney-based Atlantis Pools sells 7.4m x 3.8m x 1.37m Colorbond pools, including filtration, ladder and a 25-year guarantee, for around $5900, installed.
For timber decking, add another $2000 to $5000. This price assumes a level site with easy access difficult sites cost more. A resin pool of similar size costs an extra $800, and excavation charges start from about $2400. Resin pools can be fully sunk in-ground.
Moving upscale, your main choice is between fibreglass and concrete, usually fully in-ground. Trying to choose between the two may not be particularly easy, especially as fibreglass pool companies, not surprisingly, generally spruik fibreglass while concrete pool companies will obviously recommend concrete.
However, there do seem to be some significant differences between the two. Unlike fibreglass pools, concrete pools can be built to any shape or size, and if your budget runs to it, can be fully tiled (add about $10,000 to $30,000). Fibreglass pools are much faster to install than concrete, have a naturally smoother finish and come in a wide array of colours. Both are likely to outlast their owners.
Ted Martin, president of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Victoria, says the difference between a "good pool and a great pool" is around $12,000, which should reduce the maintenance to around five minutes a month. He adds that for around $50,000 you should be able to get "an excellent, fully automated pool of approximately 10m x 4m, requiring virtually no owner maintenance."
Doing the sums
Above-ground pool with vinyl lining: around $5900 fully installed
Timber decking: from $2000 to $5000
Excavation: starts from around $2400
Concrete pool: around $26,000
Fully tiling in-ground pool: add $10,000 to $30,000
Fully automated pool: around $50,000
For the complete story see Money Magazine's November 2006 issue. Subscribe now.