In most parts of the country, a swimming pool can only be used during specific seasons of the year - namely, during the heat of summer, when it's warm enough outside to enjoy that cool dip in the pool. Adding a pool enclosure, however, can significantly extend your swimming season. A full or partial indoor pool not only allows you to swim sooner in the spring and later in the fall, since you can climate control the area, it also provides a number of other key advantages, including:
Sun protection in the heat of summer: fewer burns and a reduction in skin cancer rates all in one!
A solid layer of protection between swimmers and bugs
Less debris in the pool no matter what the weather is like
Better protection against kids and pets getting into the pool area or falling in
Decreased risk of vandalism or uninvited guests since you can better secure the pool area
Increase your privacy: no risk of neighbors or passers-by staring while you and your family are out in the pool
Depending on the type of enclosure, create a wind break that will prevent chills on windy days
Of course, you can't forget the sense of style offered by a great pool enclosure! By putting some effort into your selection, you can create a pool enclosure that reflects your personality, design sense, and personal style.
Types of Pool Enclosures
When choosing the type of enclosure you want for your pool, you have plenty of choices. The appearance you're after, the specific benefits that are important to you, and your budget will all factor into the type of pool enclosure you want for your pool. Depending on what features you want to add on, you can spend as little as $400 all the way up to as much as $20,000 or more on a typical pool enclosure. Most homeowners, however, find that they spend anywhere between $4,225 and $13,458.
Note that the size of your pool enclosure can vary substantially. Depending on the space you're using for your pool, the number of people who will be using it, and how quickly people outside the pool area need to be able to get into it, you can choose a size that works for you.
Low pool enclosures surround the pool alone and allow plenty of room for swimming without obstructing landscaping or views. These low enclosures, which typically only go about 1-2 feet above the surface of the pool, cost around $25 per square foot.
Medium pool enclosures offer plenty of freedom of movement both in and out of the pool, but are still low enough to prevent obstruction of important views. This is also a more cost-effective option for putting together a pool area on a budget.
High pool enclosures offer an outdoor "room" with a full-size ceiling that may even go higher than the ones in your home.
Some homeowners choose to enclose the pool alone, while others enclose the entire outdoor space that will be used for swimming and socializing.
Screen Pool Enclosures
Screen pool enclosures are specifically designed to reduce bugs and debris within the pool area while still allowing homeowners and their guests to enjoy the warm sun and whatever breeze comes by. Today's screen enclosures are no longer the bulky setups you remember from the past; instead, they offer a sleek design that's sure to impress. The practicality feature is the key benefit to these pools: a lack of bugs and debris makes the pool more enjoyable!
Screen panel materials: an average of $15 per square foot depending on your design (they can range anywhere from $5-$25).
Labor: $30-$35 per hour; it will take a full day of labor to install most basic pool enclosures, making the final labor cost $300-$525.
Average cost:Assuming a pool enclosure that measures a total of 504 square feet (this allows for a 12' by 24' pool and a 3' sidewalk), the total cost will be an average of about $8,000.
The DIY Route: If you choose to DIY your screen pool enclosure, you can purchase a kit for an average of $5 per square foot, for a total of around $2,500.
Glass Pool Enclosures
Glass pool enclosures are designed not only to control the amount of dirt and debris that can get into the pool, but to offer an additional layer of protection from the sun through tinted or UV-protected glass. Glass pool enclosures also add a climate control option: add some air circulation in the summer to cool it down and make it more comfortable for those outside the pool or turn up the heat in the spring, fall, or even winter to allow you to swim year-round.
Materials: Glass pool enclosures require an average of $45-$65 per square foot.
Labor costs:Like screen pool enclosures, glass pool enclosures run an average of $30-$35 per hour labor and will require at least one full day to put in. Expect to pay $300-525 for labor by the time it's all said and done.
Average cost: For a glass pool enclosure that covers your pool and the sidewalk area alone, expect to pay an average of $28,000. Planning for a larger pool enclosure? You'll need to budget $50,000 or more for a pool area that covers up to 1,000 square feet.
One of the biggest objections to a pool enclosure is that it seems so permanent. It can be difficult to fully enjoy the sun when there's an enclosure in the way! Choosing a portable enclosure or a retractable option is a great way to enjoy all the convenience of a pool enclosure without having to keep it in place when you don't want it.
Portable Pool Enclosures
If you're operating on a budget or don't want to construct a permanent structure, a portable pool enclosure can be one of the easiest ways to keep dirt and debris out of your pool and block out the bugs while still enjoying the great outdoors. Portable enclosures are typically made of screens or nylon. They allow you to do it yourself instead of having to worry about hiring a professional to do it for you and are typically easier to put up and take down. Keep in mind that portable pool enclosures will need to be put up and taken down each season.
Portable pool enclosures start at around $400 depending on the size of the area you want to cover and the materials used.
Retractable Pool Enclosures
Many people want to have all the advantages of a pool enclosure but all the freedom of enjoying the sun and open air when the weather is nice outside. A retractable pool enclosure allows you to open up a glass enclosure to enjoy the warm summer air--but it does come with its own price tag.
If you intend to enjoy a retractable pool of the highest quality, like the ones you might find at a hotel, expect to pay $100-$200 per square foot.
Average Cost: Assuming that you're going to create a pool area that measures approximately 1,000 square feet, you should budget $150,000 for this type of pool enclosure.
Your pool enclosure will need to be cleaned regularly in order to ensure that you'll be able to fully enjoy everything it offers. It helps keep your pool clean, but that doesn't mean that you'll never have to clean again! These tips will make cleaning your pool enclosure a snap.
Assume you'll have to clean the enclosure at least every six months.
Clean more often if you notice algae growth or other obvious signs of dirt. You don't want to become the neighborhood eyesore!
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray down your screen enclosure, then scrub!
Follow up with a bleach/water mix if necessary to remove stubborn stains.
Pressure washing can make cleaning your pool enclosure faster and smoother. Make sure to remove anything from the area that you don't want blasted first!
As you're creating your pool enclosure, you want to make sure you're doing everything possible to take full advantage of your new outdoor area. This includes a variety of features.
A beautiful outdoor area will help you enjoy your pool and pool enclosure to its fullest extent. Choose where you want to place plants, flowers, and bushes or create a gorgeous outdoor retreat around your pool. Fountains, palm trees, or hanging plants can all add an element of beauty to your pool area.
Furniture and Decor
Your pool area is gorgeous. Now, you need to decorate it! There are plenty of great ideas for making the most of your pool area.
Wicker furniture will dry quickly while maintaining a great appearance.
An outdoor table and chairs will allow room for enjoying food and beverages or playing a game or two while you dry off
Hanging plants inside a larger pool enclosure can help it feel more like you've brought the outdoors in
Stone or marble decorations in the pool area can help fully showcase your sense of style
Don't forget the lighting! One of the key advantages of a pool enclosure is that it will stay comfortable even after dark. Create great lighting effects that will help you make the most of your experience every time you head out to the pool.
All the Extras
There are plenty of extra features that might add on to the price of your pool enclosure, but that will make it even more enjoyable. Consider:
A glass ceiling that will make it easy to look up and see the stars at night
A pool house complete with changing rooms
Heat and air conditioning within the pool enclosure to keep it climate controlled year-round
Storage areas for all those important pool items
A refrigerator inside the pool area for storing snacks and drinks
Retractable pool shades that can help cover the pool enclosure during the hottest hours of the day
An entrance directly into your home for convenience in bad weather
Fencing Around the Pool
If you want your pool area to include seating and other conveniences, consider placing a fence around the outside of the pool area. Keep in mind that your pool enclosure doesn't have to include the seating area! Simply enclosing the pool, then fencing around it, can help you create a beautiful space that is entirely separate from the rest of the neighborhood.
A pool enclosure can help take your pool to the next level, making it easier to enjoy everything your pool offers year-round.