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New Beginnings, And I Feel Fine

From a frog to a prince, old vinyl pools are removed and replaced with luxury gunite pools and spas. (Photo: CP Complete, Stacy Wickham Photography)

December 21, 2012, came and went and the world did not end. Fortunately, many believe that the Mayan calendar signified a transition on that the date and it marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation. For countless people, 21 December 2012, marked the beginning of a new era.

In the swimming pool industry, we have noticed a surge in the amount of clients who want existing pools to be removed and replaced by more beautiful, energy efficient, environmentally friendly pools. More significantly, I have noticed that the phrase "new beginning" is being attached to comments from, not only from my more overtly spiritual friends, but also to those who wish to redevelop their homes or landscape.

The transformation begins. (Courtesy photo, Chris Hall)

When I was younger, I thought it was quite wasteful to remove a pool that was functioning. It seemed that attempting to preserve and repair was more prudent. However, there are many reasons to remove an existing swimming pool, often a vinyl pool, and replace it with a highly functional gunite pool.

When improving an old vinyl pool there are certain costs that may be unavoidable. Replacing the vinyl liner, re-plumbing the pool, repairing or replacing the coping, upgrading the patio, and replacing the pool equipment with more efficient models are all possibilities. Many clients have chosen to remove the existing patio and swimming pool and begin again with a gunite pool. The cost of this project can be considerable with, not only cost of gunite construction, but also the removal cost for the vinyl pool. However, the end result may be well worth the investment.

The number of vinyl pools that have been replaced with gunite pools has quadrupled in recent years. In addition to creating a more beautiful, energy efficient pool, some second home owners have found that they may have purchased their home at a relative bargain with a low interest rate on their monthly mortgage (or more often have purchased the home with cash for an even greater "bargain") and they are ready to make an investment in their new home. A gunite pool increases the value of their home while creating a superior environment.

New luxury gunite pool construction. (Photo: CP Complete, Stacy Wickham Photography)

Real Estate Brokers often ask me about the condition of existing swimming pools on homes they are buying or selling for a client. The conversation can become complicated. I tell them that I prefer to purchase a house without a swimming pool, but with the guarantee that a pool can be installed. There can be many obstacles to installing a pool at an existing home (access, setbacks, cesspools, and the need for a variance for any number of reasons). However, overcoming these obstacles when possible, or having a clear path to construction is preferable to inheriting a pool with problems. Removing an existing pool doesn't often have permit or zoning challenges.

Controlling the design and construction of your own swimming pool and spa allows you to take advantage of new and energy efficient technology that improves each day. Contrary to popular belief, if you purchase a home without a swimming pool or if you choose to remove an existing pool, it isn't the end of the world; it's an opportunity for a new beginning.

Chris Hall began his career in the swimming pool industry over 30 years ago. He is currently a consultant to Casual Water, the premiere swimming pool construction and service company on Long Island. www.casualwater.com

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