There’s nothing like a new pool – pristine water, gleaming tiles, spotless equipment. But after a few years, even the most well-maintained pool can start to look tired. You may have broken tiles, pool stains or faded buttons on your equipment. When that happens, it’s usually time for a pool upgrade. But what does an upgrade involve, how much does it cost and is it worth it? In this guide, we’ll explain what a pool upgrade is, why it’s important for your pool and nine ways to do it without breaking the bank.
Before we start, let’s clarify one thing – a pool upgrade isn’t about getting a new pool (although you can if you want to). Instead, it’s about finding ways of improving the appearance, safety or efficiency of your existing pool.
A pool upgrade can fall into two categories: cosmetic and functional. A cosmetic change is about updating the appearance, like getting new tiling or adding a water feature. A functional change is about improving your pool’s performance, like replacing equipment or changing to a different sanitation system.
Cosmetic and functional upgrades can happen separately or together, depending on your pool’s needs. You can also get a full renovation in which the shape, depth and surface of your pool change – and maybe even the decking or landscaping. This type of upgrade often happens when a pool is old or damaged, or when it no longer meets your tastes or lifestyle needs.
In general, if your pool is more than ten years old – or it’s been poorly maintained – a pool upgrade is recommended. Here’s why:
If you’ve inspected your pool and discovered that it’s damaged, inefficient or no longer serving your needs, here are nine ways to spruce it up:
It’s not unusual for pool equipment to wear out over time. In general, if your equipment is more than 10 years old, it could do with an upgrade. When choosing pool equipment, make sure it matches your pool size and usage, and consider switching to energy-efficient options. For example, consider switching to a cartridge filter to use less water and a multi-speed pool pump to save on annual energy bills.
When your pool has stains, cracks or damage, resurfacing is a great way to improve its appearance. The type of resurfacing will depend on your pool. If it’s made of fibreglass, a pool renovation specialist will strip the top coat, make repairs (if necessary) and then add a new gel coat. If you have a concrete pool, you’ll need to replace the plaster or tiles. In general, resurfacing a pool can take 1–2 weeks (or longer if there are weather delays), so book it during the offseason or when the pool would normally be closed for winter.
Changing the waterline tiles and coping can give your pool an immediate uplift, particularly if they’re dated, damaged or stained. (Note: the waterline tile is just above your pool water level, while the coping is on the edge of the pool.) If you’re on a limited budget, replace the broken tiles or coping to prevent injury and instantly improve your pool’s appearance. If the tiles or coping are just stained, give them a thorough scrub or use an approved chemical cleaner.
While LED lights may seem like a small upgrade, they can make a difference when it comes to your pool’s appearance and running costs. LED lights last up to six times longer than halogen globes, which means you won’t need to replace them as often. Plus, they use 75 per cent less energy than halogens, reducing your energy consumption and carbon emissions.
LEDs also provide more light, increasing visibility and making it safer for swimmers at night. What’s more, they come in a range of colours. This allows you to choose the look you want or create atmosphere when entertaining.
If you’ve got a traditional chlorine pool and you want to reduce maintenance, consider switching to a salt chlorination system. Salt chlorinators use salt or minerals to create chlorine that keeps your pool free of bacteria or algae. They also top up chlorine levels automatically, which means you don’t have to do it manually.
Pool fences can age and deteriorate quickly, so if you want to make your pool area safe and more attractive, install a new pool fence. If you currently have steel or aluminium, consider glass for an unobstructed view of the pool. While it’s more expensive, it won’t date as quickly and it has a small footprint. However, keep in mind that glass requires frequent cleaning to remove water marks and bird droppings.
If you don’t have time to manage all your pool processes, consider installing a pool automation system. This allows you to schedule and monitor your filtration, chlorination and heating with the touch of a button – even if you’re not at home. Not only do automation systems can help you save time and money, but they also reduce maintenance. No more fiddling around with confusing controls or buttons!
Top tip: Before buying a pool automation system, make sure your existing equipment is compatible. If it isn’t, you’ll need new pool equipment, preferably from the same brand, to get the most out of your automation system.
You can customise your pool with a range of accessories and features. Turn your pool into an adventure playground with ladders, slides, volleyball nets and diving boards. Some of these fixtures can be retrofitted, while others (like volleyball nets and slides) can be attached and then stored away when not in use.
If you want to add a decorative feature to your pool, consider installing a water feature, such as a fountain, waterfall or jet. Not only do water features help with water circulation, but they can also add a soothing vibe to your backyard.
A spa can be a great way to entertain guests or relax after a long day at work. If you want to add a spa to your existing pool, you can do it in two ways: by getting a spill-over spa, which is installed next to your pool and uses the same pool water, or a detached spa, which is separate and needs its own pool pump and filtration system. The spa you choose will depend on how much space you have available. Either way, it can add value to your property and allow you to use your pool all year round. For more on spas, check out these articles.
The cost of a pool upgrade depends on the size of your pool and the type of work being done. According to hipages, painting a standard pool can cost about $700, while a full makeover can cost as much as $10,000. If you’re getting new pavers and landscaping as well, that figure could go up to $20,000.
However, upgrades are still less expensive than installing or removing a pool. For example, installing a pool can cost $31,000–$100,000, depending on the pool size, features and site accessibility, and pool removal can cost about $6,300– $18,000, not including turf or landscaping. So when you weigh up the costs, a pool upgrade is still the most cost-effective option for your pool.
Whether you’ve just bought a house with a pool or you’ve had one for a while, there are many ways to upgrade your pool. If you have a limited budget, start small by getting new LED lights and accessories. On the other hand, if you have a generous budget, make a bigger impact with a spa or new coping.
While some pool upgrades can be time-consuming, they’re a great way of reducing running costs and maintenance, improving and increasing the value of your property. Most of all, they’ll help you fall in love with your pool all over again, which is priceless. Ready for a pool upgrade? Check out our range of products here.