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Outdoor Pool, Indoor Comfort
Explore the benefits of pool enclosures and discover the best option for your pool.
By Kimberlee Courtney
A pool enclosure enhances the amount of time you can spend enjoying your pool, often expanding your swim season year-round. It also helps keep debris out of the pool and minimizes water evaporation and heat loss, reducing the amount of time and money you spend on pool maintenance. Some pool enclosures can even increase your indoor living space and raise the value of your home.
Take a look at the different types of enclosures to find the best fit for your pool, lifestyle, and location.
Inflatable pool domes
are made of vinyl and are anchored to the ground with steel cables. They are kept up by a small air blower system (often included) that creates a small pressure difference between the inside and outside air to maintain inflation.
Framed pool domes
consist of clear vinyl or mesh screens attached to aluminum frames that are mounted at intervals around the perimeter of the pool.
Pool domes can be used year-round in warm regions to help keep leaves and other debris out of the pool and protect swimmers from insects and rain. In cold-climate regions, these enclosures can be used to extend the pool season from early spring to late fall. They must be dismantled and stored during the winter because they cannot withstand high winds or heavy snow.
Both inflatable and portable pool domes can be custom designed to fit any size or shape aboveground or inground pool. They cost around $800 for aboveground versions and $2,500 for inground models.
Telescopic pool enclosures are semi-permanent structures made of safety glass or polycarbonate glazed panels that slide on a track or use a rolling mechanism to open and close. One by one the panels glide neatly inside each other—like a telescope—and can be opened all the way or just partially.
(or low-height) telescopic enclosures lie low to the ground and typically need to be retracted when swimmers are present in the pool. They function more like a pool cover, helping block dirt and debris from entering the pool and preventing heat from escaping when the pool is not in use.
telescopic pool enclosures allow for swimming inside the pool when the enclosure is fully closed. Their taller height and wider frame also permit free movement around the perimeter of the enclosed pool, so you can walk around, dry off after a swim or comfortably throw on a cover-up or jacket before heading back in the house—especially on chilly or rainy days.
telescopic enclosures can encompass both the pool and surrounding patio—including the furniture, waterslide, and Tiki hut—permitting use of the entire outdoor living space when inclement weather strikes.
Telescopic enclosures can be installed over any shaped inground pool and kept up year-round. Most manufacturers offer a selection of prefabricated models in different shapes, as well as custom designs. They range in price from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on size and customization.
Most permanent pool enclosures are constructed with hardwearing, tempered aluminum framework and stainless steel fastening hardware, although they can also be built with bricks, stone, vinyl, or other materials to complement the style of your home. Glass or light-transmitting polycarbonate is used for the roof and walls to provide UV protection, room insulation, and to help preserve the water temperature.
Permanent pool enclosures very much resemble sunrooms because they’re often attached to the side of the home, feature sliding glass doors and/or retracting roof panels, and provide plenty of space for furniture, plants, and other accessories. They’re suitable in all regions and because they add square footage to your property, they can increase the value of your home.
However, a permanent enclosure will cost you more upfront. Prefabricated models are generally priced around $22 per square foot while custom-built structures cost $60 per square foot or more.
Permanent and telescopic enclosures (except for low-profile styles) can be installed as freestanding structures or attached to your home in a lean-to design, where a wall of your house becomes the fourth wall of the enclosure. Freestanding units give you more design options and have sliding doors or glass windows on all sides so you can view your entire landscape while swimming. Lean-to designs work well for small yards and offer the convenience of walking right into the pool without stepping foot outdoors.
Before deciding on an enclosure, it’s important to look into any necessary building and zoning permits required by the local municipality. Certain regions have specific load requirements for roofs, which is the amount of snow or debris the structure can support. Additionally, structures in coastal regions must be built to withstand winds of up to 140 mph. Be sure to check with the manufacturer to ensure the enclosure is engineered to meet the requirements of your area.
Photo courtesy of Pool & Spa Enclosures, LLC
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