It wasn't too long ago when in-ground pools were considered luxury features to a home. Who would've ever guessed the day would come when indoor swimming pools would be a feasible option, and not only for the rich and famous? That day has come.
"I don't consider our [indoor] pool to be a luxury item, but rather something to help my husband relieve himself of pain," said Elspeth Franks of Plymouth. "Being able to use the pool year-round, and especially in the winter, was what attracted us to this. It's going to make a big difference in our lives."
Indoor swimming pools, while still considered a pretty fancy feature in the home, are truly gaining popularity in mainstream America.
"I don't consider our pool to be a luxury item, but rather something to help my husband relieve himself of pain," said Elspeth Franks of Plymouth. For the past several months, she's been in the process of having her home enlarged to house their new indoor pool. Her husband, Bill, suffers from a fractured spine and dangling in a pool has proven to be the best form of therapy for his pain.
"We didn't want something we could only use three months of the year," she said. "Being able to use the pool year-round, and especially in the winter, was what attracted us to this."
Living in New England, an indoor pool does make a lot of sense, since our summers are not long and the outdoor pool wouldn't be used much more than a few months out of the year. But there other things to consider, like costs. Indoor and outdoor pools are costly, and indoor pools have the added costs.
To have an indoor pool usually requires building an addition to your home or having an enclosed building. Or, as the case with an Endless Pool, neither is necessary if you have the proper room in your home already. The Franks chose to go with an Endless Pool, a pool that is often used for therapeutic purposes, and has a current that can be turned on or off. This type of pool can easily be installed in a home and for those handy with tools and putting things together, it is even possible to assemble it yourself.
Although these pools can be installed either indoors or outdoors, it's viewed as an attractive option for indoors. If you have the room and the money, you could be the proud owner of this type of pool, which measures 8-by-15 feet and requires a room size of at least 11-by-18 feet. The standard depth is 39 inches but can be customized to depths up to 78 inches.
These pools can be installed in a sunroom, basement or garage, any place with level, concrete flooring and ceilings that are at least 7 feet high. If you don't have a room that meets these requirements, you can always do what the Franks are doing, building a room onto their existing home. They plan to have this room be as much part of the home as a kitchen or family room.
"It'll make life much more comfortable for Bill, and that's worth it to me," said Franks.
Picture reading the newspaper in the sunroom, with an indoor pool only steps away. That's what it's going to be like soon in the Franks' home. It'll be a heated room, with tile floors, a tongue and groove cedar ceiling with sky lights and big enough (22-by-15 feet) for a small table and chair by the pool.
Located off their living room and sun room, the Franks' new room with the pool will have two walls of windows to the outdoors and French doors leading from the sunroom into this new "pool" room. They chose to go with outdoor lighting; sconces for the walls and down lighting for the floors, because of their weather-resistant nature.
And if and when they decide to sell their home, an indoor pool could be a real selling point. If not, these types of pools can be removed.
"But it would probably be more cost-effective to just cover it," Franks said. 'And then it would make a lovely room for an enclosed porch."
"The good thing about these types of pools is that they are integrated into the home and can be put in just about any home," said architect Nick Filla with Plymouth Architects. "The biggest concern with having an indoor pool is the moisture level. You'll want to make sure you have a dehumidifier installed. That's essential."
Another type of indoor pool that's attracting more and more homeowners is the "collapsible enclosures."
"The industry as a whole has had a lot of exposure to these types of indoor pools," said Joseph Casna, owner of Crystal Clear Pools in Pembroke. "There are only a select few out there now, but it's coming. It'll be the wave of the future."
DynaDome, an Indiana-based company that specializes in pool enclosures nation-wide, agrees that this alternative is fast becoming very popular. "It's a nice alternative to building an addition on to your home for an indoor pool," said Cihan Ozdemir, senior project engineer for DynaDome. "And it's a lot less expensive."
These domes, on tracks and rollers and with a structure made of aluminum framing, can fully or partially enclose a pool simply by being closed. In the summertime, you have, the option to open the dome.
"It's very simple to use and it's great for people who really want to extend their pool usage to more than just three or so months out of the year," Ozdemir said. "The TeleDome pool enclosure is made of a series of rigid frames that are inserted into the two parallel tracks that are anchored to the pool deck. Frame moves mechanically by either gentle pushing or pulling along the tracks."
The cost for these types of enclosed pools vary anywhere from $35 per square foot up to $70 per square foot, or about $31,000 to $45,000, depending on what you're looking to do and the size of the enclosure.
A heating unit can be installed in these enclosures to contain the heat and to make it more comfortable during the winter. The pool would be heated with a pool heater. In addition to a heating system for the pool, an indoor pool should have a good filtration system to keep the water clean, a pool cover, which helps to keep the moisture level down and a ventilating system. The Franks are still anxiously awaiting for their addition and pool to be completed, a process that has taken much longer than they'd anticipated.
But in the long run, the pool and the addition will be worth the wait.
"We're looking forward to enjoying our pool," said Franks. "It'll be nice having an indoor pool right here at the house instead of having to trek all around to pools. It's going to make a big difference in our lives."