What could be nicer than a private bespoke swimming pool design in your home?
Over the years, many of our clients have added a swimming pool to their home. Indoor, outdoor or underground, swimming lanes or spa-style with a hot tub, whatever your choice, it takes a bit of planning to get the best result. Get it right, and the results can be stunning. Get it wrong, and you may find mistakes are costly to rectify or lead to a less than perfect pool.
Read on for our top tips to help you achieve the perfect swimming pool.
Early engagement with a swimming pool contractor and architect is vital. Incorporating your pool requirements into RIBA Stage 1 – which is called Preparation and Brief – will make all the difference to the finish and cost. Early consideration of your goals will allow you to plan out the space requirements for your swimming pool and determine your options; do you have space for a splash pool, hot tub, swimming lane or something altogether grander.
When it comes to space, don’t forget about the swimming pool plant and machinery. It is common to design a beautiful pool without leaving enough space for the equipment to support it, such as the pumps, filters, and room for chemical storage. Adding these at a later date can reduce your pool’s size or lead to additional planning applications and building works, both of which will increase your overall costs.
There are so many options for swimming pools. They can be a relatively standard item or entirely bespoke. Defining a clear brief and aligning this with your budget will likely lead you to the most satisfying result.
Consider why you would like a pool. If your primary goal is for exercise, a good length pool and suitable depth for turning are essential. For relaxation, you will want water jets and a bench to relax within the pool. If it is for family fun, consider slides and a depth to allow jumping and diving.
If space is a premium – as in the case with many swimming pools in London – you may want an adjustable pool floor that can be raised to floor level making your pool room multi-functional.
Don’t Forget Ventilation
A big challenge for an internal pool is humidity and temperature control beyond the actual space needed. Ventilation is crucial for managing both of these; good ventilation results in a pleasant pool environment with the correct temperature in and out of the water, proper humidity, and no condensation issues on walls, ceilings, or glazing.
Humidity and moisture are also important when considering the finish of your pool room. Tiles, render, and paints are possible finishes for a swimming pool, but finding the right one to handle the humidity and the water’s chlorine content if submerged (particularly important when you have seamless finishes) can be tricky.
An experienced design team and interior designer can help you get those finishes right, so they look great and perform well.
Tip: consider porcelain tiles and plaster finishes like tadelact, which hold up well in these environments when adequately specified.
With all those great finishing options grabbing your attention, don’t forget about the structural needs of your swimming pool, i.e., what lies beneath the lovely tiling and, crucially, keeps all the water where you want it. The structure needs to be suitable for prolonged exposure to humidity and chlorine, so choose appropriate materials.
It would be best to consider any equipment that needs to be hidden or run from the pool to the plant room – such as water supply and air handling. How might this be hidden, and how will your finishes fix to the structure, maintaining a watertight pool.
A pool is obviously a wet environment, which means you need to consider low slip surfaces and avoid any electrical connections that might provide a risk of electrocution.
Planning for this early on can allow you to find suitable materials and avoid ugly finishes, edge protection or poorly placed handrails further down the line.
Covered or Uncovered
Swimming pool coverings are essential for many reasons, for example with outdoor pools you should always have a cover for safety, ease of maintenance, and saving on heating and water loss.
The options are varied. The most cost-effective solution might be a typical pool cover on a spool, which you wind up and unfurl as you use the pool. If you want a cleaner and less labour-intensive solution, a pool cover integrated into the structure and below ground might be the way to go.
As well as this risk of falling into the pool, if you are worried about young children or animals and the pool isn’t securely walled off, you might consider a rigid walk on pool cover for safety.
A pool cover is also a factor to consider for internal pools. Without a pool cover, the air handling system will need to be more powerful to deal with the additional evaporation from the pool surface. A cover will also reduce your running costs, for both internal and external pools, and impact the pool’s water levels.
If you have a pool cover, it needs to sit below the pool sides so you can’t achieve a flush or infinity pool as easily.
The final consideration is pool maintenance and running costs. Make sure you plan enough space to make the plant room easily accessible, and think about how you will deal with the humidity and the chemicals your pool requires.
Consider also how you will prevent any windows from fogging up to avoid long term maintenance issues and ensure you have great views all year round.
If you would like to find out more about adding a swimming pool to your home. Get in touch with our experienced architectural team here.
We are always happy to help.