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06 November 2020
Refurbishing your pool: When is the right time and what should you consider?

It's a bit of an understatement to say that this summer has been unusual.  As the global pandemic hit, millions of us were encouraged to stay at home. It is perhaps little wonder that many of us who could, started spending much more time in our swimming pools. The additional hours spent practising strokes, swimming lengths or just relaxing by the pool will have been a much-needed respite, but as you spend more time in your pool you probably began to notice things that might have otherwise passed you by.

As all swimming pool owners know, it’s not an investment to be taken lightly. It’s an extension of your home, can affect the value of your property, and it’s something you consider long-term. It’s not uncommon for older and heavily used pools to begin to show wear and tear, so now might be the perfect time to consider a swimming pool refurbishment. Nobody knows what 2021 will bring, or if we will even be through this pandemic, so why not invest in the place you are likely to spend a lot of time over the coming months. 

Why consider a refurbishment?
Pool refurbishments are useful for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes they’re aesthetic, and other times they’re outright essential for the upkeep of the pool. Generally speaking, refurbs happen for one of the following reasons:

  • New homeowners might wish to change the look of a pool or put their personal stamp on it
  • Annual services are not really doing the trick a decade on, and you need to carry out some minor jobs that aren’t typically covered in a standard service
  • A concrete pool suffers from a crack and needs remedial work or maybe a new liner, giving the pool a completely new lease of life
  • The aesthetic of your pool feels dated and you want to bring it in-line with the rest of your home’s decoration

What do all of these factors have in common? Age. Like every aspect of our home, pools age and need regular servicing and maintenance to stay at their best, particularly during periods of extended or increased use. The performance of pumps, filters and plumbing can diminish over time, and the pool itself can start to look tired and unfashionable.  Sometimes, the style you fell in love with fifteen plus years ago might now seem outdated compared to the rest of your home.

What are the warning signs?
They say age is just a number, and they are absolutely right. There is no ‘right age’ at which to start considering a pool refurbishment. It all depends on how much you use it, how well you keep it, how often it’s serviced and other environmental factors that are probably beyond your control.  In other words, if you look after your swimming pool, it will serve you well for a long, long time.

That said, most refurbishments do tend to take place between 10 and 15 years into a pool’s lifespan. This is often when the appearance starts to lose a little lustre, the structure of outdoor pools could be affected and mechanical failures like pumps or filters wearing out become more common.  Some types of wear and tear tend to happen quicker on outdoor pools as opposed to indoor ones simply because they are exposed to the elements.

If you have an indoor pool, your investment is less vulnerable to the elements and will probably last longer before you need to think about refurbishment, but beware of the risk of mechanical failure.  It's important to keep an eye on pumps, filters, pool covers and ventilation systems – inefficient or failing plantroom equipment can have a detrimental impact on the pool’s performance and therefore your pool experience.

When should you book a refurbishment?
For indoor pools, refurbishments can be undertaken all-year-round.  Outdoor pools are used far less in the cooler months of autumn, winter and early spring, so this is the perfect opportunity to book a pool refurbishment. Of course, any project can be derailed by unpredictable weather - particularly in the UK - but there are easy workarounds that can allow work to continue.

The best piece of advice is probably not to leave it to the last minute and use the time wisely. In other words, get your refurbishment booked in early with a reputable company, and think about all of those small tweaks and changes you’ve been wanting to do for months, or even years.

Carrying out these aesthetic repairs ‘as you go’ can lead to undesirable clashes and create problems further down the line, so get them all done at once.  For example, if you need your pool to be retiled, it’s far better to get it all done in unison as part of an aesthetic change than end up with a patchwork, with some tiles looking newer than others.

What does a refurbishment cost?
The honest answer and unsatisfying answer is - it depends!  A refurbishment can range from   re-grouting tiles or repairing the concrete. Or it could be plantroom related, such as replacing or upgrading the pool’s heating or filtration systems. More extensive refurbishment is also possible, which can alter the structure of the pool. It’s really a question of what you want and your budget.

It’s unusual for pool owners to book a refurb with a specific budget in mind. Usually, you would  start with a list of requirements in order of priority, and then shop around for a reputable company that can carry out the work to an exceptionally high standard at the right price. It’s possible to arrive at an estimated budget beforehand, but to do so you would need some professional knowledge about the process and the kinds of materials you want.

What to expect from the refurbishment process?
The first thing you will encounter in the refurbishment process is a site survey.  The survey includes a thorough inspection of the pool, the plant and the equipment as well as a look at the logistics of getting machinery in and out of the property. The survey helps to accurately identify the refurbishment needs, and allows the project to be costed and planned.

This part of the process might also include some back and forth as recommendations are made, and fine technical specifications are drawn up.  Also, you will  be provided with options for materials, for example, different styles and colours for tiles or a liner. Work with your pool contractor to arrange all this and trust in their judgement – they have done this many times!

Should you be concerned about your refurbishment?
Like work being carried out on any part of your home, a pool refurbishment can be a nerve-wracking experience. Timescales vary, and the work is sometimes unavoidably disruptive. We anticiapte that time will be your number one concern, but once all the details are known your pool contractor will work out a schedule, so you have a specific start and end date.

For outdoor pools, weather can conspire against you and delay the job. In most cases though, a major pool overhaul would usually take between 6 to 8 weeks. Whereas a smaller refurbishment job, such as a filter replacement, the installation of a new water treatment system or a new pool cover, could take between a few days and a week.

Refurbishment can greatly enhance the look and performance of pool and, if you choose to invest in new technology for your existing pool, it can also significantly extend its lifespan and reduce maintenance costs.

So, if you’ve been spending more time in your pool and you’ve noticed  wear and tear, now is the time to act. Don’t just throw the cover back over the pool and live with it - make a change!

At London Swimming Pool Company we specialise in swimming pool maintenance, servicing and refurbishment in Surrey, so if you have a pool that’s in need of regular maintenance or a facelift, contact us for an initial discussion – there’s no substitute for expert advice.

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