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How to Identify and Inspect a Pool Before Buying a Home

The Three Types of Inground Pools

The first thing you need to know is that there are three main types of inground pools: gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and each is easily recognizable from the others.
Gunite pools are made of sprayed concrete that is reinforced with steel rods. They are the most durable and customizable type of pool, as they can be shaped and sized to fit any design. They can also be finished with various materials, such as plaster, tile, or pebbles. However, gunite pools are also the most expensive and require the most maintenance, as they are prone to cracking, staining, and algae growth. They also need to be resurfaced every 10 to 15 years to prevent deterioration.
Fiberglass pools are made of pre-molded shells that are installed in a prepared hole. They are the easiest and fastest to install, as they can be delivered and set up in a matter of days. They are also very smooth and resistant to algae and stains, which means they require less cleaning and chemicals. However, fiberglass pools are limited in size and shape, as they have to fit the molds available from the manufacturer. They can also fade, crack, or warp over time, especially if exposed to extreme temperatures or ground movements.
Vinyl pools are made of flexible liners that are attached to a metal or plastic frame. They are the cheapest and most versatile type of pool, as they can be customized to any shape and size. They are also easy to replace if damaged or worn out. However, vinyl pools have the shortest lifespan, as they are susceptible to punctures, tears, fading, and shrinking. They also need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, depending on the quality of the liner and the water chemistry.

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How to Identify the Type of Pool

The easiest way to identify the type of pool is to look at its surface and feel its texture. Here are some clues to help you distinguish between the three types of pools:
– A vinyl pool looks like vinyl that you have seen a million times. It has a smooth and soft surface that feels like plastic. It may also have visible seams or wrinkles where the liner is attached to the frame. A vinyl pool usually has a white or light-colored coping (the edge of the pool) that contrasts with the liner color.
– A fiberglass pool is very smooth and shiny. It has a hard and solid surface that feels like glass. It may also have a gelcoat finish that gives it a glossy appearance. A fiberglass pool usually has a matching coping that blends with the shell color.
– A gunite pool looks and feels like concrete. It has a rough and porous surface that feels like sandpaper. It may also have tiles, stones, or other materials covering some parts of the pool for aesthetic purposes. A gunite pool usually has a concrete or stone coping that matches the pool finish.

How to Inspect the Condition of the Pool

Once you have identified the type of pool, you need to inspect its condition and look for any signs of damage or neglect. A pool that has been abandoned for a long time may have serious issues that could affect its functionality and safety. Here are some things to check for each type of pool:
– For a vinyl pool, look for any holes, rips, or patches on the liner. These could indicate leaks, which could cause the pool to lose water and damage the structure. Also, look for any fading, discoloration, or shrinking of the liner, which could indicate exposure to harsh chemicals or UV rays. Finally, look for any sagging, bulging, or wrinkling of the liner, which could indicate improper installation or poor water level.
– For a fiberglass pool, look for any cracks, chips, or blisters on the shell. These could indicate structural damage, which could compromise the integrity of the pool. Also, look for any fading, yellowing, or dulling of the shell, which could indicate deterioration of the gelcoat or the fiberglass. Finally, look for any signs of warping, buckling, or shifting of the shell, which could indicate ground movement or improper installation.
– For a gunite pool, look for any cracks, spalling, or delamination on the surface. These could indicate concrete degradation, which could cause leaks and structural problems. Also, look for any stains, algae, or calcium deposits on the surface, which could indicate poor water chemistry or inadequate maintenance. Finally, look for any signs of erosion, corrosion, or rusting of the steel rods, which could indicate exposure to water or air.

How to Hire a Professional Pool Inspector

If you are considering buying a home with a pool, you should always hire a professional pool inspector to evaluate the pool and its equipment. A pool inspector can provide you with a detailed report on the condition of the pool, identify any defects or repairs needed, and estimate the cost of fixing or replacing the pool. A pool inspector can also advise you on how to maintain the pool and keep it in good shape.
Many home inspectors will not inspect a pool because it is out of their expertise. Therefore, you should look for a dedicated pool inspector who has the qualifications and experience to perform a thorough and accurate pool inspection. You can ask your home inspector or realtor for a pool inspector that they can recommend, or you can search online for pool inspectors in your area. You should also check the pool inspector’s credentials, reviews, and references before hiring them.
When hiring a pool inspector, you should ask them how many and how often they do pool inspections, what type of pools they specialize in, what equipment and tools they use, what aspects of the pool they cover, how long the inspection takes, how much they charge, and how they deliver the report. You should also ask them if they are licensed, insured, and bonded, and if they offer any guarantees or warranties for their work.

How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls When Buying a Home with a Pool

Buying a home with a pool can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it can also come with some challenges and risks. Here are some tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls when buying a home with a pool:
– Do your research. Before making an offer on a home with a pool, you should do some research on the type, age, size, and condition of the pool, as well as the local regulations, codes, and permits for pools. You should also find out the history of the pool, such as who built it, when it was installed, how it was maintained, and if it had any problems or repairs. This will help you determine the value and quality of the pool, and avoid any surprises or liabilities later on.
– Get a pool inspection. As mentioned earlier, you should always hire a professional pool inspector to assess the pool and its equipment before buying a home with a pool. A pool inspection will give you a clear picture of the current state of the pool, and alert you to any issues or defects that need to be addressed. A pool inspection will also help you negotiate the price and terms of the sale, and protect you from any future claims or disputes.
– Budget for pool expenses. Owning a pool comes with ongoing costs, such as electricity, water, chemicals, cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and insurance. You should factor these expenses into your budget when buying a home with a pool, and be prepared to cover them on a regular basis. You should also set aside some money for any unexpected or emergency pool expenses, such as leaks, cracks, or equipment failures.
– Enjoy your pool. Finally, once you have bought a home with a pool, you should enjoy it to the fullest. A pool can provide you with many benefits, such as relaxation, recreation, exercise, entertainment, and aesthetic appeal. A pool can also increase the value and attractiveness of your home, and make it more appealing to potential buyers if you decide to sell it in the future. Therefore, you should take good care of your pool, and make the most of it.
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