Despite limited time and expense, some pool enthusiasts jump at chance to own a pool

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Diane McGinnis grew up with a pool.

So it only made sense that when she was looking to buy a house several years ago that it had to meet one of two criteria: the house had to come with a pool, or there had to be enough acreage to install one.

“We were looking at houses we could put a pool in,” McGinnis said. “That was a must have.”

Built in 2011, McGinnis said when looking into the type of pool she wanted to build, her first decision was determining whether she wanted an aboveground or in-ground pool.

“I looked at above grounds, but it seemed really expensive (for what it was),” McGinnis said, adding that she wanted a pool she could swim laps in.

She eventually decided upon an in-ground vinyl liner pool that she feels with saltwater — an alternative to chlorine. And now that she’s looking for a new home, the need for a pool is even stronger.

“We can’t move until we have a house with another pool because this is what I enjoy — being with the kids,” McGinnis said. “I love swimming laps.”

Variety of styles

But pool installations aren’t exactly cheap. Weston Darling, president of Splash Pools in Cedar Rapids, said the average price of a pool from his company usually always runs into the six-figure price.

Darling works specifically with concrete in-ground pools, however, which can be pricey initial cost. Darling said he has been working in the pool industry for the past 20 years.

Over the past few years, Darling said, the pools his customers want installed have been getting bigger and bigger. His most recent build? A 24-by-50 foot.

As for pool accessories, Darling said customers have been opting to build in items such as LED spa lights, automatic pool covers and sun shelves — a wading area built into the pool no more than 12 inches deep.

In business March through Thanksgiving, Darling said it takes an average of two months to install a concrete pool.

Other options for pools include vinyl liner and fiberglass. With vinyl liner, there are no limitations to the length width and depth of the pools which is comparable to concrete pools. Fiberglass pools can be more restricting when it comes to variables in size.

But because of his customers want for an automatic liner — which protects the pool from someone breaking in, people falling in and helps keep the pool clean — Darling has been building a lot of rectangles lately.

Pool popularity

Rob Stiles, with Revolution Realty Team, said because of the harsher, winter climate of the Midwest, not as many homes have pools in the Corriodr, nor are there people wanting to buy homes with pools.

“People just aren’t conditioned to it,” Stiles said.

And while those looking for a new home in Cedar Rapids may want a pool, it might not always be an option as there might be no listings with a pool at a certain time.

“People like them (houses with pools) and they don’t sell too badly,” Stiles said, adding that with the lower supply there is some demand.

Darling said that his company builds more pools in Iowa City or another part of Iowa than it does in Cedar Rapids, and that he only remembers a select few that he’s dug in the area.

But listings with pools can also be harmful — houses with pools may be beneficial for a person who wants it, but maintenance, costs and chemicals may come as an annoyance for those who don’t want a pool.

“Historically, even nice pools, don’t add a ton of value (to the home),” Stiles said.

For McGinnis, who has had her pool for six years now, said the only thing she regretted about her pool installation was not adding in a sectioned area for a hot tub.

“I have no regrets at all about putting in a pool,” McGinnis said.

And now, the first thing everyone asks McGinnis when she says she has a pool is: “Is it in-ground?” She joked that checkout clerks often ask her to come over and go swimming.

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