May 20, 2024
min read

Top 25 Pool Building Regrets from 742 Aussie Pool Owners

Based on feedback from 742 Australian pool owners, this article covers the top 25 most common regrets when building a new swimming pool. Don’t build a pool without reading this list.

Tony Loxton
Top 25 pool building regrets from 742 Australian pool owners

Building a new pool is an exciting journey, but it comes with high risks and lessons that many homeowners wish they had known from the start. To help future pool owners, Poolz has meticulously compiled insights from a comprehensive survey. 742 Australian pool owners responded to question: “What do you wish you’d known before building your dream pool?” From this query, we gathered 3,285 answers and have distilled these into the top 25 things pool owners wish they knew before building a pool.

About this Data

What sets this data apart is its authenticity and scope; none of the participants are Poolz customers, ensuring that the feedback is entirely unbiased and representative of the broader community. Moreover, the survey was conducted in an open-ended format, encouraging respondents to share their unfiltered experiences and thoughts rather than choosing from a pre-set list of answers. This approach not only broadened the scope of feedback but also highlighted 157 distinct themes, from which the most prevalent 25 were selected for this article.

These lessons, backed by real-world data exclusive to Poolz, provide a rare glimpse into the collective wisdom and firsthand experiences of pool owners across Australia. Whether you’re considering a pool for a new home or thinking about adding one to your current property, this guide is your essential primer for getting it right the first time. Join us as we explore these key insights, ensuring you are well-equipped to make informed decisions to enhance your pool-building experience.

For more detailed information or to discuss this data further, feel free to reach out at Ok, let’s dive in, starting at #25 and working our way to #1.

25. Landscaping Costs

Coming in at number 25, pool owners highlighted underestimating the cost of landscaping around the pool area as a significant oversight, with some noting that landscaping expenses nearly doubled their overall project budget.

Tip: When budgeting for a pool, allocate substantial funds for landscaping to avoid surprises. Consider consulting with a landscape designer early in the planning process to get a realistic estimate that includes plants, hardscaping, and any necessary structural changes.

24. Landscaping Around a Glass Pool Fence

Number twenty four on the list is pool owners who regretted having grass growing up to the glass pool fence because it is very easy to chip and damage the glass when mowing and using a whipper snipper.

Tip: Most homeowners commented that they had to put a garden bed, stones or some other separation between the glass pool fence and the lawn to ensure they didn’t damage their glass fence.

23. Adding a Spa

A large number of pool owners expressed regret over not incorporating a spa with their pool. Integrating a spa offers enhanced relaxation and increases the functionality of the swimming area - and kids will absolutely love it!

Tip: Considering a spa addition during the initial pool design can provide seamless integration and cost savings compared to retrofitting later. Spas not only offer therapeutic benefits but also increase the overall appeal and value of your pool and property.

22. Check Everything Before Progress Payments

Pool owners wish they had taken more time perform detailed checks before making a progress payment. An unfortunately large number of respondents learned the hard way that making progress payments without a thorough check can lead to unfinished work or unmet expectations.

Tip: Make sure you take the time to check the work at every progress payment stage and get your builder to rectify any issues prior to payment.

21. Pool Lighting Upgrade

Coming in at number 21, many pool owners regretted not opting for multi-colour LED lights and installing more than one light.

Tip: Upgrading to multi-colour LED lights allows for customisable ambiance and can transform your pool into a vibrant focal point for evening entertainment. Consider adding multiple lights to ensure even illumination and create a more dynamic and inviting space.

20. Full-Length Ledge Seat

A large number of pool owners expressed regret for not including a ledge seat along the entire length of their pool. This feature not only provides a comfortable seating and lounging area but also serves as a fun and safe space for children to play.

Tip: Consider integrating a ledge seat into your pool design, it’s an excellent way for both adults and children to enjoy the pool, adding an extra layer of relaxation and social interaction to your pool.

A full length ledge seat offers options for relaxing and fun for kids

19. Final Payment Caution

At number 19 was pool owners who regretted making the final payment before the completion of all tasks. These owners said their builder or installer simply waived the final payment and didn’t return to finish off the last finishing jobs of their project.

Tip: To ensure your pool project is completed to your satisfaction, do not pay the final balance payment until everything is completed. Carefully consider your contract’s terms regarding the final payment to ensure the dollar amount is substantial enough to motivate the builder to fully complete the project.

18. Waiting Too Long to Get a Pool

A common regret at number 18 was pool owners that wished they’d installed their pool sooner instead of waiting so long!

Tip: Building a new pool takes considerable planning. Poolz has a wealth of resources to help you with the planning process, from our Pool Buyers guides to our free downloads and tools, we’ve got all your pool needs covered, from the initial dreaming and inspiration phase all the way through to signing on the dotted line - so why wait, get started today!

17. Extra Tiles

An easy one to ensure doesn't happen to you, many pool owners regretted not purchasing extra tiles during their pool construction to ensure they had matching replacements available for any future damage.

Tip: Always buy additional tiles when installing your pool, even if only a few. Having a stock of matching tiles on hand will save you from the frustration and potentially higher costs of sourcing them later if they become discontinued or hard to match.

16. Glass Pool Fencing

Glass pool fencing is the most expensive fencing option, but also one of the most popular. At number 16, many pool owners wished they had opted for glass pool fencing to maintain unobstructed views and ensure the fence blends seamlessly with their environment.

Tip: While glass fencing offers aesthetic advantages, it can require frequent cleaning to stay clear. Many homeowners recommend treating glass fences with products like EnduroShield to reduce maintenance by repelling water and resisting stains. This protective coating can significantly ease the cleaning process, keeping your view pristine with less effort.

15. Shade for the Pool Area

Not surprising given our Aussie climate, but often overlooked resulting in pool owners regretting not integrating adequate shade into their pool design, whether that be shade cloths, umbrellas or gazebos. Without adequate shade, it limits the amount of time you can spend relaxing in and around your pool on hot days - which was probably the exact purpose you got your pool in the first place!

Tip: Several pool owners said they have had umbrella holes drilled into the tiling (usually the first row after the coping tiles so the umbrella can overhang the pool) so that they can put up an umbrella when they want it. Some even suggested having several of these holes around the pool so you can follow the sun by moving the umbrella throughout the day.

14. Overflow in Skimmer Box

At number 14 on the list was pool owners that mentioned they regret not including an overflow in the skimmer box, which is essential for managing excess water, particularly during heavy rains, to prevent pool overflow and potential flooding around the pool area.

Tip: Without an overflow in the skimmer box, during heavy rain your pool will overflow into your surrounding area, including the landscaped areas of plants and grass. If you have a salt water pool, this overflow can kill your plants and grass.

13. Automatic Water Level and Overflow

A notable number of pool owners expressed regret over not installing an automated water level control and overflow system. Such systems maintain the ideal water level and manage overflow, ensuring the pool is always ready for use and protecting against water wastage or overflow damage.

Tip: An automated system to maintain a consistent water level is very helpful when you go away on holiday and is also very useful if you live in an area that commonly gets heavy rainfall.

12. Space Around the Pool

Coming in at number 12, reflecting on their pool-building experience, pool owners stressed the importance of ensuring enough space around the pool within the fence. Without enough space, it’s easy to feel cramped within your pool area. This space is also critical to entertaining and having space for the kids to play.

Tip: When planning your pool, consider the balance between pool size (see 9. Go Bigger with Your Pool) and the surrounding space. If your yard space is limited, carefully plan the pool dimensions to ensure it does not overpower your available area. This balance is crucial, especially if enlarging the pool is a priority. This is where the expert guidance of a professional pool designer is invaluable.

11. Education and Research on Pools

Investing more time on research and education was overlooked by large number of pool owners, by virtue of the fact this was the 11th most popular regret. The most common things mentioned by respondents was researching pool builders more (see number one in the list) as well as getting a better understanding of the available options and equipment instead of just taking the recommendations of their pool builder.

Tip: Poolz offers comprehensive resources for prospective pool owners. Visit our website to access valuable tools like the Pool Buyers Checklist and Pool Options Pricing Guide, ensuring you are well-prepared and informed about all aspects of pool ownership before making these important decisions.

Information to help you
View our selection of guides and donwnloads to help you avoid pool building regrets.
How to save money building your dream swimming pool

10. Plan for Pool Drainage

A common oversight respondents regretted was not planning for drainage around the pool area. Proper drainage is crucial to prevent water accumulation which can lead to structural and aesthetic issues.

Tip: Always consider drainage solutions in the initial design phase. Effective drainage ensures that water flows away from the pool and house, preserving the structural integrity and appearance of your pool and surrounding areas.

9. Go Bigger with Your Pool

At number nine, a about one in 15 of respondents wished they had opted for a larger or longer swimming pool. Often, homeowners find that as they begin to use their pool, they would appreciate more space for leisure, exercise, or entertaining.

Tip: Increasing the size of your pool is not as expensive as you may think. Fibreglass pools have pricing based on size and it’s worth considering a larger pool if you have the space. Concrete pools are priced by the metre (by lineal metres in Queensland and square metres in the rest of Australia), and in most cases, concrete pool builders have a minimum charge, which means the price for a 6m x 3m concrete pool may be the same as a 7m x 3m. It’s also worth noting that concrete pools do increase in cost substantially when you exceed 9.5m or 12m in length and 5m in width due to the extra reinforcing required for these sizes, so keeping your size under these thresholds may save you 10-25% on the pool shell cost.

8. Understand the Pool Building Contract

An important point raised by more than one in 12 pool owners was that they didn’t take enough care to fully understand the pool building contract. The contracts are lengthy and complex and many pool owners said they didn’t understand the terms of their contract sufficiently. Knowing your rights and responsibilities, and those of the builder, is essential to understanding your recourse if something doesn’t go according to plan.

Tip: Most pool builders use the standard Master Builders Association or SPASA contract, and homeowners assume they don’t need to read them fully because they are a standard template - this is a mistake. Take the time to read and understand your contract so you know what your rights are. If you struggle to understand the contract, spend a few hundred dollars to have a lawyer read over it and point out the important points to you.

7. Glass Media Filter

Coming in at number seven was pool owners who indicated a preference for upgrading their pool filtration system, specifically moving from traditional sand or cartridge filters to a glass media filter.

Tip: Glass media filters are more effective at keeping your water crystal clear and require less cleaning and maintenance, saving both water and energy.

6. Supervision During Construction

Being on-site and supervising the construction of your new pool was highlighted by many respondents, many of which said it would have enabled them to perform on-the-spot quality control and address any issues before they became problems. It also streamlines communication and helps to build a better relationship with your pool builder. Some of these respondents also said something along the lines of “look after your pool builders with drinks, snacks etc.”.

Tip: While it’s beneficial to monitor the construction, choosing a reputable and trustworthy builder can alleviate the need for constant supervision - which may not be possible for many people.

5. Pool Equipment Placement

When it comes to pool equipment, careful planning goes a long way. Pool owners emphasised the importance of strategic placement of pool equipment. Not only should the equipment be placed to reduce noise and seamlessly integrate with your landscaping, but it must also be conveniently located.

Tip: Ideally, your pool equipment should not be any higher than the pool level and it should not be too far from the skimmer box.

4. Hidden Pool Cover

A pool cover has several benefits to pool owners, but interestingly respondents wished they had upgraded to a built-in or hidden pool cover. This is a considerably more expensive option, but significantly enhances the aesthetics of your pool area by keeping the cover out of sight.

Tip: Pool covers are a great investment for any pool owner. Heated pools will use less energy if they have a cover, whilst unheated pools will have a more consistent water temperature as a result of the cover. They also help to keep dirt and debris out of your pool, making it easier to clean!

3. Pool Heating

Coming in at number three was a consistent theme - the desire to extend the swimming season, even for people living in warmer climates like Queensland. The responses varied from “I wish I’d gotten a heater” to “I wish I’d gotten a bigger heater”. This shows that you not only should be considering heating, but you should also get the largest heater you can afford so that it can heat your pool faster and more efficiently.

Tip: If your budget doesn’t extend to include pool heating when you build, be sure to get heating provisions (the plumbing around the pool shell and equipment) installed when you build - many pool builders will include this without adding extra cost. This means that when you’re ready to add a heater in the future, it’s a simple and inexpensive job.

2. Understanding Your Pool Builder Quote

Coming in as the second biggest learning with one in eight respondents saying they wished they had spent more time scrutinising their pool builder's quote. Understanding exactly what is included, what isn't included (and the expected costs of the exclusions), and the costs associated with provisional amounts is crucial. This insight is key to preventing any nasty budget blow outs.

Tip: To combat this common concern, Poolz offers a free quote comparison service. This service is designed to help homeowners identify discrepancies within quotes and effectively compare them - which is very hard to do if you’re not an expert on swimming pools and pool equipment. This service is available to everyone, not just Poolz customers, ensuring all potential pool owners can make informed decisions with clarity and confidence.

1. Selecting the Wrong Pool Builder

A  whopping one in four (1 in 4) pool owners responded by saying they would have chosen a different pool builder! That’s one in four people who said they should have done more research, checked references, validated insurance and licenses and chosen a builder who provided better customer service and higher quality work.

Tip: This happens to be the exact reason Poolz exists. Our Poolz Approved program is designed to remove this risk for new pool buyers - we check references, talk to industry peers, vet licences and more, all to ensure that we only work with great pool builders. If you’d like to do this yourself, we also have this checklist that shows you exactly how to vet a pool builder before signing a contract - download our Risk Management Checklist here.

Get Quotes from a Poolz Approved Builder
Get a price estimate instantly and be connected with vetted and approved pool builders

Conclusion: Education & Research is Paramount

As we wrap up our Top 25 Things Pool Owners Wished They Had Known Before Building a Pool list, it’s clear that planning and education play vital roles in ensuring the success of a pool project. Poolz is dedicated to making your pool building journey as seamless and informed as possible. Here is a quick list of the resources we have available based on where you are in your pool building journey.

Dreaming of a Pool

These are our three most popular resources to help homeowners who are dreaming of new swimming pool:

  • Pool Design Gallery - get inspiration from Australia’s largest gallery of award winning swimming pools.
  • The Poolz Matrix - this is a very quick reference guide to work out what type of pool is most suitable for your family and property.
  • Design & Planning content - learn more about pools in our planning & design section with articles about fencing, pool shapes and sizes, pool types and of course swimming pool costs.

Planning for a Pool

These are our three most popular resources to help homeowners who are developing their plan for a new swimming pool:

  • Create Your Pool Vision Board - this is a hugely valuable resource every pool buyer should use to ensure their vision is delivered with consistency.
  • Building Your Dream Pool - this download is packed with insider tips to help you save money on your new pool without compromising aesthetics or quality.
  • Pool Options Pricing Guide - this simple list has all the optional extras you can add to a new pool, along with their approximate costs and most importantly, whether the item must be added at install/build or if it can be retrofitted later.

Ready to Build a Pool

These are our most popular resources to help homeowners who are ready to build their new pool:

  • Pool Buyers Checklist - this free download covers everything you need to know and cover off with prospective builders - in short, this download will make you a well educated consumer with a plan!
  • Risk Management Checklist - if you’re not using a Poolz Approved pool builder, then this resources is a must-have. If you want to avoid the #1 regret of Australian pool owners, then ensuring you get a great pool builder should be top of the list in terms of your priorities.
  • Price Estimate & Quotes - by using the Poolz GET QUOTES form, you’ll instantly see what your dream pool is likely to cost and can be connected with Poolz Approved builders to quote on your project.

By using these resources, you’re well on your way to avoiding the regrets pool owners have identified as most common in this list. Poolz is here to help you to be a better pool buyer and to work with reliable builders who will do a great job of turning your dream into reality. If you need any help at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on 1300 448 407.

Tony Loxton
Founder & CEO of Poolz
Tony, a seasoned expert in sales, marketing, and technology, has propelled iconic brands like Mercedes Benz and Chanel. His mission with Poolz is to simplify the process of designing, building and owning a swimming pool by offering a platform that paves the way for smoother interactions between homeowners and pool industry professionals.
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