The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Pool Lingo

You could say Arizona is the swimming pool capital of the free world. It’s as hot as Florida, but with no large bodies of water in sight (Tempe Town Lake doesn’t count). In Phoenix, people use their pools practically year-round. I say this with some authority because when I was eleven, I accidentally cartwheeled into our backyard pool on Christmas day (I was an excellent, but a not-so-accurate cartwheeler as a child). I can attest to the fact that even at the coldest time of year, unheated pools are chilly, but not a polar bear experience. Currently, in the Arizona multiple listing service, 36 percent of the single family dwellings listed as actively for sale have private swimming pools. Many of the ones without have listed as a feature: “Plenty of room to build a pool!” So if you’re searching for a home with an already existing pool, or even thinking of building one in the future, it’s a good idea to have some basic working knowledge of in-ground swimming pools.

Some of the new terms or features of swimming pools that I have encountered recently are:

Pebble Tec: This is the brand name regularly used for a newish type of surface used in pools. Pebble Tec is to a rough pool coating made up of thousands of tiny pebbles, as Kleenex is to tissue. We don’t have a private pool at our home, but the community pool we often swim in was resurfaced this winter with a pebble-type coating. We swam in it this weekend and it’s very nice. It give your feet a nice grip on the bottom of the pool.

Pebble Sheen: This is the upgraded, smoother version of Pebble Tec. They say it’s smoother on your feet, but still gives you a nice grip and is quite durable.

Saltwater Pool: This concept sounded bizarre to me when I first heard about it. Why on earth would you want to have a salt water pool, I wondered? It’s not like a fish tank that you could have different and more colorful fish in. What could possibly be the benefit? Well it turns out there are many benefits. To begin with, they are apparently much easier to take care of. One saltwater pool owner told me, “You just dump a bag of salt in every six months and it’s always clean!” The salt water is also much less concentrated than the ocean (about 1/10th of the salt content) and is more gentle on skin and hair than chlorinated water.

Play Pool: When a lister advertises the pool as a ‘play pool’, what exactly does that mean, you ask? Play pool refers to a more shallow all around pool. The depth of a play pool usually ranges from 3 to 5 feet deep and is not deep enough to dive into.

: The Katchakid is a type of pool covering that looks like a net over the pool. It’s used specifically to keep small children safe when the pool is not in use. The web is too small for any child’s head to fit through and the manufacturers advertise that it is strong enough to hold a horse. It tightens into holes drilled around the edges of the pool and is supposed to be easy to use and allow you to keep your scenic views intact. We have friends who live on the water in Dobson Ranch and they have a Katchakid installed on their pool. I have to suppress the urge to climb out onto the middle of it every time I visit their house. My inner child is dying to test the strength of the net and pretend it’s a giant hammock over the water.

The last bit of information I have gleaned recently concerns cost to have a pool put in. As a general figure, I’ve been told a pool just by itself will run you between $18,000 and $25,000. If you want to do a pool and spa together you will be looking up into the $25,000 to $30,000 range.

So dive right in!

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