Hayward Team November 10, 2023

The day has finally come— you’ve finally decided to build a pool in your backyard. The anticipation of endless days of poolside relaxation and fun is exhilarating! Yet, alongside this excitement, a wave of questions and worries might also be washing over you.

How do I maintain it?

What should I buy to maximize my pool purchase?

What chemicals should I put in the pool?

All of these worries, and many more, are completely normal to be thinking about when it comes to pool ownership. This is why we've crowdsourced the essential Do's and Don'ts from the veteran pool owners of the Facebook group, Salt Water Pools, to help you navigate the waters of pool ownership—Whether you're dipping your toes into this adventure for the first time or you're a seasoned pool aficionado. Here's what's coming your way - tried, tested, and proven advice that you should definitely consider as you embark on your own pool-owning journey.


1. "Think about your overall needs when picking a size...

[A] patio is important. Get a Taylor kit asap and check your water levels regularly. Learn about SLAM (Shock, Level and Maintain)."

2. "Get as much concrete as you can afford.

We got 1500 square feet of concrete and we are so glad we didn’t do less!"

3. "If you raise concerns with your pool builder about features of your pool plan and they brush you off; don't let them do that.

Make sure your concerns are addressed in a concrete way."

4. Seven things a seasoned pool owner has said to do:

"1– Definitely [buy] an auto cover- saves evaporation of water and chemicals. Safety is top priority. Less cleaning and chemical balancing with rain water being added when no cover.
2– polywood loungers. You waste so much money buying cheaper items that WILL have to be replaced.
3– biggest pool and as much concrete as you can afford if you’ve got a big family.
4– a slide for your grandkids. I wish I knew how many times it’s been used. Such a highlight for the kids. They voted that the slide was our best decision next to putting in the pool.
5– adequate lights for night swimming. I hate mine. My old pool had 1 large white light in the deep end that was awesome. The 1 small led color changing light is awful.
6– fiberglass versus a liner. Loving a fiberglass after having to replace liners in my old Florida pool. Just wish they could be wider.
7– the kids wish we had a deep enough pool for diving, but I’m okay with 6 feet and no diving. Safer."

5. "Def have a pool bathroom so you don’t have to go through your house soaking wet every time.

[And] go bigger. Lots of concrete for chairs and tables. Auto cover if you have small kids. Large tanning area, and hole for an umbrella"

6. "Test your pool at least once to twice per week with a Taylor drop test kit.

This will ensure that you know what is going on with your pool, and you can make adjustments as needed. If you can afford it, get a robot pool vacuum... This will make your pool boy’s life much easier, especially if you, like me, ARE the pool boy, lol. A clean pool is a happy pool."

7. "Add conduit under your pool surround so you don’t have to run wires or anything across the top of your pool deck. I.e. outdoor lighting or a sound system install."

8. "I wish I was told to not use dark pavers.

Our coping is dark grey and burns your feet. Literally can fry an egg on it."

9. "Learn to test your own water with a Taylor or similar kit.

You will save quite a bit of money by not relying on stores to do this for you and sell you unnecessary items that may compound a problem. Learn what you can and cannot use aside from products that are specifically sold for pools. Instead of PH and alkalinity down, you can use muratic acid and instead of PH and alkalinity increase, you can use plain baking soda. Also, have a good brush and manually vacuum weekly and keep that filter clean."

10. "I'm in the north (I’m in eastern Canada)-- open early.

Get everything under control and clear before warming up. This way, clean up is faster and the pool is ready when you are. Cold water needs less chemical. Once clear, A heater is a must in our region. Ours gives us an extra 3mo of regular use."

11. "Set boundaries with neighbors/ friends about when it’s ok to come over to swim."

12. "Do everything possible to make sure your PB[pool builder] is legit and in good standing with previous clients.

Cheapest isn’t always best. I’d highly recommend pavers simply due to if there’s a leak, you’re not busting up concrete to fix it and less work to replace and such. Always go bigger and deeper. Have more space for entertaining, seating and plan where everyone will be viewing mostly. Plan for landscaping too, include privacy bushes to avoid neighbors or eyesores. It’s the whole aesthetic not just the pool. Budget for more costs after it’s done, especially if you got a horrible PB. Learn how to test the water yourself with a Taylor test kit and what everything means! It’s intimidating at first but you get the hang of jt. Join pool groups to learn what mistakes others made and ideas. Know it will be worth it for your memories and peace."

13. "Go ahead and buy the robot vacuum. The time it saves is worth every penny."

14. "So much...but how about this one: Educate yourself on bonding.

Take it into consideration when you're thinking about everything including fencing."

15. "Put in what you want, what you can afford and will use. Steps with hand rail a must."

16. "If I were to do it over again, definitely a power cover, something they didn’t do in 1988.

Last suggestion is find a good pool builder and ask others in your community about their pools."

17. "Run your pump!"

18. "Had I have built the pool myself, I'd have included a place to drain the water when backwashing or emptying to waste because of rain."
19. "Learn to test and balance your water yourself.

Pool stores may be helpful in some ways, but if you follow their lead they will sell you hundreds of dollars of stuff you do not need."

20. "Video your pool school!!! I’ve played those videos so many times"

21. "A hand rail and short steps. Aging is a b****.

Plan for the handrail even if you think you don’t want one as the handrail has to be bonded to the pool before the pool surround goes in."

22. "Check every available site for reviews of any PB you are looking at.

Go to look at pools they’ve built. Ask to see one that may have a negative review posted."

And sometimes it's just good to know that in the end, your pool can bring a lot of happiness for you and your family.

23. "The confidence jumping and swimming has given our autistic grand kids is worth every penny and all of the frustration."


Have some tips of your own that you want to add? Make sure to comment with your favorite pool-owning advice below to share. If you're looking for more information on pool maintenance and ownership, check out the other articles we have in Hayward Insights. 

If you haven't already, join the Facebook group, Salt Water Pools, for more support from pool owners like you!

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.