7 Pool Extras That Won't Break the Budget
Take a deep breath with me, and think back on the last time you had extra money left over in your budget. Wasn't it great?
For me, it was when I had euros left over at the end of my Scotland trip—can't use them here in the US, so I ran around the Glasgow airport with my girlfriend and spent them on overpriced souvenirs. The memory alone warms my heart.
The spare money is especially great when your budget is for a big purchase, such as a house or, hey, a pool.
Let's be real: when you're first nailing down the project, you pass on a few things that you secretly want, for the sake of Responsibility And Budgeting.
But happy day! You can use this newfound wiggle room to pick up those super awesome things.
Pools are a big investment, so we're discussing proportionally affordable add-ons—about $2,000 or less.
7 pool add-ons that won't break the budget
- Separate colored concrete border around the pool
- Bubblers in the tanning ledge
- Automatic pool vacuum
- Poolside planter designed into the patio
- Waterline tile
- Jets in bench seats
What's a cascade for your pool?
It's a subtle little waterfall, usually 12 to 18 inches wide. You can layer it in a retaining wall or decorative structure, and it's slim enough to be hidden there.
You can also add a cascade at a later date, but you do need to plumb for it upfront.
A pool cascade typically costs around $1,000.
2. Separate concrete border around the pool
Concrete is the least expensive option for patio and coping. If you want a neat contrasting look, you can save money by using a separate pour for each, rather than switching to a whole other material (such as natural stone).
Now, a lot of concrete pool patios have the concrete go all the way up to the edge of the pool. And all of it's poured at the same time—no visual breakup between the pool perimeter and the patio.
Instead of that, you can do a separate pour about two feet around the pool. Then pour the patio concrete around that.
Around the G36 in our pool park, we included one pour of concrete as the immediate border, then another for the patio.
Stamped (colored) concrete usually costs about $12 to $18 per square foot.
3. Bubblers in the tanning ledge
Bubblers on a tanning ledge add to both the visual aesthetics and the auditory experience of the pool.
You can also adjust the intensity of the bubbles, from a light burble to a straight-up fountain.
If you want to kick the drama up a notch, you can even add colored lights inside the bubblers.
Boom. Pool party intensified.
Bubblers require plumbing, so they do have to be part of the initial pool installation—i.e., you can't add them later.
They typically cost $450 to $700 each.
4. Automatic pool vacuum
Automatic cleaners save you the physical effort of daily/weekly pool cleaning.
Fun fact: We use them here at River Pools. If you visit our pool park here in Virginia, you may see one at work (or resting on the patio). Hey there, li'l buddy!
Common types of automatic vacuums:
- suction-side cleaners
- pressure-side cleaners
- robotic cleaners
A nice thing about this accessory is that you can buy it anytime. Unlike the other details on this article's list, you're not limited to the original pool design and installation.
Auto pool vacuums can cost anywhere from $400 to $2,500, depending on how fancy you wanna get.
5. Poolside planter designed into the patio
You can easily include potted plants around the pool.
To take things to the next level, you can design actual sections of the patio into little plots of land.
They bring the landscaping right up to the pool.
Poolside planters in the patio can cost $300–$700, depending on the kind of stone and plants you choose.
6. Waterline tile
Concrete pools require waterline tile, but this feature is purely a design accent for fiberglass pools. And what a pretty accent it is!
The tile should 2 inches wide or smaller. Anything larger might not fit your pool.
Common pool tile materials:
The Jules Rustic Blend glass tile by NPT is probably the most popular request we get for waterline tile. And for good reason, honestly.
Tile is a more expensive detail, though.
Waterline tile can cost $2,700–$3,200. (Unfortunately, the eventual replacement will cost more than that.)
7. Jets in bench seats
Jets provide a therapeutic, spa-like element to your pool—without the tens of thousands of dollars that an actual separate spa would require. Cool, right?
Like bubblers, jets have to be plumbed into the pool right from the get-go.
When they aren't running, by the way, they just look like regular returns.
Pool jets typically cost about $400 each.
Want more ideas for your dream pool?
There are so many details you can add to your pool project
At River Pools we manufacture and install fiberglass pools in Virginia and southern Maryland.
Out of our area? Not to worry. We have dealers all across the country, and they install our pools by our high standards.
We'd love to help you, so drop us a line. We respond within 24 hours, because we're cool like that.
Have more questions about the process of buying your dream fiberglass pool?
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Editor's note: This blog article was updated on January 16, 2020.