Rolling up your sleeves 4: Pools

Written by Simon Renfrew

If you’ve got the room for one and your wallet can stand the strain, a swimming pool makes a fantastic addition to your French home. But there’s a lot involved in the construction and it’s easy to overspend if the installation is down to you. Remember, for most buyers any ‘in ground’ pool is just a pool – regardless of what it costs, it’ll only add a finite amount to the value of your home.

Assuming you have easy site access, somewhere to tip the spoil on your land and reasonably level (and not too rocky ground) ground, an 8m x 4m block built liner pool will set you back around €25 000 to €30 000 from a specialist pool company.  You can do it yourself and save a third or more of the cost, but it’s hard work, you’re at the mercy of the elements and there’s a lot to coordinate – diggers, materials delivery, electricians and pool equipment supplies. And once you’ve done all this, sometimes an interminable wait for the liner itself – you can’t measure up properly until the final skim is on the blocks and if you don’t order it before late Spring, you’re looking at two months or more for delivery.

In between these options are general builders, most of whom say ‘no problem’ when presented with the plans, but not all of them have the ability to produce the finished product.  Besides, they’re not massively cheaper than the specialist companies and often you’ll be lumbered with organising them and still have the hassle of sourcing all the bits & pieces.

And don’t skimp on the peripheral equipment – get a proper sized pump (a wheezy cheap one won’t shift enough water through the filter) and invest in a cleaning robot – the tedium of endless daily cleaning by hand is not to be underestimated. You’ll also need an immersion alarm – they’re loud enough to make your ears bleed, but a lot cheaper than security fencing - and you have to have one or the other.

At last you’re ready for an inaugural dip. Ditch the Speedo’s (the Zeppelin in a condom look is so not you), grab some ‘board shorts and enjoy.


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