When the temperature starts climbing during Oklahoma’s notable heat waves, a person’s thoughts turn to air conditioning, a vacation in cooler climates, and, of course, taking a dip in the pool.

Kathy Caviness of OKC’s Caviness Landscape Design and Mike Woods of Tulsa’s Fiesta Pools and Spas offer advice on making the dream of a backyard plunge a reality.

Getting Started

“Prices are all over the place depending on the quality of the equipment the contractor uses, the PSI [per square inch] of shotcrete, the thickness of the pool shell, and the type of rebar and plumbing materials the contractor uses,” says Caviness. “The first thing you should do when considering a pool is to get a copy of the plot plan of your home that shows the placement of the home and any easements. You’d be surprised to find that some backyards have utility easements that take up most of the yard. If you are shopping for homes and want to eventually put in a pool, ask for the plot plan to see where your easements are.”

Woods says any time’s a good time to hit the ground running.

“Pool construction is like any other major home remodel or construction project,” he says. “It is a process that can really be started any time. The off season is the best time to start those conversations for the upcoming summer.”

Woods advises that the cost of a pool and construction time can be widely varied.

“For an in-ground gunite pool – cement, plaster and a pebble finish – the actual build time is about eight to 12 weeks – weather permitting – once the permit is pulled and construction begins,” he says. “Custom gunite pools in the Tulsa area are starting at about $75,000 and go up from there. With custom gunite pools, the sky is the limit. If you can dream and have the budget for it, we can build it.”

Maintenance and Safety

Caviness says a couple of pool maintenance rules stand out above others: always keep the pool level above the bottom skimmer line, and check the skimmer baskets and keep them clear. As for safety measures, Caviness is adamant about proper supervision.

“Nothing should replace adult supervision when children are near a pool,” she says. “There are floating devices such as Pool Patrol, Lifebuoy Alarm and PoolGuard. While we personally haven’t used these, they are the top rated for 2022. There are also gate alarms and multiple fencing options.”

Woods also stresses proper pool care.

“Don’t assume your water is fine just because it is clear,” he says. “Water that is improperly balanced sometimes will look really good. Don’t let that fool you. Water with very low alkalinity or PH is very acidic. It looks perfectly clear but can cause significant surface staining, etching and noticeable swimmer discomfort.”

Study Up

Potential buyers should also be aware of their contractor’s background.

“Another point is that there is no licensing for pool contractors in Oklahoma,” she adds. “Anyone can start a pool company, so check references, the BBB, previous work done in the local area. Know what the estimate includes and doesn’t include.”

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