Do you have an outdoor pool that you only get to use a few months out of the year? Are you tired of closing it up and covering it during the winter months? If you’re considering converting your outdoor pool to an indoor pool, this article is for you. Today, I will walk you through everything you need to know about converting your outdoor pool to an indoor one, including whether it’s possible, the pros and cons, and the factors to consider. Let’s get straight to it!
- Converting your outdoor pool to an indoor pool is a great way to extend your swimming season and enjoy your pool year-round.
- Indoor pools cost MUCH more to build than outdoor pools, and they have more ongoing costs, but they are easier to maintain.
- Some factors to consider before conversion include your budget, the age of the pool, building codes, and ventilation.
- Budget, climate, and maintenance are the primary factors to consider when switching from an outdoor pool to an indoor one.
Can You Convert Your Outdoor Pool to Indoor?
In short, yes, you can convert an outdoor pool to an indoor pool. There are two main ways to do this:
- Build a permanent structure around the pool. This could be a glass or plastic enclosure or a full-blown indoor pool room. This is usually your most expensive option but will give you the most control over the climate and environment of your pool.
- Install a retractable pool enclosure. This is a more affordable option that allows you to open and close the enclosure depending on the weather. Depending on the system, it could be cranked by hand or motorized. Retractable enclosures are typically made of vinyl or fabric, and they can be rolled up or down on tracks.
Of course, converting your outdoor pool to an indoor one will require substantial planning and investment. However, it can be a great way to extend the swimming season and enjoy your pool year-round if done right.
Benefits of Converting Your Outdoor Pool to Indoor
I’m not going to lie. Indoor pools are pretty awesome. Jumping into a pool in the middle of winter? Yes, please! Let’s go over the pros of converting your outdoor pool to indoor.
Extended Swimming Season
You can enjoy your pool year-round, regardless of the weather. This means that hypothetically you can use your pool in the middle of frigid winters when it is below 0 degrees outside (looking at you, Chicago)!
Improved Water Quality
Indoor pools are protected and shielded from the elements, making them less susceptible to dirt, debris, and algae than outdoor pools. This means you’ll spend less time cleaning your pool and more time enjoying it!
Heating Lasts Longer
Indoor pools conserve and maintain a consistent temperature, especially regarding heating, since a controlled enclosure helps conserve the heat in the water longer. This is super useful during cold evenings and the winter season.
An outdoor pool is usually surrounded by a fence or a wall. However, these security measures are not as secure as an indoor enclosure. When you convert your outdoor pool to indoor, you can lock it up and keep it safe from thieves, wild animals, and other unwanted elements. Furthermore, an indoor pool is private, so you can swim to your heart’s content without your nosy neighbors peeking through the fence.
Save on Chemicals
While converting to an indoor pool can be a huge investment, one way you’ll save money is on pool chemicals. Traditional outdoor pools use way more chemicals, as they need to work much harder to clean your pool. And since your pool won’t be exposed to outdoor elements as much, nasty contaminants like pollutants and microorganisms won’t enter the water in droves as they do in outdoor pools.
Drawbacks of Converting Your Outdoor Pool to Indoor
Of course, there are also some potential cons to converting your outdoor pool to indoor. It’s important to have a complete understanding of what to expect before you make your decision.
The biggest downside of converting an outdoor pool to an indoor one is that it can be expensive. And unfortunately, there really isn’t a way to avoid a high price tag. The exact cost of converting the pool depends on a few different factors, such as the size of your pool, the type of enclosure you choose, and the cost of labor in your area, but it is pricey. On average, expect to shell out between $10,000 to $120,000 for the structure around the pool. In addition, you’ll need to pay between $2,000 to $30,000 for a dehumidification system.
The best way to cut back on costs is to opt for a retractable enclosure, which is much more affordable. However, retractable covers will be less temperature controlled, so you may not be able to use the pool all year.
Indoor pools need to be well-ventilated to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Not only does this mean you need to pay for a ventilation system, but expect your energy bill to inevitably increase as well (more on this below).
To work correctly and safely, indoor pools need clever climate tweaking. I mean, think about it, you literally have built an indoor body of water, which is the perfect recipe for 100% humidity! You need serious moisture control and proper HVAC and/or ventilation systems to keep the pool room at a pleasant temperature and humidity. Running this additional machinery will increase your energy costs. In fact, you’ll need to continue running it even when you are not using it. One option to save on this is to opt for a retractable enclosure, which allows you to keep the pool open when not in use.
Factors to Consider Before Conversion
Before planning your dream indoor swimming pool setup, there’s a lot to consider. Here are a few factors to consider before switching.
First and foremost, money. There’s no way around it – converting an outdoor pool is expensive. So, having a realistic budget in mind is essential before you start. There is a large price range for converting an outdoor pool. As mentioned above, expect to pay somewhere between $12,000 to $150,000. The size of your pool, the type of enclosure, and the labor cost all affect this price.
Type of Enclosure
You can choose between a few different pool enclosures, each with pros and cons. Of course, permanent enclosures are the most expensive option, but they also offer the most protection from the elements, temperature control, and longevity.
On the other hand, retractable enclosures are less expensive and allow you to open and close the enclosure depending on the weather, but this can be a bit of a pain to deal with.
Age of the Pool
If your swimming pool is old, you may want to make repairs before converting it to indoors. After all, having a 20-year-old pool surrounded by a brand-new enclosure will not make that old pool look any younger. I recommend considering some aesthetic upgrades to make your conversion worth it.
Size of Enclosure
It goes without saying that the size of the enclosure will depend on the size of your pool. But you will also need to consider the space available in your backyard. I mean, do you really want the pool enclosure to take up the entirety of your backyard?
One of the main things to consider with indoor pools is ventilation, which is needed to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. This is especially important if you live in a humid climate. There are many options when it comes to indoor pool ventilation. Check out my article on indoor pool ventilation for more info.
Indoor swimming pools can increase your energy costs, as you will need to, at the very least, ventilate the pool room – even when you are not using it. You should expect your energy bill to be even higher if you live in an area with a cold or humid climate.
Building Codes and Zoning Restrictions
Check with your local building department to see if there are any permits or inspections that you need to obtain before converting your outdoor pool. In fact, some areas may have zoning restrictions that prohibit indoor pools altogether. So, make sure to confirm any possible restrictions with local municipal authorities before proceeding with construction. The last thing you want is to find out you have inadvertently broken the law!
Outdoor Pool vs. Indoor Pool: Which is Better?
Outdoor swimming pools are typically less expensive to build and maintain than indoor pools. They are also naturally ventilated, being outdoors. That said, if you have an outdoor pool, you’ll be more confined to the season. If you have cold winters or too hot summers, you might not be able to use your outdoor pool for most of the year. Not only that, but outdoor pools also require a bit more maintenance to operate.
On the other hand, indoor pools are very pricey to build, and there are more ongoing costs to consider. With that said, if you have a bigger budget, they are also way more convenient, as you can use them year-round, regardless of the weather. Indoor pools are also more private than outdoor pools, as they are enclosed and can be beautifully designed and customized according to individual preference.
If you want a more detailed breakdown of indoor pools vs. outdoor pools, check out my article on the topic.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are pool enclosures worth it?
Pool enclosures can be worth it if you want to extend your swimming season, improve water quality, and increase privacy. However, they can also be very expensive to install and maintain. They can also be a safety hazard if not properly installed, and if you don’t install proper ventilation, they can trap moisture and heat, leading to mold and mildew growth.
Can you build a pool now and enclose it later?
Yes, you can build a swimming pool now and enclose it later. If you are thinking about building a pool enclosure down the road but don’t quite have the funds to do so, don’t worry. You can still enjoy the benefits of an outdoor pool before switching to an indoor one. Keep in mind, though, that space and zoning might affect future construction.
So Should You Switch?
There is no question that converting an outdoor pool to an indoor pool is a massive undertaking that takes time, planning, and money. There are many factors to consider, so I highly recommend contacting a professional to help you with the project.
If you are thinking about converting your outdoor pool to an indoor pool, but you’re doubtful about cost and design, drop me a line. I am more than happy to help you get a more accurate estimate of the cost and expectations for the project.