--Updated March 20, 2023
Does your swimming pool need a remodel or complete facelift?
Bring new life to your dated backyard resort today—and save time and money tomorrow. A pool renovation, deck replacement, equipment modernization, and style makeover can deliver a variety of benefits. Among them:
- Enhanced beauty, functionality, and enjoyment for your friends and family;
- Reduction of water and energy consumption—with accompanying decreases in utility bills;
- Greater operating ease and time savings related to maintenance; and
- Prevention of additional labor- and cost-intensive repairs in the future.
When planning a pool and backyard makeover, you have a number of renovation options to consider. Let’s take a brief look at the wide array of possibilities for updates and modernizations.
As you review your choices, keep in mind potential limitations. Some of the ideas listed here are not available in all areas of the U.S. Or, they may not be appropriate for your particular pool or backyard.
Your local pool builder can advise which ones are best suited for your pool, backyard conditions, family needs, and region. Of course, your budget will also come into play.
Restoring the basics
1. Replace tile.
Among the most popular pool restorations is surrounding the interior perimeter with gleaming new ceramic tile.
Because it’s highly visible even when you’re not in the pool, a new tile line will immediately freshen your pool’s appearance.
Tile styles change and you have more choices than ever with a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns, and sizes.
In warmer regions of the U.S.—and if you want to splurge—glistening iridescent glass tile is perfect to add some glitz to your pool.
2. Re-plaster interior.
Another item that’s on most pool-remodel hit lists is new plaster. Like carpet or flooring in your home needs replacing after time, so does pool plaster.
Years of wear and tear can result in chips, mottling, color changes, and other forms of the material’s deterioration.
If you have old-school white marcite plaster, it’s time to upgrade.
Opt for a slip-resistant quartz aggregate finish that delivers long-lasting color and a more distinctive appearance.
If your budget allows, you can opt for the Mercedes of interior pool finishes, colored pebble plaster.
3. Change coping.
Coping is the edging material around the pool perimeter that sits between the pool structure and the deck.
Pool coping is like a picture frame for your pool, so make it pretty again. (In areas of the country where decks are cantilevered over the pool edge, there is no coping.)
Replace a loose, cracked, and crumbling border with new material. The most popular ones today include concrete, paver stones, and safety-grip styles.
You can also choose from a variety of natural stones such as slate, flagstone, travertine, and quartzite.
Increasing decorative elements around your pool
4. Apply mosaics.
If a new plaster job is on your remodeling agenda, then consider the introduction of mosaics as well.
These stylish prefabricated additions are a simple, affordable way to add a touch of fun, sophistication, or personalization.
Choose cheerful school of fish, an elegant Fleur De Lys, a family monogram, or any other number of colorful creatures, symbols, and decorative elements.
5. Add water features.
Create a new focal point in an otherwise-boring pool design by adding a water feature.
On an existing structure, some of the top bets are faux and natural rock waterfalls, water-spouting sculptures, bubbler fountains, and deck jets that arc into the pool surface and create liquid drama.
These options are not suited for every remodel project or homeowner budget.
Feasibility depends on your pool’s current configuration and whether or not you are replacing the pool deck—which impacts needed plumbing lines.
If your deck is not slated for a redo, a water feature may still viable depending on the location of your pool equipment.
Improving functionality of your backyard resort
6. Install slide, diving board, or jump rock
Maximize family fun and fitness with a pool slide, diving board, or more attractive jump rock.
Your kids will thank you, and so will young-at-heart adults.
Keep in mind that adding this kind of accessory is not possible on every existing pool.
To help prevent obstructions and promote safe use, your pool must already have certain depths, space, and configurations to properly accommodate a slide, diving board, or jump rock.
7. Go shallow Reduce water depth.
In the past, pools were often built with 8-foot deep ends—whether or not they actually needed the depth for a diving board.
However, shallower pools are now the trend. And for good reason: Reducing the pool deep end provides benefits.
Your pool’s deep end will be more usable if it is only 4.5 to 6 feet deep. It will provide more usable area for people—particularly children, growing teens, and adults with short statures—to stand, play, and engage in water activities.
In addition, with less water capacity, shallower pools save some time and money to heat, circulate, and sanitize as well.
Engineering will be required, and a depth do-over is more practical on a budget if your renovation plan will include a re-plaster.
Modernizing pool technology
8. Switch purification.
Stop reliance on old-school liquid, powder, or tablet chlorine.
Instead, go for advanced sanitizing alternatives that are gentler on skin, hair, nails, and eyes.
One option is a saltwater system that generates a pure form of chlorine.
An even better method is an ozone generator. With ozone, your pool water will require a mere fraction of the chlorine it does now!
Or, go with the most powerful technological for maintaining a healthy swimming environment without the usual, heavy chemical loads: advanced oxidation process (AOP).
9. Improve heating.
Warm your pool & spa faster—and with lower energy costs. Upgrade your old-school heater to the latest generation of ultra-efficient units.
Choose from natural-gas heaters with a high thermal efficiency rating for faster heating and low NOx output levels for a healthier environment.
In some areas of the country and depending on your family’s patterns of pool use, an electric heat pump can be an even better swap for energy savings.
10. Boost pump efficiency.
An outdated pool pump may be costing you money; likely, it’s is a single-speed version that gobbles up electricity even when running pool functions that require less power.
Slash energy use in half with a new, energy-optimizing, multi-speed or variable-speed pump.
These units operate functions like cleaning, heating, circulating, and water features using only the minimum energy needed for the task.
Swapping to a current-model pump will mean your pool meets newer energy standards for states like Florida and California. Of course, cutting utility use and bills is a great move regardless of where you live!
Tip: Check with your local utility company for any rebates for switching old pumps to efficient variable speed models.
11. Choose a cartridge filter.
Save hassles and water by ditching your D.E. (diatomaceous earth) or sand filter for a convenient cartridge model.
These filters don’t require losing massive amounts of pool water for the cleaning process known as backwashing.
If you opt for a large-capacity model, emptying the filter will be needed less often. When you it does require some housekeeping, a quick hose down in all that’s needed.
Another good move when selecting a unit is to opt for cartridges with antimicrobial product production.
This agent helps keeps the filter material fresher by inhibiting growth of a slimy layer of unwanted microorganisms that can build up over time.
12. Automate functions and features.
It’s no fun having to walk over to your pool equipment pad to turn on your pool equipment, and it’s downright uncomfortable exiting a warm bubbling spa on a cool night to adjust its temperature.
The good news is you don’t have to.
Get control of your pool & spa operation with state-of-the-art pool automation.
You can gain superb convenience with a system that works via PC, tablet, and smartphone.
Some systems integrate with Amazon Alexa for voice control, as well as a number of major home-automation systems.
With ease, you can manage functions like lighting, heating, filtration, water features, and much more.
13. Brighten lighting.
Tired of that light in your pool’s deep end that resembles the headlamps on an oncoming car?
Illuminate your swimming environment and surrounding area with the latest in dazzling LED lighting.
You will appreciate how today’s LED pool systems are both long-lasting and energy-efficient.
Better yet, upgraded system introduce colors such as gold, purple, greens, and magenta.
Everyone will be wowed at how LED technology dresses up your entire pool and adjacent landscaping vivid colors that that you can switch with remote control automation.
Some LED systems even boast dazzling “lightshows” with hundreds of flashing colors in various themes and moods.
Upgrading outdoor living space
14. Replace decking.
Is your patio and any other adjacent area looking haggard?
If so, the solution may be a brand-new hardscape in brick, poured concrete, stamped concrete, concrete pavers, natural stone pavers, spray deck, or other custom stone masonry.
After having your original deck for some time, you may also realize that its current size and configuration may not meet your needs.
If that's the case, take this opportunity to expand the dimensions and the area the deck covers so it provides greater versatility for how your family uses—and would like to use—your backyard space.
15. Enclose pool.
If you live in Florida or other tropical-climate region of the U.S. along the Gulf Coast, flying invaders like horse flies and mosquitos can be major nuisance when you’re trying to enjoy your pool.
Protect swimmers by enclosing your pool and patio area with a screen room that’s designed to keep out the pests.
Some styles of these enclosures also help provide a bit of reduction in the intensity of the sun’s rays.
Get advice from a pool remodeling expert
Your pool professional will be able to provide more specific information on the options listed here.
Based on your particular pool, backyard, and needs, your contractor may have additional suggestions.
You may also receive recommendations regarding other elements in your backyard.
Ready to get a jump start on pool and patio refresh?
Prepared to improve your pool’s visual appeal and functionality?
Hoping for technology that cuts your monthly utility bills?
To speak to a pool-remodeling expert about the options available, contact a reputable pool builder.
For your local Blue Haven Pools office, you can view a national office directory here.
A note about timing your swimming pool renovation:
Many homeowners wait until spring to think about remodeling their existing pool. That’s a mistake.
Autumn is an ideal time for pool makeovers. The kids have gone back to school, the temperature is dropping, and your backyard pool won’t be seeing as much action. That’s why fall time provides a great period for tackling any work your pool and patio area may need.
Even better: By fall, the busy pool-building season has slowed for swimming pool contractors. With fewer jobs on their construction boards, companies are looking to keep their crews working.
As a result, some of the most-in-demand pool professionals will take on remodeling projects that they might not consider when it’s April and phones are ringing off the hook.
Be smart, and plan ahead for spring by initiating your remodel in the fall! Next year, you’ll be smiling (and making the neighbors jealous) when your family is able to use your pool as soon as the weather warms.