The location of the pool affects its style. If a common wall is shared or the pool is in the basement, the style of the house influences the pool space. If the pool is its own building, separate from the main house, this lends itself to creating its own style. “It depends if the homeowner is trying to create a theme [in this space] or match the home. We will work with the design and blend it so the pool enclosure doesn’t look like an afterthought or that it was added on to the house,” says Jeff Bova, architect, Omega Pool Structures, Towns River, N.J.
Building For Longevity
Choosing materials to be used inside an indoor pool space is simple; any material that can be used outside or in bathrooms can and should be used in indoor pools. Designers need to keep in mind that water will most likely be splashed out of the vessel. In addition, the high moisture levels in the room require that materials be waterproof to minimize mildew, mold and rot.
“There’s going to be water that’s kicked out and decks will need to be washed down. Designers need to treat it like it’s going to be flooded and include a waterproof membrane, durable tiles and drains on the decks,” Benedetti says.
Pool designers we spoke to say materials that work well in high moisture areas are stucco, Dryvit products, cedar, vinyl-clad sliding doors and stainless steel. Also consider products that will create nonslip flooring. “We use travertine, stone, nonslip tile and stamped concrete — not granite floors that are slippery, and textured materials that complement existing architecture,” says Don Gwiz, vice president of Fairfax, Va.-based Lewis Aquatech.
Natural lighting is important in indoor pools as it creates passive solar benefits and brightens up the space. “If at all possible, the ideal location for an indoor pool is the southern side for exposure; the west can be too intense. Sometimes we put trees nearby and when the leaves fall, they allow sunlight to enter the space. When leaves fill out, they create shade to keep [the space] from getting too hot,” says Joe Vassallo, president and owner of Paragon Pools in Las Vegas, also an affiliate of APSP.
Folding and sliding doors as well as retractable roof systems also bring natural light into the indoor pool spaces. “People are including moveable walls such as NanaWall Systems. [Homeowners] can close up the pool in the winter and open it up in the summer. When it’s opened up, it feels like the pool is an outdoor pool,” Benedetti adds. “Another popular item is a sliding roof system.”
The need for ancillary rooms such as changing areas or bathrooms depends on the designer. Some see the importance of including these rooms, where others feel their inclusion is redundant considering the indoor pool is already inside the house.
Always a Luxury
Indoor pools will most always be for homes with clients rather than spec homes because of the high costs associated with them. Builders who include indoor pools in their spec projects create the challenge of finding a homeowner in the small percentage of the population who’s willing and able to pay for the pool’s high costs. However, if designed and built correctly, indoor pools can add monetary value to a home.
The demand for indoor pools remains static because it is such a luxury item. “The demand is static because they are so expensive to install,” Benedetti says. “They’re reserved for commercial applications and very wealthy individuals.”