Even in Hawaii
there are reasons
to build a pool

Hawaii sits right in the middle of the Pacific, so residents already have the biggest pool in the world in their back yard.

But there are plenty of reasons to dive in to a man-made pool and construct one of your own, according to Norman Perry, vice president of All Pool & Spa; and if you've been considering having one built, now's a good time.

Perry said most people go only as far as observing when it's a "nice day for the beach," but not many will actually go.

And it's no wonder. First, there's packing the food, mat and beach toys; loading the grill; fighting the traffic; parking the car; unloading the car; finding a spot.

"If you have a pool in the back yard, you tend to interact more than you would if you have to drive (to a recreation center pool or beach)," Perry said. It acts as a nucleus, and the younger the kids, the more enriching the pool family experience.

With interest rates at their lowest in years, he said many homeowners are refinancing and using the equity to make their pool dreams come true.

The average price for a basic pool is -- take a deep breath -- in the $30,000 range.

Charlene Sloan, vice president of Gemini Pool & Spa, said people who call and inquire are often scared off by the price.

"It's higher than the cost of having one built on the mainland because the materials are brought in, plus the cost of the labor force here is higher," Sloan said. "There they can hire cheap labor."

Perry said those who are tapping into home equity funds are "in the demographics where they have younger kids at home."

"You lose part of the pool experience when the kids are older, away in college," he said. "The younger the family, the more value there is in that respect."

He was born and raised in water-locked Hawaii, so he knows the importance of learning to swim. "Most kids will learn how to swim not in the ocean, but in a pool; (having a pool) lends itself to raising offspring who respect the water and are comfortable around it."

The average size of pools being built is about 400 square feet in surface area, about 18 by 30 feet for a free-form pool, and running 3 feet in the shallow end to 5 feet in the deep end.

"Studies show that 90 percent of the time you're in waist- to chest-high water," Perry said. "If you're in a pool and the water is to your nose, you're either swimming or wading to get out of the pool."

Contemporary pools also tend to be more organic in shape rather than rectangular. They're also built with more amenities such as therapy spas and special features such as waterfalls.

"The aesthetic is as important as being able to use it," Perry said. "Many have gone with a more Hawaiiana theme, so when you're done it looks very tropical, like God built it, not a contractor."

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