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Swimming Pools & Spas


Put out by SouthernLiving, Swimming Pools & Spas is $19.95 and has just under 200 pages. It's comparable to Pools & Spas which is a little cheaper and a little more recent (2003 versus 1999), but either book is a good choice for someone about to build their first pool or buy their first hot tub.

Chapters in Swimming Pools & Spas are broken down as follows:

Enjoying Pools and Spas

A general introduction that showcases a number of handsome swimming pools and spas from various parts of the world. If you are looking for design ideas, there are a number of winners in here.

Planning for Your Pool or Spa

This chapter covers pool and spa planning, i.e. where you can fit a pool or spa into your landscape, indoor spas, and finishes with information on finding and hiring contractors.

A Primer on Pool Styles

The many shapes and sizes that swimming pools come in, the materials they can be built from, and what is most likely to fit into your budget.

Choosing Your Spa

This chapter talks about portable (aboveground) versus inground spas, a bit about the makeup of a spa, how the jets work, and finishes with tips for buying a spa including the kind of warranty protection you should look for from a dealer.

Pool and Spa Equipment

In this section, everything from filters and pumps to heaters and lighting is covered. There are also a few pages on pool and spa accessories.

Pool and Spa Construction

An overview of swimming pool construction, site preparation, excavation, and dealing with special soil conditions. There are builders guides to building a Gunite pool, an aboveground pool, installing a fiberglass pool, and building a vinyl-lined pool, but they are more like guides that will help you through the construction process rather than actual do-it-yourself step-by-step instructions.


Landscaping around Your Pool or Spa

This chapter covers basic landscaping principles, ideas for landscaping challenging yards, landscaping design elements, and how to incorporate your new swimming pool or spa into your landscaping scheme.

Keeping the Water Healthy

The basics of water chemistry for pools and hot tubs, plus some charts to help you troubleshoot common problems such as algae in your pool or colored water.

Protecting Your Investment

Information on how to keep your swimming pool and spa clean, daily and weekly maintenance, equipment maintenance, and seasonal care that pools and spas require.

Repairing a Pool or Spa

This section discusses shell problems, problems with support systems, typical problems around the pool, and problems that may come up with spas. Remodeling is also touched upon.

The World of Home Saunas

This 10 page chapter provides an introduction to installing a sauna in your home. It illustrates some contemporary sauna plans, bench layouts, sauna accessories, sauna safety, and what kind of stoves are available to heat home saunas.

Safe Recreation

A last short chapter provides information on safety around the pool and hot tub, including information on building fences and secure gates to keep unwanted visitors out. There is also some information on safe recreation for the pool such as basketball hoops, water polo nets, and volleyball nets.

Swimming Pools & Spas finishes with an index, acknowledgments, and further resources. All in all, it's a solid book to pick up as preparation for building a swimming pool in your yard or installing a hot tub. I would probably recommend Pools & Spas over it, just because they are similar books, and Pools & Spas is cheaper. Also, since Swimming Pools & Spas is older, it lacks information on more recently developed sanitizing methods as alternatives to chlorine.

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