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Off-Season Swimming Pool Enclosure Options

If you have ever considered a swimming pool enclosure so you can enjoy your pool year round, this post is for you! When it comes to swimming pool enclosures, there are basically only three options: inflatable, tubular frame, and custom. These options range drastically in durability, appearance, and price. Selecting the perfect pool enclosure comes down to the best fit for you and your pool.

Inflatable Swimming Pool Enclosures

The inflatable swimming pool enclosure — sometimes called a bubble or dome — is the easiest and cheapest way to enclose a swimming pool. As the name states, inflatable pool enclosures are just that, a large blow up cover that sits overtop your pool.

These swimming pool enclosures are held in place with a water weight system, or a cable that runs through eye hook deck anchors. Inflatable pool enclosures are ordered in a rectangular size to cover the pool and deck portions. An airlock or zipper door can be placed in any location.

Inflatable enclosures aren't perfect, however — they need to be deflated during strong winds and heavy rain or snowstorms. Once the storm passes, pump off the rainwater or melted snow with a cover pump, and then re-inflate the dome. Annual installation takes 2–4 people. Spring storage is a half day project of cleaning, drying, folding, and storing the bubble.

However, at less than $5,000, inflatable swimming pool enclosures are an attractive option for many pool owners.

Tubular Frame Swimming Pool Enclosures

Tubular frame swimming pool enclosures are rigid, framed structures with fabric stretched tightly over the roof and walls. The sturdy design means it can withstand heavy snow, rain, and strong wind. The walls and ceilings connect, and lock into a base rail that runs around the perimeter of the pool deck. Durable reinforced vinyl fabrics let the sunlight in, but block out the cold. Certain models have lighting and central air, or upgraded insulation.

The cost of a tubular frame swimming pool enclosure depends on the size and quality. A SunDome Enclosure is comparable to an inflatable dome for a small inground pool, but other brands such as Weatherport will cost you around $15,000. Want something special? For a higher-end look, Sprung offers engineered tension-fabric enclosures starting at $25,000.

Custom Swimming Pool Enclosures

If you're looking for something ornate and unique, you probably won't find it at a retailer. Custom swimming pool enclosures can be a stunning and practical investment, but they don't come cheap. A permanent roof structure with light panels offers permanence and strength. Open walls with sliding glass doors or roll-up screens. The possibilities are endless, and a constructed pool enclosure offers a true year-round swimming experience.

The best swimming pool enclosures are constructed of materials to ward off the effects of moisture and chloramines.  A dehumidification system and/or an automatic cover are also advised.

The price for constructing a custom swimming pool enclosure depends on what part of the country you are in. Pools in the northern half of the U.S. will need more insulation and a substantial structure to keep heating costs down. If you're in the southern part of the U.S., you won't need a heavy duty structure. Prices generally start at $50,000 for the best pool enclosures, and can easily balloon to six figures.

Inflatable or Structural?

Now that you've read about the different styles of swimming pool enclosures, how do you pick which one is best for you? That comes down to your budget and what sort of enclosure you want!

Inflatable Pool Enclosures

Inflatable pool enclosures, or domes, help regulate your pool water temperature in conjunction with the pool heater. The heated water warms the air inside the enclosure, providing comfortable swimming conditions during winter months. However, strong winds are the main concern for inflatable enclosures. Properly anchor and deflate the dome if a storm is on the horizon.

Storage during the spring & summer seasons is simple. Deflate the dome, let it dry completely, fold it, and store it in a dry place out of direct sunlight.

Structural Pool Enclosures

Framed swimming pool enclosures vary significantly in their design and material. They can be as simple as a temporary aluminum frame, or a permanent brick and steel structure.

Temporary structural pool enclosures can be moved on and off your pool when needed. Some models are "nestable", meaning sections of the walls and ceiling will collapse and stack at one end of the pool. Other styles do not collapse and need to be moved as a whole off of your pool.

Frame types of enclosure are sturdy, and typically last up to 5 years if well cared for and properly stored during the off-season. They can withstand rain, heat, sun and strong winds. They typically do not require cleaning, but if needed, structural pool enclosures can be cleaned with a mild soap & water solution before storing.

Custom Swimming Pool Enclosures

Undoubtedly the most extravagant, but also the most expensive pool enclosure option is custom. There are no limits or rules for how a custom enclosure can look. It completely depends on your budget and imagination!

We hope this post will help you select your new swimming pool enclosure with confidence! Taking care of your pool enclosure will allow you to enjoy your beautiful pool year round.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.