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Swimming Pool Renovations: Before and After

There's nothing quite like a Before and After photo, to show how far something or someone has improved. Today's photo-blog is an idea book for swimming pool renovation and remodeling. These photos are courtesy of the proud pool builders who helped a homeowners dream come true.

Cipriano Landscape received a lot of attention for this pool and grounds re-do a few years ago. A very dramatic pool and backyard remodel.


Outdoor Living Pool & Patio added a Baja Shelf, for toddlers to play or for use as a tanning shelf (or a water polo goal). Also replaced the old school tile, coping and plaster.


Humble Sparkling Pool Service renovated this pool to include a separate hot tub, planter and water feature design. And also replaced the blue tile, brick coping and paver deck.


Freestyle Pools & Spas matched this vanilla pool to the tropical surroundings with stone decking, raised spa, dark plaster and tile, and lots of tropical plants. A real lagoon would not be rectangular, so the shape of the pool was modified.


Another Freestyle Pools & Spas renovation. After removing the safety fence, this facelift added a spillover spa, custom molded coping, glass tile and a travertine deck. Sweet!


Freestyle again with a customer tired of the sterile look on this once modern pool and spa. Darker plaster and tile, with natural stones and tropical plants really changes the pool look.


Desert Springs Renovations changed this pool and spa combo for a family that loved the pools at Disney resorts. Large rocks, waterfalls and muted colors make it happen.


Aqua 1 Pools replaces a textured concrete deck and brick coping with a travertine stone (very popular now), and straightens out the water quality issue.


In this complete backyard renovation, the pool shape is perfect for a mountain lake design, with overhanging stone decking, and boulders surrounded by evergreen bushes.


Shasta Pools brought this pool deck and edge up to date by removing the 'Flintstones' pool edge and the Kool Deck, replacing with a travertine stone and matching tile.


"The 80's called, they want their red brick and blue tile back!" Splash Pools transforms this dated raised spa in a clean and modern design.


Another Splash Pools renovation adds pedestal planters and water features, replaces the cantilever deck with cast concrete and travertine, and gave the tile and plaster a facelift.


Another J. Designs Pool & Spa brought this pool up to date by with a colored, textured and scored concrete deck, and a more neutral color for perimeter pool tile. 


Smaller Pool Renovation Ideas

Here's ten smaller ways that you can improve your pool, with ten pool renovation ideas! Some of the ideas include:

New vinyl liner

Add a hot tub

Add a slide


New lights

1. New vinyl liner

If your pool came with a basic blue liner, or if your vinyl pool liner is showing its age, replacing with a fresh, updated look is one of the most basic inground pool kit renovation ideas. Installing an inground vinyl liner can be completed in a day. While the liner is out is a good time to inspect the walls closely for rust or damage.

2. New pool shape

This would be the most adventurous pool renovation idea, but it can be accomplished. Pools can be extended on one end, to create a longer swim lane, or you can add curves to one or more sides of a rectangle pool. Anything is possible, but some are more possible than others, before a renovation - becomes a replacement!

3. Add a spa

This is one of my favorite type of inground pool kit renovations. Adding a roto-molded spa right next to the pool, so that it spills over into the pool may be simpler than you think, and cost less than a portable spa. Because they sit above the pool deck by a few inches, they stay cleaner and are easier to keep covered.

4. Add a slide

Slides are more popular than ever. A pool slide is just a taste of what's available for backyard pools. If you want water park style thrills, installing a pool slide can be a perfect weekend project. Take a look at the slide installation manual to determine the footprint of the slide. Some slides need quite a lot of deck space, and need to deliver the slider in a very specific water depth, usually around 42".

5. Re-do the pool deck

Broom finished concrete is so last century. Pool builders are using more often using pavered designs at a cost similar to concrete. Other options include StampCrete, where designs are stamped into a new concrete deck, and outdoor floor tiles. Natural stone decks, such as flagstone, are also popular.

Replacing the pool deck also enables you to redo the pool coping. Vinyl pools can now use stone or brick coping just as easily as concrete pools. Or you could install a cantilevered deck, which "floats" over the pool wall, so that the deck and coping are one.

For existing concrete decks, pool deck coatings can give a beautiful, although temporary facelift, while spray on cement coatings, can add a colored Kool Deck type of textured finish to any standard pool deck.

6. New pump and filter

Chances are, if your pump and filter are 20 years old, they may be a bit tired, or undersized, or inefficient. Upgrading your pool equipment to dual speed or variable speed pool pumps saves energy, while cartridge pool filters save water. Heat Pumps don't burn fossil fuels and have zero emissions.

A common item for replacement during a pool renovation are the valves. 3-way valves are standard nowadays. They simplify plumbing and are easier to use than 2-way ball valves.

7. New Sanitizer systems

Two-thirds of new pools built in the U.S. today are built with a salt chlorine generator. Add salt to the pool, and the little chlorine factory creates chlorine through hydrolysis. Amazing devices. Other devices worth mentioning would be Nature2 purifiers, which uses trace minerals to reduce your chlorine consumption by half, and Ozonators, which use the power of oxygen to sanitize the water, and also reduce chlorine consumption.

8. Water Features

Ranging from precise laminar deck jets that shoot a sharp stream of water, to sheet waterfalls, and cascades over boulders, adding the lush sound of falling water can really boost your ambiance level around the pool. Water features may be built into a small retaining wall on one side of the pool, or into a mound of boulders. Elegant and refined or wild and natural, well thought out water features blend into the overall surroundings.

9. LED Pool Lighting

Pool renovations usually include an upgrade to the underwater lighting. Pool lighting has long ago left incandescent lighting at the station. Halogen and Fiber Optic lighting were popular 10 years ago, but nowadays - LED lighting is the way to go. Very energy efficient, LED pool lights deliver a deep hue to the pool water. Adding a second LED lamp through your pool wall can create a dramatic effect. I recently wrote a blog post on LED pool lighting.

10. Fire Features

You've added stone, wood and maybe glass around your pool. Why not add the element of fire? Fire Pits, Tiki Torches and Fire Bowls warm the night air, and add an unmatched ambiance to your evening swims. Add some fire around your pool, and watch it draw people in, like moths to a light.

Why not dream big and make it into your dream pool? Remodeling and renovating a pool on the scale of these shown above is affordable and adds value to your home.

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.