The Truth About Building And Owning a Pool In Hawaii

by | May 17, 2021 | Hawaii Island, Kailua, Kauai, Maui

Thinking about floating around in your own backyard while enjoying the tropical breezes of Hawaii? Owning a swimming pool in Hawaii can be an expensive endeavor especially when building one. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into pool ownership — or if you plan on buying a home with a pool -there are many factors to consider before you dive right in.

Construction Costs Of Building A Pool In Hawaii

Construction costs for installing an inground swimming pool in Hawaii are typically much higher than what you’ll find in the rest of the country. A quick survey of Hawaii pool builders in multiple cities came back with prices that start in the $50,000-$80,000 range.  According to Kona Kai Pools, pools can increase the value of your home by $100,000, so you can get the money you put into constructing one, back out when you sell your home.

One reason in ground pools cost so much more in Hawaii, is the fact you have to dig into lava. And if you hit blue rock, it could be even more difficult for contractors driving your costs up. What is blue rock? The cooled interiors of a’a flows. It is dense, hard, and unvesiculated. THAT’s quite a word, yes? Vesiculated is when a cavity is formed in a rock by a pocket of gas that is trapped during the rock’s formation. Blue rock is SOLID.

Inside Tip: I have spoken to a few pool owners in Kailua Kona who have had some issues arise when they were building their pools due to contractor inexperience. Trust me, do your due diligence on getting reviews/recommendations from past clients. 

Monthly Expenses

Monthly expenses for pools include chemicals, pool-cleaning services, equipment and utilities. Due to the high cost of living, all of your pool expenses will be higher here than most anywhere else in the country and make sure you see what the availability of labor is available if you are considering hiring a service company.

One of the biggest considerations to pool ownership is heating. Even on the hottest day, most pools in Hawaii need some kind of heating system. Although expensive to install, solar heating is one of the best ways to heat a pool. Once installed, the system runs itself without incurring any energy bills. The least expensive heating option is a solar pool cover. Made of vinyl, pool cover sheets float on the surface of the water. In addition to retaining heat, a pool cover can increase water temperature by up to 11 degrees.

Infinity Pool with Ocean ViewIn Hawaii, propane is the norm for heating pools. Propane is more efficient than electricity because gas tends to heat water more quickly. The color of your pool can also make a difference in the water temperature. Black, grey and blue surfaces heat the water up an average of six degrees. Although a black pool can be aesthetically pleasing and resemble a natural pond, it’s a lot harder to clean because the debris isn’t as visible.

Pool Design Tips

When designing your pool, be sure to avoid costly mistakes that you might regret later. One of the biggest mistakes is to place trees too close to your pool. The wrong kind of tree can shed debris so badly that your pool will always be messy and the chemical balance will always be affected. Palm trees near a pool can be especially problematic. The shallow roots of the palm tree will travel under the deck searching for water, which could result in a cracked deck. Homeowners should be aware that infinity-edge pools require a lot more water due to excessive evaporation. Lava-rock water features can shed bits of debris into the pool, as well as hold bacteria and promote silica buildup.

Some pool owners have discovered the benefits of salt to make chlorine. A chlorinator unit can be pricey, but once installed, it is relatively easy to maintain. The benefits include less chlorine odor and reduced stinging of the eyes. You don’t have to use chlorine tablets either.

Pilialoha Pool during SunsetHere is a handy post on the steps it takes to build a pool in Hawaii

We work to inform our readers about all aspects of homeownership in Hawaii! If you would like to be able to get more in depth information about how much value pools add to homes in various islands in Hawaii, we can connect you to one of our trusted REALTOR partners!