Long story short: this blog is written for people who are looking to purchase a Kayak pool, who need to take many things into considerations in order to make the right decision from both the installation and owning process. Since I couldn’t find a similar post that felt complete and unbiased, I decided to write it myself.
By the way, if you have already made the Kayak pool purchase and is are now looking into purchasing products and accessories, be sure to check out 11 Best Kayak Pool Products and Accessories in 2022.
After swimming in public and health club pools which are now farther from me and less attractive since the beginning of the pandemic, I decided to look into installation of a pool for our home. Owning a pool has never an easy process from what I heard, and the cost of a traditional in-ground pool (no matter the type) has gone up in pricing significant.
I had never heard of Kayak Pools before, and didn’t consider an above-ground pool. Until I was made aware of in-ground pool costs, plus the absurd wait-time of 1-2 years, I had to hear my options out.
I carefully researched Kayak pool installation companies and picked the one with the highest reviews both on Google and Facebook. The sales person was very knowledgeable, friendly, who also brought a piece of the Kayak pool material to show us. It’s made of high quality aluminum, very sturdy. He also told us about the pool requires very little maintenance. Now that I’ve owned the pool for a few weeks, I can confirm that statement is true.
Since I only recommend companies and brands I use and trust, please contact me directly if you want to learn more about our installer company located here in the Northeast of the United States.
3 main reasons for us to purchase a Kayak pool
Much lower cost (about half as much if not a third as much compared to an in-ground pool). For a Kayak pool that’s 40×20 (with a 32×16 swim area), the base cost is about $40K USD. This includes the railing the pool which helps it immediately “meets code” and ensure safety. This was a huge plus for us as railings and fences these days also cost a fortune without any exaggerations, we are talking thousands (and sometimes over ten thousands) in purchasing fences alone.
This may sound higher than you expected. I suspect the pandemic has increased costs on all fronts including production, delivery and even storage possibly. A recent trip to Koopman Lumber helped me realize how much more expensive PVC has become even in the past two years. Many parts of the Kayak pools look to be made of PVC (though please don’t me to any technical details of this post).
Owning a pool is not maintenance free for any owners. We watch our in-ground pool friends to have to constantly babysit their pools especially when it comes to balancing the chemicals. That is, if they choose to have a chlorine pool. The filters have to work well in woodsy areas. Otherwise the leaves and bugs are there to get your pool. Most people don’t hear these things when you purchase a pool.
We have the largest Kayak pool with the longer deck on one end. We also chose the salt water pool which runs on about 7-8 bags (40 pounds per bag) of pool salt. The entire system runs itself based on the filter and the Autopilot Digital Nano, which is designed to generate chlorine from salt and automatically balance the right amount you need for your pool.
We love salt water pools and highly recommend this option. The water feels light on the skin without over drying or the intense smell nobody’s a fan of. While salt water does cost extra, it requires no maintenance after you pour in the salt. Chlorine and chemicals aren’t free, so chlorine pools will incur more cost during maintenance, whereas salt water pool, all we need to do is to keep a couple of extra bags of pool salt in the garage (that’s $7/bag from Home Depot or Walmart).
It looks good too!
Since installing the pool, we’ve received many complicates without borders. My mom has shared images and videos of the pool with her friends in China, and our neighbors think it looks bright and sharp! You have a choice of white or light grey for the deck. We chose grey for maintenance reasons. The deck is easy to brush and clean off.
How much does everything cost? Any hidden costs?
The base cost of installing the pool
As mentioned earlier, the largest Kayak pool from our installer is 20×40 fit. The base cost is about $40,000USD. A smaller Kayak pool will cost less, so it’s best to contact an installer to find out the exact pricing.
Recessing the pool (into the ground for 2 feet, or adding a deep end)
Recessing the pool 2 feet below ground is what chose to do. Visually it looks better and meets our covenant requirements. It also helps integrates with our deck in the backyard. This costs about $3-4K extra depending on the design you have in mind.
As a reminder, adding a deep end to your pool (instead of having the Kayak standard 4 feet for depth throughout the pool will incur additional cost). We did not choose this option and kept the pool 4 feet throughout. We are very happy for this decision. Our family and friends at every age and height find it accessible and easy to hang out. My mom (who is 70) also finds it easier and safer for recreational use.
DigSafe is often required if you are recessing your pool. The process is rather standard and doesn’t cost any money. After opening an account and confirming our address and project, DigSafe will automatically contact local electrical, internet companies to make sure there are no known construction or wires underground, so you can safely dig away.
Salt water system cost
To get a salt water pool instead of a chlorine pool typically adds another $1,500.
Adding a heater
The heater, which is highly recommended if you live in colder climates (we live in the Northeaster) will cost $3,000-4000 extra depends on the model you get.
Kayak pool with a heater requires a 220v outlet, which means you will likely need to hire a licensed electrician. This costs about $2,500 in my area which is more than I was willing to pay for. However, given our frequent use of the pool between Spring and Fall, we decided it was worth the investment. The two electricians were in our backyard all day for the installation, it wasn’t nearly as straightforward as I had imagined in my head.
The latest AquaCal heater, specially a AquaCal TropiCal T75 Heat Pump | 72K BTU Titanium Heat Exchanger | Single Phase 220V 60HZ | Model # T075AHDSBLH.
Phew! That’s a mouthful and apparently very, very efficient. This heater works much like a heat pump (as shown in its name) and generates heat from air, and it can operate down to mid to low 40s (Fahrenheit).
Long story short on the heat pump, we intend to use it until the outside temperature reaches about high 40s or low 50s. Since heat pumps can generally only bring the temperature up by 30 degrees, we are comfortable swimming in 75 degree water, there you have it!
In case you are wondering, most families have their water temperature set at 78-82 degrees.
We had a very large oak tree in our backyard that had to be removed. I’m very glad to have made this decision earlier on. Tree removal costs vary significantly! You want to research, ask your neighbors and get multiple quotes. To remove this one tree, the quotes ranged from $1600 to nearly $4000. Go figure!
I understand that not everyone chooses to get a permit for the installation. We had to as we live in a very strict area with difficult permitting system. The cost was only $100 but the process was painfully long.
In addition, we had to unfortunately pay for a new plot plan to be created. This part was unusual – at least from what I heard from the installer, and non of our pool owner friends had to do this. Getting a new plot plan is not easy! The cost could vary from $500-2000, and most surveyors only work on commercial projects. Luckily, our installer company has staff available to take care of this for us.
Landscaping and repairs
This is the part nearly no pool companies will ever bring up. Landscaping around the pool if that’s part of your plan can drive up the costs so much that it may exceed all other costs, including the pool itself. We’ve heard some outrageous stories.
For us, it’s not about getting landscaping done right away or come up with some sort of extravagant plan immediately after. Instead, you can choose to pace yourself, pace your projects and take on what you can, when you can.
When it comes to landscaping (I’m no expert), you are looking at design, purchasing of stones, pavers, plants in some cases, contractors, renting the equipments and delivery of these equipments. i.e. to rent a mini excavator could cost between $550-1000 a day. To save money on rentals and deliveries, you want to look to your local landscaping companies, nurseries, and lumber companies. It requires a few phone calls to get the cheaper options, which is what I had to do. There is no short cut.
Repairs? At the very least, you may be facing some sprinkler repairs. Those sprinkler pipes will be dug and cut. Some parts may be reused, but your irrigation company will need to stop by and evaluate for damage and repair. They are familiar with pool installations and damage is expected. I don’t know the cost for myself yet, but will update this post later. 🙂
Home insurance may increase
If you have previously purchased home insurance, it’s time to call them back as soon as you complete the pool installation. For us living in central Massachusetts inside a 2-story home, our insurance increased by about $300 a year, which is noticeable.
The slightly intriguing part is the customer service rep mentioned that the pool itself did not increase my insurance cost. Rather it was my finished basement that had to be added to the annual premium. It depends on where you live and the insurance company you work.
How to choose the right installation company (this is really important)
Choosing the right installation company is really, really, really important. I have seen horrific reviews related to Kayak Pools. But after reading the reviews, most of them have nothing to do with the kayak pool (company and materials) itself, rather it always about complaints for the install companies.
While we live in a world of real and fake reviews, I decided to look in multiple places – Google reviews, Facebook reviews were helpful. On Facebook, you can often see customers upload images of their pools, and more honest reviews based on the context provided (more detailed, neutral, and less robotic).
The sales team is one thing, you should care about the person behind the company, even the history of that organization. Because pool installation is a big project, we want to make sure we are working with the right team of people.
when it comes to reviews, don’t just look at the pretty pictures or the installation process alone, be sure to check services and post installation reviews. Are these companies taking care of its customers? How quickly are they responding to their questions and urgent needs?
I had imagined pool breakage will be rather ugly, so I wanted to make sure the company delivers on its promises when it comes to services and maintenance.
What do you need to do before installation
What is it like on the day of installation
How long does it take? It was hard for me to believe just how quickly the installation was. Even with a recess, my pool took 1.5 days from start to finish. I heard customers who chose not to recess their pools have seen completion within just one day!
What happens after installation
Be friends with your pool! Take your time and learn everything about your pool especially when it comes to operating the filter, the heater, the skimmer.
Don’t let your installers leave without showing you how to operate the pool and turning things on and off.
I recommend you carry your phone and take videos as much as you can with the installers’ permission. It’s so much easier to remember the step by step instructions via a video. When the pool is done installing, you are excited but also exhausted! You won’t be able to retain every last piece of the information.
It’s a lot of work, but in short, it’s really worth it.
Kayak pools are really fun to swim in, very easy to maintain and looks quite wonderful. Even with the sometimes limited shapes you can choose from Kayak pools, landscaping is always an option to make the final look exactly the way you want.
I wish a blog post like this with detailed steps and cost breakdown would exist to help one more future pool owner to feel good about their purchase. Moreover, they’d enjoy owning their pools a lot more too.
This project can feel quite overwhelming at first, in the middle and immediately after. But the payoff for is for many years to come. Kayak pools can last 30 years (at least from what we see on their website). People I know have owned and love their kayak pools for over a decade.
Need a recommendation for a Kayak pool installer in the Northeast of United States? Please contact us.
Did I miss something in this blog? What else would you like to learn about owning a kayak pool? Let me know in the comments below.