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What is a Pool House? Reasons to Build a Pool House

Does your backyard living space include a swimming pool? If you said yes, then you know adding a pool to your backyard space means a sudden need for additional outdoor storage. Instead of leaning into a backyard shed, why not take things up a step and ask your designer about a pool house?

A pool house is not only a quality investment in better storage. Done right, a pool house is an opportunity for additional backyard functionality. Think of an extra bathroom, space for your pool party guests to change into their swimsuits, or even additional living square footage.

Here are some of the best reasons to consider installing a pool house, and how to decide how big your pool house should be.

Add Storage with a Pool House

First and foremost is the most obvious reason many decide to build an auxiliary structure on their property—storage. However, unlike a roughly constructed shed, the storage added with a pool house is more finished. A traditional shed might be functional. But, it does not have the emphasis on design that a formal pool house brings.

Additionally, storage is rarely the entire purpose of a pool house build. Some people do lean towards smaller pool house designs that are focused on storage. But the money spent constructing an additional finished structure is usually better spent creating a multi use space.

So, instead of wandering into a shed that is poorly lit and crammed with equipment and pool noodles, homeowners have the luxury of knowing all of their gear is stored away in a large closet. This separation leaves space for you to enjoy the other functionalities that a pool house brings to your backyard.

Include an Extra Bathroom

If you’ve ever had the need to pee in the middle of a summer swim-session, you’re familiar with the hassle of drying off and making the too-long trek to whatever indoor bathroom is closest. It’s at best a hassle. At worst, it's an excuse for you or your guests to skip the trip (or, heavens forbid, pee in the pool). A well-designed pool house solves this problem by opening up the opportunity for an extra, hassle free, in-arms reach, bathroom.

Pool houses that include bathrooms are more expensive than plumbing-free alternatives. On average, you can up the price of the pool house unit by $15,000 to $30,000 dollars. This varies depending on your location, and the design or build. Still, most homeowners would consider this money well spent. This is especially true after realizing the convenience and functionality of having an easily accessible bathroom.

Additional Changing Space

It’s a hassle to run inside to use the toilet in your soaking wet swimsuit. The same can be said for the simple act of changing out of your suit and into dry clothes. Wrapping up in a towel and shivering through a floor or two of air conditioning isn’t exactly an appealing proposition. Not to mention, whoever has to mop up the wet floor after everyone has come inside.

A pool house solves this problem by presenting the opportunity for additional changing space. For enhanced functionality, outfit your space with cubbies. Guests will love having space to stash their shoes and dry clothes while having the privacy to change without trekking in and out of your house.

The best part? A pool house with changing space doesn’t imply any additional costs beyond the design of the structure itself. Outside of some built-in’s and a well thought out storage plan, no plumbing or expensive installs are needed to optimize functionality.

Keep Pool Equipment Safe

Pool equipment is expensive. To make matters more frustrating, pool equipment can also be fragile and easily damaged by the elements. During the off season, having a safe place to stash pool equipment and keep it safe is a life saver. Snow or ice can quickly destroy a filter or pump, rendering it in need or a repair or replacement. During the summer, building your pool equipment into a pool house space keeps it sheltered from storms, wind, and rain.

Pool equipment that is hidden from the outdoor elements is equipment that will last you longer. This means fewer costly repairs or replacements that come directly out of your wallet. Overall, this means more money in your pocket long term, and confidence that your investment is out of harm's way.

Create Additional Living Space

Some people are looking to add real, functional living space to their property, but don’t have the means to build an addition, or renovate their main home. In these cases, pool houses come to the rescue. In their most advanced (and expensive) form, they can create entire auxiliary living spaces separate from your main home.

While this is easily the largest and most costly iteration of the backyard pool house, it can also be the most useful. Fully outfitted with a guest room, bathroom, or even kitchenette, you can now host guests. Invite your sister to stay. Have the kids back home for the weekend. Or make it your staycation house when the four walls of your own home get a little tired.

Of course, there are more hoops to jump through when installing a fully functional ADU on your property. Before beginning construction, make sure that your contractor has checked and reviewed city ordinances. The pool house is one that cannot be finished because it is not in line with the code of your area.

How much does a pool house cost?

The cost of a typical pool house can vary widely from project to project. Considering the full range of design opportunities, the price of a pool house ranges anywhere from $160 to $600 per square foot. If this number sounds familiar, it is because similar pricing can be found in the building of standard homes.

Many factors such as size, design, and functionality all can either add to or subtract from the expense. Small pool houses with room for storage and perhaps a changing area are a lot less expensive than units fit with plumbing, temperature control, or a kitchenette.

The closer your pool house is to a small “house”, the more expensive you can expect your project to be. Plumbing, electrical, water and gas hookups—these are all labor intensive items that will add up quickly.

Additionally, the cost of building a pool house in a backyard in Wisconsin is likely not the same as the cost of building a pool house in Los Angeles, California. For the most accurate estimates, reach out to several contractors in your area to gauge local pricing.

How big should a pool house be?

The size and design of your pool house should be a direct reflection of what is most important to you. If your only reason for wanting a pool house is to have additional storage,a smaller unit should be fine.

If you’re looking for extra livable space, a bathroom, or perhaps a kitchen or outdoor bar, you’re going to need to add square footage. A 300 square foot pool house is good fit for many spaces. More elaborate designs can run up to 800 square feet, but can be as small as 150 square feet.

The size of your pool house depends on what purpose it serves, and the amount of space you have available. It is rarely a good idea to completely consume your backyard space with a large, elaborate pool house. If you are already dealing with a smaller yard, make sure any structures you create a built with that scale in mind.

Is building a pool house worth it?

Deciding whether or not building a pool house is worth it comes down to your individual wants and needs for your outdoor space. If you have the budget and value the convenience, then a pool house is a natural addition.

However, if you have never previously felt frustrated with a lack of storage, or the inconvenience of trekking between pool and home, then you may not find a pool house worth your money at all. Before falling in love with the idea of a pool house, make sure you have money in your budget to make it a reality.

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