Spa pools are an increasingly popular alternative to regular swimming pools in Australia. But what is a spa pool, and what are its advantages and disadvantages? How much is a swimming pool spa to buy? Are there any alternatives which would suit you better?
Here we take a look at the spa pool in detail, and answer all your questions so you can make an informed decision about the best pool type for you.
What is a spa pool?
A spa pool is your own private spa in your backyard. It comes in a compact size as it is primarily built for relaxation in the water rather than serious swimming.
Like a public spa, a backyard spa pool is equipped with spa jets so you can enjoy the benefits of relaxation and pain relief that hydrotherapy offers. This is ideal if you want to enjoy the spa experience in the privacy of your own property. And it can be particularly beneficial if you are recovering from a muscular injury or a painful health condition such as arthritis.
A spa pool is smaller than a regular swimming pool but still offers enough space for one person to swim in. It is a perfect spot for relaxation and hydrotherapy as it comes with large seating areas and hydrotherapy jets.
Spa pools are heated and can be installed inground, partly above-ground or fully above-ground.
How are spa pools installed?
Some spa pools come as “plug and play” designs. This means they arrive as a complete unit, requiring very little ground preparation or installation work. They sit on top of the ground rather than having to be built into it, so these are known as above-ground pools.
An above ground spa pool is ready to use practically as soon as it arrives. Once it has been placed on a level surface in your backyard, such as on a pre-laid concrete pad, it usually just needs to be hooked up to an electrical outlet and filled before you can start enjoying it.
Above ground spa pools also have the added advantage of being portable. If you ever decide to move house, you can take your spa with you. This allows you to get the most out of your investment.
However, some homeowners do not particularly like the look of an above ground spa swimming pool. Its appearance is difficult to customise and it is not always practical to have a large object sitting on top of the ground in your backyard.
Inground vs. above-ground Installation
Many spa pools are installed inground. This means the ground in your backyard will have to be excavated before the installation can take place, just like it would with a full-sized inground swimming pool. Thanks to the innovative Maxi Rib technology developed by Compass Pools Australia, spa pools can now also be installed partially inground, so it is possible to install a spa pool on a sloping or unusual-shaped site. This is achieved by inserting a super-strong “rib like” structure beneath the pool shell, so the pool has the strength and durability to be a safe and secure swimming environment when full. The complete structure ensures that a spa pool installed partially above the ground is as strong and safe as one installed fully inground, so you can enjoy the best of all worlds.
As inground and partially above-ground installations are more complex than above-ground ones, your swim spa will not be ready to use for days or possibly weeks depending on the ease or difficulty of the installation process. However, the results look sleek and sophisticated, enabling your spa pool to blend in more seamlessly with the rest of your property and making it easier to create a stunning landscaping design.
If you do choose an in-ground spa but still want to be able to use it relatively quickly, the sensible choice is a fibreglass spa rather than a concrete one. Like regular swimming pools, concrete spas have to be built from scratch on your property. This makes the building process take considerably longer.
Fibreglass spas, in contrast, are pre-fabricated in a range of standard shapes and sizes. When you have chosen the design which suits you best, the shell is delivered complete to your home. It can then be installed in the ground. This means less building work is required on your property, so the process is quicker and cheaper.
There is very little difference between the two materials when it comes to strength and durability. Both concrete and fibreglass spas are strong enough to withstand extreme weather conditions and even earthquakes!
Compass lifetime structural warranty
At Compass Pools Australia, our fibreglass pools are manufactured with a super-strong ceramic core, reinforcing the pool structure even further. This gives you complete peace of mind about the safety and structural integrity of your pool. This is why we offer a lifetime structural warranty on all of our fibreglass pools. Whether you choose an in-ground or above ground spa, the safety regulations are the same as they would be for a full-sized swimming pool. Your spa pool will still require fencing in accordance with Australian Standard 1926. You also need a non-climbable zone containing no tall objects around the fencing to keep young children safe around the pool. This is something you will need to consider when planning your swim spa installation.
Spa pool sizes
Like all swimming pools, swim spa pools are available in a range of different sizes and shapes. The average spa pool in Australia tends to have a length of 5-6 metres and a width of 2-2.5 metres, but these sizes do vary. A small spa pool can have a length of 4.5 metres and a width of just 1.5 metres.
It is important to note, though, that the overall size of a spa pool is different from the amount of usable swimming space it provides. Spa swimming pools tend to have large seating areas because they are primarily used for relaxation rather than swimming. This means the area of the pool which you can practically use for swimming can be considerably less than its overall dimensions suggest.
Spa advantages and disadvantages
As spa pools are relatively compact, they can be a good solution if you do not have a lot of space in your backyard. This is why swimming pool spas are particularly popular in Australian cities, where land is at a premium and blocks tend to be small.
Spa pools do enable you to enjoy swimming and hydrotherapy in even a relatively small backyard. However, this small size also has disadvantages. Swim spas are not an ideal choice for families, as only one person can comfortably swim in a spa pool at any time. This rules out family swimming sessions and water games.
In addition, swimming against swim jets is a very different experience to swimming against a natural water current. If you swim seriously, swim jets are not ideal as competitive swimming always takes place in natural conditions. You will not gain a realistic idea of your times and progress if you are practising in a swim spa. Young children might also struggle with swim jets because they can be too powerful for someone who is not a strong swimmer.
However, a spa pool can be a great addition to your backyard. It offers the dual benefits of swimming and the spa experience on your own property. With effective landscaping and proper maintenance, they can also look highly attractive, and increase the aesthetic appeal of your backyard.
Spa pool prices
One of the more attractive elements of a swimming pool spa is the relatively low cost in comparison to a regular swimming pool. A top of the range above ground spa pool will cost you between $15,000 and $30,000. However, you can purchase a cheaper model for a much lower price than this.
As always when making a major purchase, it is essential to do your research and check that you are purchasing a good quality swim spa which will last a long time and be safe to use.
If you want an in-ground spa installed, you can expect to pay more than these prices. This is because there is so much extra work involved in installing any pool into the ground. This job has to be carried out by a professional pool builder, as mistakes can be costly and also highly dangerous. However, due to the increased building work involved, a concrete spa will cost you significantly more than a fibreglass spa.
Overall, considering the amount of features a spa pool has, it does offer good value. This makes it an attractive option, particularly if you are on a budget.
Alternatives to spa pools
If a spa pool isn’t quite what you’re looking for, there are a wide range of alternatives to swim spas in Australia. Plunge pools are one of the most popular choices.
At Compass Pools, we offer a range of beautiful in-ground waders and plunge pools. These are super-strong fibreglass pools with ceramic cores, manufactured to the very highest standards using the latest in swimming pool technology. They are also easy to customise with a range of sizes, shapes and colour options available.
If you are looking for a simple solution that you can uses practically straight away, Little Pools offer a range of compact, above-ground fibreglass pools built to the same high standards you can expect from a Compass pool. Little Pools come as complete units and simply require a level concrete pad to sit on. All you need to do is hook it up to an electricity supply and then fill the pool. You can easily have spa jets integrated into your Little Pool for an easy, portable solution.
Pool and Spa Combination
If you would like all the benefits of hydrotherapy but with more space for swimming, you could consider a combined pool and spa. This is a full-sized swimming pool with a spa section added, so the whole family can enjoy the pool while you are chilling out in the spa. You can enjoy some relaxing hydrotherapy after concentrating on your lap times.
A spa lap pool is ideal for this as it gives you the ideal way to relax tired muscles after an intense swimming workout. The pool and spa sections are completely separate from each other so your swimming corridor is still completely unimpeded. You can choose matching colours and designs for your pool and spa so they look like a complete unit. Or you can go for a contrasting look if you want to make the spa into a design feature in its own right.
At Compass Pools, we offer a wide range of pool and spa designs to suit all tastes and coordinate with all different styles of property. From modern, clean lines through to classic curved shapes, we can cater for you whether your tastes are traditional or contemporary.
We also enable you to choose from an extensive selection of pool colours. Our Vivid colours are made with extra-large colour chips so the appearance of your pool remains bright and dynamic.
For a stunning 3D effect, we offer our Bi-Luminite colour range. These colours are created using a double layer, giving the pool water an extra-sparkling appearance as you swim. You can browse our entire colour collection on our website.
Another option for pool and spa combinations is to separate them with a water feature. This makes your combined pool and spa completely unique. It also makes it stand out even more as a design feature. This transforms the appearance of your backyard and enhances the appeal of your property. Compass Pools offers a range of different water features which provide the ideal finishing touches to your pool and spa.
A combined pool and spa comes at a higher price than a regular spa pool, due to the additional manufacturing and installation work required. There are a wide range of different options available to suit all tastes and budgets.
More information about spa pools and their alternatives
If you would like to know more about our spas, plunge pools or combined pools and spas, please contact us. Our team at Compass Pools Australia will be happy to answer all your questions and advise you on the different options we can provide. That way, you can find the right pool or spa for you!