Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Vinyl Liner & Fiberglass Pools for Tennessee Homes

January 10th, 2024 by

The only thing hotter than Memphis’s legendary music scene are Tennessee summers. Landlocked in the heart of the American Southeast, Tennessee is known for hot, humid summers, with average temperatures ranging between 80°F and 90°F and mild winters. An inground swimming pool can be a great way to beat the heat, whether you live in a relaxed rural or suburban part of Tennessee, or a vibrant urban area like Knoxville or Nashville.

A pool can be a great addition to your “Smoky Mountain Home,” but it’s just one part of the picture. Before you dive into the wet and wild world of pool ownership, think about how to best frame your pool with decking and landscaping. Do you plan on incorporating a pergola or gazebo to offer shade? Or even a grilling station for backyard barbecues?

Think about practical features, too! Adding a heating element or spillover spa can help you get even more use from your pool when fall temperatures set in. Similarly, saving room in your budget for an automatic pool cover can help reduce energy costs and maintenance. Your new pool will be with you and your family for decades. Consider how it can best complement your lifestyle and offer a relaxing sanctuary in your backyard.

If you live in Tennessee and are thinking about purchasing an inground pool, we’ll walk you through examples of fiberglass and vinyl liner pools, share maintenance tips, and clue you into state and local regulations surrounding pool ownership in TN.

Fiberglass Pools in TN

Fiberglass pools are known for their strength, durability and ease of maintenance. Fiberglass pools have a smooth, crystalline finish that makes them comfortable underfoot when wading in – and won’t snag your swimsuit. Because fiberglass pool shells are manufactured off-site and transported into an excavated area in your backyard, they can be installed faster, which means you get to use your pool sooner!

Learn more about the benefits of owning a fiberglass pool.

Mold and Algae-Resistant

Fiberglass pools are as easy on the eyes as they are to maintain, and their slick surface makes them less susceptible to algae and calcium build-up. Because fiberglass pool shells are smooth and constructed from man-made materials, they’re less prone to developing algae clinging to their surface. Given Tennessee’s hot, humid climate as a prime factor in encouraging conditions that would breed algae, it’s all the more reason to consider a fiberglass pool that offers you more enjoyment and less upkeep. 

Fiberglass Pool Designs to Suit Your Backyard

If you’ve been noodling on the notion of adding a pool to your backyard, you may already have a clear vision in mind. Maybe you admire the crisp, clean lines of a rectangular fiberglass pool. Or if you crave a little slice of Graceland for your own backyard, the quirky-yet-classic asymmetry of a kidney-shaped pool might appeal to you the same way it did to Elvis Presley. (Who’s gonna argue with The King when 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong?!) 

There’s a pool for every home and fiberglass pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. But when it comes to pool design, choosing a shape is just one part of your project. It’s even more important to consider how your pool will complement your lifestyle and work with any of the natural features of your backyard.  

When planning your pool, think about how – and who – will use it: 

  • Do you have young children or teens? 
  • Will they bring friends over to use the pool? 
  • Will seniors or mobility compromised individuals use the pool? What features do they need to be able to enjoy the pool safely? 
  • Do you want your pool to be the focal point of your backyard, or do you plan to make it part of a broader hub of backyard life, alongside a garden or outdoor grilling/dining area? 
  • Do you enjoy entertaining? If so, how many people do you typically have at your backyard get-togethers? 
  • Do you plan to use your pool for exercise, relaxation or both?

Asking yourself these questions can help you dream up a design that meets your needs – as well as those of friends and family you invite to use the pool, too!

For instance, if small children, seniors, or mobility compromised individuals will use your pool, consider features that can help them better enjoy it. A shallow wading area, non-slip steps or multiple access points to help them easily get in and out of the pool might be at the top of your list of must-have pool features. 

Adding an autocover to your pool package can also serve as a convenient safety barrier to prevent kids and pets from accidentally falling in when your pool is unattended. It can also help you save on maintenance, by reducing water evaporation. Given Tennessee’s abundance of greenery – and that a backyard tree can offer natural cover from hot summer sun when enjoying your pool – an autocover can also help lessen time spent skimming fallen leaves and pollen from the surface of your pool. 

While we’re on the subject of Tennessee’s natural beauty, you’ll also want to consider how your property layout supports the design of your pool. While West Tennessee is typically flat, Eastern and Middle Tennessee have their fair share of rolling hills, mountains and sloped land. Depending on where you live in the state, you’ll need to think about how your pool will work with the size of your yard, landscaping features and any required fencing or decking. 

Even if you initially have your heart set on a particular shape or style of pool, you may realize that a different shape or size may work better with your backyard and how you plan to use your pool. An independent pool builder can help you weigh your options and select the best pool for your needs. 

Latham can help you build the pool of your dreams that works with nearly any property constraints. Check out some breathtaking examples below of pools we’ve built throughout Tennessee. Even if you don’t see your dream pool, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible! Contact a local independent builder to get a gander at more photos and videos of pools in their portfolio. 

rectangular shaped fiberglass pool in sloped Tennessee backyard
Rectangular Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Pool Ideas for Hilly or Uneven Backyards

No two areas of Tennessee are alike when it comes to terrain. Working with – not against – the natural features of your backyard can be instrumental in helping you select a pool design that delivers everything you dream of and fits within the confines of your backyard. 

West Tennessee – including Memphis and its surrounding areas – has flat land, which can make it much easier to install a pool. However, Eastern Tennessee, home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, has sloped, rocky terrain, giving folks in areas like Knoxville, Johnson City, Oak Ridge and Pigeon Forge more to consider when deciding on a pool design that works for their geographic quirks. Similarly, residents of Middle Tennessee – including Nashville, Murfreesboro, Memphis and Chattanooga – are blessed with beautiful rolling hills and valleys. While lovely to look at, these naturally-occurring features can produce less-than-level backyards that may require grading or a retainer wall when installing a pool. 

For irregularly shaped yards, freeform and kidney-shaped fiberglass pools can be a great choice. These pools differ from model-to-model, each with their own unique curves and contours, giving you more options to find one that works with your backyard measurements. For example, the modern freeform Genesis is more narrow at 16’ wide, but has a longer 40’ stretch of length, offering plenty of space to swim, frolic and install fun features. For smaller irregularly shaped yards, a traditional freeform model, like the 12’ x 25’ Freeport or the 12’ x 24’ kidney-shaped St. Lucia can be great picks.

For a truly unique approach, infinity edge pools can work with the existing features of your backyard, including sloped or rocky terrain. If your backyard sits on a hill or mountain, an infinity pool can give you a coveted “view from the top,” overlooking beautiful Tennessee valleys from the comforts of your pool. 

As an added bonus, infinity pools mimic the look of nature, seamlessly blending with your surroundings and taking on the appearance of a cascading waterfall or flowing stream. Because they’re a custom-designed offering that works with the shape and slope of your backyard, infinity pools can be slightly more expensive than other prefabricated options. 

In some cases, a licensed professional builder can grade your land to more easily accommodate a brand new fiberglass pool. However, a vinyl liner pool may be another excellent, more economical option to consider that offers greater design flexibility compared to prefabricated styles. Your builder can help you learn more about your options, so keep an open mind! The goal is to create a pool that works best for your backyard and your needs. 

traditional freeform shaped fiberglass pool in sloped Tennessee backyard
Fiberglass Gulfshore Shape | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

A Style to Suit Every Location, from Booming Metropolis to Wide-Open Countryside

Tennessee has a lot to offer. Whether you’re walkin’ in Memphis or other urban metropolises like Nashville and Chattanooga, or you live in a more rural area, there’s a pool for every backyard and style sensibility. 

For urban city-dwellers with smaller backyards, a modern, straight-edge rectangular pool in a compact size, like the Enchantment 9.17, can pack a lot of fun into a small space. Its built-in tanning ledge pulls double duty as a wading area for little kids, while its non-slip steps make your pool safer for users of all ages. 

If you live in a more rural area of the Volunteer State, freeform pools can be a beautiful addition to your backyard, especially if you have plenty of space to spare. With their graceful, winding curves, both modern and traditional freeform pools can seamlessly blend with your natural surroundings, mimicking the look of a natural stream cutting through your backyard. 

Small-to-medium sized freeform fiberglass options like the Laguna can tuck into a corner of your backyard while still giving you a designated splash zone. If you truly want to take advantage of Tennessee’s mild fall and early winter weather, the midsize Laguna Deluxe and larger models like the Cancun Deluxe, feature built-in spillover spas, ideal for easing sore muscles after a long day or enjoying a cold beverage in warm water on brisk autumn nights.

modern freeform shaped fiberglass pool with spa in Tennessee backyard
Fiberglass Laguna Deluxe Shape | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Pool Designs to Complement Your Backyard and Lifestyle

When planning your pool’s design, think about what add-ons can help maximize your enjoyment. If you live in a lively – and sometimes noisy – area like Nashville, on a heavily-trafficked street, a soothing waterfall or bubble jet feature can add punch to your pool while also masking noise from cars whizzing by. 

If you live in a heavily wooded, rural part of Tennessee, given that 53% of the state is covered in forests, there’s a good chance your property is ringed by trees. While the added foliage and cover can create a tranquil atmosphere, tall trees can block out light – especially if you plan to use your pool at night. Making pool lights part of your pool installation package can create greater visibility for anyone using the pool after dark and offer more ambient lighting. A fire pit can also be another option that adds warmth and a natural light source, giving you a cozy ‘round-the-campfire feel to your outdoor oasis.

fiberglass pool in Tennessee backyard with custom water features, waterslide, and fire pits
Fiberglass Cancun Shape | Photo courtesy of Mid-South Perfect Pools, TN

Small Pool Designs for Urban Living

If you live in a larger metropolitan city in Tennessee – like Memphis, Chattanooga, or Knoxville – you might have a smaller backyard due to population density and houses in closer proximity to one another. But a smaller backyard doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun of having a pool. 

Small pools can deliver just as much enjoyment as their larger counterparts. Kidney-shaped pools like the 10’ x 20’ Jamaica can easily nestle into a smaller backyard and have plenty of built-in features to pump up the excitement. Slip-resistant steps and plenty of swim-up seating that can pull double duty as a beverage bench are just a few of the ready-to-go features that make this “fun size” pool extra fun. 

Cocktail pools and plunge pools like the Milan are more options that folks with smaller backyards can consider. The 10’ x 16’ Milan is long enough to swim laps and wide enough to lounge about on your favorite float for a relaxing soak after a hard day. 

fiberglass pool in small Tennessee backyard
Fiberglass Freeform Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Pools to Make the Most of Your Wide Open Yard

A bigger yard in a suburban or rural part of Tennessee gives you a wider … ahem … “pool” of options to play with when designing the backyard of your dreams. While financing a pool is certainly an option that allows you to pay later while enjoying your pool now, Tennessee’s unique position and lower property taxes can make pool ownership even more achievable.  Factoring in that there is no state income tax and that Tennessee’s cost of living is roughly 11% lower than the national average, it can make opting for a larger pool an attractive option if you have the available backyard space. 

With so many options to consider, it all boils down to your sense of style and any natural features of your backyard you may want to highlight. For example, if you have majestic hills and beautiful trees around your property, you may want to consider a large, picturesque rectangular pool that reflects your scenery on its surface. The  16’ x 38’  Kingston gives you plenty of space to incorporate striking add-ons like cascading waterfalls and pool lights in addition to its built-in swim-up seating to make it a hub of entertainment and excitement. 

On the other side of the coin, a larger freeform pool like the Axiom 14 can work with a larger backyard, mimicking the look of a flowing, natural stream. While the Axiom 14 offers a back-to-nature look, it’s also made for entertaining. Swim-up seating and a beverage bar make it a great place for friends to kick back poolside. Its generous underwater tanning ledge offers a prime place to lounge without fully submerging yourself.

Regardless of what style of pool you choose, you’ll also want to consider additional elements of your backyard to complement your choice. Do you prefer a multi-level deck or a simple-yet-elegant stamped concrete patio? Perhaps you favor lush green landscaping or attention-getting “rockscaping” that minimizes the need for lawn care? It’s all about considering the aesthetic and practical features that bring your pool dreams to life. 

fiberglass pool with spa and water feature in large Tennessee backyard
Fiberglass Freeform Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Inground Vinyl Liner Pools in TN

Inground vinyl liner pools are another popular choice for Tennessee homeowners. They’re known for their durability, ease of maintenance, and can be a cost-effective option that offers decades of enjoyment in a highly customizable package. 

Why Choose Vinyl Liners for Your Backyard

There are numerous benefits to choosing a vinyl liner pool. At the top of the list, vinyl liner pools can be completely customized to work with the contours and confines of your backyard, whether it sits on a slope or on rugged terrain. In addition to fully-customized designs, vinyl pools come in many of the same shapes and sizes as their fiberglass counterparts. These pre-designed shapes can be a springboard for your imagination and you can work with your builder to incorporate a variety of add-ons, from fountains to pool lights and more! You also have a range of beautiful liner colors and patterns to give your vinyl liner pool its stunning hue and soft-to-the-touch feel. 

In addition to being easy on the eyes, vinyl liner pools are easy on your wallet and require comparatively less maintenance than concrete or gunite pools. Vinyl liner pools are also an affordable option for refurbishing older concrete pools, which can require an overhaul every decade or so. A well-maintained vinyl liner can last roughly 10 years, but you can replace it sooner to refresh the look of your pool on a budget. 

Browse through some of the photos below that capture some of our favorite vinyl liner pools the Latham team has built throughout Tennessee. These are just a few examples of what’s possible. Even if you don’t see your dream pool here, local builders have even more images and videos of custom vinyl liner pool creations to share in their portfolio when you pay them a visit!

vinyl liner pool in Tennessee backyard with custom shape
Vinyl Liner Pool | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

A Perfect Choice for Hilly Terrain

The Blue Ridge Mountains of Eastern Tennessee are a wonder to behold. However, their majestic peaks are a telltale sign that residents throughout that corridor of the state may deal with hilly, rocky terrain in their backyards. Ditto for residents in Middle Tennessee, with its tranquil hills and valleys. These geographic features can pose a challenge to installing a new pool, since it can translate to sloped backyards or craggy rocks lurking beneath the soil. 

Fortunately, custom inground vinyl liner pools can meet that challenge – as can savvy builders who understand the process involved in making your sloped backyard more hospitable to a new pool. Professional pool builders often employ techniques like grading your land to make it more even, or constructing a retainer wall during your vinyl liner pool installation process.

vinyl liner pool in a sloped Tennessee backyard
Vinyl Liner Pools | Photo courtesy of Brooks Malone, TN

Adjust Your Vinyl Liner to Your Lifestyle

Times change and so do tastes. As the years roll along, you might want to tweak your original pool design to better accommodate not just your aesthetic preferences, but to better fit your lifestyle. Vinyl liner pools are a great choice for those who may want to add or subtract features over time. 

For instance, if you have little kids using your pool, colorful LED lights, exciting water features and add-ons like a diving board or water slide might be the order of the day. These features can give your pool the feel of a kid-friendly resort, all from the comforts of your backyard. 

However, once the kids have grown, you might want to remove the diving board and slide to transform your pool into a relaxing place to entertain guests. Think: less cannonballs and more highballs while lounging poolside! With a vinyl liner pool, you can easily replace older features with newer ones geared towards your current lifestyle, like a spacious tanning ledge or swim-up seating. 

With a vinyl liner pool, you can also change the shape of your pool in the years ahead. It will require some added excavation, but gives you a wider range of options for the future. 

If you want to upgrade an existing pool and add new features, timing those updates to coincide with replacing your vinyl liner can save you both money and headaches in the long run. Be sure to schedule any of those major overhauls alongside replacing your vinyl liner, as those projects are a bit more invasive and you’d need to remove and replace your liner anyway.

small rectangular vinyl liner pool in Tennessee backyard with custom water feature
Vinyl Liner Pool | Photo courtesy of Blue Hawaiian pools, TN

Transforming or Replacing Your Current Pool

If you purchased a home with an older concrete pool or have an older gunite model that may have become rough and flaky with age, a vinyl liner pool can be an ideal replacement option.

Typically, even the best-maintained concrete pools can be difficult – and expensive – in terms of upkeep. Because concrete is porous, these pools can more easily develop pool algae. Not only can algae leave behind unsightly stains on your pool’s surface, but it can make it more difficult to balance its water chemistry. This means more time spent taking care of your pool and less time enjoying it – and a signal that it might be time to renovate an older pool. 

Older concrete pools can require resurfacing in order to help them maintain their structural integrity. By contrast, a vinyl liner pool can offer you a less-expensive option along with flexibility to incorporate fun new features – all while scaling back on your maintenance routine. 

In terms of upkeep, a well-maintained vinyl liner can last for up to 10 years. If your liner develops a small rip or a tear, it can be patched. Larger tears can lead to leaks and should be replaced immediately, as a leak can throw off the balance of your water chemistry.

Installing an Inground Pool in Tennessee

Whether you plan on installing a new fiberglass pool or opt for a vinyl liner pool installation, Tennessee homeowners will need to consider the logistics involved in installing a pool. 

Parts of Tennessee – particularly East Tennessee, which includes Knoxville and Oak Ridge – have clay soil. Because clay soil typically has poor drainage, it can pose challenges to pool construction. That’s why it’s especially important to work with an experienced builder to ensure your pool is properly installed. In addition to clay soil, East Tennessee’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains and sloped, rocky terrain serves up  multiple geographical challenges that can best be addressed by a knowledgeable pool professional. 

Fiberglass can be a great option for Tennessee areas with poor drainage, as it won’t shrink, swell, or absorb any of the added moisture from clay soil that could compromise your pool’s structural integrity. Your builder will be able to devise a solution that balances clay soil with less absorbent types of soil during the install process.  

Folks in areas such as Memphis and Chattanooga may have fewer barriers to installation, given their sandy or loamy soil conditions. This type of earth is less absorbent, giving prospective pool owners more options. Nevertheless, working with a licensed professional builder can help you ensure your new pool meets all state and local regulations before breaking ground. 

Beyond scoping out your soil, backyard and geographic conditions while planning your pool, you’ll also want to consider timing. Tennessee has a typically mild climate year-round, but still runs the risk of some winter snow. The state has an average snowfall of 4 to 6 inches in the south and west, while the more mountainous regions in East TN can get a bit more, averaging 10 inches annually. 

Even so, if you’re planning on building a pool in Tennessee, it may be best to avoid starting your project between late November and early March, as the ground may be cold and harder to excavate. 

Covers and Winterizing Options for Tennessee Pools

Whether you choose a fiberglass or vinyl liner pool, be sure to save room in your budget for a pool cover. Pool covers come with a variety of benefits that can help you save on energy costs, save time on maintenance, and also save lives. Although Tennessee has mild winters, residents may want to consider an additional winter pool cover when closing their pool for the season.  

Do I need a cover for my pool?

Given that Tennessee is a heavily-wooded state, with more than 52% covered in trees, an automatic pool cover can help you get more enjoyment out of your pool, reducing time spent on skimming pollen and fallen leaves. 

An autocover can also help you save between 50% to 70% on energy costs, accompanied by the added benefit of reducing water evaporation and the need to rebalance your water chemistry

Most importantly, autocovers can save lives, preventing kids and pets from accidentally falling in when your pool is unattended. An automatic pool cover can also help prevent uninvited guests from hopping your fence and using your pool unsupervised when you’re not around. Although an autocover is not required by state law, the 2014 Tennessee Code’s “Katie Beth’s Law” (Title 68) requires that all pools must have a pool alarm installed that is triggered whenever a person, object, or animal weighing more than 15 pounds enters the water. Many automatic pool covers can be paired with pool alarms, in addition to touch pad security controls

If you’re working with a smaller pool budget, keep in mind that many rectangular pool models are autocover-ready. More intricate shapes, such as freeform pools, may require a custom-cut autocover, which can cost more than a prefabricated cover.

Do I need a winter pool cover in Tennessee?

Pool covers can help you protect your pool, but there are some key differences between automatic pool covers and winter covers. Automatic pool covers are used during your regular pool season, from spring until late fall, given Tennessee’s wonderfully mild year-round weather. Autocovers can be activated with the touch of a button to help reduce water evaporation and prevent debris – and people or pets – from falling into your pool. 

On the flipside, winter covers are used to close your pool for the season. These covers are specially designed to fit your pool and protect it during colder months until pool season begins again the following spring.

While automatic pool covers can help make your pool safer and more energy-efficient, they aren’t made to support the weight of a heavy snowfall that could potentially compromise the delicate mechanics of an autocover. Although Tennessee only sees between 4 to 10 inches of snow annually (depending on where you live in the state), a winter pool cover can help protect your investment in the event of a major snowfall. 

Maintaining Your Tennessee Pool

Both vinyl liner and fiberglass pools are relatively easy to maintain, giving you more time to enjoy your pool instead of finding yourself trapped in an endless cycle of tending to it. Depending on the type of material you choose for your new pool, your maintenance schedule and checklist can vary in order to keep your pool looking and running its best.

Vinyl Liner Pool Maintenance

Although vinyl liner pools require a bit more TLC compared to fiberglass, the (slightly) extra effort is well worth it when it comes to their cost savings. Weekly tasks like skimming and testing your water’s chemical and pH levels are a breeze once you get into a groove. 

To keep dirt and algae bloom at bay, gently scrub your vinyl liner once each week with a soft-bristled brush. You can also help keep your liner in good condition by ensuring only soft pool toys are used. Inflatable floats and foam pool noodles are just a few soft pool toys that can add to the fun without worrying about accidentally puncturing or tearing your liner during playtime.

Periodic or monthly tasks, such as checking your liner for leaks, are also relatively simple and help you stay on top of keeping your pool and liner in good condition.

For more tips, download our vinyl liner maintenance checklist to help you keep your pool looking its best! 

Fiberglass Pool Maintenance

More than just a pretty, shimmering face, fiberglass pools offer a host of benefits. For Tennessee pool owners, their ease of maintenance tops the list of things to love about fiberglass pools. 

Weekly maintenance tasks include testing your pool’s water chemistry, emptying filter baskets and skimming your pool. Monthly maintenance tasks can include checking your filter and back flushing your filtration system to keep your pump running smoothly. 

For more helpful tips, check out our checklist of fiberglass pool maintenance tasks! 

Factors to Consider When Determining the Cost of a Pool in Tennessee

The full cost to install an inground pool in Tennessee can vary based on a number of factors. Your pool’s size and materials are just one part of the equation. The total cost will also encompass things like decking, coping, and any other add-ons on your dream pool wish list – such as water features, slides or tanning ledges. 

In addition to the things you want, you’ll also want to save room in your pool planning budget for practical items that you’ll need. A pool cover can be a welcome addition that offers an excellent return on investment in terms of savings on energy costs and pool maintenance. And while a pool cover is not mandatory, Tennessee state law does require that all pools must be enclosed by a barrier or fence at least 48 inches (4 feet) high and the state’s “Katie Beth’s Law” also requires that all pools must be equipped with a safety alarm system, regardless of any pool fencing or covers. 

Although purchasing a pool is a big ticket item, Tennessee’s lower cost of living and no state income tax can certainly put it well within a homeowner’s reach. Additionally, there are a variety of financing options available to help you make the dream of pool ownership a reality. 

Tennessee’s Regulations for Installing an Inground Pool

If you live in Tennessee and plan to dive into the cool waters of pool ownership, be sure to brush up on your state and local laws to be sure your pool is compliant with all regulations. 

State and local laws can change over time, so it’s important to conduct your research before your pool construction gets underway. And although there are pool laws that blanket the state of Tennessee, your city, town or municipality may have additional, potentially stricter regulations governing pool ownership. Consult with your local building office to ensure your pool is compliant. Additionally, working with a professional builder can help you more easily navigate these building codes, as well as help you secure the proper permits for your new pool. 

Here are some of the most common questions we hear around state and local codes for pools in Tennessee.

Do you need a permit for a pool in Tennessee?

You will need to apply for a permit in order to build a pool in Tennessee. Tennessee regards any container that can hold more than 24 inches (2 feet of water) for recreational use as a swimming pool. So, whether you’re planning on installing an in-ground fiberglass or vinyl liner pool, hot tub or spa that’s at least 2 feet deep, Tennessee requires you to have a builder’s permit before breaking ground.  

In addition to obtaining a builder’s permit, mandated by the state, you may also want to consult with your local municipality around additional permits that may be required. Different towns and cities throughout Tennessee have their own laws around electrical, plumbing, and zoning permits – to name just a few. Be sure to investigate first to ensure your pool meets all state and local regulations in Tennessee. Working with a licensed professional builder can also help you more easily navigate these laws and secure a permit.

Do you need a fence around your pool in TN?

If you plan on owning a pool in Tennessee, the state requires that all residential pools must be surrounded by a fence or barrier at least 48 inches (4 feet) high. It’s important to note that Tennessee classifies any outdoor structure capable of holding more than 24 inches (2 feet) of water as a swimming pool. This definition extends to inground and above-ground swimming pools, as well as spas and jacuzzis. 

In addition to height requirements, Tennessee requires that all pool fencing must not have a vertical clearance more than 2 inches off the ground. Barriers should also not have footholds or handholds that can make it easier to climb and gain unauthorized, unsupervised access to a residential swimming pool. 

While this is a state-wide law, be sure to check with your local building office, as your city, town, county or municipality may have even more stringent requirements around pool fencing. 

Do you need a cover for your pool?

While covers and automatic pool covers that extend over the surface of a pool are not universally required in Tennessee, local municipalities may have varying requirements, depending on specified circumstances. For instance, if a wall of a home serves as part of a pool barrier in Clarkesville, TN, local codes requires that home owners either have a compliant automatic pool cover, that doors offering direct access to the pool are equipped with a compliant alarm system that “produces an audible warning when the door and/or its screen, if present, are opened” or that another means of protection (including self-closing, self-latching doors approved by a governing body) are installed. 

Although the state of Tennessee does not require pool owners to have a pool cover, the statewide Katie-Beth’s Law requires that all pools must be equipped with an alarm system that activates when a child, object, or animal weighing more than 15 pounds enters the pool. In addition, the state’s department of health requires that pool owners use state-compliant drain covers on any residential pool or spa. 

How far away does your pool have to be from your home?

The distance between a swimming pool and a home varies throughout the state of Tennessee. Different cities and towns have their own requirements as to what’s appropriate. Many of these laws are dependent upon the size of your property. 

For instance, Williamson County in Tennessee has different setback requirements for lots under 5 acres in size vs. those greater than 5 acres. This county includes such Tennessee cities as Franklin, Brentwood and Fairview. For lots less than 5 acres, the county requires all swimming pools to be located in the rear yard and placed at a minimum of 15’ from the side and rear property lines. Conversely, lots with 5 acres of land or more are permitted in a rear yard, or a side yard or front yard that meets the residential side setback and are located 200 feet from the front lot line. 

Although it doesn’t have any specific guidelines as to distance between a home and a pool, Rutherford County, which encompasses such larger cities as Murfreesboro, Smyrna and Eagleville, has strict requirements around how far a fence or barrier must be away from a pool. For instance, there should be at least 3 feet between the outside wall of a fence and any permanent structures (pumps, sheds, etc.) that could be used to climb over the fence.  Similarly, there should be a 20” minimum distance between the edge of the pool and any barrier. 

Other areas, like Shelby County – home to Tennessee’s largest city, Memphis – may have more lenient requirements around distance between a home and a pool, likely due to population density and a shorter distance between property lines. For instance, Shelby County requires only a 5 foot setback between a pool and any property line. 

Be sure to check with your local building office to confirm how far your pool needs to be from your home and any other neighboring property lines. A licensed professional pool builder can help you better understand any requirements for your area. 

Enjoying Your Tennessee Pool Through the Seasons

Tennessee has a relatively mild climate all year long, with hot humid summers. However, even though Tennessee sees very little snow – ranging between 4 to 10 inches depending on where you live in the state, its average winter temperatures of 40 degrees still aren’t balmy enough to extend pool season beyond October. Adding a heater or spillover spa to your pool can help you extend pool season into fall, allowing you to enjoy your pool in cooler weather. 

In addition to incorporating features that can help you squeeze in as much pool time as possible, there are some seasonal aspects to keep in mind with regard to pool maintenance in Tennessee: 

  • Spring: Because Tennessee is dense with trees and forests, spring and summer months are often accompanied by heavy pollen floating through the air – and landing in your pool. In addition to triggering allergies, pollen can clog your pool filter. Be sure to skim them off as soon as possible, as they can clog your pool filter or contribute to algae growth.
  • Fall: A heated pool can help you maximize your pool time, extending the season until late October or early November if it’s a particularly mild year. Choosing a model or adding a spillover spa can also give you a place to kick back and relax when autumnal weather rolls in. A fire pit can also be a welcome addition to create a serene atmosphere, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area. If you do plan to use your pool or spa during fall, be prepared to regularly skim any fallen leaves out of your pool, as they can contribute to algae growth and throw off the balance of your water chemistry. An autocover can also help leaves from piling up on top of your pool during fall.
  • Winter: Many Tennessee residents close their pools in early October. However, if you have a heated pool or spa, you may be able to get away with using it into November. When it’s time to close your pool for winter, make sure to remove all air from water lines and pool equipment. Although a lot of pool owners close their pool themselves, you can also recruit a professional to help you properly winterize your pool. 

Tennessee Pool FAQs

When is the best time to install a pool in Tennessee?

Typically, the ideal time to install a pool in Tennessee may be between March and May, giving you ample time to have your vinyl liner or fiberglass pool installed and ready to use when summer comes. However, Due to Tennessee’s relatively mild climate, it’s possible to start your pool building process as early as March and as late as October. 

Keep in mind that if you are thinking about installing your pool in the fall, you may run the risk of cold snaps (stranger things have happened in Tennessee!), making it difficult to excavate your backyard for a pool. This is especially true for areas of Eastern Tennessee that contend with sloped and rocky terrain, which can require additional equipment and processes that can tack on more time to the installation process.

Be sure to consult with a professional builder around timelines to ensure a smooth install. Working with a licensed builder can help you better plan your pool project to account for unexpected hiccups and have your pool summer-ready! 

What type of inground pool is best for Tennessee?

Because Tennessee is home to such a diverse range of geographic features, it’s important to consult with a licensed professional builder to assess your land – and even any soil conditions. For instance, Memphis in Western Tennessee has typically flat, level land. A prefabricated fiberglass pool shell can be an ideal fit, helping speed up installation time and giving you the pool of your dreams sooner rather than later. 

However, other areas of the state – such as Eastern and Middle Tennessee – have less-level geography. Eastern Tennessee not only has rocky terrain and sloped backyards, but also contends with clay soil that offers poor drainage. These both pose their own unique sets of challenges. While custom-built vinyl liner pools can be a great solution for sloped or rocky areas, fiberglass may be a better option for areas with poor drainage. However, a knowledgeable professional builder can better evaluate your backyard. They may offer up a variety of solutions, including bringing in different types of soil filling, materials, and building techniques to counteract nature and create a pool that works for you – and your backyard. 

Will a pool add value to my home in Tennessee?

On average throughout the US, adding a new pool can increase your home’s resale value between 5% and 8%. However, in Tennessee, a pool can boost your home’s value by as much as 15%, giving prospective buyers a place to fully relax, unwind, and soak in the benefits of The Volunteer State’s mild climate from their own backyard. Even if you aren’t planning to sell your home in the immediate future, adding a pool gives you a place to have fun and gather with friends and family in the years to come. 

Find out if Latham Installs Pools Near You

If you’re thinking of buying a new pool, Latham has the experience and options to help you make it happen. We’ve helped countless homeowners throughout Tennessee build the pool of their dreams, including those in: 

  • Cleveland, TN
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Sale Creek, TN
  • Silver Point, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Dickson, TN
  • Franklin, TN
  • Clarksville, TN
  • Cookeville, TN
  • Hendersonville, TN
  • Greenbriar, TN
  • White Bluff, TN
  • Cottontown, TN
  • Portland, TN
  • Gallatin, TN
  • Mount Juliet, TN
  • Spring Hill, TN
  • Columbia, TN
  • Eagleville, TN
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Lavergne, TN
  • Brentwood, TN
  • Joelton, TN

Start Building a Pool for Your Tennessee Home Today

A new pool can give your backyard even more character and help you make countless memories with loved ones. Speak with a professional builder today to become one of the many happy Tennessee homeowners who love their Latham pool. 

Contact us to learn more today.

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A unique group of talented individuals with years of industry experience, the Latham Editorial Team brings together the best and the brightest in order to deliver diverse perspectives on how to make your backyard the center of your Latham lifestyle.

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