Installing a swimming pool at your home can be a great decision for you and your family members. You’ll get a lot of enjoyment from it while also having a new way to work out when the weather is nice. But, no matter how easy or hard it was to decide to get a pool, your choices aren’t over just yet! Pools come in various types, and each one gives you a different experience and level of convenience than the others.
I want to tell you about the two categories of pools and then explain a little bit about the types of pools available to help you get a better idea of what you want.
There are only two general types of pools: above ground and in-ground pools. No pool can be installed any other way, so these are the most basic ways to define a pool type.
However, there are sub categories of pools that are based on what the pool is made out of. This is where you will need to make the most choices, because each different material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Type Of Swimming Pool
Above Ground Pools
Most modern above ground pools are made of a hard PVC type plastic supported by metal rod structures in the shape of your choice. The PVC plastic is soft enough to be comfortable on your feet, flexible for movement, and easy to clean. Sometimes the plastic is inflatable, although this is usually for smaller pools and not for larger above ground pools.
Above grounds pools need filter system, just like any other pool, but the systems are portable and very easy to install on your own. You won’t need to do anything permanent to install an above ground pool, which can make it a good seasonal pool or a great choice for families with younger kids.
These pools are really convenient for their low cost and easy installations. Many above ground pools can be ordered online, so you don’t even have to go and pick it up from a pool store, and you can look for the most competitive prices possible. Most above ground pools can be set up within a few hours with only 1 or 2 people working on it.
You can get above ground pools in a number of different shapes and sizes to fit your preference. There are small pools, larger pools, round pools, square pools, rectangular pools, and more. Sure, in-ground pools can come in more various shapes and sizes, but these choices are great for most homeowners that just want a simple choice at a low cost.
The biggest downside to most above ground pools is the durability factor. Depending on what they are made out of, even the sturdiest metal above ground pools will only last an average of 10 years. Plastic pools can be taken down in the off seasons to help them last longer against the weather, but then you have to deal with tearing down the pool and setting it up again each year.
Another issue many people have with above ground pools is the fact that they are just not very attractive on your property. The inflatable pools can ruin grassy surfaces or take up space on a concrete surface without adding any beauty to the land.
Most above ground pools are not great for serious swimmers, because they are not as deep as in-ground pools and will not allow for the same sizes and shapes.
Whereas above ground pools rest on top of the existing land, in-ground pools are built into your yard for a permanent or semi-permanent fixture. These pools can take longer to install and will usually require a lot more money than above ground pools, but they last for many years, look great, and improve the value of your property.
In-ground pools require a built-in filtration system and pump to keep them clean and clear. This means they take a bit more maintenance and upkeep, but many homeowners find it to be a fair trade-off for the long-term benefits of an in-ground pool.
Gunite (concrete) Pool
There are a few different kinds of concrete pools, but the most common are the gunite concrete pools. Gunite concrete is applied with a highly pressurized hose that sprays the concrete into place. You can have these types of pools made in any shape and design to fit your specifications.
The major advantage of gunite pools is that they are completely customizable. You can design them however you like and it will be built that way. Any shape, size, and depth is possible. This means that whatever space you have available will fit the pool properly, and it will look exactly like you want it to.
Concrete pools are also long-lasting, which makes them a good feature for your home’s value. While there is some maintenance needed to keep it in great condition, a gunite concrete pool will last for years and will be attractive to any potential home buyers if you intend to sell your home.
While concrete pools do have some great advantages, they also come with some problems, such as the expensive cost of maintenance. Some routine maintenance won’t be too expensive, but every few years you will need to refinish the surface. This is a costly procedure that is necessary if you want a nice pool for your entire time using it.
Also regarding maintenance, the actual labor and supplies needed for these pools are generally a bit more than what’s needed for other types of in-ground pools. This is because the rough surface area makes it easier for the pool to grow algae and to get dirty. You will need to buy more chemicals to keep the water clean, and will also have to scrub and clean the pool regularly.
Another problem with the rough surface is that it’s not particularly comfortable, especially for younger swimmers who normally walk on the pool floor. The rough concrete can scrape your skin and be unpleasant if you swim for a long time or if you swim frequently.
Vinyl Liner Pool
There are two types of pools: above-ground pool liner and in-ground pools liner. These types of in-ground pools are not very common anymore, as they are less practical than the other types available. Vinyl pools do not need the same materials and labor as fully concrete pools, although they are still install in a structured area in your yard. Lined pools like these can be a good addition if you want a low-cost, semi-permanent pool in your yard.
As I already mentioned, the main advantage of a vinyl lined pool is the low cost of materials and installation. They can be installed more quickly than concrete pools, and you won’t have to spend nearly as much on them initially.
In addition, maintaining a vinyl pool is easier and cheaper than maintaining a concrete pool. Algae is not able to build up as easily, and the pool is simpler to clean when it needs to be swept. The vinyl lining is easier to clean than concrete, and it feels much more comfortable for swimmers.
Although vinyl lined pools might sound great, they aren’t a very good choice for a long-lasting, attractive pool. The whole look of a vinyl pool is less appealing than other pools, and it will look rather cheap in your yard. Plus, the vinyl peels off, bunches up, and tears easily, which will further detract from the look of the pool.
Through this eventually breaking down of the liner, you will have even more regular maintenance costs because you will need to replace the liner every 7 – 10 years, which is more frequently than concrete pools need to be refinished. Overall, you could end up spending more on these pools than another type, even though they are not as good of pools.
This type of in-ground pool is the most recent to hit the market. They have been sold for years, but have only caught on and become popular within the last few years. Unlike the other types of in-ground pools, fiberglass pools are created off-site and transported to your home on a truck. They are made of a solid fiberglass material and will not have to be put together on your property, but will simply be placed into a dug-out space and supported.
Fiberglass pools actually have a lot of advantages over other traditional pool types. They are very quick and easy to install, because the pool is already ready-made and available for installation immediately.
Because fiberglass pools are pre-made, you can choose from a wide variety of designs and know exactly what you’re going to get before it arrives. If you want, you can even check out the design to make sure it’s good before you order it. You can also get the pools made in the color of your choice.
Fiberglass also offers a low maintenance alternative to gunite concrete pools and vinyl lined pools. The surface is non-porous, so algae won’t grow on it as well and dirt won’t build up as quickly. Filtration and pumping in these pools is simpler, so a variety of filtration systems (including salt water systems) can be used without any trouble.
Beyond that, the pool body itself is made from a durable, sturdy material that won’t need replacement for 25+ years in most cases.
All of these advantages do come at a cost, and fiberglass pools tend to be more expensive than other in-ground pools, as far as initial costs are concerned. Setting up the pool and the pool systems can be quite pricey. Transporting your selected pool to your house is also going to cost a chunk of money.
You also can’t choose exactly what size and shape of pool you want. Because the pools are transported to your location, they have to be within a certain size constraint, meaning you won’t be able to get a pool that’s very large. Usually 40 feet by 16 feet is the limit, as this is the size that’s possible for transportation on a truck.
Which Choice is Best for You?
It’s up to you to make the final decision, but I hope I have helped to determine how to find the best type of swimming pool for your family. If you’re looking for a simple pool for one or two seasons and you don’t want to spend much, an above ground pool is great. Those that want a cheaper, but semi-permanent pool can look into a vinyl lined pool.
If you’re interested in a larger, permanent pool than you will want either a gunite concrete pool or a fiberglass pool. I’ve listed all of the advantages and disadvantages of both above, so at this point you just need to decide for yourself which one best suits you.