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Types of Swimming Pools

SWIMMING POOLS COME IN ALL shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of methods used to construct them. There are several ways to build a swimming pool, and some are more expensive and permanent than others.


Unremarkable in its ubiquity is the traditional in ground pool. It’s what everyone seems to have in the suburbs and for good reason – it’s permanent, durable, maintenance free, and will provided decades of reliable usage with minimal maintenance. Most in ground pools are constructed by digging a hole large enough to accommodate the pool, and then building a reinforcing bar (rebar) framework inside this hole. Gunite, a form of concrete, is sprayed on this framework and thus the shell of the pool is formed. The raw, dried gunite is then covered over with a thin coat of plaster, laid on buttery smooth, and there you have it –this type of swimming pool is complete. The advantages to this type of swimming pool are its permanence, beauty, flexibility of design, and structural properties. The disadvantages are is cost – the initial cost is relatively high and the construction is labor intensive. Also, with plaster pools, the plaster surface needs to be refinished once every ten years or so where it has begun to chip or flake off.


A fiberglass pool is a beautiful type of pool to behold – its gleaming surface reflects like glass. Fiberglass pools are relatively new to the market – twenty years or so – and a viable option for a homeowner who wants an in ground pool without the cost of a gunite pool. To construct the pool, the same hole as a gunite pool needs to be dug – but that’s where the similarity ends. After the hole is leveled out, the fiberglass pool is simply dropped in the cavity, shored up, plumbed, and filled. It’s an extremely fast installation because the pool is prefabricated. The pools are made in a factory out of FRP – fiberglass reinforced plastic – and delivered to the consumer via truck. The advantage of this type of pool is the lower initial cost to install it, as well as the fact that fiberglass has a proven lifespan of decades without needing any sort of refinishing. The disadvantage with these types of pools is that they are smaller than most in ground pools because the pools need to be shipped by truck, and there are restrictions as to how big they can be made. Also, the molds used to make them can only be so big. Designs are limited to what the manufacturer has molds for, meaning a custom fiberglass pool is out of the question.


Its initial low cost of manufacture attracts many people to this type of pool. Its design is just what it sounds like – a hole in the ground with a vinyl liner in it to keep the water inside. This type of pool has few advantages over any other type – cost is really the only plus. On the downside, the liner itself is susceptible to tears, harsh chemicals, and wear, and must be replaced every decade or so. In a sense the pool isn’t necessarily permanent – one can drain the pool, pull the liner, and fill the hole fairly easily.

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