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5 Common Types of In-Ground Pools (and Which to Choose)

For homeowners pondering the addition of an inground swimming pool, choosing the right type is a key decision. This choice significantly influences the pool’s design, maintenance, and overall enjoyment and how much value it can add to your house. The types of in-ground pools include concrete, fiberglass, vinyl liner, steel, and tile and each type caters to different needs and preferences. With each pool type comes different installation timelines, design options, and costs. Let’s cover each type so you can make an informed decision.

Gunite Pools

beautiful concrete gunite pool Gunite pools, also sometimes referred to as concrete pools, are known for their high customizability, allowing for a variety of shapes, sizes, and design options, making them a perfect match for unique landscapes or specific aesthetic visions. They are also known for their durability, often lasting several decades. The variety of finishes available, such as plaster, paint, tiles, or pebbles, offers a wide range of aesthetic choices.

Gunite pools are generally the most expensive option for inground pools. The cost is driven by the extensive labor and materials required for their construction. Factors like size, location, design complexity, and chosen finishes can increase the final price pool builder companies will quote. Customization options, which often involve intricate designs and high-end materials, also add to the pool cost. Homeowners should be prepared for a more substantial investment when opting for a concrete pool.

The construction timeline for concrete pools is longer compared to other types. It typically takes several months, influenced by factors such as the complexity of the design, weather conditions, and the curing time for concrete. The process involves excavation, framing, pouring concrete, and finishing touches like plastering and tiling. The extended timeline is due to the labor-intensive nature of the pool construction and the need for the concrete to cure properly before the pool can be finished and filled.

Tile Pools

tile swimming pool glimmering in the sunlightTile pools offer endless design possibilities with a range of tile types, colors, and patterns, and are extremely durable and long-lasting, especially with high-quality tiles. They are easy to clean and maintain, with a surface that resists algae growth and stains, but the price and timeline often cause homeowners to think twice.

Of all the pool types listed here, tile pools usually have the highest average cost, owing to the high cost of building materials and labor-intensive installation. The use of high-quality tiles and the intricate labor required to install them drive up the price, but the final result is a pool water that is clear and delightful. These pools are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal and luxury status, and the cost reflects this premium positioning.

The timeline for constructing a tile pool is usually quite lengthy, as it involves meticulous tile work. This process can be time-consuming, especially for complex pool designs. The careful installation required for a lasting and high-quality finish explains the extended construction period for tile pools.

Selecting the ideal inground pool type is crucial for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor space. Each option offers unique benefits and limitations, affecting the pool’s design, upkeep, and enjoyment. Understanding these differences enables pool owners to make a choice that best fits their lifestyle and home, ensuring lasting satisfaction and value.

Fiberglass Swimming Pools

common fiberglass pool on a wooden deckFiberglass pools are known for their quick installation time, as the pre-formed fiberglass pool shell can be installed in just a few weeks. They have low maintenance costs, thanks to their non-porous gel coat surface that resists algae and doesn’t require acid washing or resurfacing like concrete. The smooth surface is gentle on feet and swimwear, and these pools are often more energy-efficient. They often come with pre-built options like spa benches. However, they come with limitations in shape and size due to manufacturing and transportation constraints.

In terms of cost, fiberglass pools fall smack in the middle. While they are generally more expensive than vinyl liner pools, they are less costly than concrete pools. The price includes the cost of the pre-fabricated shell and installation. The transportation of the shell and any additional landscaping or decking can also influence the total cost. Their lower pool maintenance makes them a more cost-effective option in the long run.

The installation timeline for fiberglass pools is one of their biggest advantages. Since the shells are pre-fabricated, the installation can be completed in far less time, often just several weeks. This speed is due to the simplicity of setting the pre-formed shell into the excavated hole and then connecting it to the pool system. The quick installation is a major benefit for homeowners looking for a speedy turnaround.

Vinyl Liner Pools

vinyl liner poolVinyl liner pools are built with steel walls that are covered with a liner. They are a more affordable upfront installation cost compared to concrete and fiberglass pools. They allow for a degree of customization in size and shape, though not as much as concrete pools, and feature a wide variety of liner patterns and colors. The pool liner is soft and gentle on the feet. However, the liner is prone to tears and punctures, requiring liner replacement every 5 to 9 years. These pools are less durable than concrete or fiberglass, which might affect resale value, and they offer limited depth and shape options.

Vinyl liner pools are generally the most affordable inground pool option. The lower initial cost is due to the less expensive materials and simpler construction process. However, the short lifespan of the liner should be factored into the lifetime costs. If the steel walls get too much water contact, they may also need to be replaced, adding to the aggregate cost.

The installation timeline is relatively quick, typically taking a few weeks. This speed is because the construction process is less complex than concrete pools. The pool’s frame is assembled, and then the liner is installed. The shorter timeline makes it a convenient choice for homeowners who want their pool ready in a shorter timeframe.

Stainless Steel Pools

an example of a stainless steel pool installationStainless steel pools are extremely durable and resistant to corrosion, making them ideal for harsh climates or saltwater systems. They are lightweight yet strong, suitable for elevated or rooftop installations, and often offer faster installation than concrete pools. Their sleek, modern appearance is also a plus, but they offer limited customizations in shape and size, and their surface can heat up in direct sunlight.

Stainless steel pools are on the higher end of the cost spectrum, primarily due to the material costs. They are particularly suited for specialized applications, like rooftop pools, where their strength and lightweight characteristics are essential. The durability and corrosion resistance of stainless steel can make it a worthwhile investment in specific scenarios.

The timeline for installing a stainless steel pool can vary but is often quicker than concrete pools. Since many components are pre-fabricated, the assembly and installation can be faster. However, the timeline can be influenced by the complexity of the project, especially in custom or specialized installations.

josh parker pax pools

Josh Parker is the co-founder and CEO of PAX Pools.

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