If you’re thinking of getting a swimming pool, but aren’t sure which type of swimming pool to choose, you’ve come to the right place. Purchasing a pool of any kind is a big decision. There is a lot of cost and labor involved with setting up a new pool, so you don’t want to end up with regrets. Here we’ll discuss the options available and help you decide which one is the best for you.
When choosing a swimming pool, there are a few things to consider. Some people want an easy-to-install pool that will get them through one summer, while others want a durable fixture that will remain in place for many years to come. Do you want a pool to play in, or one to exercise in? How many people will use the pool during a typical swim session? Are you aware of the time and expense involved with maintaining water chemistry and equipment components? Your answers will help steer you in the right direction as to which pool is best for you.
There are three basic types of swimming pools. Within each category, there are size and material variations that will affect price.
Onground – Onground pools are your most affordable option. During the summer, you’ll see these pools at almost every store. They come in a box, and are usually called blow-up or inflatable pools, or soft-sided pools. They are easy to set up and tear down, so if you don’t like leaving the pool up year-round, an onground pool is a great option for you.
Those in the pool industry like to refer to onground pools as ‘starter pools’ because they help consumers get a taste of what it is like to own one. Many people move up to a more permanent model, such as above ground or inground pool after owning an onground pool because of size limitations. Onground pools are not very deep, typically 4′, and most are round in shape.
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a pool, the onground pool is your best choice. The entire set up will cost just a few hundred dollars, and water maintenance costs are minimal. One issue with these types of pools, however, is algae. This is due to the fact that onground pools have poor circulation, and carry heat due to their small size. Also, these pools cannot be used with decking or stairs, and fencing cannot be installed for safety.
Above ground – Above ground pools are much more durable than onground pools, but don’t carry the same cost as an inground pool. These types of pools are available in round, oval, and rectangle shapes, and work beautifully for both play and exercise. They can be enhanced with decking or fencing, and can be made to look like a permanent fixture.
Pricing will depend on the size of the pool, and the material it is constructed of. Starting price is around $4,000 and can go upwards of $10,000. These types of pools can be made of steel, aluminum, or resin, and are rust-resistant to provide many years of enjoyment. The operating equipment, such as the pump, filter system, and so on, is more powerful than an onground pool, and will help keep water circulating and clean (with proper chemical treatment).
It is not safe to use a diving board with an above ground pool. If you want a pool to jump or dive in, your only option is an inground pool. There are some slide options, however, that will be suitable for above ground pool usage.
Inground – Building in an inground pool is the ultimate in play, exercise, and family fun. You have unlimited options in regards to size, depth, slides, dives, decking, fencing, and play accessories. Inground pools are not cheap, but they will provide your family with endless summers of fun.
The type of inground pool you choose will greatly determine cost. The materials you’ll need to choose from include:
Vinyl – Vinyl pools are the most affordable type of inground pools, and use a vinyl liner to create a smooth bottom finish. The downfall to pools with a vinyl liner is that, eventually, the liner will rip or tear and need to be repaired, or even replaced. Price for these pools can range between $ 20,000 – $ 40,000, with professional installation.
Fiberglass – Fiberglass pools are precast shells that are set into the ground, and closed in with decking and/or concrete. These pools are more durable than a vinyl pool, but are limited on size because the models are precast. Fiberglass pools are made in a factory, and delivered on trucks to your home. You cannot customize a fiberglass pool, and they do not come larger than 18′ in width. Price for fiberglass pools can range between $ 30,000 – $ 50,000, with professional installation.
Gunite – Gunite, or concrete pools, are the most durable inground pool around. With proper care, a gunite pool will last forever. If you’ve ever been to a public pool that has a rough bottom surface, you’ve been swimming inside a gunite pool. The downfall to these pools is that they can crack when the earth shifts or settles, but can be repaired by draining and resealing the pool surface. Price for gunite pools ranges greatly, as they are customizable in every way. Depth, width, length, shape….the sky is the limit, and so is price.
And remember, when trying to decide on pool size – A good rule of thumb is to allow 15 square feet of water surface for each bather. This is good advice regardless of which type of pool you decide on.
More from Jennifer Wagner:
Choosing a Pool Filter System That’s Right for You
Swimming pool opening tips
Must-have pool closing accessories
Source: Professional experience