Custom Inground Pools & Spas: Choosing The Right Pool For You

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Choosing The Right Pool For You

When considering building a new swimming pool, there is no shortage of options. You can spend over $50,000 building your perfect backyard retreat, or $2,000 on an above ground eyesore. The important thing is to pick a pool that that is within your budget at the time you build it, and has maintenance costs that are similarly within your budget.

Types of pools

Above ground – Above ground pools are popular because of the greatly reduced costs, but are generally not very durable and can spontaneously bust, flooding your backyard with hundreds of gallons of chlorinated water. They are also generally not very attractive. On the plus side, it is harder for small children to fall into the pool as they are generally at last 3-4 feet above the ground.

Best for- low budget installations

Vinyl Pools – Inground Vinyl pools are definitely more attractive than above ground pools, but are more expensive. They are numerous liner patterns and colors, which can add a more customized look to your pool. This type of pool is traditionally rectangular, but other shapes are possible. Significant excavation is usually required, and the ground under the pool liner is generally lined with sand so the pool liner has a smooth surface on which to rest. Vinyl-specific coping (the edge of the pool) and decking (the “deck” area that surrounds the pool are used. All openings are sealed to prevent leakage and the area surrounding the pool is prepared to support the pool. Vinyl pools typically do not last as long as concrete pools and have greater maintenance costs, but are a good choice for people who are concerned with upfront costs

Best for- reasonably aesthetically pleasing installations where upfront cost is a big concern

Concrete pools (Gunnite and Shotcrete)- The best, most beautiful pools are made with sprayed concrete. One of the materials used is Shotcrete. Shotcrete is concrete conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto the pool surface. The other commonly used material is Gunnite. Gunnite is a dry cement mixture blown through a hose to the nozzle, where the water is injected immediately prior to application. Shotcrete is a wet-mix process, where as Gunnite is a dry mix process. From a homeowners perspective, either material is probably fine, though the pool building company you use will probably have a preferred material.

Concrete pools can be customized to exactly what you want. Waterfalls, natural looking rock, and other features are possible with concrete pools. Gunnite and Shotcrete pools are finished with pool plaster, which is available in a variety of colors. Diamondbrite and Pebble Tec are the two most common pool plastering materials in use, and come in dozens of possible finishes. Concrete pools are infinitely customizable and the most durable building method.

Best for- aesthetically pleasing installations where long term maintenance of the pool is a concern. Most customizable after installation (If you want to add features or change colors later).

About The Author
Tracy Avalos is a partner with Bella Pool Plastering and Renovations in Oklahoma. She can be reached at:

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