Types of Inground Pools
Packaged pools consist of components, including wall panels, braces, steps and a vinyl liner, that are assembled together to create a pool. The two most popular materials for these components are steel and polymer. Packaged pools are typically “engineered”, meaning they are designed and produced to predefined standards in a controlled factory environment. All components are designed to fit together. Steel packaged pools are generally less expensive than polymer pools; although, other factors, such as decking and extra accessories, can add to the overall cost.
- Pros — Easy to maintain; less expensive; variety of liner patterns available and soft to the touch; engineered to standards; repairs are typically quick and inexpensive; many shapes and design options available.
- Cons — Liner eventually needs to be replaced.
Gunite or concrete pools are popular in the sunbelt states, the southwest and California, where the freezing and thawing cycles of the Northeast and Midwest are less of an issue. They are often used in commercial applications, such as hotel pools. Installation of a gunite pool can take several months. The land is excavated, and forms or rebar are brought in to shape the pool. Then the gunite material — a mixture of cement and sand — is poured into the forms or sprayed onto the rebar. The interior of the pool can be finished with plaster, polished marble, glass bead, painting or tile.
- Pros — Flexibility of design options; can be built in any shape; high-end look.
- Cons — Textured surfaces can be uncomfortable and abrasive; typically most expensive type of pool; lengthy construction time; very expensive to repair; surface can attract algae and bacteria, and can discolor.
Fiberglass pools are one-piece shells that can be “dropped in” to your yard in a very short period of time. Fiberglass pools come in a variety of shapes and colors, and many feature integrated tile or floor patterns.
- Pros — Quick and simple installation, variety of shapes and styles.
- Cons — Higher cost; very little structural support around the pool to hold up decking; can shift or heave in the ground in extreme wet or frost conditions.