With summer underway in the northern hemisphere, it becomes uncomfortable moving around in many places because of the heat. Hot days can make you feel dehydrated, which is why so many people prefer to stay indoors to keep cool. But what better way to chill out at home than in your own swimming pool!
A swimming pool in your own garden not only allows you to keep cool through the summer months but provides a great location to host parties or just spend time with the family. Let’s have a look at the types of pools and landscaping that exist so that you can choose the most suitable one for your budget and keep summer at arm’s length.
Above or below ground
Above-ground pools are the cheapest option, and they can be made to look nice with timber decking around them. They are a great option for a handyman who may be able to do the installation himself and build the decking around it. The decking can serve an additional purpose of hiding the pool pumps and filtration equipment.
They can also be partially sunk into the ground but this requires more work to prepare a foundation bed. And moving an above-ground pool that has been sunk into the ground can be very difficult.
The other significant advantage of above-ground pools is that they can be dismantled and taken with you when families move house. But be careful to ensure that house buyers in that circumstance fully understand that what you are selling doesn’t include the pool.
Above-ground pools are really the only option for rented properties because few landlords will permit the installation of in-ground pools unless you are on a long term lease and you are prepared to forego the depreciated value of the pool when you eventually move.
Most above-ground pools have a frame that is made of metal, timber or strong plastic into which a thick vinyl liner is placed. A good quality liner should last up to ten years whilst the frame should last twice that long, allowing for one liner replacement during the life of the pool.
Below-ground pools, or in-ground as they are more often called, are more permanent and involve excavating the ground and placing reinforced concrete or a preformed fiberglass pool into the hole in the ground. It is also possible to use vinyl liners on in-ground pools.
This type of pool requires low maintenance, is highly durable, easily manufactured and installed, is attractive and has compatibility with a salt water filtration system. The pool requires low maintenance as the surface does not attract algae and the pool stays fresh for a longer period of time.
Usage of harsh chemicals is not required. It can be installed within 2 to 3 days as the fiberglass pool is made outside and then set up is done at the site. The shine that the water produces makes it look very attractive to the eyes. That happens because of the gelcoat surface.
However, despite all the advantages of fiberglass pools, there are some disadvantages. If you live a long way from the factory that produces the pools, the transportation costs can make the initial cost quite high. That is especially the case for larger size pools.
Also the shape of fiberglass pools is not capable of being customized. They come with the pre-determined specifications for the dimensions and customers are bound to choose from the available options. Most fiberglass pools are no more than six feet deep which limits their suitability for diving.
These pools are highly durable. Compared to fiberglass pools, the finishing is tough and there is no fear of the pool getting damaged from the use of sharp objects in the pool. Concrete pools will generally outlast fiberglass pools but will require acid washing and refinishing every 10-15 years, so the long term maintenance costs are higher.
The main reason that people install concrete pools is that they can be customized to the site. If the homeowner wants a very long lap pool, or an infinity pool built on a steeply sloping site, or one that is an unusual shape, then the only option is a concrete pool.
The disadvantages of concrete pools are that they have higher maintenance costs because it is easier for algae to develop on concrete surfaces (even if tiled), the surface may be rough to the touch (unless tiled) and the installation time is measured in months rather than days.
Tiling helps to overcome some of those disadvantages, and will lengthen the time between refinishes, but tiling a concrete pool makes it very much more expensive than the fiberglass option.
Vinyl liner Pools
Another category of in-ground pool is the vinyl liner pool, which overcomes one disadvantage of the fiberglass pool in that the shape is more customizable. It is also relatively easier to keep clean compared to concrete pools and the initial cost outlay is less than both fiberglass and concrete pools.
The vinyl liners are supposed to last for 9 to 10 years, but many pool owners have found it necessary to replace after five years. It costs on average about $4000 to replace so over a ten year period there is not a lot of difference between fiberglass pools and vinyl liner pools.
However, if budget is limited and you know in advance that you will not be living at the place where the pool is to be installed for more than five years, then a vinyl liner pool may be the best option.
Hopefully, these observations about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of pools will help you to make the right choice. Generally speaking, if the pool is of a small to medium size and you can find a supplier near to where you live that has a depth and shape in fiberglass that you like, then that will be your best option.
But if you have special requirements like an especially long or deep pool or a difficult site on which to build, then probably reinforced concrete will be the way to go despite the higher maintenance costs. And of course, if you want to take your pool with you, an above-ground pool is the only option.
Whatever your ultimate choice in pool type turns out to be, read our guide to conserving water in your pool because if you have to keep topping up the pool water during the summer months, not only will your water bill be higher, but you will need more chemicals to keep the water clean.