Fast Facts About In-Ground Pools
In-ground pools are categorized by the materials used to make them. There are three types of in-ground pools: Fiberglass, Concrete, and Vinyl. Each type requires special maintenance, and each type has different pros and cons to consider.
Let's look at each pool type in a little more detail:
A fiberglass pool is the least expensive type of in-ground pool on the market today, largely due to the fact that a fiberglass pool can be installed quickly as a one-piece unit. In-ground pools made of fiberglass are pre-manufactured in different shapes and sizes. They arrive fully intact—usually delivered by truck and seated with a crane. Installation times range from three to seven days.
Because fiberglass does not change the composition of water—i.e., the pH level of water—a fiberglass in-ground pool requires less chemical treatment, resulting in lower maintenance costs over the long term. Fiberglass pools also are quite resistant to algae, further simplifying cleanup.
Concrete (Gunite) Pools
Concrete pools—considered permanent fixtures with unsurpassed durability—are the most expensive type of in-ground pool. As the name implies, a concrete pool is made from a sprayed concrete mix. During construction, the dry gunned concrete is shot into steel reinforced walls. Cement and sand are mixed together and shot forcefully out of a nozzle. Then the concrete is smoothed out and finished with paint, a synthetic surface, or tile.
Given these processes, concrete pools have longer installation times due to the construction involved. Several weeks of setup are required thanks to the considerable amount of work involved. Yet concrete pools can be updated, enlarged, or remodeled as desired and installed on nearly any terrain using structural concrete.
A concrete in-ground pool lends a huge amount of creativity in design, leading to ever more shapes and styles. It is this full customization that makes a concrete pool more popular, but labor-intensive. Not only does the homeowner have endless choices in the overall look and shape of a pool, the options for interior design and finish are nearly limitless as well. With thousands of colors and textures to choose from, a pool design can be extremely unique.
Vinyl-Lined (PVC) Pools
Vinyl pools have reinforced shells lined with vinyl, making them less labor intensive to install than concrete in-ground pools. Owners have control over many design aspects thanks to a wide variety of colors and designs of the vinyl liner. There also are many different shapes to choose from, including standard kidney-shape, L-shape, or Grecian shape.
The expenses surrounding a vinyl-lined pool vary depending on the amount of excavation required. Vinyl pool installation begins by excavating the ground, and installing a wall system of wood, poured concrete, steel, or polymer. The bottom of the pool often is made of smoothly packed sand. Once the vinyl pool liner is installed, the site is backfilled and the pool can be filled with water.
The rule of thumb is to replace the vinyl liner every 10 years, but the frequency of replacement depends on the location of pool and how often it is used. Repairing tears in the liner requires at least partial drainage of the pool because the area to be patched must be exposed to air to dry and seal.
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