This summer, you picture yourself relaxing on a chaise lounge, beverage in hand, blue skies above and the murmur of water swirling in your pool. Is that a bird chirping in the distance? Nope - just a neighborhood child, and in a flash you're snapped out of your daydream and thrust back into the present - complete with a squalid backyard marred by unsightly crabgrass and weeds.
If you've decided to turn your dreams into reality and create your own private backyard sanctuary, you'll need to know your options.
There are three main types of in-ground pools: concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. The perfect pool for you will depend on several factors, including budget, climate, and the topography of your backyard.
The most popular choice for in-ground pools, concrete is also the strongest and most durable type of pool. They are often called gunite or shotcrete pools, named for the process by which they are built. Concrete is shot from a gun onto steel-reinforced walls and then covered with tile, plastered, painted or covered with an aggregate surface. In some instances concrete is poured - similar to the process used to create a home's foundation. This method, called structural concrete, is common for pools built into hillsides.
In addition to its strength and durability, another advantage of concrete pools is they can be customized to almost any size, shape, or design. The ability to customize gives concrete the edge over other pools in terms of design.
Concrete pools take the longest to build - from three to twelve weeks. They are also generally the most expensive option.
To create a vinyl-lined pool, professionals attach a preformed, flexible liner to a reinforced wall frame made of steel, aluminum, non-corrosive polymer, wood, or concrete.
Most vinyl pools are rectangular, but can also be L-shaped or a free-form shape.
An indoor-outdoor pool is also an option.
If your pool will be used by children or for sports activities, be aware that pool toys, pets and sharp objects can puncture the liner. While a liner can be repaired, if you anticipate heavy wear and tear, you may want to consider a concrete or fiberglass pool.
The flexibility of the vinyl liner makes it a good choice for cold climates in that they can easily be drained and covered in the winter.
Vinyl pools are less expensive than concrete or fiberglass pools, but are also less durable. Depending on the amount of usage and the climate where you live, the vinyl liners will have to be replaced an average of every ten years. Construction time is usually one to three weeks.
A fiberglass pool is a factory-molded, one-piece shell that is covered with a gel coat and set into an excavated area in your backyard. Imagine a giant bathtub installed under the ground, and you get the picture. Because they are delivered as a single piece, the installation time is typically less than either concrete or vinyl pools, ranging from a few days to two weeks.
Fiberglass pools have several advantages, including their durability and stain resistance. They are also nonporous, need fewer chemicals, and have the ability to absorb shock and flex up to two feet. This shock absorption quality makes fiberglass pools a good option in earthquake prone areas, and the flexibility makes them a good choice for cold climates where winter freeze/thaw cycles can damage concrete.
On the downside, fiberglass pools are offered in fewer shapes and sizes than either concrete or vinyl pools.
Although the vast majority of in-ground pools installed in the United States are concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass, in some areas of the country you can find steel and aluminum options as well. A swimming pool contractor can explain the different options in more detail and help you select the pool most suitable for your backyard. Find professional swimming pool contractors in your area on Kudzu.com, and get started on your in-ground pool project today.
This infinity pool is truly stunning.
Pool owners have so many options to customize. Infinity pools, or vanishing-edge pools, are gorgeous. Waterfalls, slides, grottos and hot tubs can also turn a yard into a personal paradise.
Keep in mind you can also install a salt water pool. Read more about that option here.
In addition to the cost of the actual pool, you'll need to include the cost of chemicals, filtration systems, and fencing in your budget. Additional pool options include heaters, lighting, and landscaping - all of which can quickly drive up your total expenditures. It may come as a shock to hear that some experts advise doubling the cost of the pool when planning your total budget. Finally, factor in pool maintenance costs. Even if you decide to perform the maintenance yourself, you will need to buy chemicals, replacement equipment, and filters.