So you are thinking of installing a swimming pool at home? If you’ve never bought or built a pool before, then you need to know there are a lot of factors that have to be taken into consideration. Unless you are only thinking of a kiddies’ pool, this is likely to be a big investment, so an understanding of all the options involved will help to avoid mistakes.
The main factors that have to be considered are the type of construction material to be used, the water type (chlorinated or salt), the type of pool pumps and water filters that are suited to each style of pool, and the cleaning accessories that will need to be purchased for the daily maintenance.
Knowing the type of pool to buy or build is the first step in a series of important decisions that new pool owners have to make.
But first, we need to understand that swimming pools come in many different shapes, sizes, designs, and types. Local codes, lot size, material availability as well as budget are some of the factors that affect the kind of swimming pool that are options for your property. It is therefore important to know the type of swimming pool that will be most appropriate for your family as this is the very first decision that has to be made.
Above ground pool
This type of pool is the cheapest option and is what many families start with before progressing to something that costs more. Most of these pools have a metal or plastic frame and a heavy-duty vinyl liner. Larger and deeper above ground pools will have an expandable liner, but these are more costly. An above ground pool liner should last at least five years before it needs to be replaced, but if it’s not in full sun all day, and is looked after, it can last up to 10 years.
An above ground pool provides the opportunity for a family to determine whether it can handle the maintenance involved in looking after a pool and whether the family uses it often enough to justify the cost. If after five years, the pool is still being regularly used and the family has not tired of the maintenance involved, then moving up to a more permanent type of pool can be considered.
An inground pool comes in many different types, some of which are described below. But the important thing to know about an inground pool is that installation is not something that can be handled by the average handyman – it’s a job for specialist pool builders, so is going to cost at least two to three times the equivalent sized above ground pool.
However, inground pools add a lot more value to a property that above ground pools, and then lend themselves to landscaping much better than above ground pools. In fact, many would say that above ground pools are ugly. Few people would make the same comment about a nicely landscaped inground pool.
This is the name that is given to pools that are built at the same time as a house and are designed to complement the lines of the house. Often the finishing materials around the pool are selected to complement materials used on the house so as to provide a cohesive look. But the term can also be used to describe standard pool designs supplied by professional pool builders, who can adjust finishing materials to match the house.
Architectural pools are often kidney-shaped, oval or oblong depending on the space available to install the pool, and are usually made from poured reinforced concrete or preformed fiberglass that is dropped into a hole with a crane. The concrete pool can have a variety of finishes but are most often a combination of waterproof paint and mosaic tiles.
This is a pool that is primarily constructed and used for health and fitness reasons. They are usually narrow and long and can be up to 25 meters in length if the site has that much space available. A lap pool is rectangular in shape and is best suited for narrow and long lots.
Lap pools may be designed for one, two or three people to swim in parallel lanes. Their design is usually simpler than architectural pools so are generally slightly cheaper to build.
These are also referred to as infinity edge pools, disappearing edge, zero edges, negative edge, or vanishing edge. They are custom built and are often designed so as to highlight a given view. This type of pool can give a sheet of water illusion dropping over an edge of the property.
Infinity swimming pools are great for elevated and sloping sites, but cost a lot more to build.
Infinity pools are generally more expensive to build because they are usually installed on sloping sites and required more plumbing fixtures and higher capacity pumps to circulate the water in the case of designs that have a sheet of water falling over the infinity edge.
This is a term that is simply a variation on the architectural pool. It means a pool that is primarily designed for recreation and is supplied with items like water slides, shade cover or tunnels, and caves built into the design. It’s most often what families with children are looking for and costs no more than an architectural pool of the same size, aside from the additional cost of the extra features.
This term is self-explanatory and can be any of the types of pools described above. The pool is located inside or immediately adjacent to the house with a roof above. It is more suited to cooler climates because it can be insulated and protected from the weather by three walls.
Indoor swimming pools are an excellent option for cooler climates and enable swimming all year round
Indoor pools can also be fully enclosed or have sliding windows at one end. Heating indoor pools cost less than that of outdoor pools since there is already insulation in place. Indoor pools retain heat better than the outdoor option in cooler climates but may become too hot in warmer climates.
This is often referred to as swimming ponds because that is essentially what it is – a pond rather than a pool. These are pools that self-clean and combine the swimming area with a water garden. They don’t use chlorinated or salt water and rely on the water plants to keep the water clean. They can be very tricky to maintain and are best for large properties and where the pool is used infrequently.
Plunge pools are usually small. They are generally filled with cold water and are designed for therapeutic use rather than swimming. Dropping into a cold plunge pool after a sauna or hot shower is supposed to stimulate the blood flow. They are also ideal for small properties where space is limited, and the family simply wants somewhere to cool off during the summer months.