As you may or may not know there are a few different types of in ground pools.  In a couple past posts I went into detail about what the differences are between them and what the pros and cons are of each of them.  In one post I pointed out that a vinyl liner in ground pool is in my opinion the best option when deciding on what type of pool to get.  What some might not know is that there are a few different types of vinyl liner in ground pools.  While they all end up looking similar at the end, they start off quite a bit different.  The difference is in the building materials.  Basically a vinyl liner in ground pool is composed of individual wall panels the get bolted together to form the shape of the pool.  It is what the panels are made of that makes the difference.  Today I want to offer some information regarding the different types of material that vinyl liner in ground pool wall panels are made of to give you the opportunity to decide which is best.

I should start by saying that most builders will tell you that anymore there are two basic materials that the in ground vinyl liner pool walls are made of.  They are steel and composite.  What you may not be aware of is that some manufacturers use structural foam to make their pool walls and pass it off as composite material.  Another thing you may not know is that some builders actually use treated wood to make the walls of the pool.  I don’t even want to get into all that because in my opinion that is just silly.  But  before I get too far into structural foam I think we should start with the steel wall.
For years vinyl liner in ground pools have been made using steel wall panels.  Obviously steel is a very strong material that can withstand the weight of the water in the pool and can withstand the weight of the earth around it.  The downside is that it is metal, and metal will rust over time.  We have all seen a car on the road with holes in the metal created by rust.  The same thing happens to steel pool walls.  I have seen some pools that are in pretty bad shape.  Just last summer I replaced a liner in a 30 year old pool.  When I removed the old liner I saw just how extensive the rust damage was.  There were rust holes all over the walls.  Some were to the point where I was able to fit my entire arm through to the other side.
There are some differences in the way that the steel walls are made.  Some manufacturers will use automation to cut and bend the steel into the shape of the panel and some that do not.  With automation you get a more precise outcome with every panel that is made.  Another difference is in the way the different areas of the panel are joined together.  The majority of manufacturers use a clinch or toggle lock system.  Unfortunately these “rivet systems” can be broken fairly easily.
There is one manufacturer that has their own patented “Spert Technology” that they have created to achieve superior strength.  Only Alpha Pool Products has created a system that far surpasses the strength of toggle locks or a clinch system, and not even a man with a sledge hammer can break the hold.  You don’t have to take it from me just check out this video.  Only Alpha Pool Products Steel Abuse Video
    Another thing that manufacturers use to prolong the life of steel is galvanization.  This is a process where the steel is coated with zinc.  Basically the steel is protected from the elements by the zinc which doesn’t allow the steel to break down as quickly.  One manufacturer actually powder coats the steel to prolong its life, but the problem with that is that steel isn’t the best surface to powder coat and the coating tends to chip and flake off thus not providing much protection.  Only Alpha Pool Products has come up with a better solution.
Like other manufacturers they use galvanized steel to make their pool wall panels, but in addition to that they have developed a scratch resistant coating called Alpha Advantage Shield that actually repels water away from the panel.  This works far better than powder coating because the material actually sticks to the panel and being scratch resistant, doesn’t allow moisture to gain access to the steel or even the galvanization.  This process coupled with the galvanization prolongs the life of the panel immensely.
Take a look at this photo to the right.  In a 336 hour salt spray test the steel with the Alpha Advantage Shield yielded only 5% white rust while the standard galvanized steel without the Alpha Advantage Shield yielded a whopping 70%.  While these are some huge leaps forward in steel wall manufacturing there might yet be some skeptics or home owners that just want to have their pool built using non – corrosive materials.  This brings me to the next type of building material… Composites.
Composite material is just that, a non – corrosive material that is available for use in building in ground vinyl liner swimming pools.  As I mentioned previously some manufacturers will use structural foam to make their wall panels and try to pass it off as composite.  However their are some differences in these two types of material.  While other manufacturers use structural foam which is composed of small pieces of material that are heated up and blown into a mold to create the shape of a wall panel, Only Alpha Pool Products uses single solid pieces of SMC (Sheet Molding Compound).  In addition to that their composite panels are made with thermo-setting properties.  This means that once the panel is set, it will not be subject to warping or cracking from temperature changes.
Structural Foam
While the structural foam is smooth and can “look” solid, it is actually filled with tiny little air pockets resulting in a not so strong material.
Only Alpha Pool Products Panel
Only Alpha Pool Products’ wall panels utilize a fused fiber matrix which is comprised of 8 to 12 inch fibers that have been woven throughout the panel giving their panel unparalleled strength.  Check out these videos showing the difference in strength.  Impact test, and Flex Test.  You will be impressed!!!
Today this same type of material is being used in many different ways.  It is used by N.A.S.A for use in space modules.  Boeing uses this type of material for the fuselage of their planes.  The U.S military uses it in their Humvee’s.  Also many sea walls are being replaced with this material.  I also want to add that the true composite material manufactured by Only Alpha Pool Products is the more energy efficient than other types of material.  It is better at keeping the heat in your pool and the cold from the ground out out.  For this reason composite materials like that which Only Alpha Pool Products manufactures are being used for siding on houses as well.
This is just some information that I think is very valuable to have if you are planning to have a vinyl liner in ground pool built.  You may know that there are several different manufacturers of vinyl liner in ground pool building materials, but after reading this you also now know that one of these manufacturers is far more technologically advanced than the rest.  Watch the videos and you will see how their steel panels are superior than those of their competitors.  You will also see how their composite material is far superior to that of other manufacturers.  For more information on Only Alpha Pool Products and what they offer just take a look at the website www.onlyalpha.com you will see that they are way ahead of the game in technological advancements and superior product.

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