Choosing a Pool

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own your very own in ground swimming pool?  Are you aware that there are several types of in ground swimming pools available?  How do you decide which type is best for you?  In the world of in ground swimming pools you have some decisions to make.  Where to start?

First you will have to decide if owning an in ground swimming pool is right for you.  Many people who want an in ground swimming pool are those who are either looking for a place to relax throughout the summer, or they are looking for something to enrich the lives of their family as a whole.

Most people are already aware that an in ground swimming pool represents a significant investment and should not be taken lightly.  Regardless of which type of in ground pool you decide on, you will have to put some of your hard earned money into it.  Obviously with that hard earned money in your backyard, you will want your pool to stay the best it can be for many years to come.  This is where the different types of pools come into play.

There are basically three types of in ground pools on the market today, and they are all very different from one another as far as the structure and the building of them go.  To begin lets start with the concrete pools.

Concrete Pool

This is the “high” end pool in the industry.  Likewise you will be paying the “high” end price for it.  This pool is constructed entirely in the backyard.  That being said, it will have no manufacturer warranties with it.  This means if something does go wrong, the cost to repair it will come directly from your pocket.  I am not sure how much you know about concrete but there is an understanding among those who work with it everyday, and that is that concrete will crack and it is just a matter of where it will crack.  Have you ever noticed how a sidewalk is divided into sections.  The lines that run through a sidewalk are put there for a purpose, and that is in an effort to control where the concrete will crack.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Imagine having a brand new pool and suddenly a crack appears at the bottom of it.  Imagine that the crack is deep enough, and now your pool is losing water.  Now what?  You have to have the pool drained and the crack repaired.  Now you have the expenses of having the crack repaired, refilling the pool, re-treating the water with chemicals, and re-heating the water.  On top of all that you now have an area at the bottom of the pool where the repair has been made and is visible to all.  You spent all of that money on your pool to have an eyesore smack dab in the middle of it.

Another thing that I think you should know about concrete is that it is not the most forgiving material.  It is abrasive and never hesitates to remind you of that fact.  Don’t believe me, well skinned knees and elbows don’t lie.

The majority of people that get this type of pool typically get it for the symbol of social status that accompanies it.  In my opinion there is nothing better about this pool than any other type of pool.  In the end you have water in your backyard, you just paid more for it to be there, and you will likely continue to pay for it.  This brings me to the next type of pool on the list.

One Piece Fiber Glass

This is a type of pool that I think is fairly new to the industry.  It is supposedly a quality product that will compliment your backyard quite well.  To me that is a little misleading.  This type of pool is molded in a factory and brought to the location where it will be installed.  This means that the size and shape are predetermined by the manufacturer.  There is not a lot of room for customization, and if your backyard is not suitable for the sizes and shapes that are offered then you don’t get one.  If you can’t get one it will be difficult for it to compliment your backyard won’t it.  Another downside to this aspect is that they are not representative of your personal style.  You might get one and then the next summer, Bob from down the street gets the exact same pool.  As far as them being a quality product, that is up for debate as well.  This type of pool is not exactly structurally sound.  It is not made to support itself.  This becomes apparent during the build when the pool has to be filled at the same rate as it is being backfilled.  This means that the the water level inside the pool has to be the same as the backfill around the pool.  This is to keep the pool from collapsing in on itself or from blowing out.  There is another well known issue with these pools that you should be aware of.  Being that they are a solid impermeable shell, they are capable of floating, and popping out of the ground.  This happens when pressure from water in the ground exceeds that of the pressure in the pool itself.  Typically this is only an issue when the pool is drained for one reason or another.  Manufacturers of this type of pool will argue that there is no reason for draining the pool.  That begs the question, how is someone to do a surface repair under water.  For instance, when fading occurs, or if the shell cracks.  Certainly these types of repairs would need to be done above the water level.  Or what happens when the plumbing fails overnight and your pump continues to run.  You wake up with a flooded backyard and an empty pool, or worse case scenario, you wake up with a flooded backyard and a pool that has popped out of the ground.  Now you have a huge expense you need to make to repair everything.  You can find examples of this by searching the internet.  So what type of pool is left?

Vinyl Liner

Vinyl liner in ground pools are in my opinion the best bang for your buck.  There are a couple types of material that they can be made from to offer the best possible pool for your needs.  In addition to that, they are entirely self supportive.  They do not need to be backfilled and filled with water at the same rate.  Another benefit is that the building material is manufactured in a controlled setting, so most manufacturers will offer several warranties for their products.  This means that if something does fail, it will likely be taken care of at little or no cost to the homeowner.  The fact that they are made up of individual components also means that repairs are often quick and easy.  A huge benefit is that they are entirely customizable.  Regardless of your backyard needs, a pool can be designed to accommodate them.  Do you need a small but elegant pool, or do you need a large unique shape to fill up a huge backyard?  Either way a pool can be designed to fit your needs.  Some might argue that the liner would need to be replaced every few years or so.  This is somewhat true, however if the pool is well taken care of the liner can last anywhere from 7 to 12 years.  In addition to that changing the liner allows the homeowner a chance to change the look of their pool by simply changing the design of the liner.  The liner itself is vinyl, so there is no abrasion associated with it.  Say good bye to skinned knees and elbows.

These are just some of the differences between the three main types of in ground pools.  Obviously you can make your own decision on what is best for you.  However I hope this post sheds some light on the subject.  For more information on vinyl liner in ground pools, or general swimming pool information please feel free to check out the rest of my blog as I have written about just about every topic related to swimming pools.  As always feel free post a question or comment and I will do my very best to address them.

How to get the most out of your vinyl liner in ground swimming pool.

Nothing says class like a beautiful vinyl liner in ground swimming pool in your backyard.  It is a symbol of social standing and not to mention the object of attention from all of your neighbors.  There are a few ways in which your in ground pool can look and depending on what you are willing to spend on it you can achieve a very elegant resort style pool.

The possibilities go on and on.  You can get a basic pool or with a plain white rectangular concrete deck or you can step it up a notch and get a free form pool with elegant curves and a stamped boarder that compliments the rest of the concrete deck.  Really it comes down to what you want in the design of your pool.  The basic rectangle is still nice and certainly serves its purpose but in my opinion they usually lack that certain flare that other styles of pools have.  There are quite a few things that can be done to bring out that aw factor in a pool.

There is the infinity edge that can create the illusion that the pool goes on and on.  If you have an ocean or lake view then the infinity edge can make the pool look as if it is a part of the ocean.  There are also water features such as water falls, deck jets, sheer descents and so on.  These are all things that can add that extra level of aw to your pool.  Another thing that I feel is important to the overall look of the pool is the liner itself.

There are many different patterns available to choose from and with the right one your pool can look phenomenal.  I find that the best looking pools utilize the colors on the liner in their concrete decking.  Most often the concrete is stamped rather than brushed and color can be added to the concrete which gives it a really awesome look.  I also really like the look of a stamped boarder around the perimeter of the pool in a darker color than the rest of the concrete.  This will give some contrast to the overall look of the pool which most people find very aesthetically appealing.  I would caution anyone from getting a solid color liner, unless it is black or a dark grey.  For some reason those two colors seem to look okay, but a solid light blue color for a liner is in my opinion not a very good look.  I have only seen one in my years of pool work but it definitely made an impression that will last a very long time.  I understand that when looking at a small sample it doesn’t look too bad but believe me when the entire interior of the pool is covered in it then you will see that it doesn’t look quite as good.

Lets go back to the concrete for a minute.  Regardless of which style you go with, brushed or stamped, the concrete will have to get sawed up.  This means that someone will come out with a concrete saw and strategically place saw cuts throughout the concrete in an effort to control where it will crack.  You must understand that concrete will almost inevitable crack.  Rather that having a long jagged crack going across the deck the builder will put in the saw cuts so that when it does crack the crack will be in the saw cut and remain hidden.  However this does not always work the way that it is supposed to.  I have seen concrete decks with saw cuts crack elsewhere.  I know that once you see the look of the stamped concrete right after they pour it you will not want to see it sawed up.  Please realize thought that it is for the best.  The concrete can be poured in any shape around the pool.  Typically folks with rectangular pools and white concrete will go with a basic rectangular deck around the pool.  Keep in mind that this is not your only option.  You can get the stamped concrete in whatever color, and form it in any shape around the pool.  This can look really nice but be careful not to add too many curves otherwise you may not like the look of the straight lines of the pool with a lot of curving deck around it.  Most times people will curve the corners and just have it flow in and out toward and away from the pool while maintaining the rectangular look.  On the other hand with a free form pool that already has a lot of curves to it, you could compliment those curves by adding a deck with similar curves.  It is all up to you.  I would suggest researching pools online and find out what you like.  There are many images of finished pools available to reference.

So far I have gone over the liner, concrete, and water features.  Now I want to briefly touch on the different things that can be done as far as automation.  You can have you pool basically run itself.  There are some products available that will allow you to make significant changes to your pool at the touch of the button.  You can adjust the water temperature, or the chlorine level without having to leave the pool area.  There are products that will allow you to operate your pool similarly to the way you operate you air conditioning system in your home.  This option is something that will take your neighbors from the point of envy to the point of drooling.

I know that many people live by the old adage “KISS” or keep it simple stupid.  This basically means that the more you have going on with something the more like it is for something to fail.  For the most part this is true, but with the proper installation and maintenance any of the things I wrote about today will work just fine.  As with anything when it first comes out there will be a few bugs, but rest assured these items have been fine tuned over time to ensure their reliability.

How do pool professionals pour sidewalks around your vinyl liner inground swimming pool?

First of all I am going to assume that they are using  removable cantilever coping forms on the pool.  This type of coping will allow you to have a formed concrete look around the inside perimeter your pool rather than a one piece coping that would result in an aluminum inside edge to your concrete.  So assuming that is in place they will then make sure that the ground around your pool where the concrete will be is free of sod (the top few inches including the grass) loose dirt and is down to virgin soil.  This will prevent the concrete from settling.  If there was loose dirt in the area where they are planning to pour concrete than they would most likely run into an issue where the concrete decking around the pool settles resulting in it ending up lower than you want it.

The concrete should also fall about 1/8″ per foot.  That means that for every foot away from the inside edge of the pool they will want the top of the concrete to be 1/8″ lower than the top of the coping.  So for example if on one side of the pool you want the concrete deck to be 4′ wide then the outside edge of the concrete should be 1/2″ lower than the top of the coping.  The reason for this is to ensure that any rain water that lands on the deck will flow away from the pool rather than into it.  You also want to keep in mind that they will pour the concrete at a minimum of 4″ thick all the way around the pool.

That being said they will also typically want to lay a layer of stone in the area where the concrete will be poured as a base for the concrete to sit on.  So with that layer there they will need to make sure that they have 4″ available and still have the fall you need away from the pool.  The easiest way to do this is to use a transit.  If at this point the pool is still empty and without a liner, they may put the tripod for the transit in the shallow end of the pool, and set it so that it is just higher than the coping.  This will enable them to use only one stick of the story pole rather than two.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal but the longer that pole is the more difficult it is to keep it straight up and down.

Once they get all that set up they will probably use the coping measurement as a reference point.  You might see them put the story pole on the top of the coping and adjust the eye so that they get a solid tone.  This means that the eye is perfectly level with the laser on the tripod.  Next you will see them adjust for the amount of concrete which is four inches.  To do this they will move the eye up on the pole four inches.  From there they can adjust for the fall.  Keep in mind that up is down.  So in an area of the decking that is four feet away from the inside edge of the pool they will move the eye 1/2″ up on the pole.  The level of the ground including the layer of stone will give them a solid tone when setting the story pole on it.  Doing it this way you will easily be able to determine the height of the stone in any given spot.

Next they will form up the concrete deck.  There are a number of ways this is done.  They may use either 2×4’s or forms specifically made for forming concrete.  Once all of these are in place you will see them secure the forms in place and set the height using stakes and nails or screws.  To set the height of the forms they will again use the top of the coping as a reference.  This time however they will not compensate for the thickness of the concrete.  Instead once they get the solid tone on the coping you will see them just adjust for the fall of the concrete at any given point and set the height of the forms at that point to give them a solid tone with the transit.  Once they get it all formed up and set to height they will add rebar to give the concrete additional strength.

They could in fact do this before forming if they wanted, it doesn’t make difference.   It is a good idea and in most places enforced to lay the rebar forming a grid type system creating squares about 2 feet by 2 feet while cutting off the excess that may stick out passed the forms.  When they have the grid system in place they will start tying it all together using specific rebar ties and tiers.  At this point they are ready to pour.  Just before the concrete truck arrives it is a good idea for them to put oil on both the cantilever and concrete forms.  This will make it easier to remove the forms and clean them later.  Depending on how big of an area they are pouring it may require two concrete trucks to do the job.  If this is the case they will determine where they want the cold joint.

There are special tools that are used when pouring concrete including a magnesium float, a steel trowel, and an edger.  these all serve specific purposes that aid in making the concrete look nice.  In addition to those tools you might see them using a bull
float and broom to get to areas that cannot be reached from the outside of the poured area and to give it a nice textured look when They are all said and done.  Another handy tool to have is what we refer to as a  concrete vibrator.  This is used to help remove any air pockets in the concrete which is ideal for around the cantilever forms.  Because these forms will be removed they will want to make sure that there are no voids in the concrete behind them.  If any voids remain then you will definitely be able to see them when they remove the cantilever forms.  When they have the concrete poured out they will go around the edges with the edger to give it a more rounded edge rather than a sharp angle.  You will also see them go around with the magnesium float and smooth out the top of the concrete filling in any voids or really rough patches.  At this time they will have someone using the bull float to get the center of the concrete area that cannot be reached with a regular float.  When they are all finished with the floats it is time to move on to the steel trowel.  This tool gives the concrete a really smooth finish and gets even the tiniest little voids out that they may have missed.  When that is complete they will let it set up a little then go over it with the broom to give it a more textured look and feel.

They will let the concrete set up overnight and by the next day they should be able to remove the forms for cleaning.  They will also want to saw the concrete into sections to control where it will crack.

When it is all sawed up you might see them pressure spraying it to remove left over dust from the cracks and surface.  When doing this they are careful no to get to close to the surface.  The pressure sprayer is powerful enough to remove the surface of the concrete if they get too close. When that is finished you are all set to enjoy your new deck.

I realize that there is a lot of technical mumbo jumbo in this post and that some people may do things a little differently but the point remains the same and you will end up with similar results.  If there are any questions regarding this post please feel free to ask.


Vinyl Liner Inground Swimming Pool Deck Supports

When I started in the field of vinyl liner inground swimming pool construction you can imagine that I had no idea what was going on.  I saw all these parts and pieces and didn’t have the slightest clue as to what they were used for.  I quickly caught on to the process and how things go together to create a beautiful inground pool.  One of the things that routinely got installed were deck supports.  Now the name of the item is also the description and is in my opinion self explanatory.

So I knew that the pools would have some concrete decking around them and that concrete is heavy thus requiring extra support.  I was taught how to assemble the deck supports and how to install them on the pool.  After that I stopped asking questions and it became common practice.  As I have progressed in my career I have learned more about inground pools and all the components that go into making them.  This includes deck supports.  I am still in the inground pool industry, however I no longer build them.  My current position is related to technical support and product specialization.  With this new position I have learned even more than I did while building pools.  I have heard of people saying that they would never use deck supports on a pool.  They say that they would rather back fill around the pool with stone little by little, layer by layer, compacting each layer of material as they go.  They might say that using deck supports around the pool is a bad idea because you don’t want to have something attached to the walls of the pool that is also attached to the concrete deck.  Why? You might ask.  The reason they say that this may not be the best idea, and it really applies to areas of the country where the ground freezes during the winter months, is because when the ground freezes and thaws it expands and contracts.  If the concrete around the pool is attached to the walls via deck supports then when the concrete moves it could possibly move the walls of the pool.  This is true, however if you install the deck support properly it will not be attached to the concrete, so when the ground moves if it moves the concrete a little it will have no effect on the structural integrity of the pool itself.  It will be able to move freely.  The idea of a deck support is to add extra support to to aid the ground in holding up the weight of the concrete.  Unfortunately if you dig a hole and then refill it, you will likely have some level of settling.

The amount that it settles can be offset by the way
you back fill.  If you back fill in layers of stone compacting as you go then you will not get much settling.  On the other hand if you back fill with dirt and don’t compact as you go then you could get a great deal of settling.  If you didn’t have deck supports and back filled with dirt then when the dirt settles it would completely ruin the decking.  Rather than having the deck supports embedded in the concrete you want the concrete to sit on top of the deck support.  What you want to do is have the stone that you lay down as a base for the concrete to be even with the top of the deck supports around the pool.  This will allow the concrete to setup on top of the deck support rather than setting up while encompassing the deck support.  This way if the ground does cause the concrete deck to move it can do so without potentially moving the walls of the pool.  This is something that I did not know while I was a builder, and never thought to ask about.  When you are trained to do something one way by your boss, and it happens to be the way they have done things for years and years, you tend not to question it, and just accept it as the proper way of doing things.  Luckily to my knowledge there have been no incidents of the walls of any of the pools I helped build moving as a result of the deck supports being attached to the concrete decking.  So all that being said, A deck support on a pool can be a very important component of the swimming pool structure depending on how it is installed.  I want to stress that they shouldn’t necessarily be cast to the side as something that is not needed.  As with many things there are certain exceptions to every rule.  If you have read this post and have any questions regarding the information within it please don’t hesitate to ask.

Only Alpha Pool Products – Technological Advanvces

Only Alpha pool products is by far the leader in innovative, technologically advanced in ground vinyl liner swimming pool building materials.  They have successfully taken something that has been done one way for decades and flipped in on end opening the door for the next generation of in ground vinyl liner swimming pools.  Their cutting edge technology coupled with their dedication to customer service and years of experience in the in ground swimming pool industry leaves the competition behind to try and play catch up.  people have been building in ground swimming pools for decades, and they have built them out of a variety of materials.  I want to take the time to go over some of these materials and explain some of the downfalls of such materials.

To begin, Lets look at the old way of building in ground swimming pools out of wood.  Yes that’s not a typographical error, they actually used to build in ground pools out of wood.  In fact if my memory serves me correctly which it usually does there are actually a few builders out there today that still do this.  As a builder myself this is shocking to me.  I mean seriously!  Have you ever seen a piece of wood that has been left outside for a number of years.  Just look at an old wooden fence and how after a number of years it starts to deteriorate.  Some might say, “well the wood being used in the in ground swimming pools is treated lumber so it lasts longer”.  That is all well and good but the fence in my backyard is somewhere around the 15 year old mark and the lumber used to build it was treated and yet it is still falling apart.  The other thing about a fence is that while it is exposed to the elements, it is not sitting in a perpetual state of dampness like a pool sitting in the ground would be.  In my professional opinion, having a wooden structure in the ground as the “backbone” of a pool is a ridiculous notion that should have passed away along with those long ago that thought a wooden in ground pool was a good idea.

Somewhere along the path of technological advancements somebody came along and decided that concrete was the way to go for the structure of in ground swimming pools.  Don’t get me wrong this was a huge step forward from the wooden pool, and is still being used today by hundreds of builders for both residential and commercial purposes.  The only problem with a concrete pool is that concrete will crack at some point.  Think about how every spring the city sends out road crews to fix cracks and potholes in the roads that appeared in a matter of months over the winter.  Or think about how every sidewalk you have ever seen is divided into sections by a worker with a saw.  The reason for that is in an effort to try and control where the sidewalk will crack, and yes i said “where the sidewalk WILL crack”.  Every Concrete workers know that the concrete will eventually crack.  Now what do you suppose will happen if that concrete pool containing a massive volume of water cracks?  You guessed it.  It will probably leak.  Not to mention that it will be an eyesore in the pool for everyone that sees it.  The other thing about a concrete pool is that they have become what people consider to be a high end pool.  After all every movie star or sports figure out in California with a pool has a concrete pool.  That alone is enough to cause the price of a concrete pool to be very high compared to other types of pools.  In addition to the initial high cost of installation, you have to understand that all of the plumbing lines and fittings in the pool are now encased in concrete.  This means if the is ever a problem with one of the lines or fitting you will have to pay someone to come out and break up the concrete to fix it.  That would be a pretty expensive repair.  The last thing I want to say about concrete pools is that once you have it there is very little that can be done in terms of changing the look of it.  In other words you could look at a thirty year old concrete pool and see that it is a thirty year old pool.

I think that at some point someone realized that concrete is not the best solution for everyone.  Considering that the majority of the population in the U.S. that might want a pool are middle class families that actually want to use a pool for recreation rather than to have one to represent their social class standing, there was a need to come up with a way to cut down on cost.  Pools started being made using steel.  This cut down the cost of swimming pools so more people could enjoy them while still offering superior structural integrity compared to that of a wooden pool.  The problem with steel is that it is corrosive.  Over time it will rust and lose some of that structural integrity.  I have seen steel walls that have have holes rusted right through them.  Granted that was on a thirty year old pool.  So if you think about it in those terms the cost is relative to the quality.  Steel is a widely used material for the building of vinyl liner in ground swimming pools.

However Only Alpha Pool Products had taken that to the next level.  They still use the common 14 gauge galvanized steel that has become the cornerstone of steel wall vinyl liner in ground pools, but what they have done is developed a proprietary clear coat that gets put on each panel after the galvanization that actually protects the steel and galvanization by actively repelling water away from the panel.
The other difference that sets their steel panel apart from the rest is their patented “Spert” riveting system.  While other manufacturers use toggle locks which can easily be broken to hold their panels together, Only Alpha Pool Products’ “Spert” technology is a superior way of locking the panel flanges together resulting in an unbreakable bond.

One of the newer types of pools on the scene is what is known as a one piece fiber glass pool.  This type of pool is just that.  It is created by a mold and is all one piece of material that gets put in the ground to give homeowners a pool.  The problem with this type is that the structure is not self supportive.  That means that it has to be back filled at the same rate that it is being filled with water to equalize the pressure of the water in the pool.  Once the pool is finished being built just hope that you don’t ever have to drain it for any reason.  Being that the pool is not self supportive, if it needs to be drained then you will lose that equilibrium of pressure.  If this happens the the pressure of the earth around the pool pushing inward could very well cause the entire structure to collapse in on itself.  In addition to that enormous flaw.  This type of pool is limited to its size and versatility.  You won’t get a lot of options in regards to personal taste and backyard needs.

Only Alpha’s Composite

Finally, my favorite building material is composite material.  Don’t mistake this material for polymer of structural foam because it is far different and far better.  This is a material that is only offered by Only Alpha Pool Products and is the envy of other manufacturers.  This type of material is 100% non-corrosive and as strong as steel.  While polymer or structural foam material is non-corrosive it is greatly lacking in strength.  The reason for that is because Only Alpha Pool Products’ composite material is made of a single sheet of SMC (sheet molding compound) that has been in reinforced with the Fused Fiber Matrix which basically means that there are 8″ to 12″ woven fibers throughout the panel giving it a greater tensile strength than steel.  Structural foam is made from a bunch of little pieces of material that get melted down and injection molded resulting in a large amount of tiny little voids throughout the panels.  In addition to all that Only Alpha Pool Products

Structural Foam Material

panels contain thermosetting properties which means that once the panels are made they won’t bend or warp from heat or cold.

Check out the website at for more information and videos demonstrating the strength of their superior building materials.


Why My Vinyl Liner Pool Is Better Than Other Types Of In-Ground Pools

As you may or may not know, there are several types of in-ground swimming pools available.  Some may see an in-ground swimming pool and think it just another in-ground pool.  The difference in the types of in-ground pools is the materials they are constructed with. Some materials and styles act as indicators of class ranking.  Basically, people look at a gunnite/concrete pools and see them as being the upper echelon of in-ground swimming pools.  This may be due to the fact that they are the most expensive type of in-ground pool on the market.  However, there are two other types of in-ground pools to consider.  One piece fiberglass and vinyl liner pools are becoming more popular in today’s world.  In the following paragraphs, I will offer a closer look at the differences in the three types of in-ground pools and explain why I believe the vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool is the best.

To begin, let’s evaluate the gunnite/concrete pool.  I have already mentioned that this is the most expensive type of in-ground pool on the market.  There are some other things that might make this type of pool less desirable to the average person.  Let’s look at the surface of the pool.  It is porous and the most susceptible to damage caused by water chemistry.  If you didn’t already know, the water in a swimming pool has to be maintained through the use of chemicals in order to keep it clean and safe for swimmers.  This includes the proper levels of pH, chlorine, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, cyanuric acid, and total dissolved solids.  For some, this process is more difficult to do than they may think.  (For more information see my  post “How To Maintain Your Vinyl Liner In Ground Swimming Pool”)  The truth is, pool chemicals on their own are rather harsh and should definitely be kept out of reach of children and pets.  When their levels become unbalanced in a pool, they can have negative effects, especially on gunnite/concrete pools.  Unfortunately, even if you keep your water properly maintained in a gunnite/concrete pool, at some point you will have to have the pool resurfaced at a considerable cost.  This usually occurs between seven and fifteen years.  In addition to that, the pool’s surface is pretty abrasive and will prove to be a common cause of skinned knees, and elbows.  Also, its porous surface is ideal for algae and bacteria growth.  Now, let’s look at the fact that it is made of concrete.  This means that all your plumbing lines for the main drains, skimmers, and returns are encased in concrete.  In the event that you get a leak within one of the lines, you might find yourself having to have the concrete busted up to fix the leak and then have it re-poured again.  With that amount of work, you are looking at a fairly costly project.  Not to mention that the pool will have to be drained and re-filled ($$$).  Concrete also has a tendency to crack.  This is not ideal, and any concrete worker you ask will tell you the same.  This is why sidewalks are cut into sections.  The cuts are made to try to control where the concrete will crack.  Last but not least, the installation process can take months, and because the pools are manufactured on site, they typically have very short if any warranties.

Now, let’s look at the one piece fiberglass in-ground pool.  In my opinion, these have some major drawbacks.  First, they are made from molds, and these molds only come in a small variety of sizes and shapes.  Even the largest pools are at most average in size, and commonly the advertised sizes are not an accurate representation of the actual size of the usable pool.  Another thing about these molds is that they don’t allow the pool to be custom designed to fit your personal tastes and backyard needs.  Going back to water chemistry, if the surface fades or deteriorates it is difficult and expensive to resurface.  A major problem with one piece fiberglass pools is that they are not self supportive and may collapse or buckle if emptied.  I have also seen this type of pool pop out of the ground after a hard rain.  The last thing that you should know is that one piece fiberglass typically come with suspiciously short warranties on some color surfaces, and no warranties against floating or buckling.

Now, let’s look at the vinyl liner in-ground swimming pool.  This type is the easiest and least expensive to repair when needed, because the pool consists of components.  Problems can be more easily isolated and solved without having to go through unnecessary steps to get to them.  A huge benefit is that a quality structure is self supportive.  This means that if installed properly by an experienced pool builder, they will not buckle when emptied.  Also, this type of pool can be custom designed to fit your personal tastes and backyard needs.  Basically, they can be made in any shape, or design that you might want.  With vinyl liner pools, the components are manufactured in a controlled environment and generally have long manufacturer warranties.  Last but not least, there are some added benefits when it comes to the liner.  One is that there are countless liner designs and colors to choose from.  Another is that the liner’s surface is very smooth, making maintenance, and cleaning much easier.  The algae and bacteria that may form has a more difficult time sticking to the smooth surface of the liner, and can easily be brushed away versus gunnite/concrete pools where the rough surface allows the algae and bacteria to dig in and get a firm hold.  The other thing is that the smooth surface is skin friendly, so there won’t be any skinned knees or elbows from the pools surface.  Finally, if the liner ever becomes damaged by chemicals it is more economical to replace rather that having to resurface a gunnite/concrete, or fiberglass pool.  Typically a liner will last anywhere between seven to ten years, but I have replaced twenty year old liners in the past, and with a liner replacement you get the option of changing the liner design which gives the pool a completely new look.

So, there you have it.  A vinyl liner pool offers consumers the high end look of a gunnite/concrete pool without the high end costs, and it is more economically sound when it comes to repairs.  You get more design options, easier maintenance, and a structurally sound build.  The last thing that I would recommend when getting a vinyl liner in-ground pool is to have an in floor cleaning system installed.  With the liner’s smooth surface, and a properly installed in floor cleaning system, you will get a virtually maintenance free pool, inevitably allowing you to spend more time relaxing and enjoying your pool and less time cleaning it.

For more information on vinyl liner swimming pools, please take a look at my other posts.  They cover many pool related questions, ranging from swimming pool safety to how to have your vinyl liner in ground pool clean itself, and many things in between.


in ground swimming pool

Types of In-ground Swimming Pools and Which is the Best

When you think of an in-ground swimming pool, what comes to mind?  Many will imagine the typical concrete/gunite swimming pool that you might find at a hotel.  I would think that to be a common conception of what an in-ground swimming pool is.  The fact is that while a concrete pool may have tended to be the industry standard in years past, it is no longer the only material option available for building an in-ground swimming pool.  Just like everything else in the world, technology has provided consumers with better, more reliable products.  Concrete is still available and used quite a bit, but now there are other types of in-ground swimming pools.  There are one piece fiberglass pools available, and what the industry would call vinyl liner pools.  Although all three are common in the swimming pool industry, there are a few big differences in what they have to offer.  When contemplating what type of pool best suits you, really take the time to look at what the advantages a vinyl liner pool are.  To do this, you need to first understand what the disadvantages of getting a concrete or fiberglass pool are.

To start, let us consider the disadvantages of gunite/concrete pools.  Some people might tell you that a gunite/concrete pool is like the “Cadillac” of the pool industry.  There is a certain element of “class” that comes with this type of pool; a gunite/concrete pool acts as a symbol of social class.  If improving class rank is the only reason someone might want a swimming pool, then they probably wouldn’t care to consider what lies ahead of them with the purchase of their new pool.  For others whom might want to get a pool to have summer fun and bring the family together, you will want to consider long term care and expenses.  While there is some truth to the whole “Cadillac” argument, it is probably with regard to the initial cost of installing the pool and the  A concrete/gunite pool is the most expensive pool in the market, which is why I say that it is a symbol of social class.  In addition to that, the pool would need to be resurfaced every 7 – 10 years at a considerable cost.  Why, you you ask?  The need to resurface is due to the fact that the surface is porous and susceptible to damage by water chemistry, which can be difficult to maintain at times.
 Another thing to consider is that concrete can crack.  If you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who has worked with it.  Have you ever wondered why a side walk or road is cut into sections? That is done in an effort to control where the cracks occur.  Let’s look at the surface in more depth.  It is a rough, abrasive surface that is not really skin friendly or all that easy to clean.  It is the cause of skinned knees, and it has plenty of little groves for bacteria and algae to cling to.  Now, you have expensive repair.  Had enough? Not yet.  Keeping all that in mind, know that the installation process can take months as well.  Being that the pool is manufactured on site it will likely come with very short warranties, if there are any warranties at all.
The next matter to consider is that all in-ground swimming pool installations require

some plumbing.  This plumbing is done using PVC pipes and fittings that are glued together to allow water to flow from the pool to the filter, heater, chlorinator, etc. and back to the pool again.  Now, heaven forbid there every be a leak at one of the fittings around or under the pool.  With a concrete pool, to repair that fitting, the pool would need to be drained, the concrete busted out, the fitting replaced and then the concrete would have to get re-poured.  That would undoubtedly be a fairly
cost of maintenance.

Now lets consider a one piece fiberglass pool.  I have worked with these in the past and I was not all that impressed.  If you look at the size of a one piece fiberglass pool, there are two things that really stand out.  First, even the largest of fiberglass pools are average in size, and that the advertised size of the pool is not a valid representation of the actual usable size of the pool.  The other thing is that although their size may be average they are still big, awkward objects that need to be brought to your house and taken from the front yard to the back yard.  If you have trees in the way, well no worries they can be cut down (sarcasm).  Another thing about these pools is that they can not be custom designed to fit your personal taste or your backyard needs.  Basically, it’s a take it or leave it type of situation. Be aware that the surface is susceptible to fading and deterioration, and be careful when draining a one piece fiberglass pool because the structure is not self supportive and may buckle or collapse under the weight of the surrounding ground pressing inward.

One piece fiberglass pool owners are at risk to spend more money even when the pool is empty. When a pool is full, the water in the pool counteracts the pressure pushing in from the outside.  Additionally, consumers should know that a deep hole in the ground has a tendency to fill with water.  This is not always the case, but more often than not ground water will begin to seep in.  When a pool is full of water, the water inside the pool is heavy enough to hold back any water from the ground underneath.  When emptied, though, the ground water now has a place to go, and moving water is a very strong force.  I have seen the ability of water to pop a one piece fiberglass pool right out of the ground.  You know what that means: $$$.  With all that considered, there is one more thing.  These pools usually come with suspiciously short warranties on some color surfaces, and no warranties against buckling or floating. If you are considering a one piece fiberglass pool, you should also consider the expense of potential repairs.    

Finally, we get to the good stuff:  the advantages of getting a vinyl liner pool.  I have installed these many, many times.  In my opinion they are without a doubt the “best bang for your buck.”  Unlike the one piece fiberglass, a vinyl liner pool can be custom designed to fit personal preferences and backyard needs.  They can easily achieve that high end look of a concrete pool without the high end cost.  Seriously, I have seen some amazing vinyl liner pools.  A huge benefit is that they come with long manufacturer warranties because they are manufactured in a controlled environment (extra piece of mind).  Another positive is that vinyl liner pools are self supportive. No worrying about the pool collapsing if it needs to be drained, which  it will occasionally.  So, why will it need to be drained?  Sun damage is a common factor and, as with all pools, chemicals required to clean and maintain the pools chemistry can be unbalanced and have adverse effects.  Basically, at some point the liner will need to be replaced.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though.  Replacing a liner is more economical than resurfacing other pool types.  Also, the need for a new liner affords homeowners the opportunity to change the look of their pool.
about them unlike a one piece fiberglass pool is that if properly installed they are

There are countless designs and color choices to choose from and replacing an old liner can be like getting a new pool!  The liners are also smooth so they are easy on the skin, and easy to clean.  Last but not least, a vinyl liner pool is the easiest and least expensive to repair.  As stated before, technology has provided consumers with improved products, and it is no different when it comes to swimming pools.  If considering getting a swimming pool, I would strongly recommend getting a vinyl liner rather than purchasing a concrete or fiberglass pool.