What you need to know about In-Ground Pools
Types of In-Ground Pools
There are three standard types of in-ground pools to consider when deciding on your backyard makeover; Fiberglass, Concrete and Vinyl Liner. While each pool has its advantages and disadvantages you may find that one type will do better in suiting your budget or style aesthetics over the other.
Popularity of fiberglass pools is booming due to their low maintenance, quick installation and variety of shapes and styles. These pools are manufactured in a factory and then shipped to your home on a flatbed truck.
- Shape/Size: Fiberglass pools come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes ranging from 16 foot plunge pools for smaller yards to a 40 foot full length pool. While fiberglass offers a wide range of lengths, the width is limited to a maximum of 16 feet due to shipping regulations. Because fiberglass pools are manufactured in a factory from molds you are limited to the shapes and sizes offered by the manufacturer. At East Coast Leisure we carry two manufacturers of Fiberglass pools, Leisure Pools and Alaglas Pools to offer a wide variety of shapes giving more options for both freeform and geometric styles.
- Features: Fiberglass pools are made into a rigid shell that can incorporate features like steps, benches and tanning ledges/splash pads into the design of the pool. Texture is often added to the surface of steps to provide a non slip safety feature. Some fiberglass pools even include built in spas with spillover water features. Rockwork and tile can easily be added to the pool to customize both inside and around the perimeter.
- Installation: It typically takes 3-4 weeks to install a fiberglass pool which includes the dig, allowing the pool to settle and then adding the concrete. Although relatively easy and quick, because the pool comes in one piece you must also consider whether or not the pool can get into the back yard. Will it require a crane to lift it over the house or is the yard accessible by truck. The heavy equipment involved also increases the risk of damage to existing concrete driveways. These are all expenses that need to be considered as well.
- Maintenance: Fiberglass pools are factory treated with a high-tech gel coat that provides a smooth non porous surface that inhibits algae growth, thus lowering the maintenance and chemical requirements. The shell is rigid enough to not require any metal supports with are susceptible to corrosion but still offer a small amount of flexibility to prevent cracking from shifting ground.
- Initial Cost: Fiberglass pools run an average of $5k more than vinyl liner pools.
- Annual Cost: Requiring less chemicals due to the algae inhibiting surface it will cost less to maintain your summer swim season. A typical fiberglass pool will average $300 per year*.
- Lifetime Cost: Fiberglass pools do not require any resurfacing or replacement liners making your one time purchase just that.
Gunite / Concrete
Most people when they think of a swimming pool think of a concrete, now called a Gunite pool. For decades this has been the staple of the “Concrete Pond” popularized by Jed Clampett in the TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies”. The icons that were once meer rectangles but can now built into fanciful shapes or a dream oasis popularized on home improvement networks with TV shows of their own.
- Shape/Size: With Gunite, also known as concrete pools the sky’s the limit, in fact the largest pool in the world is a concrete pool that is 1 kilometer long and holds 250,00 cubic meters of water. While a bit much for the average homeowner, it goes without saying that anything is possible. The length and width as well as the shape is limited only to your pool builders skill, imagination and the space available. Incorporating sun ledges, multiple levels of steps and benches is a matter of building it into the design of the pool. But with all that possibility comes a sometimes hefty price tag.
- Features: Seamless in-pool features like benches, multiple steps, waterfalls and rock work in and alongside the pool. Incorporating a beach entry or vanishing edge are also among the many possibilities.
- Installation: Building a custom gunite pool is accomplished by digging the site and then building a rebar structure to form the shape and features before spraying in the concrete. This process is labor intensive and can take anywhere from 2-4 months possibly longer for more intricate designs.
- Maintenance: Concrete or Gunite is made of a porous material and as such will need more in maintenance. The surface will harbor more algae and need to be scrubbed often and use considerably more amounts of chemicals to treat in order to inhibit algae and bacteria growth.
- Initial Cost: $40-$60K*
- Annual Cost: A typical Concrete pool will average $500+ per year* to maintain.
- Lifetime Cost: These pools will need to be resurfaced and retiled every 10-20 years which can range from $5K -$20K depending on size and extent of degradation.
The Vinyl liner pool has had both a good and a bad reputation in the pool world, while its versatility and construction make pool ownership affordable to the average homeowner, some homebuyers have steered away from purchasing homes with vinyl liner pools with the thought of having to replace a liner. Either way you see it vinyl liner pool technology is advancing and more options are available to give even the most savvy homeowner a pool to be proud of.
- Shape/Size: Vinyl liner pools are constructed by a series of straight and curved panels configured to meet the homeowners desired shape and size. The liner is measured our, cut and seamed together to fit the pool and attached along the perimeter. While not able to achieve World’s Largest pool status the vinyl liner pool is able to achieve a wide range of sizes to suit any homeowner’s needs.
- Features: Typical vinyl liner pool interiors consist simply of the slope to the desired Depth of the pool, starting at the depth of the smallest wall panel (average of 3’ 4”) and can go as deep as you want. While modular steps are available to incorporate into the interior of the pool most Vinyl liner pools use a thermoplastic or Fiberglass step that is attached to the outside perimeter of the pool and is made of either white or blue material.Just like the steps, a variety of add-on features can be built into the perimeter like benches, tanning ledges and and ladders. The liners come in a wide range of patterns to choose from and when time to replace you have the option for a new look with a new liner.
- Installation: From dig, assembly and liner installation to concrete the process can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks.
- Maintenance: Made from a non-porous vinyl, the liner is less prone to algae growth which will reduce the average cost of maintenance and chemical use. While the liners are durable, care will be needed with sharp objects, toys and pets to avoid rips and tears as the liners are typically 20-30ml thick.
- Initial Cost: The most economical of the inground pool options, a typical pool runs $25,000K.
- Annual Cost: A typical Vinyl liner pool will average about $4000 per5 years*.
- Lifetime Cost: The lifespan of a liner is generally 5 years before it will need to be replaced. The average pool liner will run $3-$5k for replacement. The vinyl liners installed by East Coast Leisure are manufactured with bleach resistant inks and UV inhibitors to protect against sun damage, extending the beauty and durability over the life of the liner.
At East Coast Leisure, we are proud to offer fiberglass pools with over 30 years experience in installing and maintaining. For more information on Inground pool please contact one of our Inground Pool specialists at (757) 340-9882 or fill out the contact form below to have one of our specialist contact you within 24 business hours.
*Average pool based on 14’x30’, 15,000 gallon pool.