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Above Ground Pools Vs. In Ground Pools

Above ground or installed in ground - which type of pool is right for you?

Above Ground

Generally speaking, above ground pools tend to be less expensive than in ground pools. Since they are pretty easy to take down, above ground pools don't require a long-term commitment out of you. The quality of above ground pools has also improved dramatically over the years, which means you now have more sizes and shapes to choose from than ever before. If you like, a deck can easily be installed around the pool to help make it more welcoming.

Above ground pools are normally made out of aluminum, steel or resin siding. Since they usually require less space than in ground pools, an above ground pool is a great solution for smaller backyards.

Do It Yourself Pools
Though most people have their pools installed by professionals, above ground structures are made from prefabricated swimming pool kits that can be assembled by an amateur so there's always the option of doing it yourself.

How To Build A Pool
The first step in installing an above ground pool is to level off the ground where the pool is going to go. A track is assembled to support the pool's outer wall, sand is laid down in the pool area and the plumbing is installed. A vinyl liner is then attached to the outer wall, the pool is filled and the liner is smoothed over and fastened into place. The final step is hooking up the pump and filtration system. It's as easy as that.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Above Ground Pools
The durability and aesthetic value of above ground pools can be a problem for some people, but for people on a tight budget they are a great option. The best part about these structures is that they're portable. If you move, you can take your above ground pool with you and if you get sick of the space it's taking up in your yard, you can sell it or give it to a friend.

In Ground Pools

There are four main types of in ground pools:

  • vinyl-lined
  • fiberglass
  • concrete
  • gunite

Depth Options
In ground pools are more expensive than above ground pools, but they can add permanent value to a home so they can be a great investment. In ground pools can be built to different depths depending on whether the purchaser is more interested in wading and playing volleyball in shallow water, or diving and swimming laps in a deeper structure.

Vinyl-Lined Pools
One of the simplest types of in ground pools to build, a vinyl-lined pool is somewhat similar to an above ground pool, at least structually. To install this type of pool, your contractor will dig out a large hole in your backyard. A frame is then constructed around the border of the hole before a layer of sand is placed in the bottom. Finally, the vinyl-liner is secured to the frame. This type of pool can take anywhere between one and three weeks to build.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl-Lined Pools
If you live in a colder climate, then a vinyl-lined pool is probably your dream pool. When winter rolls around, the only thing you need to do when the temperatures start to dip is drain the pool and then cover it. Becauase of its simple construction, this pool is usually to the cheapest to build. However, it may also be somewhat less durable than other types of in ground pools. The biggest maintenance cost you will encounter with a vinyl-lined pool is replacing the liner, which needs to be done about every 10 years.

Fiberglass Pools
The shell for a fiberglass pool is built before the pool arrives at your home. In fact, the pool itself is constructed in a factory and is delivered to your home in one piece. But before it is installed, the ground needs to be dug out, plumbing needs to be laid and sand needs to be poured into the bottom of the pool hole. Then the pool, which will most likely look somewhat like a bathtub, will be lowered into the hole. To finish things off, the pool is leveled before being connected to the plumbing. Fibreglass pools can be built within two weeks.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fiberglass Pools
Although the intial cost of a fiberglass pool can be expensive, these pools incur fewer maintenance costs over the years. They do not have a liner that needs to be replaced after a few years and they generally don't need as many chemicals as concrete pools do to keep the water clean. Fiberglass also has the ability to flex and absorb shock so people who live in areas that are prone to earthquakes may benefit from investing in a fiberglass pool.

Concrete Pools
One of the most durable types of pools there is, a concrete pool is also one of the most difficult and time-consuming types of pools to build. However, these pools can be customized by painting the concrete in the color of your choice or using pebbles or plaster to add a unique touch. Additionally, the pool can be custom-built to your backyards specifications, ensuring that the pool fits your particular needs.

The process begins with the excavation of the site. The plumbing is installed and a framework grid of rebar is assembled and put in place in the ground. Concrete is then poured into conventional wooden forms around the rebar. Tile and coping are then installed followed by the installation of the interior finish.

Gunite Pools
Gunite and concrete pools are constructed in a similar fashion, but since the gunite method has become more well-known, traditional concrete pools have become much less popular.

Gunite pools start with the same process as their concrete cousins, but after the framework grid of rebar is laid in the ground, a thick coating of gunite, a mixture of cement and sand mixed with water to produce a wet concrete material, is sprayed around the rebar. The gunite is smoothed with trowels and then the pool sits for about a week before a smooth finish is applied. Gunite pools can be finished with tile, plaster, paint, aggregate or fiberglass.

Pros and Cons of Concrete and Gunite Pools
Concrete and gunite pools typically take about 12 weeks to construct but they can cost less than a fiberglass swimming pool. If you live in a climate with extremely high temperatures, then a concrete or gunite pool is probably your best bet. Although they can take a long time to complete, the durability and strength of concrete and gunite pools make up for the wait.

Hammer Need more information concerning pools? Head over to our Pools forum and talk to others about your DIY project!