Deciding on whether to have a backyard pool or not is a big decision. Once you have decided on purchasing a pool, then comes another big question to ask yourself: Do I get an inground or aboveground pool? Let’s review the pros and cons of both of those pools to help you choose wisely.
Aboveground pools are generally more economical than inground pools. They come in a variety of sizes and price ranges. At the lower price range you have the “pool in a box” you can pick up at most discount stores and you install yourself. The advantage of these pools are that they are very cheap. But, as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. They usually come with a pump and filter that is so small, the pool is very hard to keep clean and safe to swim in. Most of these do not have any way to vacuum the dirt out, so it is like getting a new carpet that looks great when it is installed, but imagine what the carpet would look like a month from now if you could not vacuum it. These pools are very portable and can be taken down and moved fairly easily.
At the higher end of the aboveground pool selection, is a pool that you purchase from a swimming pool retailer that is professionally installed. Most of these pools come with a properly sized pump and filter, and have the ability to be vacuumed which makes them easier to keep clean. It is very important to find out what the installer is putting under the aboveground pool liner. Some installers use sand under the liner which is economical, but leaves foot prints, mole run tunnels, and other unsightly depressions that harbor algae and dirt. Other installers install a foam pad which can keep the footprints to a minimum, but the pad can shift and wad up under the liner causing ridges on the pool bottom where dirt and algae can accumulate. The other pool bottom option is pool krete, which is a combination of concrete and cellulose that is poured and trowled to a smooth finish like concrete. This creates a hard bottom that shows no footprints for years to come. The pool krete bottom is the most expensive, but provides a lasting trouble free pool bottom for your liner to rest on.
Inground pools come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Whereas most aboveground pools are round or oval in shape, inground pools can be rectangular, shaped like the letter “L” or created to be a freeform geometric shape. The obvious difference between inground and aboveground pools is that while aboveground pools sit on top or above the ground, inground pools are dug and buried into the ground.
Inground pools can be constructed with a variety of materials. Gunite pools are constructed by spraying a concrete mixture over a rebar frame. These are usually the most expensive pools upfront and require periodic resurfacing as the surface gets rough. Fiberglass pools are a fully formed pool that is set down into a previously dug hole. They are quick to install, but care must be taken to ensure that ground water is diverted away from the pool to prevent bowing and cracking of the walls. Vinyl liner inground pools consist of a sheet of vinyl that is installed over steel or polymer walls. The vinyl comes in different thicknesses and patterns and will need to replace every 6-12 years.
So which pool is right for you? The choices are many, but the end result can be very similar: a “staycation” where you and your family can spend those lazy days of summer in privacy, enjoying your very own backyard pool.