Looking to add the ultimate backyard upgrade? Whether you can enjoy it year-round or just during the summer months, a pool can serve as a relaxing retreat or a family fun zone. When planning for a pool, it's important to consider all your options for above-ground, in-ground, and specialty pools before you make the investment. Take the time to learn about some of the most popular types of pools and decide which one is right for your backyard and your family.
Above-Ground Pools Generally the most economical option, above-ground pools sit on the surface of your yard, sometimes with a deck or patio surrounding them. Most are constructed with aluminum, resin, or steel sidings with vinyl liners. An above-ground pool can often be assembled with relative ease as a DIY project, or many retailers offer delivery and installation. Above-ground pools arrive in pieces that can easily be carried to the pool site for assembly.
Advantages: - Affordable. - Some options are temporary structures that can go with you if you move. - Available in several shapes and sizes that are suitable for small yards. - Assembling and disassembling is relatively easy.
Disadvantages: - They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but are typically limited to designs offered by manufacturers. - Can be difficult to disguise in a landscape, but patios/decks can help blend them into your yard. - Lifespan not long, vinyl liners need replacing approximately every five years.
In-Ground Pools In-ground pools are permanent structures that are built directly into the landscape. They come in several varieties, with concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl-liner pools being the most common types. Your contractor can work with you on the choice of construction. Materials are typically chosen for strength and flexibility.
Fiberglass Pools: These are usually made by the manufacturer and delivered in one piece. Fiberglass pools are typically more flexible than concrete pools, making them a good choice in earthquake-prone areas. Fiberglass panel pools, which are constructed on-site, are another option that allows more design flexibility.
Concrete Pools: Often the most costly to build, concrete pools are poured on-site, allowing you to custom-design virtually any shape or size. Several finishes such as plaster, paint, and specialty coating materials are available in a range of colors.
Vinyl-Liner Pools: These in-ground pools are built with panel walls that are fastened together and sit on a concrete foundation. A custom-made vinyl liner then covers the entire pool.
Advantages: - Most in-ground pools can be designed to fit any shape or size yard and accommodate your specific needs, such as space for diving or fitness swimming. - They can be easily designed into the landscape. - There are several accessories and features available, such as diving boards, slides, water games, water fountains, and specialty lighting.
Disadvantages: - In-ground pools are typically more costly to build. - The construction duration can be lengthy. - Because the water surface is near ground-level, in-ground pools can pose a greater safety risk for young kids or pets.
Infinity Pools Typically custom-made to highlight a view, infinity pools feature one or more walls with a vanishing-edge design, which sits just below the pool's water level. This allows water to flow over the wall, creating the illusion that the water has no bounds. This type of pool is often used on sites with a steep drop-off to showcase views of mountains, bodies of water, and other striking landscape features. Because of their specialized design requirements, infinity pools can be very costly to build and maintain.
Lap Pools If your primary reason for owning a pool is fitness, a lap pool is a smart investment. Designed specifically for swimming laps, this type of in-ground pool is long, narrow, and typically rectangular. Requiring minimal space, lap pools are ideal for small yards. Most lap pools offer at least 40 feet of straight, unobstructed swimming space to limit the need for frequent turns. For a single swimmer, the width of a lap pool can be as little as 8 feet. The construction considerations are similar to that of other in-ground pools.
Swim Spas Swim spas are another type of pool that's well suited for fitness use. A hybrid of a pool and spa, swim spas have water jets that allow the user to swim against a constant flow of water. Great for small yards, some swim spas span as little as 12 feet. Because the swimmer isn't actually moving through the water, the dimensions of the pool can be much smaller. They can also be heated for dual use as a spa and a swim spa.
Hot Tubs and Spas Hot tubs and spas are small, heated pools intended for relaxation or hydrotherapy. The portable, above-ground version is typically called a hot tub, while a home spa refers to an in-ground model, which are often built in conjunction with in-ground pools. Thanks to their smaller size, hot tubs and spas are typically less expensive to install and maintain compared to other types of pools. However, their compact dimensions also limit their use.