While most people have an image in mind of what an inground pool looks like, the reality is that they’re incredibly varied. In fact, an inground swimming pool can be almost anything you want it to be, provided you have the space and budget to make your vision a reality. Still, there are a handful of truly important qualities that people use to define different types of inground pools.
Knowing the different types of inground swimming pools can help if you’re trying to plan your own project. Which type of pool you choose is a major factor in how you use the pool on a daily basis, what type of maintenance you have to do, and perhaps most importantly, the price you have to pay. Here are some of the inground pool types to consider.
Vinyl, Conrete or Fiberglass
The biggest dividing line between inground pools is based on the type of liner used in its construction. Here are the three types and their relative strengths and weaknesses.
Vinyl lined pools are the cheapest option, and offer many different styles to choose from – featuring lots of different colors and patterns to dress up your pool. On the downside, vinyl liners typically need to be replaced every ten years or so, and they’re susceptible to being punctured (though it’s relatively easy to patch them yourself with an at home kit).
Concrete, or gunite, pools are considered the standard by many. This type of liner is durable and can be applied to any pool shape, including very large pools. Unfortunately, concrete swimming pools are significantly more expensive than vinyl pools.
Like gunite, fiberglass is long-lasting (though it can crack). Because their surface is nonporous, fiberglass pools are algae resistant and usually require less maintenance than either concrete or vinyl. The disadvantage is that there are a limited number of shapes and sizes available for fiberglass pools because the shells come prefabricated. Fiberglass pools are also expensive, typically costing as much as, or slightly more than, a concrete pool.
Chlorine or Salt Water
Most pools are kept clean and free of algae through the direct application of chlorine, in tablet or liquid form. However, salt water pools are increasing in popularity due to the advantages they offer. The term chemical free is misleading, as salt water pools still contain chlorine. However, they create their own chlorine from salt using a device called a chlorine generator or chlorinator.
Despite the fact that both types of pools contain chlorine, a lot of swimmers find the water from salt water pools to be less harsh on their eyes and skin. Another benefit of salt water swimming pools is that you don’t have to handle and store chlorine, which can be dangerous. On the downside, salt water pools can corrode fixtures if you’re not careful.
Shape and Size
Finally, the dimensions of an inground pool can often be defining. Rectange, oval, and kidney are all standard shapes that are treated more like features than defining characteristics. However, some of the more extreme alternative shapes constitute wholly different types of inground pools.
For example, lap pools are designed to replicate a swimming lane at a large pool, allowing the owner to swim laps in their backyard. The term freeform pool also notes a distinct type of pool, as it signifies a unique and creative design. And of course, there are also kiddie pools that are shallow enough for children to play in.
What Type of Swimming Pool Do You Need?
The type of inground pool that’s best for you really depends on your needs and budget. Do your homework and look through plenty of pictures before making a decision. Keep complementary features in mind, too, such as fencing and landscaping. And when it comes time to select a swimming pool contractor, look for one with experience and expertise building the type of pool you’re looking for.