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Know Your Fiberglass Pool

Fiberglass in-ground swimming pools provide a convenient recreation option in your own backyard. The pools come in any size and shape and can be bought with a spa option. Pools can be heated to extend the swimming season and can be installed with fiber optic lights for night swimming.

Fiberglass pools are molded pools that are installed in your yard in one piece. Fiberglass is a strong, lightweight material that is constructed by weaving small glass threads into fabric and hardening the fabric with a special polyester resin. A weather-resistant gel is added to the resin for a smooth finish.

Because there are no pits in the pool's surface as there may be in concrete pools, fiberglass pools are more resistant to algae formation and maintain more stable pH levels. The smooth surface also reduces the need to run the pool filter as there is less resistance on the surface of the water.

Timeframe: 1-3 days

  • Costs more than concrete pools or pools with vinyl liners
  • Does not require periodic surface replastering or liner replacement
  • Good for earthquake prone environments due to flexible material

It is not a good idea to drain your fiberglass pool. If you do, ground pressure from outside the pool could cause the pool to crack or buckle. If your pool must be drained for some reason, contact your pool installer for assistance.

Know Your Vinyl Pool

A vinyl liner pool has a custom made sheet of vinyl between the water and the pool structure. Vinyl liners typically lock their top edge, called a bead, into a track located on the bottom of the coping, which is at deck level. Underneath the liner is a sand or cement-like floor, specified in dimension to the "cut" of the liner that is to be used.

The floors come up to meet the walls, which are commonly 3 ft by 8 ft panels made of galvanized steel or thermoplastic. These walls are supported from behind so that they won't bow out against the weight of the water. All of the wall panels are secured together to make up the perimeter shape of the swimming pool.

Timeframe: ~ 2 weeks, the range of time varies according to: the time to obtain permits, weather conditions, complexity of the pool design and contractor's workload/time of year.

There are many advantages to installing a vinyl liner pool:

  • Vinyl pools are very flexible and cannot crack.
  • Less expensive than a fiberglass pool or concrete pool.
  • Vinyl liners are not limited in colors and patterns as they used to be

The interior liner is most easily damaged by chlorine or from dropping sharp objects into the pool. The liner can also come out of the track that holds it in place, creating saggy sides and the potential for further damage when not addressed immediately

Know Your Gunite Pool

Gunite swimming pools are popular because they are highly durable and it can be created in just about any shape. Gunite pools use a framework of rebar that is sprayed over with a concrete and sand mixture. Gunite is exceedingly durable, so pools made of gunite are built to last.

Timeframe: 30-60 days, the range of time varies according to: the time to obtain permits, weather conditions, complexity of the pool design and contractor's workload/time of year.

The main advantage of a gunite pool is that it is the strongest of the three choices, and also the longest lasting. In addition:

  • Gunite pools can be built to any size, shape, or depth
  • They allow for creative additions such as built in barstools, irregular underwater benches, tanning ledges, and other enhancements
  • A huge selection of decorative and long lasting finishes can be added to Gunite pools, such as Pebble Tec
  • Gunite pools allow the greatest flexibility when building a pool, especially when faced with challenging terrain and limited installation space
  • Gunite pools have the longest warranties
  • Offer the ability to incorporate monolithic vessels such as spas, streams, and waterfalls.

There are only a few disadvantages to Gunite pool construction. The primary disadvantages are that it entails a longer construction schedule, and gunite pools are the most expensive to construct.

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