An inground swimming pool is a significant investment in your home that will provide you with an entertaining space for friends and family. Having your own inground pool gives you the opportunity to make memories of summers spent splashing in the backyard.
Homeowners usually opt to purchase an inground pool because they want the look of permanence, customization, and quality that comes from an inground pool installation. For homeowners with a higher budget the customization options are nearly endless. You can literally create your own backyard resort if money is no object.
For any homeowner that is considering installing an inground pool, this article is for you. It covers the basics of the 3 major types of inground pools available to consumers and discusses the pros and cons of each type. For the purposes of inground pool comparison we will be looking at Vinyl Liner Pools, Fiberglass Pools, and Gunite pools.
If you are doing your homework on which type of inground pool is best for you, this important resource can help be your decision maker. Here’s a quick look at the three most popular types of inground pools:
Gunite or shotcrete is the most expensive, albeit the most popular type of inground pool. Otherwise known as a concrete pool; because typically pool contractors will shoot wet concrete from a hose through a gun onto steel-reinforced walls. Once the concrete is allowed to fully cure, it is then plastered smooth, and painted or textured.
There are distinct benefits that come with a gunite pool. For one, since they are hand made they can be shaped into nearly any form for a truly custom shaped pool design.
Secondly, it will normally take between 4-10 weeks to install a gunite pool. While that may be longer than it’s vinyl and fiberglass counterparts, concrete is still considered the strongest, most durable type of pool you can buy. Unlike other types of inground pools, an existing concrete pool can be remodeled, have it’s interior refinished, can be enlarged, or updated with new equipment.
A fiberglass pool is typically factory-molded into a custom shaped pool shell. These are delivered by truck to the homeowner and then set into the excavated hole using a crane. Many sizes and shapes are available with Fiberglass pools, although historically options were a bit limited in the past. Typically fiberglass pools can be installed in as little as three days.
A fiberglass pool is typically less expensive than a gunite pool, but will cost more than a vinyl liner pool, making it the second most expensive option when purchasing an inground pool.
One key benefit that homeowners seem to love about fiberglass pools is the smooth gel-coat finish of the pool walls and floor. Pool owners report that fiberglass pools don’t feel as rough as gunite pools and are much more durable than their vinyl liner cousins. Fiberglass is also nonporous, so they tend to use fewer chemicals than concrete pools. One major consideration before deciding on a fiberglass pool, is considering your yard access for the crane to enter and maneuver. The area the crane is working in must also be free of any overhead wires or power lines.
Vinyl-liner pools are the second most popular type of in-ground pool, and the number of vinyl pools continues to grow exponentially each year. Vinyl liner pools are made from a single piece flexible liner that is stretched and custom fitted into an excavated hole. and is then attached to a steel- or aluminum-framed wall. Out of all three of the types of inground pools, Vinyl Liner pools are the least expensive to install.
Vinyl liner pools typically come in a limited number of shapes and sizes. Most vinyl pools are rectangular shaped, but L-shape and freeform vinyl liner pools are also available. The average vinyl liner pool will take around 3 weeks to build.
A word of caution to homeowners thinking of building a vinyl liner pool – pointy pool toys, swimming pets, and pretty much any sharp object may rip or puncture the liner. It’s possible to fix a damaged vinyl liner, but it can be costly. The best word of advice we can offer is to pay extra for a heavy-duty liner that’s at least 20 mm (millimeters) thick. It will be more durable to children, pets and sharp objects and is worth the extra investment.
That question really depends on a few different factors. The overall budget you have in mind for your backyard, the types of pool builders available in your area, and the style of pool you want can dictate what type of pool you ultimately wind up purchased.
You’ll find pool contractors for all three types of pools anywhere in the country. Certain inground pools are are more popular in various parts of the country than others. Such as the North East region of the United States is very popular for Vinyl Liner Pools, while California and Texan’s tend to purchase Gunite Pools.
We’d advise that before you get serious and start considering any one type of pool, call at least five different pool contractors in your local area. Ask them which type they install, how much they cost, and how long they take to install. You can of course search our directory and make your search for a qualified pool contractor to build your inground pool much easier.
It’s difficult to give a ballpark price on what inground pools cost since the price varies from region to region and depending on which materials and features you choose. For a very broad outline, we estimate $35,000 for fiberglass, $25,000 for vinyl liner, and at least $40,000 for Gunite.
When you factor your budget for a new swimming pool, it’s important not to forget to plan the costs of fencing, landscaping, equipment shed, and other pool-related expenditures. Many pool contractors have resources for landscaping and fencing as well as other outdoor living projects. As your pool contractor for more details on what services they offer in this regard – some are a one stop shop that offer everything related to your backyard.