What Type of Inground Pool Should I Buy?

Generally, There Are 3 Types Of Pools

If you’ve been asking yourself “What Type of Inground Pool Should I Buy?” or “What is The Average Cost of a Pool?” you need to know a little more about the 3 main types of swimming pools. Odds are if you’re on this page that you’re looking for something a little more advanced than your typical above ground pool. This resource is here to educate consumers about the 3 main types of inground swimming pools and explain the differences between them. Keep in mind that there are many subtle variations of the three main swimming pool types, allowing you a world of different features & options.

Shotcrete Style Pool With Pebble Interior

#1 – Concrete or Shotcrete with Plaster

Concrete / Shotcrete / Gunite pools are steel-reinforced concrete to form a shell, concrete and plaster are the most common in-ground pool-building materials and were the first ones used when residential pools became popular. Why? Concrete is durable and porous, allowing the plaster-coated shell to hold water, provide stability, and to be replastered when needed which adds to its longevity.

How Gunite / Shotcrete Pools Are Made

Typically, here’s how the entire process works: once the hole has been excavated in the yard, the bottom and sides of the hole are framed with rebar steel rods. These are then formed into nearly any shape conceivable (from rectangles to freeforms to lazy rivers and custom shapes), along with adding walkouts, benches, and other features. After the rebar is set up, the pool shell is applied by spraying a finish using gunite or shotcrete. This spray-on method helps a contractor in deciding the size and shape of a concrete pool. In most cases, a freeform pool with many curves shouldn’t cost much more than the same-size pool with a more traditional angled shape.

Pool Contractor Spraying Shotcrete To Form The Shell of an Inground Swimming Pool

Aggregate Interiors & Stone & Tile Interiors

Many different materials can be added to pool surfaces made of concrete or plaster, including stone, tile, and man-made textures. Aggregate finishes with textures have become increasingly popular in recent years. Pebble aggregate or (Pebble Tec®, a glass alternative Beadcrete®, WetEdge’s Primera Stone®, NPT’s JewelScapes®, StoneScapes®, and QuartzScapes®). These aggregate finishes are normally more expensive and typically last about 10 to 12 years.

What is The Average Cost of a Gunite / Shotcrete Pool?

The average cost of a shotcrete / gunite pool ranges from $25,000-$45,000 depending on what area of the country you live in. Adding on additional features and options will increase that price.

How Long Does It Take To Install a Gunite / Shotcrete Pool?

On average, it normally takes 8-10 weeks to install a gunite / shotcrete pool.

Custom Design Your Gunite Pool

#2 – Fiber Glass Swimming Pools

Workers installing a fiberglass pool., being lowered into position with a crane.

A swimming pool made of fiberglass is sold as a large one piece shell that is delivered to your home by semi-truck and then is positioned by crane into the excavated hole. Unlike concrete pools, fiberglass pools are pre-made, making it hard to design custom shaped fiberglass pools. Most fiberglass manufacturers offer various sizes and designs to choose from. Fiberglass pools are constructed from a pre-cast mold in a factory, which is why you have fewer options to customize the size and shape (see Concrete vs. Fiberglass). Spas, steps, and benches are also typically preformed in the factory.

What Is The Fiberglass Pool Installation Process?

  1. Excavate the soil.
  2. Set and level the pool.
  3. Install the pool’s plumbing and filter system.
  4. Backfill the pool shell.
  5. Install the coping and patio.
  6. Install the pool fence.

Fiberglass Inground Pool Come in a variety of Freeform Shapes

Fiberglass – Quick & Easy, But Certainly Not Cheap!

Fiberglass makes the pool-building process fast and easy. The smooth interior surface is slick to the touch, making it difficult for algae to accumulate. However, a fiberglass can be more costly than a shotcrete / gunite pool. After 10 to 15 years of constant exposure to sun and chemicals, the fiberglass interior begins to deteriorate. Resurfacing a fiber glass pool can be difficult because the new coating doesn’t easily stick to the older one.

What is The Average Cost of a Fiberglass Pool?

The average cost of a fiberglass pool ranges from $45,000-$75,000 depending on what area of the country you live in. Adding on additional features and options will increase that price.

How Long Does It Take To Install a Fiberglass Pool?

On average, it normally takes 3-4 weeks to install a fiberglass pool.

Custom Design Your Fiberglass Pool

#3 – Vinyl Swimming Pools

Workers installing a vinyl pool liner into a steel walled pool during pool construction

In explaining the differences between gunite, vinyl and fiberglass pools, it’s important to note that Vinyl is the least expensive but also the least durable option of the 3. Vinyl pools are built with plastic or metal frames above ground or set into an excavated hole. Prefabricated supporting walls or panels made of steel, aluminum or even plastic are joined to the frame, making a formed shape that is then lined with heavy vinyl to form the pool shell interior. The bottom of a vinyl liner sits on a bed of sand or other material, while the top is held down by the coping, which creates a finished edge and also acts as a border for the pool deck.

Like other materials, vinyl liners will deteriorate after 10-15 years of constant exposure to the elements along with pool chemicals. Some liners come equipped with fungus and UV inhibitors, which can extend the life of a vinyl liner another 5-10 years or so.

What Is The Vinyl Pool Installation Process?

  1. Excavate the soil.
  2. Set the pool walls
  3. Install the pool’s plumbing and filter system.
  4. Pour the swimming pool bottom.
  5. Install coping & vinyl liner
  6. Backfill the pool shell.
  7. Install the coping and patio.
  8. Install the pool fence.

Vinyl pools can also be shaped into nearly any custom shape imaginable

What is The Average Cost of a Vinyl Pool?

The average cost of a vinyl pool ranges from $20,000-$40,000 depending on what area of the country you live in.  Adding on additional features and options will increase that price.

How Long Does It Take To Install a Vinyl Pool?

On average, it normally takes 8-10 weeks to install a gunite / shotcrete pool.

Custom Design Your Vinyl Pool