Once summer hits, everyone wishes that they had a pool. As the ultimate hot weather escape, pools are relaxing, refreshing, and a great way to enjoy a scorching afternoon. However, with so many pool types available, it can be challenging to determine which best suits your family’s needs. From workout-friendly lap pools to decorative infinity pools and the classic above-ground pool, you have many styles, sizes, and features to choose from.
In this article, we head to the deep end to learn about the different pool types and their features. With some planning, budgeting, and research, you could be splashing around with friends and family in no time.
Above-ground pools are a popular choice due to their easy installation and affordability. They don’t require the same extensive planning or installation as in-ground pools, drastically reducing their cost. Most above-ground pools are constructed using aluminum, resin, steel siding, and vinyl liners, making customizations possible. You can also build a shell around your pool or a spacious deck to improve its aesthetic and functionality.
Because you need to climb a ladder to get in, there is little risk of children accidentally falling into the pool. This makes them an excellent option for those with young kids. If you have a small backyard, you can opt for a semi-permanent above-ground pool, which can be taken down and stored away during the colder months.
The biggest drawback to above-ground pools is their lack of creative flexibility regarding design, shape, and size. While you have some options, you will be limited to the plans offered by manufacturers. And while they are quick and easy to install, as far as pools go, they do not have the longevity of in-ground pools, as the liners will need to be replaced every five years.
On average, above-ground pools cost $8 – $20 per square foot, or roughly $2,000 – $5,000.
When we think of hot summer days spent lounging poolside, in-ground pools often come to mind. These permanent structures are built into your landscape and offer complete control over their size, shape, and design. There are a variety of materials they can be created from, depending on multiple factors.
Fiberglass pools are delivered in one piece or constructed from fiberglass panels. They are the most flexible option and ideal for earthquake-prone areas to reduce the chance of cracking. A high-quality fiberglass pool can last 25-30 years if properly taken care of. The drawback to this style is that you have less creative control and are limited by size and shape.
On average, you can expect to pay between $45,000 – $80,000 for a fiberglass pool. Although more expensive than vinyl-liner, fiberglass pools do not require any replacements over the years.
Built by fastening vinyl panels, this type of pool sits on a concrete foundation. More affordable than fiberglass and concrete, vinyl pools are also easier to construct, reducing installation time. You can create your dream pool in any shape and size using vinyl and have it completed quickly. The downside is that vinyl-liners have a life span of 5-8 years and will need to be replaced. These pools are also prone to algae and are considered high maintenance.
The average cost for a vinyl-liner pool is 35,000 – $65,000, with replacement vinyl costing $5,000.
As the most expensive material for pools, concrete must be poured on-site. While costly, this allows full customization over size, shape, and features. There are also endless options for the finishes, whether plaster, paint or specialty coatings. As a result, it has the longest life span and the greatest flexibility but at the highest cost.
Concrete pools cost between $50,000 and $100,000.
Infinity pools grace social media with their awe-inspiring design. Commonly found at fancy resorts, these pools are meant to highlight spectacular views and gorgeous landscaping. Infinity pools create the illusion that one edge is dropping off like a waterfall, adding to its classy appeal. This feature tricks your eyes into thinking there is no separation between the water and what lays beyond.
As one of the most complicated pools to design and build, they are also one of the most expensive. On average, they cost 20%-30% more than a regular pool because of the infinity edge. They are also a little more challenging to maintain, and the energy costs are higher, as a pump in the catch basin runs around the clock.
On average, infinity pools cost $80 per square foot, or between $55,000 and $130,000, depending on size and shape.
If fitness is your goal, a lap pool will be perfect for your needs. These long, narrow pools take up minimal space and are ideal for small yards. The standard lap pool is 40’ long and as little as 8’ wide, though you can customize this to fit your space.
Like most pools, lap pools can be constructed using concrete or fiberglass and are quick and straightforward to build. But despite their straightforward design, the average cost of a lap pool is $44,000. This makes them more expensive than most standard in-ground pool options.
A saltwater pool is not a structural swimming pool but a method of cleaning the water. Nearly any pool can be converted to a saltwater pool using a professionally installed chlorine generator.
Standard pools rely on adding chlorine or bromine to the water to disinfect it. However, many people switch to saltwater to eliminate the need for storing these dangerous chemicals. Although a saltwater pool uses a chlorine generator, which breaks down added salt to create chlorine, it is not the same chlorine that is added to standard pools. This reduces the smell, eye redness, and skin irritation from swimming in a chlorinated pool.
Saltwater pools are easier to maintain, as you do not need to take measurements or mix chemicals. Instead, you simply add salt at the beginning of your swimming season and monitor the levels weekly, adding salt when needed.
A salt-chlorine generator costs between $600 and $2000, with $50 – $100 in yearly maintenance costs.