Short version: what type of pool is best for
- adult lap swimming (with perhaps occasional floating)
- warm/mild climate with expansive soils (swelling clay) and earthquakes (Southern California; I am a transplant from the land of lakes and snow).
- resisting tree roots
- low maintenance to allow travel
I am a newbie and life-long swim addict who grew up swimming in a lake 3 hrs/day in summertime, and that is my happy dose of swimming. I now live in the area with no swimming lakes (job move), so I need to get a pool, or I will go crazy. My new (although quite old) house has a nice back yard (for the area, anyway), about 30X60 ft, and ideally I would like a lap pool about 14X40, and at least 12X35 (well, I want a lake, but I can't have it). Do not need and can’t afford bells and whistles, and spa would be nice, but I really want to maximize a swim area. Do not care if I have a deck, but I guess you are supposed to have one. I would like to get a poolside bath&shower someday, and hopefully a cabana, but I do not think I can afford it now (although considering getting plumbing done while the pool is done).
I really could use some help making up my mind about the type of the pool.
The most typical pool here is gunite; hardly any above ground pools (not cool enough for the area I guess; it is quite snobbish here. I would not mind the looks of above the ground, but I am afraid it will burst and ruin the house, and also do not really care for climbing. It will also have to be huge). There are not many fiberglass or vinyl pools either, which seems odd the more I read about this – we have nasty swelling clay soils and earthquakes, which in my mind calls for a more flexible pool, no? This makes me like the idea of fiberglass.
Additional pros for fiberglass:
-not getting calluses from pushing off plaster, which was the case with my old apartment complex pool, - not having to babysit it like you would a new plaster (based on what I read here). I travel a lot and work a lot, so low maintenance is a must.
Now, potential cons for fiberglass:
- there are not many companies here that do it; most are gunite people.
- my yard has some fruit trees I would like to keep (one of them is a young avocado, and these grow huge; the other two are a pretty large loquat and an old fig that sheds a ton of leaves). To be the size I want, the pool can’t be more than 4 or 5 ft away from the trees. I’ve heard of a root guard, but not sure how effective that is.
Price is also important. So far, I got quotes ranging from 20+K to 40+K (all gunite). I realize I will probably have to spend more than I hoped for, but I saved and scraped to come to this point, and 40 for just a no-bells pool and a bit of deck is really pushing it. I also would love to squeeze a cover into the budget (manual OK, but should be operable by one person).
I will really appreciate your input and expertise!