How did you decide what kind of pool and what size of pool?

utpool

New member
Jul 25, 2019
2
Farmington, Utah
I am a pool newbie. We moved into a brand new construction home a little over a year ago. We were getting ready to landscape the backyard and the husband said maybe we should wait on landscaping and do a pool first. So the endless research starts. But I keep getting stuck on what kind of pool to do. I thought we had settled on Fiberglass but we're still concerned that it won't be wide enough. And where we live (Northern Utah), fiberglass is much more expensive to install. So then I thought concrete was the way to go which is great because we would love to have an extended lap lane if we can make it work. And then my husband swam in a friend's vinyl pool and now he's convinced that's the way to go. I've read all the pros and cons I can find online (though they all seem to be written by biased pool salesmen). So, what do you have? And what do you love about it? What do you envy about other pool types?

Thanks!
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
409
Corona de Tucson, AZ
It mainly depends on what you want and where you are, honestly. The only pools that I see built here in Arizona are gunite/plaster but I suspect that gelcoat and vinyl liners don't hold up in the massive UV here. In the Midwest I saw all three types but I still think concrete was the most common by a large margin. This looks like a pretty fair comparison of the three types, I agree a lot of the internet articles are biased:


But yeah, I am building gunite. And it's been a slow process. And it is pricey. Good luck.
 

Deb04

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 12, 2008
377
Seacoast, NH
We have vinyl. We’re in NH, so closed 7 months of the year. We went with vinyl bc of the lower cost. This is the liner’s 12 summer and it’s showing no signs of wearing out, which I credit to being a TFP from day one.

I am happy with the vinyl and, if we were to do it over again, I’d do vinyl again.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
529
Alamo, CA
From the referenced article, this is false, or at least an over-generalization.

Concrete pools will need to be renovated every 10–15 years. This involves resurfacing and re-tiling the pool at an expense of $10,000–$20,000 or much higher depending on the pool.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,626
Longview, Texas
The way I made my decision in deciding was to "grade" each type just by using a + and - a
and I made up some categories that were important to me.

Budget - how much is this thing gonna cost(and included landscaping after the build)
Aesthetics - What is it gonna look like after the build and my yard is repaired.
Maintenance - How easy will it be to maintain the water and way down the re-surface it and how much will that cost to do that.

I did a whole lot of research on this which is what led me to TFP. At the end of the day, this is what the scores look like.

Vinyl ++ - Wins on budget and maintenance
Gunite +-- Wins on aesthetics but I learned about mottling and staining of the plaster and what causes it and that was a big deciding factor for me.
Fiberglass ---I never really considered FG anyway...

At the end of the day, the Vinyl won and I couldn't be happier.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
409
Corona de Tucson, AZ
A resurfacing job probably is close to 10 grand but with the better plasters like "pebble" and Quartz you get more like 20 years out of it. If the OP was planning on not moving for 10+ years then if it were me, I would do concrete... And that is what I am doing.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
997
NY
'How i got my pool' is a bit of a funny story. My wife was home for most of my first daughter being litttle, but went back to work for the 2nd daughter. So we had 5 years of daycare expenses. $1100 a month, and close to that in 'camp' for the summers. She told me right away that the day we were done with those expenses we were getting a pool. I had plenty of fair warning. To my wifes credit, along with helping out to pay the monthly bills, she squirrelled away $6k over that time to buy an AG pool. At first, i was thrilled to have the pool and equiptment be basically free, until we planned it out for real. My wife is 5ft 2in and can barely see over most AG pools. So i would have to build a platform to sit up and watch the kids swim. At that point i would have done a full deck around so we could lounge with friends too. And my backyard was open so id have to fence it all in. I priced out a $2k fence, $10k deck and the $6k pool. (The misses wanted the big fancy oval). $18k for an AG pool, and friends of ours had just done a small vinyl kidey IG pool for that much. If i was going to spend that much money, i demanded and IG pool also. But we went with a bigger IG pool, and ugraded eqiptment, and 'now is the time' for a heater and a hot tub. AND i still had to do a deck (patio) AND fence it all. $60k because i didnt want to spend $18k. One of those times i won the battle and lost the war. But its really really nice and it was worth every speed bump and roadblock. And the 2 years it took to put the backyard back together with lanscaping the new hangout spot. Worth every ounce of energy and every last penny.

Good luck with your journey. It may go far away from where you think.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
409
Corona de Tucson, AZ
And the 2 years it took to put the backyard back together with lanscaping the new hangout spot.
Honestly this is my biggest fear of that pool I am presently building. I thought I was off the hook when we bought new construction (again) here, but the wife won. I will be the maintenance man and landscaper no matter how loudly I complain about it...
 
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Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
I have a 14' AGP, and I thought I'd chip in even though it's AGP.

We picked 14' round because it would fit in the space available. A 15' or 16' would have fit as well, but for some reason (probably price) we went with 14'. Vinyl obviously, no other option.

In retrospect, we could have gotten a rectangular AGP for not much more than the 14' round, and would have had a bigger pool in the same space.

My advice? Before you make the plunge, really think about the space you have available and how it could be best utilized. Don't get carried away by a pattern (I fell in love with my pool's outside pattern, which is neon green camo). All it is is a shell to hold water. I like vinyl because it's relatively easy to take care of, but then again it can tear and leak.

Good luck with your pool!
 

iamnos

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
28
Kelowna, British Columbia
Our yard was the main determining factor in our pool. We're on the side of a mountain in a walkout rancher. The "level" area of our backyard is relatively small, so there wasn't an option of going much larger than we did, at least without involving having to put in a huge retaining wall. As it is, we're building a small one since the pool did cut into the hill a little bit, but the wall only needs to be about 20" high.
Our neighbours did a larger rectangular pool with a 10' sunshelf. We liked the rounded look better, and it fit better in the corner of the house. We'd originally though about an L shaped pool to wrap around the house a bit, but hard corners make solar covers and such more difficult, so we went rounded, which in the end we like better, it's more natural. It's about 30' long, which is enough to do laps, something my wife and I both wanted. There's a deep end of about 7.5' which we wanted. It's too shallow for diving, but our kids have some medical issues and swimming is excellent for them. Swimming down to the bottom is great for them, and quite honestly, I like swimming down there too and following the slope up to the shallow end. All in all, we're really happy with our choice.

We went with vinyl mainly for cost and maintenance. We though about fiberglass, but it was so limiting in terms of shapes and size, we ruled it out pretty quickly.
 

CarolD

Active member
Jul 21, 2018
44
Richmond, TX
Of the six pool builders we talked to last year, all of them built only gunite pools. I had heard of fiberglass, but knew that there was a size limitation, and since we wanted a larger pool, that went right out of the mix. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a vinyl liner for inground pools when we contracted for our gunite/pebble sheen pool. We probably would have ended up in the same place, but it would have been nice to know that there was another option. Funny, now that I'm here on TFP forums, I see so many people with IG vinyl pools. Who knew?!?
 

Saturn94

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2015
688
Virginia
Vinyl for cost and maintenance. Only downside has been liner floating a few times due to high ground water, though it would settle back into place. Since it was installed in 2004, there’s only 2 inconspicuous wrinkles.

As for size and shape, friends of ours has the same size and shape that we liked. It works well for both laps and general floating/playing. Fortunately, it fit where we wanted to place it.

I would buy the same again.
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
409
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Of the six pool builders we talked to last year, all of them built only gunite pools. Funny, now that I'm here on TFP forums, I see so many people with IG vinyl pools. Who knew?!?
It would be interesting to see how many of us in the South, and especially the southwest have vinyl. I don't know anyone here in Tucson with a vinyl liner pool but I know of many back in the Midwest. I wonder if the soil or sun here just kill the vinyl. Would be interesting to know. I don't know of any PB here that does anything other than gunite.
 

Jbrillo

Gold Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
322
League City, Texas
Down where I live, all I see are gunite pools. Never really thought about vinyl or fiberglass for some reason. Really love what we went with so far. We are enjoying the pool so much. I think you can be happy with any of them, it just depends on what you really want I guess. Good luck in making your decision!
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,398
Central MD
For me it is the permanence factor. It's not a real thing but something in my mind. My mind tells me that a concrete pool is more bulletproof and solid and what my mind thinks a pool is and such. It's not really objective, but I just wanted concrete. I also think I would have been more annoyed by floating or ripped liners than by mottling. It feels overbuilt which I like. Whereas vinyl and fiberglass are a more efficient use of materials to get the job of being a pool done. Aesthetics - You can make a vinyl or fiberglass pool look like a gunite pool environment - no doubt. There are countless examples on here. I wanted it to look like a gunite pool environment so I just went with it from the start. I also wanted to have retrievers (canine) swimming in it. Although many people have dogs in vinyl pools with no issue, my mind doesn't understand how that isn't a problem when dogs are playing together and get hyper. So those were some of my thoughts. All of that had evolved before we really thought to build a pool so I didn't have to go through the "what kind of pool" thought process during the planning.
 

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
267
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
We have a vinyl pool and love it. Don't have to do much to maintain it with the SWG and using TFP's methods. We just replaced the liner, but I think the one they took out was probably original to the pool (30 years old) and should have been replaced some years ago. It wasn't too pretty, but it did still hold water lol.

We bought this house with the pool already here. Most pools in Ottawa are vinyl (although fiberglass is getting pretty popular too - but more limited in size and also a bit pricier.

Vinyl pools can be any size and shape, and they really do look good these days. I don't think you have to worry about looking "cheap"if that is what holds people back.

Vinyl liner feels good on the feet.

We don't have vinyl covered stairs (and didn't want that) although that is an option some people choose of for a totally integrated look.

Another thing, there are so many liner options, and by the time you need a new liner you can completely change the look of your pool. I'm hoping to get 10 years out of this new liner and by then I might be ready for a change again.

If you want to see some great looking vinyl liner pools, there is a big thread about liner colors.
 
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Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
267
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
As for size of pool, I bought the house with pool already here, but it was what I wanted. 20 x 40. I wanted to be able to actually swim laps. I wanted a real deep end (minimum 8'), and the shallow end couldn't be too shallow (annoying for swimming). I have been swimming a mile a day for exercise this season, and I couldn't do that in a tiny pool.
 

RodRamos

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2019
118
Trinity, Florida
Thought I'd chime in as well. We have a very small 12x30 AGP. We used to have a 22x56 AGP which was super nice, something like 10 or 13k gallons which was bigger than most of our friends in ground pool and we loved it. Fast forward and 15 months ago we had a baby and we wanted her to enjoy the pool so we downgraded to a 12x30 which is just big enough where we can sit and be at chest level with water and the baby can walk and be at shoulder length. You see that's the advantage I found with a AGP, you can custom it to your changing needs. In a few years when the baby swimming skills improve we can upgrade to an 22x48 or even a 22x56, build a nice deck around it, add lights and make it real pretty.
 
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