Unsure of Which Pool Type is Best for Us

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Hi everyone! I apologize for how long this ended up being. I’ve been hanging around here for a couple of weeks, learning everything that I can before deciding on building a pool. There are so many considerations, and it’s such a big investment, that I want to make sure I know as much as possible. I’ve researched all 3 pool types, and they all have pros and cons.

We are leaning towards vinyl because we’ll be able to do so much more, getting the most inclusive packages, with the best/upgraded equipment. The builder that we like has been around since 1977 and specializes in concrete walls with vermiculite floor, which I like for saltwater. Our hesitation for vinyl is really just our dogs. A tanning ledge is non-negotiable and so is dogs using the pool. I’ve read all of the concerns about dog nails, and I’m not sure what to do. Bringing it up to our builder, he said that they haven’t heard of issues like that and they use “a thick treaded material on the steps that is very durable just for those reasons such as pets and ledge lounge chairs”. Has anyone heard of this? Does it have merit?

For fiberglass, our hesitation is our clay soil, the higher initial cost, and the fact that we live in a subdivision and aren’t sure about getting it into the yard. I’ve read that the dreaded “pool pop” doesn’t happen often, but it’s important to have someone experienced install so it is done the right way. None of the PB in our area have a lot of experience with fiberglass.

For gunite, our biggest concern is the cost, but also the roughness on feet and bathing suits.

Sorry again for the long post. Thank you for any help you can give me. —Wendy
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
15,185
Evans, Georgia
Well, I have a fiberglass pool and they brought a crane in to lift the pool over the house into the yard, pictures in signature.

For vinyl you could get fiberglass steps (the colored ones look far better than the stark white ones) and teach the dogs to only enter at the stairs. As for the tanning ledge ...you take your chances and understand that at least any damage in that shallow of water should be fairly easy to repair with patches.

A plain plaster finish on cement is very smooth. Its when you get into all the fancy finishes with stones and shells, etc that it gets rough on the feet.

Good luck deciding, Keep us posted about the build :)

Maddie :flower:
 

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Thank you Maddie. Because our PB uses cement walls, they also do cement tanning ledges and stairs and then covers with reinforced vinyl. I have asked for quotes on installing a separate fiberglass tanning ledge, but I was hoping that someone here had heard of reinforcing the stairs and tanning ledge with "thick treaded material" and could help me understand it.
--Wendy
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,968
Chapel Hill, NC
We have a gunite pool. The original marcite was extremely rough - wore out the Polaris cleaner after a few years and really rough on skin and swimsuits. We had the pool replastered a couple of years back and is smooooooooooooooooooooth now! No issues at all - just make sure the PB knows you don't want a rough finish. I would definitely go gunite over FG/Vinyl - better longevity and easier to renovate/remodel 20 years down the road.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
386
Katy, Texas
I can see concern about roughness. Wear on swimsuits? That would irrelevant in our house, where new swimsuits are a quarterly purchase by my wife, including for me. I've not bought a swimsuit in 25 years or so, yet I have half a dozen. A plus for the roughness of the little pebble finish on gunite is that it may be less of a slipping concern if you have a steep slope from shallow to deep. However I could see robot wear being an issue. In matters of resale of your house, if that might matter, talk with a real estate friend. Mine tells me that other than gunite and plaster is a negative in perception by a prospective buyer, as vinyl or fiberglas are seen by the uninformed as just "cheap"--not that you have a prayer of getting back the cost of the pool when you sell in any case.
 

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Thank you sktn77a and BowserB. We spoke to a gunite PB early on in our process. The roughness is definitely a concern, but so is the initial and ongoing cost. It’s definitely worth talking to them again, but I’m afraid we’ll either option ourselves out of our price range or have to compromise quite a bit. What an exciting and frustrating process this is! 🤣
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
15,185
Evans, Georgia
Thank you Maddie. Because our PB uses cement walls, they also do cement tanning ledges and stairs and then covers with reinforced vinyl. I have asked for quotes on installing a separate fiberglass tanning ledge, but I was hoping that someone here had heard of reinforcing the stairs and tanning ledge with "thick treaded material" and could help me understand it.
--Wendy

@jimmythegreek Can you expand on this for us?
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,176
Morris Cnty NJ
On stairs they offer a texture sheet which thickens up the material it's pretty durable. I can say I've never seen a dog's nails puncture a liner but I dont really know how many have swimming dogs. They do make fiberglass tanning ledges not too bad coat wise. Usually only larger pools are gonna have expansive ledges they really eat up pool space. You can also do a splash type pool above the deck or waterline and have it flow down via gravity kids and dogs love them. Most of what I hear is owners take a little extra time keeping nails filled during pool season and it seems to work fine
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
12,739
Houston, Texas
I was going to say just get the dogs nails trimmed regularly. If you already do then it should be fine. Are the dogs nails rough on your floors and furniture? If so they may need trimming more often or have the edges rounded.
 

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Thank you JimmytheGreek and zea3.
@zea3 - Yes, I have hardwood floors that are pretty scratched, but they’re also 10 years old. One of my pups is 60 pounds of crazy. She’ll flip out, sprint around the house, and scratch up the floors when she tries to turn. The other pup, well, we call her speed bump. We haven’t begun the pool building process yet (soooo many decisions!), so there’s lots of time to get them used to a dremel filer.
@jimmythegreek - Thank you for explaining the reinforced stairs/tanning ledge. It’s my only hesitation at this point. We’re still speaking to other builders, but we’re hoping that we can make vinyl work, as it will allow us to get most, if not everything, we would like in our pool oasis.
—Wendy
 

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GaryWHolland

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2017
20
Myrtle Beach SC
We also have a fiberglass pool from Barrier Reef Pools which originated in Australia but now have a branch in the US. Barrier reef manufactures their pools in Timmonsville, SC as I happen to notice you are in Greenville and I'm in Myrtle Beach. We live in a subdivision and it's pretty much all clay backfill from the swampy areas around here. But they didn't have any issues with the initial dig other than perhaps a little slow starting out getting through the first layers of compacted soil. Getting the pool into the backyard was challenging but nothing a big crane and some very understanding and cooperative neighbors couldn't handle. This is our 3rd season with this pool, The Sudbury which is 29x15 and so far it has been a very wise investment. If you haven't made up your mind yet on which way to go I highly recommend you check out About Barrier Reef Fiberglass Pools. They treated us right and continue to do so.
 

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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,168
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
We have a gunite pool and had it replastered 2 years ago. we went with a pebble by Wet Edge Technologies. we had it polished and it is very smooth. You will need to find a PB who is authorized to install Wet Edge Technologies products. Obviously it all comes down to your budget and what you are willing to give up or not for your needs. You need to be happy with the end result so it is great you are getting lots of feedback from the forum.
 

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
@GaryWHolland - Hi neighbor! I love the lovely deep blue of your pool! I think a fiberglass pool would be ideal for us. The issue we have run into is there isn’t a lot of experience with fiberglass installs in our area. I’ve read that you have to be careful with that. I watched a video of a fiberglass install by a local company and they didn’t fill the water and backfill at the same time (which I’ve read is very important). I have some concerns there.
@HermanTX - Except for the cost, I really like the idea of a gunite pool with Pebble Sheen for smoothness. I’m trying to set up some meetings with a few local PB to talk to them about my options.
I really appreciate everyone’s advice. I hope to make a decision soon so I can get on the schedule. They’re all getting booked up for next year!
 

agaeto

Member
Apr 26, 2020
23
Albuquerque
My pool is 25 years old. Originally it was white gunite. 7 years ago we remodeled it with a gray quartz finish. It is perfectly smooth, like a polished stone and very durable. Very nice on the feet. I also like the dark gray because it doesn't show stains. I went with the quartz because it was less expensive than the pebble tech and I wanted a very smooth, very durable finish.
 
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GaryWHolland

Bronze Supporter
Apr 15, 2017
20
Myrtle Beach SC
@GaryWHolland - Hi neighbor! I love the lovely deep blue of your pool! I think a fiberglass pool would be ideal for us. The issue we have run into is there isn’t a lot of experience with fiberglass installs in our area. I’ve read that you have to be careful with that. I watched a video of a fiberglass install by a local company and they didn’t fill the water and backfill at the same time (which I’ve read is very important). I have some concerns there.
@HermanTX - Except for the cost, I really like the idea of a gunite pool with Pebble Sheen for smoothness. I’m trying to set up some meetings with a few local PB to talk to them about my options.
I really appreciate everyone’s advice. I hope to make a decision soon so I can get on the schedule. They’re all getting booked up for next year!

Hi back at you! :giggle: Yeah they had me start filling almost as soon as the shell went in the ground! After the pool was completely full they had to pump it back down about half way because there was an issue with the pool being out of level in the shallow end near the steps. Turns out once they dug out the backfill that there was a plumbing problem. We had 2 jets in that area and one of them the fitting broke off and allowed water to leak out and undermine the backfill causing the pool to be unlevel in that corner. Once they repaired the fitting they leveled the shell back up with their laser level and all was good again. So in the end I initially filled the pool 1 and 1/2 times.

I don't know if Barrier Reef has a location in Greenville or an authorized dealer or not but you really should give their website a look.
 

LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Wow! You can’t argue with the finished product! It looks awesome! I had sent Barrie Reef an email asking about a dealer in my area. Unfortunately, the PB reviews weren’t favorable. I’m going to keep looking though.
 
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IMissNimoy

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
78
SC
@LuschMommy Another SC neighbor pool owner here! I think with dogs you're always at risk for tears on vinyl pool. Plaster (after curing) and fiberglass are much better suited for pets in a pool. Friends with vinyl say the tears happen when you least expect it- back foot hits when the dog turns around near the edge, etc. But the main thing is plaster or fiberglass will allow you to better enjoy your time in the water with your pet without having to monitor their every move. Just my $.02.

FWIW- my neighbor had fiberglass installed last year. His builder trucked in water on the install day. It's not that expensive in our neck of the woods.
 
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LuschMommy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2020
58
Greenville, SC
Lots of SC neighbors! I really appreciate your 2 cents @IMissNimoy! I made a few calls and am going to meet with some gunite PB in a few weeks. That’s how backed up they are with all of the COVID craziness! I have a budget of $100k (not strict budget, but want to stay close). For all of you that have gunite, will that build a good size pool with good cleaning equipment, or am I just living in dreamland? There are some extras like Pebble tec and tanning ledge with bubbler, but nothing extravagant.
 

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