Type Options for your Swimming Pool

How to Design and Build Residential Swimming Pools and should it be Indoor or Outdoor, Above Ground, In Ground, One Piece Fiberglass or Build Your Own and what is the Price or Cost going to be?

Swimming pools are supplied around the world in a bewildering range of structures and internal finishes. Above all everyone has to recognise that the price and cost will ultimately dictate whether you build your swimming pool yourself, buy an inground swimming pool kit, or just choose the best swimming pool company that you can find.

This section of the Bluepools website attempts to clarify the situation so that swimming pool buyers can decide what type of pool they are being offered by various pool companies.

It is difficult enough to choose between inground pool designs, above ground swimming pool designs, indoor or outdoor pools.

But when all the different swimming pool deck and paving designs, swimming pool accessories and swimming pool equipment are added to the options the choice on the best price or cost, of building a swimming pool gets even more complicated.

Swimming Pool Structures

Reinforced concrete swimming pools

This type of pool structure has a heavy reinforced concrete floor with walls that are also heavily reinforced and connected to the floor by the reinforcing bars that make sure that the wall is rigidly connected to the heavy floor slab. It is in effect a rigid concrete box without a lid.

In practice, the excavation for the pool is carried out, and reinforcing bars are placed on the floor of the excavation and then covered with high strength high quality concrete. Starter bars are provided in the floor slab where the walls are to be connected to it and additional wall reinforcement is then connected to these bars. Vertical formwork or shutters as they are known are then erected on each side of the reinforcement before the concrete is placed in the form work to form the vertical wall.

You can see this type of construction being carried out in any basement for new office block and so whilst it is heavy work and very costly there are many companies that can carry out this type of work. However it is not common for swimming pool companies to have this type of expertise in in the UK or France but it is common in the US.

This type of structure must be designed by a specialist engineer who will need an engineering soils report before he can undertake the work. The site investigation required together with the design fees of the engineer are unlikely to cost less than £5000 and are likely to cost £10,000.

These structures are also often installed using the Gunite process. This involves the initial installation of the reinforcement followed by the installation of the concrete by pump and compressed air when a rich dry concrete mix is thrown at high speed onto backing formwork or the ground to form a high strength wall or floor slab.

In the UK Shotcrete is often used in a similar way. In this process the concrete is wet but is still pumped under high pressure and thrown onto backing former or the ground.

It should be noted that this is the only type of pool structure that is suitable the subsequent tiling

Rendered finishes using silica or marble aggregate with an impermeaability additive also require this type of heavy pool structure.

Swimming pools with concrete floors and masonry walls

Swimming pools that have heavy concrete floors and concrete block wall or brick walls may appear to be massively strong-but they are not.

As soon as they are filled with water the weight of water and the pressure it exerts causes strains in the structure that allows water to leak straight through the walls and the joint underneath the walls between the wall itself and the floor slab.

So these types of pools are only suitable for PVC vinyl liners.

In the past these types of pools were "Waterproofed" using a fibreglass liner system. These were very ugly, often leaked and were very difficult to keep clean. Such systems have been more or less completely replaced by PVC vinyl liners.

Modular wall swimming pools - "Pool Kits"

Modular wall swimming pools are normally supplied in kits with the wall itself being a number of panels that may have been manufactured from concrete, timber, metal, polyester or PVC.

This type of pool will only ever work with a PVC vinyl liner and because the ground on the floor the pool is normally hard enough to support the weight of water bearing down on concrete is only required to level up the floor of the pool.


Why Most Panel Pools on the Market are a scam

Modular wall swimming pools made from kits of part are the pools that suffer most frequently from structural collapse. This occurs because they are designed for very good ground conditions and for ground without any water in it. If you have one of these pools and empty it in the spring when the ground water levels around it are likely to be high the pool walls are very likely to collpase. And of course the spring is the time when you may need to empty the pool to get rid of the those disgusting algae blooms.

The Suppliers all boast about their "Guarantees"

The panel pool sales merchants all brag about their so called 10 year guarantees.

However if you read the small print you will see that they only guarantee the pool wall components. So any wall collapse will just be blamed on "The Soil Conditions in your Garden" by the pool supplier who can then conveniently walk away from your problem.

And even more importantly, the guarantees only ever provide for "Component Replacement". But just how much is the labour going to cost when first the knackered pool has to be dug out and disposed of, then a new pool with the replacement components has to be built. By the way you cannot re-use a previously installed vinyl liner - and the guarantees never include a replacement liner. The paving around the pool will also have to be dug up and replaced at a substantial cost.

Anybody that is thinking of buying your house may not like a swimming pool with curved walls.

Monocoque Swimming Pools

Monocoque fiberglass swimming pools are made entirely in a factory and delivered in one place and are generally made from a composite polyester commonly known as fibreglass.

Click here for more information on fiber-glass swimming pools

Swimming Pool Internal Finishes


It is important to understand that the only purpose of the tiling in a swimming pool is to provide decoration and a shiny surface that will not promote the buildup of limescale. So it is vital that a tile is chosen that is resistant to limescale uildup and also will not deteriorate due to repeated cleaning of limescale from the surface of the tile

The tiling must be placed on a rendered surface that also forms a waterproofing layer between the tiling and the underlying reinforced concrete structure.

And so any tiled pool must incorporate three important ingredients:-

No wonder tiled pools are so expensive!

There are three main types of pool tiling that are generally used:-

  1. Small 2cm x 2cm "Carreaux de pate de verre"
  2. Les emaux de Briare of 2.5cm x 2.5 cm, 5 x5 cm, 7.5 x 7.5 cm and 10 x 10 cm in size
  3. Ceramic tiles of various size and colours

The light reflection from the first two above tilie types whether from submerged lights, sunlight or floodlighting gives any pool a massively attractive sparkling effect.

Plaster or Render

If it the decorative tiling is not required the reinforced concrete pool can be just finished with the render that can be provided with different decorative surfaces.

Silico-marbreux is the most attractive and is composed of white cement with exposed marble aggregate

PVC vinyl liner

The main advantage of the PVC vinyl liner is that the swimming pool can be made entirely waterproof without a heavy reinforced concrete structure.

And there are three other primary advantages of the PVC vinyl liner.

The first is that they look good and maintain their highly attractive appearance for most of their useful lives.

The second is that they last a long time with lives that are rarely shorter than 12 years and often as long as 20 years.

The third is that line Israel does not built up on them easily and can also be easily cleaned off when it does.

How do PVC vinyl liners work?

A liner lock consisting of a PVC rail about 2 cm wide is fixed on the top of the pool wall and flush with the inside face of the pool. The PVC liner is normally 0.75 mm or 0 .85 mm thick and is fabricated from 3m wide sheets into an open topped bag ( with a top opening equivalent to the pool size) in a factory. The open top of the bag is fitted with a wedge profile designed to stick in the liner lock.

First of all underfelt is placed on the pool wall and floor ( after careful cleaning of all these surfaces ). Then the PVC bag is unfolded and the sides of the open top are clicked into the liner lock. Then some the water is introduced into the bag, while inducing a vacuum between the bag and the pool wall using a normal vacuum cleaner to make sure that the liner does not crease as it is filled with water.

Some precautions are necesary with PVC vinyl liner pools:-

PVC vinyl liner armee

This type of PVC vinyl liner normally consists of two layers of PVC vinyl with an inner polyester reinforcing layer in a sandwich type of construction.

It is more robust than single layer PVC vinyl pools but is far more difficult and costly to install because it is fabricated on site by welding the joints using a heat gun that is not inlike a hairdryer in the way that it works.

Infinity pools where the PVC over the weir is very highly stressed are often fitted with this type of liner.

Resin or Gelcoat

This type of pool finish is rarely seen nowadays simply because vinyl liners are so much better

Resin based Polymer paint

This type of pool finish is still occasionally seen but most pools of this type have how had PVC vinyl liners fitted to them