Swimming pools come in three basic varieties: vinyl-liner, concrete (gunite), and fiberglass. Each varies in materials and the process of creation. Pleasant Pools specializes in the construction of vinyl-liner and concrete swimming pools.
Concrete is the oldest method and the most labor-intensive on the job site. These pools are completely built on site with steel-reinforced concrete. This allows for infinite design flexibility.
Pool builders can use one of three methods to create a concrete shell: guniting, shotcreting and pouring concrete. The most common—gunite and shotcrete—are pneumatically applied, that is, they are applied with air pressure. The concrete is shot out of a nozzle and piled onto the earthen walls of the excavation and over the steel rebar reinforcement.
Pneumatically applying concrete was not the first method used to create a concrete shell. Originally, concrete pools were made of poured concrete, meaning workers create a set of forms and pour the concrete into the forms to hold it into vertical walls. Shotcreting and guniting became the most common methods of concrete construction because these techniques don’t require forms, making it quicker, less labor-intensive, and less expensive than pouring concrete.
Like all concrete structures, these pools can last decades when properly constructed. Improperly constructed, however, they can crack from ground movement caused by freeze/thaw cycles, high water tables, hillside locations or seismic activity. The cost goes up in areas with these conditions because extra reinforcing is needed to prevent movement. Because these pools are constructed entirely on the site, the pool’s quality depends entirely on the job’s craftspeople.
Vinyl-liner pools are a less time-consuming and, in some regions, a less expensive method of construction. Installation of these pools requires assembling pre-manufactured wall panels and supports, then covering the hole with a vinyl liner. These pools are especially popular in cold-weather states because the panels have a certain degree of flex and hold up well under freeze/thaw conditions without extra reinforcement—or extra cost. Some people prefer the feel of the vinyl surface and believe the liners hold up to chemically treated water better than concrete. The components are pre-manufactured, which creates some design limitations when compared to concrete construction.
Wall systems generally are made of steel, polymer and aluminum. Steel is the most common and the least expensive, but can be subject to corrosion and therefore a short useful lifespan. Steel can dent, bulge, or even rust out, making for a real disaster. Pleasant Pools only uses polymer walls, such as Graphex, because polymer walls last virtually forever and are more easily formed into unusual shapes than metal pools are. Aluminum is a strong material, and the panels are light, making them easier to install and less expensive to ship. These panels are said to hold up well under various ground conditions, except acidic soil; however, aluminum wall systems are very rarely used because of their high expense.