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Your Pool Design: Diggin It

Aug 17, 2007
First the bad news: you can't just pick the type of pool that your heart is set on because there are factors that go into the decision equation. For example, you have standard features that are readily available since majority of pool owners ask for them, but sometimes requesting a specific type of pool could put you in the four-month waiting list or increase your bill by 20%. Worse, the design you picked isn't suitable for your location. These factors alone could put a damper on your enthusiasm, even if you had planned to give it to your kids as a Christmas gift.
The good news: generally, any type of pool would fit most needs, but when choices for accessories get too fancy, there might be a problem. Before signing on the dotted line, therefore, you may want to speak to the swimming pool experts and discuss your requirements. That way you'll have a rough idea of what type of pool design will fit your budget so you don't become frustrated.

Let's review some types of pool designs:

In Ground Pools
You have a slew of options and prices for in ground pools which come in three types:
* Concrete
* Vinyl
* Fiberglass

Concrete: concrete pools come in either shotcrete or gunite. These terms describe the application process of the concrete for the pool's steel framework. The fundamental difference is that gunite is pumped to the pool's structural frame while shotcrete is sprayed.
Your swimming pool builder will offer you a finish of either plaster, colored plaster, marble or pebble.

Since concrete pools are custom-built, they are one of the more flexible types in terms of design. You can be adventurous by asking your pool builder about the possibility of adding a spa pool or something like what they call "step waterfalls."

One thing to bear in mind is that it normally takes between eight and twelve weeks to complete a concrete in ground pool.

Vinyl Liner: when vinyl liners are installed inside the walls of the pool to reinforce the steel and other materials, builders call this a vinyl liner in ground pool. The walls are actually pre-manufactured and then set to stand on the ground. After the area is excavated and the walls are installed, the vinyl liner goes in next.

Again, flexibility is one thing you get with a vinyl liner pool because any custom design can be built. Care, however, must be taken to ensure that the vinyl is protected from any puncture or piercing. Vinyl liner pools take shorter time to build.

Fiberglass pools: this type of pool is assembled at the factory and then shipped to the location. Builders will dig a hole and level it, and then they put in the fiberglass. Waiting time for completion of the pool is relatively short, similar to vinyl liner pools.

Above Ground Pools

If you're on a shoestring budget or simply don't want to invest large amounts of money because you live in a place known for its short summers, above ground pools are an excellent but inexpensive option for families. They not only score high on price, but also on installation. Ambitious do-it-yourselfers could probably install an above ground pool with no major snags.

You can choose from a hard-sided or soft-sided above ground pool. The hard sided variety is a bit more expensive but have better durability than the soft-sided ones. In certain states and provinces in North America, you can get an above ground pool for as little as $100.00 and up. Be careful, though. You can go with the above-ground pool but if you throw in a deck and other accessories, the price could shoot up to a thousand and more.

Swimming pool builders have innovated on above ground pools in the last few decades, so some of the higher priced ones could even pass for in ground pools. Meaning they feel like in ground pools - especially if your house is built on a slant or slope.

The wonderful thing about above ground pools is that they can last a lifetime, provided you follow the manufacturer's instructions for care and maintenance. Those that use newer technologies are designed to last, because most of them are liquid coated and made with steel and vinyl.

You say above ground pools don't give you much of a workout? Think again. There are what we call above ground lap tools that stretch up to 80 feet long and six feet deep. So if you want to train like an Olympic athlete, your above ground pool can be a true friend!
About the Author
Tim Dillard is currently the host of Tops In Texas (http://www.topsintexas.com) and president of Dillard Local Branding (http://www.dlbllc.com), a Houston-based web design, Internet marketing and search engine marketing firm.
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