Cool Off: Comparing 4 Types of Home Pools and Spas

Cool Off: Comparing 4 Types of Home Pools and Spas
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    With the summer months coming quickly, you may be considering adding a pool or spa to keep your family cool through the hot months.


Pools and spas are also fun additions to get family and friends together for pool parties, cookouts and other fun activities. However, before you take the plunge, it is important to understand the different types of pools and spas available.

Fiberglass Pools

One of the latest trends is fiberglass pools, which have several advantages over other types of pools. Fiberglass pools are easy to maintain as the non-porous surface does not give algae a place to hide. They also require fewer chemicals than concrete pools. Fiberglass pool shells can be installed in just a few days while other types of pool surfaces require three to six months for installation.

Because there is no liner, fiberglass is more durable and they now come in a variety of styles, colors and shapes. They also work better with salt water pool systems. However, fiberglass can cost more than vinyl-lined pools and your customization options are limited.

Concrete Pools

Concrete pools from places like Robert Allen Pools and Spas allow you to customize the shape of the pool, which is its best feature. If you want an extremely deep pool or a custom shape, concrete is the best option. They are extremely durable as there is no liner to tear. This means even if your Labrador enjoys a quick dip in the pool on a hot summer day, you don’t have to worry about tearing or ripping when he climbs out.

Concrete pools do require more maintenance, however, as the porous surface allows algae to grow. Concrete pool companies recommend that you brush the surface of the pool with a wire brush at least once each week because once algae is embedded, it is difficult to remove. You also will use more chemicals with a concrete pool and you will find that you need to adjust the pH in the water often as concrete is alkaline-based.

Concrete is also not compatible with salt-water systems. The interior is rough so it can be uncomfortable on feet, even leading to sores or blisters. It takes a significant amount of time to install a concrete pool and they are the most expensive option when it comes to pool types.

Vinyl Liners

The best-known pool type is one that includes a vinyl liner. Although most people think of them when they think of above-ground pools, they are also used for in-ground pools. They are more affordable, usually as much as $10,000 less than fiberglass or concrete.

They can also be customized, although customization will come with a higher price. The surface is non-porous so there is less risk of algae growth. However, they are not durable and you will need to replace the liner at some point.

Replacement can cost as much as $4,000 and liner warranties often carry quite a bit of small print, such as only covering seams, not covering labor and many are pro-rated so you only get a credit toward a new liner if something goes wrong in the first few years, even if the warranty says it is a 20-year warranty. Although the liner itself is non-porous, parts of the liner may not be, such as where steps are attached or behind lights.

Hot Tubs and Spas

If it is a hot tub and spa that you would prefer, you need to understand some of the different types available. Above-ground hot tubs are the most popular as they are the least expensive and can be relocated if necessary. One type of above-ground hot tub is created from fiberglass and are usually small, designed for up to six people.

They must be installed on a level surface and some require 220-volt outlets. They are also portable, allowing you to move the tub inside during cold months. They are also available in soft-sided inflatable versions that can be inflated when you want them and deflated when you are done. They are very inexpensive but the vinyl can get damaged easily. They also rely on blowers rather than jets and actually look more like an over-sized kiddie pool.

Wooden hot tubs are also popular, paying homage to the original hot tubs which were created from wine casks. It is also possible to install an in-ground hot tub. These are the most expensive types and require professional installation. They are usually made from concrete and may have a decorative tile overlay. Most in-ground tubs have fewer jets and are not as energy saving as above-ground tubs. They are permanent and cannot be moved, but may add to the value of your home if you decide to sell.

Adding a pool, hot tub or spa to your home is an excellent way to gather family together and keep cool on those hot summer nights. By understanding the types available, you can be sure that the one you choose is perfect for your family’s needs.

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