Types Of Pools & Costs
Since we got our pool installed, I've gotten so many questions about the type of pool we got, and how much it cost. I'm going to break it all down for you now!
We have dreamt of having a pool since we first bought our land and built our home. Our backyard is set up perfect for it, we are on 11+ acres, and the land around the house is a flat field with a mountain view. We were lucky enough to end up having a walk out basement which sets the area up even more perfectly for a pool. Can you tell I’m justifying this, just a little bit. We knew a pool would be an investment, but having extra family fun, on our terms is important to us.
Most articles explaining the different types of pools are written by pool companies who specialize in one of the three types. I find most of them to be selective on the facts they do and don’t share, over exaggerating the negative aspects of the pools they don’t sell, and are clearly intended to sway you to one type. Simply put, most of the articles out there are a sales pitch and do not give you a clear view of the options. Lucky for you, I’m not selling anything, and hope the info I learned to help you!
Types of pools
I have never had a pool before, so starting the process, and learning about the different types of pools was overwhelming. I’ll break down each type of pool, it’s costs, and the important considerations. Keep in mind, we are in New England, pool companies may do things differently in my region then they would in yours, and costs may be greatly different. For example, the fiberglass quote we got up here was almost 3x what people in other regions have told me they see, I suspect the transportation cost is a huge piece of this. Also to note, these quotes are from Spring 2020.
We were pretty much set on a 35 to 40 foot by 20 ft rectangle pool with a sundeck. All the quotes I’m going to share are for the pool only, they do not include patio, fencing, plumbing, or electric.
Vinyl liner pool
What is it: Built with steel or polymer walls, and lined with vinyl
Cost: We received quotes from multiple companies, averaging around $65,000
Customize: Highly customizable in terms of sun ledges, and pool shape, but somewhat limited to the shapes liners can be cut to. Liners come in many colors and borders.
Maintenance: Liners last 7-10 years but can be punctured or damaged needing a replacement, typically about $5,000 to replace.
Construction: 4-8 weeks
What is it: Made of fiberglass, manufactured from a mold in a factory. It's transported to your home in one piece, ready to be installed.
Cost: Quote for a 15’6” x 40’ was $56,000 for the pool, transportation, and installation
Customization: Not customizable, made from a mold so you can’t change where ledges or steps are, color choices are also limited.
Maintenance: Not prone to algae, no liner to replace. The company that quoted us had a lifetime structural warranty for cracking
Construction: Instillation can be done in 2 days!
What is it: Made of rebar and sprayed with concrete/gunite. Think of it almost as a cement basement foundation of a home, yet also like a sculpture with the ability to curve
Cost: $85,000. Yeah, that’s a lot more, but this quote included additional items that were not quoted with the others (built in spa, variable speed pump, heater, UV sanitizer, diamond brite quartz finish, self cleaning pool system, stone coping, smartphone controls)
Customization: Completely customizable, no restrictions in shapes and features. Many finish types and colors, we did diamond brite which has pieces of sparkling quartz in it
Maintenance: Higher maintenance in the first 3 weeks as the gunite needs to be brushed as it cures so the finish feels smooth. We do chlorine tabs weekly, and chemicals to balance the ph weekly. The company we went with offers a lifetime structural warranty. There is no liner to replace, but the resurfacing can be done 10-15 years for aesthetic reasons (not structural)
Construction: 12 weeks. Click here to see a fun video of the construction process!
Why We Decided On Gunite
For us, fiberglass was out since it was going to cost us the same as vinyl but didn’t have the customizability. If we lived where fiberglass was cheaper to have delivered, it would have been a great option.
We were very concerned about having a vinyl liner, we were convinced we would be replacing it more frequently than the 5-7 years most people do. We have dogs who love to swim, and were worried their nails would rip the liner. We also have black bears and other creatures who call our back field home, not to mention two wild little boys. We assumed we would have to replace the liner every 3-5 years. When we compared these costs over 15 years, it was about the same for vinyl and gunite.
When we met with the gunite company, and they told us about their lifetime structural warranty, that’s honestly what sold us. I also mentioned there were a lot of other features included in their quote that make owning a pool a lot easier, like the self cleaning system.
We were not planning on having a spa, but thankfully the gunite pool company told us about how much kids love it. There is a valve that shuts off the spa water from the pool and allows us to quickly heat or cool the spa. We have spent 90% of our time in the spa, and I’m so thankful we decided to go for it. Check out my pool highlight in my Instagram bio to follow the whole process!