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Soak up the sun: Need-to-know info to pick your perfect pool

Vinyl-lined

Also known as prefabricated swimming pools, vinyl-lined models can be installed in one week and provide a durable, quality product that can last many years.
Photo courtesy Blue Diamond Pools & Landscaping

ADVANTAGES: Vinyl-lined pools (also known as prefabricated swimming pools) can be installed in one week and provide a durable, quality product that can last for many years. Unlike concrete pools, vinyl-lined models are less customizable. However, new manufacturing techniques and innovative accessories allow them to be made to resemble many concrete-based styles, including tile, mosaic, and rock design. Available accessories include:

  • elevated acrylic spill-over spas;
  • sheer-descent waterfalls;
  • swim-up benches;
  • in-wall steps with built-in hydro massage jets;
  • in-wall tanning ledges;
  • islands;
  • swim-up bars; and
  • river designs.

INSTALLATION: For a vinyl-lined pool, a crew excavates the earth where it will sit and install engineered pool wall systems comprising galvanized steel or polymer panels. Walls are placed evenly in the excavated portion of the backyard and are supported by steel braces; a poured concrete base holds them in place. Next, a combination of sand and cement is used to form the pool floor, creating a hard, smooth surface. Plumbing lines are installed and decking and support equipment is set up before backfilling soil around the pool’s walls. The last step is to snap the vinyl liner into place along the pool’s liner track and vacuum out air to remove wrinkles. The pool is then filled with water, stretching the liner to conform to the pool’s shape.

Fibreglass

ADVANTAGES: If neither a concrete nor vinyl-lined pool is your preference, fibreglass is the third inground option. Fibreglass pools comprise a smooth, non-porous, one-piece polyester shell, and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, including round, oval, square, and freeform models. Since their gel-coated surface does not require painting or resurfacing, they are well-suited to Canada’s freeze/thaw cycles and tend to be quite durable. And given the rounded corners in a fibreglass pool, algae and bacteria growth are also restricted. Maintaining this type of pool is also easier, since fibreglass does not affect water balance or pH levels, unlike a concrete pool. Features such as ceramic or mosaic tiles, built-in underwater lights, moulded-in steps, hydrotherapy and swim jets, fountains, waterfalls, and beach entries are possible with fibreglass pools.

INSTALLATION: Since fibreglass pools leave the factory in one piece, they are transported to your home on a flatbed truck. A crane hoists the pool into your backyard and into the excavated hole. The pool is then plumbed and backfilled for support. Since less construction work is required, a small crew can usually complete the installation in less than a week.

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