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FAQ - The Three Most Popular Inground Swimming Pools

Updated on September 23, 2013

Types of Swimming Pools

There are basically 3 types of inground pools, Concrete (gunite), fiberglass and vinyl. It's good to be informed before you decide.

A brief peek into the history of pools...

There are basically three types of swimming pools and each has contributed to the advancement of the pool industry allowing you to enjoy a wonderful backyard oasis today.

Concrete pools, often referred to as "gunite" or "shotcrete" in the industry, dominate Florida - especially Central Florida (Orlando). There are many theories as to why, not the least of which is tradtion. Some of the first pools constructed were of concrete and were often built in the sunbelt states, solely for the very affluent.

As time marched on, development in swimming pool materials expanded the technology of swimming pool construction to include steel walls, polymer walls and one-piece fiberglass shells.

Vinyl liner pools are one such addition to the pool industry. A vinyl liner pool is typically constructed of steel or polymer walls and a concrete/vermiculite floor, covered with a durable vinyl liner, available in a multitude of patterns. These types of pools are very common nationwide, but not very prevalent in Florida - save certain areas in northern Florida. Theories also abound as to why, but tradition more than likely is also the prevailing reason. This is somewhat similar to the lack of basements in Florida. It's not that they can't be built here. Oftentimes it could be that builders don't feel comfortable building something they've never built before.

Fiberglass pools, or what are sometimes called composite pools, are another entry into the swimming pool industry taking the lead from the boating industry. Much of the positive manufacturing processes used in the fiberglass pool industry stem from research in the boating industry. Fiberglass pools have been around since the 1950s and have proven to be a great alternative to the traditional concrete pool and vinyl liner pool.

As technology advanced the industry, pools become more affordable for many Americans. In Florida especially, an inground pool is quickly becoming a necessity for new home buyers. It goes along with the demand for expansive master bedrooms/baths, commercially upgraded kitchen appliances, solid surface countertops and upgraded flooring.

Consumers have become very discerning in the selection of products for their home which has pushed the swimming pool industry to provide more upgraded swimming pool construction and design. Gone are the days of a simple hole in the ground for swimming. More and more we are seeing backyard "rooms" complete with all the conveniences and luxury of an upscale resort.

Concrete Pools

Traditional construction.

  • Unlimited shape and size options
  • Numerous options for surface color.
  • Requires greatest deal of water treatment
  • Need for resurfacing in future---costly, but it gives you a whole new look.
  • Typically requires longer installation periods.

Shower Analogy: A concrete pool is like the grout between the tiles of a shower.

Vinyl Liner Pools

  • Nearly unlimited shape and size options Smooth surface but not completely non-porous
  • Many beautiful liners to choose from
  • Need to change liner in future---but not as costly as a concrete resurface.
  • Can enjoy a whole new look---like changing the living room furniture

Shower Analagy: A vinyl liner pool is like the vinyl shower curtain. Cute at first but throw it away when it gets yucky.

Fiberglass Pools

  • Limited shape and size options
  • Smooth, non-porous surface
  • Does not attract bacteria or algae
  • No need to resurface
  • Solid surface finishes available from many manufacturers. Here is a sample of surfaces adapted from the kitchen and bath industry (
  • Ability renovate only limited by imagination to the extent you want to change your deck area. Upgrade to pavers or stampcrete. Add water features, etc.
  • Shower Analagy: Rinse and run!

The style you choose is based more so on the talents of the contractor you choose ( than anything else. You see, the vessel that holds the water is just a small part of the project. Integrating it into your backyard and your lifestyle is so much more important.

No matter which style you end up using, keep your eye on safety and fun (in that order) and you will enjoy your pool for years and years to come.



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    • swimfan profile image

      swimfan 5 years ago from United States

      Good overview of the different types of pools. It seems like fiberglass is getting a lot buzz lately.

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      Daniel 5 years ago

      Great article! I would like to mention that there is a new type of building material for vinyl liner pools which is a fiber reinforced composite material. It's as strong as steel but is non-corrosive. Polymer was good because it was non-corrosive, but the problem is that it's brittle which allows it to crack and warp easily. That's why the industry is replacing polymer (structural foam) with Fiber Reinforced Composite Material.

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      Maria Slaby 6 years ago

      You're so welcome! Happy Swimming!

    • profile image

      Pool Supplies 6 years ago

      Thanks for the information about three most popular inground pools.

    • profile image

      Inground Pool 7 years ago

      Excellent idea about the different types of pool. :D

    • profile image

      Maria Slaby 7 years ago

      Thank you! I'm glad this was useful for you. Best wishes. Keep swimming!

    • theindianblues profile image

      theindianblues 7 years ago from Some where on the Globe

      Useful information. In fact I am planning to have one in my back yard and this hub will help a lot to get a preliminary idea. Thanks for getting such a wonderful thought and writing this hub.

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      Amy Appleton 7 years ago

      I think Melanie is asking because it's above ground, how she would get in the pool. To answer her question, there is a ladder on the side wall that goes up the outer wall and down the inner wall.

    • profile image

      Maria 8 years ago

      I'm not understanding the question...

    • profile image

      Melanie 8 years ago

      How do you get in the pool then?

    • profile image

      Maria 8 years ago

      Thanks Kenny!

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      Kenny  8 years ago

      This is good information for someone who isn't aware of the different types of pools that are available, and what the advantages and disadvantages of each type are.