A fiberglass pool that is ideal for any smaller property.
Decisions Decisions … Making the Right Choice for Your New Pool
Having taken the plunge and decided to build a swimming pool, it is important to know what you want. Pools come in a huge selection of sizes, shapes and finishes, and you will do yourself a favor if you do some serious homework before you sign the contract.
Reputable swimming pool builders – particularly those that belong to a NAtional Spa & Pool Institute (US, Canada, South Africa) – can offer you a range of options including hand-packed concrete, gunite, fiberglass and vinyl-lined pools.
Your decision will depend on numerous factors including the site you have chosen (which may be the only site you can use); the finish you want; and price.
The best advice is to shop around and ask for references. If possible visit completed pools.
The NSPI in South Africa categorizes pools for its awards competition according to construction method. Gunite, handpacked concrete and concrete pools in general are in one category; and fiberglass and vinyl in another. Size and surround further separates categories.
Fifty years ago most pools were built using shuttering and concrete. Then gunite – which uses a strong sand/cement mixture – was invented in the US and the industry boomed.
Gunite pools are still very popular in South Africa, and hand-packed concrete is becoming more widely used in certain areas due to the high specification of concrete design by ready-mixed suppliers who can guarantee a 30–35 Mpa.
Fiberglass pools are moulded in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be supplied in various colors as well. Vinyl-lined pools are the cheapest option, but be sure you buy these from a reputable manufacturer.
Finish of concrete and gunite pools is another mine field. There are various plasters which may be used, including the traditional marble plaster. Make sure your builder is using a product manufactured by an NSPI member.
If you don’t want a plastered pool shell, a mosaic or tile finish is another option, and in certain areas chip tile is popular.
In the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, chip-tile pools were introduced as an alternative to marble plaster in the late 1960s. While relatively few pools are finished this way elsewhere in South Africa, they have remained ‘the norm rather than the exception’ in that part of the world.
An advantage of chip-tile pools is that they don’t stain, form hairline cracks or ‘go rough’, as is experienced with some other surfaces. However, the process of finishing a pool using this method does require intensive labour and there are skills required to do it properly.
Of course there are always pros and cons, and it is up to you to ask the right questions and to demand satisfactory answers.