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    What is best for Ottawa: Vinyl, Concrete or Fiberglass Swimming Pools?

    01/ 24/ 2015 14 Comments

    Vinyl vs concrete vs fiberglass swimming pool

    Inground pools come in three main flavors; Concrete, vinyl and fiberglass swimming pools.  Each has its advantage and disadvantage and choosing between them becomes a question of picking the best construction method for you money and environment.  

    In this post, we will cover all three types of inground pools and consider how they are used in the Ottawa region.

    For the sake of transparency, we do specialise in vinyl swimming pools.  Naturally, we will have a preference for this style. Truth be told, in the Ottawa region, we know that vinyl pools are the go to option for most shoppers.  We have done all types of pools in the past, so here is our review of each type of inground pool.


    Concrete Swimming Pools

    concrete swimming pool from http://neptunepools.com.au/

    The concrete pool, known as a gunite or shotcrete (depending on the mixing) pool, is a very popular type of construction method in many parts of the United States that have moderate climates in the winter.  They allow for virtually any design you can think of and are extremely durable.  Depending on the exact type of surface finish, these types of pools do need to be re-surfaced every five to ten years.

    The disadvantage for this type of pool in the Ottawa Area of Eastern Ontario is cost.  Because of our rather harsh winter climate, the gunite concrete pool must be built to withstand some pretty extreme ground frost.  The extra material and labour required to build a gunite pool to these standards makes them roughly two to three times the price of either a vinyl or fibreglass type pool.

    Fibreglass Swimming Pools

    Fiberglass swimming pool from Baja-13a-vikingpools

    Fibreglass pools are manufactured in a factory and leave that factory fully ready to be put in the ground as a single large pool shell.  They have a very durable surface that doesn’t need much maintenance and can be repaired in the event of a crack or puncture.

    Fibreglass swimming pools however have a few disadvantages.  First is the fairly limited size and design choice.  Because these pools must be shipped to the installation site, they must fit on a transport truck.  This limits the size and shape to what you can fit on the truck bed.

    The second disadvantage of the fibreglass swimming pools is how it reacts in very wet soils.  Because the fibreglass pool is a single large shell, it can be thought as a large boat hull.  If the level of ground water rises sufficiently, it can actually push the fibreglass pool up.  The same is true in cold climates where ground movement due to frost can be a concern.

    Vinyl Swimming Pools

    Vinyl swimming pools - Inground

    The vinyl inground pool can be broken down into two types, a steel frame or a polymer frame.  Both systems use the same type of construction and offer the same finish product.  Vinyl pools are by far the most popular type of inground swimming pool in the Eastern Ontario area, and also in most of Canada, Eastern United States and that trend is spreading to the Southern United States.

    Much like the concrete pools, vinyl pools have virtually unlimited possibilities for size and design.  With the addition of built in steps, benches and sunledges, any design feature found in a fibreglass pool can easily be incorporated into a vinyl pool.  Long gone are the days of only having two or three choices in possible shapes.

    Because of how vinyl pools are built, they deal very well with various soil conditions over virtually any type of climate.  This makes them ideal for our very warm and dry summers and wet and quite cold winters.

    The downside of the vinyl pool is the vinyl liner that holds the water.  It can be punctured or cut leading to a water leak far more easily than concrete or fibreglass.  Luckily they can be repaired fairly easily and permanently by welding a patch.   The liner will also need to be changed about every fifteen years from normal wear and tear.  This can be done by a professional crew in less than a day.

    So when we look at the three types of pool construction and compare price, design freedom, suitability to local conditions and durability, the vinyl over steel or polymere type tends to come out ahead in Eastern Ontario.

    Thinking of buying an Inground pools for this season?  Be sure to request a quote from Campbell Pools so we can guide you in the right direction.

    Essential 8 Step Inground Pool Buyers Guide