pools offer a great value in family entertainment. For less than
the cost a two week vacation, a back yard pool can provide years
and years of fun and togetherness. And todays pools are better
than ever: new materials and manufacturing techniques create a pool
that can last until your children are grown and your grandchildren
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Above-ground pools are constructed in three basic materials; steel,
aluminum or resin (plastic).
The advantages of steel are price and weight. Steel is the heaviest
of the three materials, and a steel pool is very solid. While steel
will eventually rust, modern-day manufacturing methods create steel
pools with 20+ year life spans.
Aluminum pools have become popular over the last 10 or 15 years. Their
main advantage is resistance to rust, although aluminum does oxidize
and weaken over time. As it oxidizes, it tends to pit and the surface
becomes rough and may cause pinholes in the liner. Aluminum pools are
easier to disassemble and move, but at almost half the weight of steel
they tend to flex more, giving them a flimsy feel. They
are also more expensive than their steel counterparts.
Resin (plastic) is the newest material being used in above-ground pools.
While there are a few all-resin pools available, most are of a hybrid
design with some or all of the structural components, like caps, uprights
and or top rails, fabricated from resin and matched to a steel or aluminum
wall. Resin does not rust or oxidize, and is therefore an excellent
material for pool construction. While 100% resin pools are generally
much more expensive than aluminum or steel, the hybrid designs offer
many of the advantages of resin at a small increase in price.
handles all three types of above-ground pools. However, we feel
the best overall value is a steel or steel-resin hybrid. The walls
of modern steel pools are hot-dipped galvanized, rust proofed, vinyl
coated (double coated in better pools), and finished with a protective
clear coat. A high-quality steel pool will last just as long as
an aluminum or resin pool, at a lower price.
There are three basic design types of above-ground
pools: round, oval and "on-ground".
ROUND vs. OVAL POOLS
Round and oval pools are manufactured with 48
or 52 wall heights, with round pools available in sizes from 12
to 30, in 3 foot increments. Ovals are available from 8
x 12 to 18 x 39.
Round pools are self-supporting with no external
bracing needed. Oval pools require angled braces along the long sides,
with steel straps running under the pool connecting the braces on opposite
sides. These braces add an additional five to six feet to the total
width of the pool, and must be taken into consideration to determine
what size pool your yard can accommodate. In many cases an oval pool
will take up almost as much space as a round pool, with substantially
less swimming area. For example, a 12x18 oval pool requires
a 17x18 installation space, and holds 6190 gallons of water.
An 18 round pool, using approximately the same space, holds 7296
gallons. There are a few specialty pools that use a single pole on each
side of the pool, connected by a strap running under the pool and a
steel cable across the top of the pole, eliminating the need for external
bracing. These pools are ideal for those with severe space limitations.
your yard space allows, a round pool will generally offer more swimming
area than a comparable oval, at a lower cost.
The on-ground pool uses a totally different design
concept than above-ground pools. Instead of a continuous wall, on-grounds
use thick 4 inch wide aluminum panels that interlock to form the walls.
The strength of this design allows the pool to be built in round, oval
or rectangular shapes, and can be installed partially or completely
in ground. These pools always include fencing and decking, and many
can be installed with a six foot deep end. Although substantially more
expensive than above-ground pools, on-grounds are a good alternative
for people who want the size and quality of an in-ground, but for one
reason or another cannot accommodate the digging required to install