Building Construction, Renovation & Maintenance

Different Types of Swimming Pools

A luxurious inground swimming pool

The Basic Design of Swimming Pools

There are many different ways of building swimming pools, we can build a frame on the lawn and hang a plastic membrane in it, we can dig a hole in the ground and line it with a membrane, or we can build a reinforced concrete tank. Here we look at different types of pools and the advantages and disadvantages of each.


See the full Fixed Abode article "Foetida Adulteri" here


See also:

Swimming pool design and construction
Do you really want one?


Public Baths

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Britain's Queen Victoria ordered the construction of public baths and encouraged the whole population, for their own safety, to learn to swim. The public baths were built in towns all up and down the country and, in addition to a large swimming pool, included numerous small personal bath tubs which, with a continuous supply of hot water, allowed the general population to get a good wash on a regular basis. At a time when most people did not have access to a bath or hot water the public baths became very popular. The swimming pools became a model for all modern swimming pools in terms of size, the use of chlorine for water conditioning and for the circulation and filtration of water.

Since then many different types of pools have been developed.

Types of swimming Pool

Alright so the kids are starting to stink a bit and youíve decided you want a swimming bath. Well the first thing you need to know is that, for real estate purposes, we donít call them swimming baths anymore we call them swimming pools.

There are several different types of swimming pool:

1 Reinforced Concrete Pools

Probably the most common type of swimming pools (all commercial and public swimming pools are of this type) have walls and bottom of reinforced concrete sometimes painted but usually tiled on the inside. They come in an endless range of shapes, sizes and depths. Concrete pool are usually sunk into the ground known as inground pools although the versatility of reinforced concrete is such that they can be built into upper floors of hotels or even cantilevered off the side of hillsides. Cost can be expensive in more developed countries but, due to low labour costs, are quite reasonable in Indonesia. Correct design and construction is very important with concrete pools.

Advantages
Very flexible in terms of shape, size and depth.
Very long life expectancy
Low cost in underdeveloped countries where labour is not expensive

Disadvantages
MUST be properly designed and constructed to avoid cracking and leaks.
Must be strong enough to withstand ground movements.
Expensive in developed countries where labour is expensive.
Often a major construction project which may take time to complete.

2 Inground Membrane Pools

These consist of a hole in the ground which is lined with a waterproof membrane. The hole may be reinforced with concrete walls and bottom or if the ground is very stable (such as clay) may be left as bare earth. The membrane may be polymer or bituminous material and has welded joints. Bituminous material is generally easier to weld and repair than polymers.

It may seem obvious that using plastic membranes provides a quick easy way of making a pool and certainly fishponds are often made by digging a hole and lining it with a sheet of black plastic. Making something larger is far more of a challenge requiring joining of plastic sheets or sealing pipes into the plastic. Hydrostatic (water) pressure must also be balanced on both sides of the membrane.

It also has to be remembered that sharp objects (such as rocks) can easily puncture membranes.

Advantages
May be low cost depending on the local price and availability of the membrane material.
Fairly quick to construct.
Flexibility means they are not damaged by ground movements.

Disadvantages
Thin membranes can be easily damaged.
Technically difficult, the membrane must be a very good fit in the hole, joints in the membrane must not leak and pipe penetrations through the membrane are difficult to seal.

3 Above ground pools

Available in Australia and America but not generally available in Indonesia above ground pools consist of a lightweight aluminium or steel wall placed on a flat surface (such as a lawn) with a Polymer liner. Due to common laws of physics they are usually circular in shape (although you can get oval or rectangular models) and come in sizes up to 1.4 metres deep and 10 metres in diameter. They come in kit form, are low cost but have a short life expectancy. Very small versions are available suitable for paddling pools for small children.

Advantages
Low cost
Quick to Install

Disadvantages
Low life expectancy.
Liner can be easily damaged.
Not exactly enhancing to the landscaping.
Depth limitations.

4 Fibreglass pools

Fibreglass pools have a factory made complete fibreglass liner which is delivered from the factory and then lifted into a prepared hole in the ground. These pools are generally only available in developed countries where there is a large enough market to support a factory operation to make them. They are limited in size according to the size that can be transported by truck.

Advantages
Quick and easy to install
Lower cost than concrete pools
Reasonable life expectancy.
Smooth inner finish makes them safer than concrete pools.

Disadvantages
Have a tendency to pop out of the ground if left empty when water gets underneath them.
Size is limited to what you can get onto the back of a truck.
Need a crane to lift them into place.
Need truck and crane access to the site.
Need to be correctly installed to make sure the fibreglass is properly supported from underneath.

Of these alternatives inground concrete pools are by far the most commonly used for commercial or public areas throughout the world. They are also the most popular for private use in Indonesia and other countries where labour costs are low.

Next issue we might take a closer look at design considerations.

Copyright © Phil Wilson 2009
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