Building Construction, Renovation, Maintenance & Advice

Different Types of Swimming Pools

See also:

Swimming pool design and construction
Do you really want one?


“Foetida Adulteri”

It all started a long, long time ago with those Roman chappies. When they were out conquering they’d have to go on long marches and, after a decade or so on the road, they’d get a bit smelly around the nether regions.

To get a bit of ventilation going they started wearing short little leather skirts which the legions found somewhat fetching and added a bit of titillation to their humdrum conquering lives.

But still they stank.

Then one day in 67 AD Fredricus Maximus was talking to his mate Cornelius Minimus.
“Cor blimey” he said “my men pong worse than a skunk’s scrotum.”
“Oh we don’t have that problem anymore” said Corney.
“How come?”
“We dip ‘em.”
“Dip ‘em?”
“Yea we take em to Bath and throw ‘em in”
“Bath?”
“Yea, it’s a small village. There’s sort of a big pool of hot water that comes out of the ground, we throw ‘em in the pool and half an hour later we pull ‘em out clean, don’t smell for a week. Throw some chillies and garlic in and even the ticks and lice fall off.

And so it was that the Romans learned about Bathing (- visiting Bath). Time passed and they became rather fastidious about cleanliness - some would say obsessive, they were so enthusiastic they even invented acqueducts and plumbing.

They started building their roads dead straight so they could get to their next place of washing as quickly as possible. Whenever they were in the area of Bath they would throw off their miniskirts in gay abandon and go for a dip. For decency they invented a small garment with a string up the back that hid their naughty bits at the front, they called it a dipthong.

Back in those days Britain was inhabited by a load of scruffy dirty beggars and the local population weren’t interested in all this cleanliness stuff. Apart, that is, from the welsh hill farmers who weren’t bothered about the women and kids but they did like their sheep clean and, taking a leaf out of the Roman’s in Bath, invented the sheep dip.

Up in the far North Hadrian, sitting in his villa was having a hard time. He just couldn’t stand the smell and built a wall to keep the really odorous ones out but that only got rid of the visiting Picts and Scots.

The locals were the worst, they didn’t even wear clothes they just rubbed themselves with dead cabbages which made them a bright blue colour. They’d leave dirty great footmarks on the mozaic tiles and blue handmarks on the nice white walls. Ever tried to get woad stains out of a nice white shirt? - you never gave the ironing to an ancient Brit.

Eventually the stench overcame them and the Romans left.

A couple of thousand years passed, population density increased and the stink got even worse. The French tackled the problem in their own way hiding the stink by dowsing each other with nice smelly water they found in Cologne - it didn’t work.

For Queen Victoria, shocked when Albert came home one night smelling like a pig that had eaten a strong Vindaloo and a plateful of dahl, enough was enough. “We are not amused” she famously said and came up with a cunning plan. She ordered the construction of large water containers she named public baths and insisted that the whole population had, for their own safety, to learn to swim. And so it was that the people of Britain, known for their hysterical aversion to soap and water were fooled into taking a regular weekly dipping in chlorinated water. Hysteria was replaced by diptheria.

The Swimming bath was born and the rest is mystery.

Types of swimming Pool

Alright so the kids are starting to stink a bit and you’ve decided you want a swimming bath. Well the first thing you need to know is that, for real estate purposes, we don’t 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 and perhaps a pattern or two for those that might wish to make their own cheeky little two tone dipthong.

Copyright © Phil Wilson 2009
This article or any part of it cannot be copied or reproduced without permission from the copyright owner.

8 February 2017 Copyright © Mr Fixit,
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