What type of pool should you get?

All swimming pools work the same way, using a combination of continual pumping through chemical-treatment and filtration systems to keep the water clean. When choosing a swimming pool, you'll have to consider how much money you want to spend and how soon you want the pool to be ready because the difference between the various types of swimming pools lies in the way their basins are constructed.

Above-ground pools are the easiest and cheapest to build. Most are made from prefabricated kits, which the owners can decide to put together on their own or hire someone to install. Above-ground pools are less durable and less attractive than other kinds of pools. They're also less permanent, so consider this if you're thinking about moving in the near future.

Fiberglass pools are made from molded fiberglass-reinforced plastic. They are pre-formed and placed in a hole once the plumbing has been laid.

Vinyl-lined pools are built like above-ground pools, but they're installed in the ground. They're cheaper but also less durable than other kinds of in-ground pools. Their liners need to be replaced about every 10 years.

Gunite pools are the most popular in the United States. Gunite is a mixture of sand and cement that is sprayed onto the pool frame, which is made of rebar (steel reinforcing) rods. Then a finish of plaster, concrete paint, tile, fiberglass or exposed aggregate is put on top. Gunite pools can be built in any size or shape and are extremely durable.

Poured-concrete pools are becoming less popular with the rise of gunite pools. They're harder to build - and more expensive -- because their frames are made of wood with concrete poured in. Finally, masonry block pools use concrete blocks for walls.

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