If you are about to buy a swimming pool, there are many options that you can choose. Swimming pools, like swimmers, come in all sorts of styles and types. This article will take you through some of the pool types that are available on the market and hopefully help you to choose the type of pool that best suits you and your family.

Getting in shape?

Perhaps the most obvious way that someone might describe a type of pool is by its shape. A swimming pool might be rectangular or a kidney shape. It might be a long, thin lap-pool, an oval or indeed almost any shape that you might draw or imagine.

However the shape of a pool isn’t the first and easiest way of dividing up all the different types of swimming pool.

Is it sunk into the ground or does it sit above the ground? Pool types fall into two basic categories, in-ground pools and above-ground pools, each with their own distinct advantages and limitations.

Having said that, shape does come into this. Most above-ground pools are either oval or circular as those shapes allow them to retain as much strength as possible. In-ground pools can be any shape at all; from the classic 70s’ kidney shape to a straight edged ‘infinity pool’ merging seamlessly with the view.

The type of pool you choose should fit how you intend to use it, where it will be placed and how much you want to invest. In general, above ground pools are cheaper than those sunk into the earth.

Above or below the surface?

Above ground pools are easier to build – and so they are cheaper. It’s even possible to tackle an above-ground type of pool as a DIY project.

So cost is one of their benefits. Another advantage of this type of pool is that it can be built on a site where access for heavy machinery is limited. An above-ground pool can be moved or sold to someone else. It can be installed in just a matter of days and can last anything from a couple of seasons to almost 20 years for a top-of-the-range product.

Having said that, they will not last as long as an in-ground pool and they are limited in their shape and design. This type of pool also tends to be shallower than an in-ground pool and so diving is not really an option.

In-ground pools cost more but give you more options in terms of style and shape. They will last much longer – up to 50 years with regular maintenance – and can be designed to suit an individual’s needs; a deep end for diving, a counter-current system to swim against or a shape that will work with the landscaping or architecture of your home.

Sink it, then swim.

In-ground pools come in three basic types of pool construction.

In every case the first thing that happens is that a hole the size and shape of your new pool has to be dug. That can mean removing a huge amount of earth and either taking it off-site or using it to landscape the surrounding area. In-ground pools tend to fit in with their surroundings in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. They can become part of your garden, part of your house or even both, but that comes as a result of careful planning, good design and a well thought out budget. We can help you contact a professional pool supplier to help you with these decisions and there is a link at the top of this article.

Once the in-ground pool has been dug then it has to be lined.

Vinyl lined pool types are the cheapest form of sunken pool. A frame is built to the desired shape and then sand is used to give the vinyl a soft, flexible surface to lie against. A drawback with this construction method is that the vinyl has to be replaced every decade or so.

Fibreglass pool types have lower maintenance costs compared to vinyl, but site access can be more of an issue. A pre-formed pool liner is lowered into the excavated site and then plumbed in but of course, this type of pool build has size and design restrictions.

Concrete pool types allow the greatest flexibility in terms of size, shape and finish. A concrete pool might be surfaced with marble plaster, tiles, mosaic or paint and can be any shape or size. They are potentially the most expensive type of pool to build and take the most time. A project might take three months or more to complete.

A floating pool.

Above-ground pools need a flat, level surface to sit on. A solid framework holds the liner and sometimes also supports a small pool-side decking area.

These pools are generally 4ft deep and can be anything from 10ft round to 30ft long so they are a fairly obvious structure in your garden. Planting and landscaping can settle the pool into its environment but they are seldom as attractive as an in-ground pool.

They are of course much cheaper and quicker to install. A small above-ground pool could be ready for swimming in just a couple of days.

The pool liners are usually either vinyl or fibreglass with fibreglass being by far the longer lasting. They range in price from about £1,000 upwards.

Specialist pools.

  • Lap pool or exercise pool – A long, thin pool like a single lane of a racing pool or a pool with a counter-current to give the swimmer extra resistance to work against. For those who see swimming mainly as a path to health and fitness.
  • Diving pool – A pool to dive into should be at least 8ft deep so it has to be an in-ground construction. Safety is obviously the paramount issue when designing and installing this type of pool.
  • Negative edge or infinity pool – The darling of luxury hotels the world over. The water flows over the edge of the pool making the whole pool appear to be one enormous floating mirror. There is no margin for error in installing a pool of this type.
  • Freeform pool – A pool that is designed to look as natural as nature herself. There probably won’t be any straight edges but there may well be a waterfall or a few rocky outcrops.

There is a type of pool to suit absolutely everyone.

This article has really only scratched the surface of how many different pool types there are. There are some basic types as we have seen but whatever your dream pool might be, and whatever practical considerations you might have, we are sure that we have the knowledge and experience to help.

We hope this article has been helpful and we would be happy to answer more specific questions or to help you get in touch with a pool provider in your area.

You’ll find other articles on this site that go into the areas above in greater depth as well as addressing other aspects of choosing, buying and running a pool. So dive in.