Swimming pool buying guide
The swimming pool buying guide in three easy steps
Summer is coming fast, which means for many Australians it’s time to prepare for long, hot days and sweltering nights.
It is perhaps of our love-hate affair with the Australian climate that, fortunately for us, the country enjoys some of the most affordable swimming pool options across the world.
Creating a pool has never been easier, nor less expensive, and will allow you to enjoy the summer, rather than loathe it.
Getting a pool, however, isn’t as simple as going to the store. There are many considerations to make, three of which are vital as to how much you will be spending, as well as what type of pool you will be getting.
In this article, we’ve gone through the three main issues that surround the pool buying process, and explored the pros and cons of all of the options that will be available to you. To simplify it, we’ve gone with the three most commonly found and available.
Above ground vs inground
Above ground pools are and have always been the more affordable option, with a simple assembly pool being able to be purchased from any leading hardware store. They can be placed anywhere that is flat on the property, and don’t require as much infrastructure in the way of piping or filtration than their inground counterparts.
What you’re getting in price and convenience you are losing in attractiveness, however, as the outside of the pool can be considered unsightly. This is especially true if you love your garden, where the visuals of an above ground pool may slightly detract from the overall spectacle.
That’s not to say that above ground pools can’t be modified. We’ve seen some clever designs around an above ground pool that incorporate a lavish timber decking, which makes the pool itself seem built into the surface. This can be pricey, though, and may negate the bargain that you got in the first place.
Inground pools are often custom made, and whilst you can buy a premade tub that can be dug into the ground itself, they will still require a degree of customisation. If you’re worried about your budget, you won’t be particularly rapt with the price range, inground pools can be expensive, and that’s not counting tiling, plumbing, or filtration.
You are getting a real centrepiece with the investment, however. Inground pools can transform even the most tired of backyards into a real Australian backyard haven, and invite creativity to seamlessly tie them into the design of your home as well.
Inground pools tend to also take up a huge chunk of space, even for the smaller options that you can find. So if your backyard is a tad on the tiny side, be prepared to either reassess your desire for one, or to make huge compromises in the overall design of the backyard itself.
Both options have their pros and cons, and if you’re still stuck on which one to choose, you can make the choice simpler by simplifying the equation to budget vs size. If you can spare both of these, an inground pool will serve you well. If either issue is a particular concern of yours, then your best bet will be an above ground pool that you can cherish for years to come.
Sand filter vs saltwater filter
One huge question you will get right at the start is the type of filtration system that you will be getting with your pool. This is vital as it will effectively be what cleans your pool water, and switching from one to the other after the fact can be surprisingly difficult and costly, both for your time and your money.
The two most common types are a sand filter, or a saltwater filter. The sand filter will, when turned on for its cleaning cycle, recycle your water through crystallised sand, along with the help of some chemicals, and purify the water from algae and other waterborne nasties.
Sand filters are the oldest form, are still the most commonly found across the country, and are the least expensive by far. However, they do come with some drawbacks. The first one is that these filters have a small shelf life, and may require to be either refitted or replaced every 5-10 years.
The second one is perception. The chemicals used – chlorine based solutions – are safe when instructions are followed carefully. However, the very notion of using chemicals to clean a pool can understandably still turn some people off, no matter how safe they are.
Sand filters can also be quite large, being equivalent to the size of a standard sofa seat, and will require lots of pipes, which add to the space that it will eat up.
Saltwater filters consistently cycle saltwater, which is sterile and requires no chemicals at all. The system itself is both considerably smaller and less maintenance heavy than a sand filter, and is perhaps the more “organic” option out of the two.
Saltwater is not without its drawbacks, however. First is its price; saltwater filters can quickly eat up your bank account even for the most basic options. Saltwater also, believe it or not, makes the water very salty, which may become annoying for some after a while.
If you can afford it, and don’t mind the taste of salt, we would recommend going for the saltwater filter. That’s not to say that there is anything really wrong with a sand filter, though, especially for those who are getting a pool purely to cool down during those hot summer days.
Rubber lining vs tiled lining
The argument about lining of the pool, whether it be rubber or tiled, is not as straightforward as you would think. Whilst it might be easy to suggest that tiles or some other form of organic lining is more opulent and expensive, you would be pleasantly surprised to know that there is much more to the story.
Let’s start off with rubber linings, which again are by far the most common and in almost every case the standard when buying a retail above ground pool. This lining does exactly what it says on the tin and nothing more – keeps the water in and keeps you cool.
Whilst it is quite thin, it is actually highly durable and can take a hell of a battering. You would be extremely unfortunate to puncture it through general use of the pool, and may only require replacement once over a two decade time frame.
The choices are rather limited when it comes to lining, however – you’ll have a range of blue shades to choose from and nothing more – and depending on the size and shape of the pool it could get a little pricey.
Tiles are for those who are looking to have a real centrepiece pool. The options, much like for any other tiled surface, are quite literally endless, and will allow you to create the pool of your dreams.
A tiled pool surface, though, does have significant drawbacks. For one, the hardness of the tiles can pose safety risks, making diving into the pool essentially a no-no, and also posing injury if swam into or bumped into.
Tiled surfaces will also require a lot of maintenance, and if you have opted for a sand filter, expect to be replacing tiles on a regular basis. Whilst the chemicals used are safe, they can corrode organic materials over a prolonged period of time. This means that your grout and tiles will suffer significant wear.
If you can look past the limited options for creativity, we would suggest getting a rubber lined pool, and only opt for a tiled surface if you really want to create a bespoke feature.