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Choosing the Right Pool for You

Before you take the plunge and spend your hard-earned dollars on a pool, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

By Jennifer Adamson

Jul 2016

backyard in-ground pool
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Before you take the plunge and spend your hard-earned dollars on a pool, make sure you know what you’re getting into. With so many options, Fishel Pools (417-886-6699) and Doug’s Pool & Spa (417-882-7665)  help us break down the four most popular types of pools installed locally. 

Freestanding

Description: Above-ground pool that stands up on its own
Approximate Cost: $2,300—4,300
Accessories/Available Upgrades: Pump and filter system, lighting, liner
Popular Shape Options: Round or oval
Installation Timeline: Three days
Maintenance Details: Cleaning out leaves, vacuuming the bottom, adding chemicals; 30 to 45 minutes per week
Pro Suggestions: Ideal for home renters due to disposability factor; Great starter pool for those considering an in-ground option; Can self-install to cut costs

Vinyl

Description: In-ground pool with panel walls fastened together and covered with heavy, customizable plastic
Approximate Cost: $27,000 and up
Accessories/Available Upgrades: Automatic cleaners, heaters, fountain jets, water features, diving boards, slides
Popular Shape Options: Rectangle, L-shape, oval, kidney, lagoon
Installation Timeline: Two weeks to two months
Maintenance Details: Cleaning out leaves, vacuuming the bottom, adding chemicals; 30 to 45 or more minutes per week depending on size
Pro Suggestions: Cheap chemicals can destroy liner. Spend extra to ensure chlorine you're purchasing is pure; A new liner recommended every 15 years

Shotcrete

Description: In-ground, steel-reinforced concrete structure where concrete structure where concrete is applied under high pressure
Approximate Cost: $80,000 and up
Accessories/Available Upgrades: Automatic cleaners, heaters, fountain jets, water features, diving boards, slides
Popular Shape Options: Unlimited
Installation Timeline: Two to three months
Maintenance Details: Cleaning out leaves, vacuuming the bottom, adding chemicals; 30 to 45 or more minutes per week depending on size
Pro Suggestions: Only hire a certified shotcrete builder

Swim Spa

Description: Pool/spa hybrid with water jets that produce a current against which to swim for exercise; can be above- or in-ground
Approximate Cost: $27,000—35,000
Accessories/Available Upgrades: Size, swim current, resistance jet, seating, colors, lighting, treadmill
Popular Shape Options: Rectangle or oblong
Installation Timeline: Two days
Maintenance Details: Significantly less than other models; a few minutes per week
Pro Suggestions: Comes pre-plumbed and pre-wired but may require electrician assistance. Keep it covered to conserve water and heat.

Ready to buy? Not sure if being a pool owner is right for you? Experts from both Fishel Pools and Doug's Pool & Spa suggest talking to a professional. Most pool stores have sample products on hand and offer one-on-one instruction that can guide you in making your decision. You can also ask for a booklet that explains different chemical treatments to give you a better understanding of the upkeep required.