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The In's and Out's of In-Ground Pool Construction

  • May 06, 2015
  • 3 Minute Read
  • Pools

A common question heard in the world of pool construction is: “What type of pool should I get?”

Oh, if only there were a hard and fast answer to this question! However, with the variety of pool types (in-ground vs above-ground) available today, as well as all the different materials that they can be constructed from, it’s just not as cut and dried as it once was. But, never fear – we’ll walk you through the basics of “what’s what” in the world of pool construction.


The majority of in-ground pools are constructed of either concrete (gunite or shotcrete), fiberglass, or vinyl; according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), concrete is the most popular.

A pool constructed of gunite takes several weeks to build; however, it also allows for a much greater selection of pool sizes and shapes, which is what makes it such a popular option. The gunite is applied on-site via a hose, and then is covered with a layer of textured plaster that is typically tinted with pigment to give the pool a specific color (blue, white, and grey are all popular choices) depending on the look the owner is trying to achieve. That top layer of plaster is then topped off with several rows of ceramic tile to complete the “look”.

When talking about a vinyl pool, the “vinyl” aspect refers to the liner of the pool. These types of pools generally comes as prepackaged kits that are often up and ready to use within a week or two. The vinyl liner hangs from the wall panels, which can be constructed from a variety of materials, including plastic, pressure treated plywood, galvanized steel, or aluminum depending upon the manufacturer. While vinyl pools are able to be made in a variety of patterns and colors, the shape of the pools are somewhat limited due to the fact that they’re prefabricated. However, vinyl liners are a very valid choice due to the fact that they tend to less expensive than concrete pools – especially when you take into consideration that these liners can be fully imprinted with a tile pattern (it would cost a substantial amount more to have a concrete pool completely tiled).

Fiberglass pools arrives to the site completely built which means that it, too, is limited in available sizes and shapes. However, there’s still a good selection of options to choose from in terms of size and shape. Fiberglass pools typically take about a week to install but, surprisingly enough, tend to cost more than a concrete or gunite pool.


Not surprisingly, the longevity of the pool is dependent upon what it’s constructed from. For example, a fiberglass pool should last 20 years or more. With vinyl pools, the structure itself will stand the test of time, but the liner will need to be changed out ever 6-11 years. When it comes to concrete pools, they, too, should last for a very long time; however, the concrete may need to be resurfaced every decade or so, which can be an expensive endeavor.

Regardless of what type of in-ground pool you decide to build, know that the pool experts here at Bonsall Pool and Spa will be with you every step of the way. From design to construction to maintenance and beyond, we’re here to help make your pool dreams a reality!