Swimming is a favorite national pastime during the summer. There’s nothing like going to the swimming pool on a hot day and diving right into the cool water. The activity is a great exercise that combines cardio and all-over muscle strengthening, alleviates arthritis and joint problems, and helps people relax while they take in the sun.
Many people visit their community swimming pool to get their time in the water. For homeowners that want to easily swim and have their own private swimming space, however, a backyard pool is a worthy purchase. An inground pool is customizable in size and shape and a daring feat for anyone to undertake. It can also raise the value of a home. But it’s not for everyone and can be quite expensive to have built.
Enter the above ground pool. While swimming pools were becoming popular around the world in the 19th century, so did the variety of pools. The first above ground pool was built at the Ratchet Club of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1907. With the invention of above ground pools, backyard pools were longer restricted to the wealthy. They also became portable.
How Above Ground Pools Are Made
Above ground pools were crudely made but functional at first. They were often constructed from heavy-canvas tanks with steel struts or wooden barrels for support. In the 1940s, manufacturers experimented with stronger framing, such as aluminum, steel, or masonite, and treated synthetic fabric liners. New pools in the ‘50s and ‘60s boasted epoxy-coated steel walls with galvanized steel or extruded aluminum supporting posts.
At the same time, these new pools included filtration systems. They also expanded from circular-shaped to oval-shaped pools, followed by rectangular-shaped and square-shaped pools. You can read more about the history of above ground pools here: https://www.poolspanews.com/business/the-history-of-aboveground-pools-playing-for-keeps_o
What Types of Above Ground Pools Exist?
As you have read, above ground pools can come in circular, oval, rectangular, or square shapes. But what about the different types and their unique features? Let’s start with what traditional above ground pools are made of.
Today, above ground pools are typically made from aluminum and steel. The parts that are vulnerable to rust are made from aluminum. They tend to be the posts, plates, posts, bottom or base tracks, and the wall. Other parts include the top cap, top rail, and vinyl liner, while buttress supports are only for oval pools.
Traditional above ground pool benefits include having a separate pool wall and pool liner, portability, a quick installation by a professional or DIY, and durability for long-term use. The most common type of above ground pools for sale are traditional. The steel frame can be made from aluminum, galvanized steel, or zinc. The pool’s parts are usually made from a combination of different metals.
Aluminum pools are a more modern type of above ground pools that have appeared in the past 10-15 years. Like steel, they are coated. Unlike steel, they are rust-resistant, lighter, easier to take apart and move, handle water movement well, and are more flexible. They also need a proper seal because they are essentially aluminum panels riveted together.
Resin pools cannot corrode or rust. They are also dent- and warp-resistant. Besides being durable, they are stylish.
Hybrid pools combine metal and resin for the best of both worlds. Resin, a type of plastic, is used for the parts that get exposed to the water and sun because it’s resistant to the elements and stays cool to the touch. Steel is used for the supporting parts to provide strength and structure.
Steel frame pools and semi-inground (or radiant) pools are two other types of above ground pools that exist. Everyone knows about inflatable pools as “kiddie” pools. However, inflatable, self-standing above ground pools with thick plastic walls can fit many adults if you’re looking for an extremely easy, budget-friendly option. They’re also a good choice for people who can’t decide on a permanent above ground pool or whether to purchase one.
Besides the types of above ground pools that exist, there are different designs for them, including vintage and in-deck. You can read about some of them here. Regardless of the type and design you choose, you also get to consider different options for the liner and the pump and filter system. The four types of liners are overlap, beaded, j-hook (uni-bead), and expandable, while the three types of pump/filter systems are sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth.
Choosing the Right Above Ground Pool
When deciding on the above ground pool that will provide plenty of fun and space for your household, you need to consider some important factors. Most are no deeper than 52 inches or 4.33 feet, but depths of 48 inches (4 feet) and 54 inches (4.5 feet) are also available. The one caveat is that these depths cannot accommodate diving since the pool needs a minimum depth of 9 feet. Round pools begin at 12 feet in diameter, while oval pools are usually 15 by 30 feet. Round pools hold more water than oval ones.
The most popular pool choice is a round shape that is 24 feet in diameter and can fit four or five people. But first, you need to check the shape of your yard and local ordinances to understand the options of above ground pools you can choose from. You’ll then want to map out your space, think about who will be using the pool, and choose a frame, liner, and pump/filter system.