Above Ground Pools, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
The sole purpose of this article is to give you 20 years worth of experience building, selling and servicing above ground pools. This may be a long read so be prepared.
Lets get this out of the way first. When it comes to sales of above ground pools, the employees at local pool retailers know very little about the actual pools they sell. Even fewer have ever assembled or serviced one. Let alone have worked on or have experience with other brands. All that you will get is the recycled selling points off a brochure, no real world experience or knowledge. Also, these retailers do not build the pools they sell. They have referral contractors to build the pools or they will try convince you to build the pool yourself to save money and close the deal. We will go into further depth on installation in another blog.
Internet Purchases are even worse. Most often the pools do not include everything you need and getting any sort of help when it comes to a warranty issue is next to impossible. Not to metion most online retailers have no real world experience with using, building or servicing above ground pools.
Now we get to the installation portion of your above ground pool project. The "Build and Bail" Pool Builder. These guys are everywhere. They offer the quickest and cheapest installation, but as soon as an issue comes up they are not to be heard from again. To be half the price of experienced builders, some serious corners need to be cut. This takes place in the form of using patio blocks and copious amounts of sand for the installation process. This is a mistake that will inevitably lead to your pool failure. Please read our article on why we dont use patio blocks for our Above Ground Pool Installations. Then we have the builders and pool stores that are telling pool owners that they can put their pool completley in the ground at a fraction of the cost of a legitimate in ground pool. Another recipe for disaster which we go into great detail on in another article. Needless to say your standard above ground pool will be destroyed as soon as you remove the water to replace the liner for the first time. A traditional above ground pool is not engineered to hold back all of the material that is backfilled against it. The second that water is removed your pool is toast and there will be no manufacturer warranty to cover it and you will never hear from that builder again.
THE GOOD Above Ground Pools are an affordable means of family recreation. Above Ground Pools cost anywhere from a few hundred for an Intex type pool, to $14,000.00 plus, for a Freeform Radiant Type Pool. Above Ground Pools can be removed easily if you outgrow the pool or are moving and want to bring it with. Above Ground Pools can be installed in as little as 8 hours from start to finish.Pools are available in many sizes from round to oval, from 15' rd to 33'rd. Above Ground Pools are available from many local pool retailers and of course the internet.
Pool Pros has a leg up on our competitors in many areas, but the most important is in experience. I started out building pools for every local pool retailer in Green Bay. I know the good and the bad of all the brands due to first-hand experience working on them. So when we recommend something it has a foundation in real-world experience, not just a profit margin.
That being said let's dive into the trend of pool manufacturers switching from Steel Pools to Resin Pools.
ABOVE GROUND POOL TYPES
There are currently 3 types of Above Ground Pools, The Steel Pool, The Resin Pool and The Hybrid Pool (combination of both resin and steel). We will get into the differences below.
Resin Above Ground Pools are composed of a steel wall and resin (plastic) uprights, top rails, top tracks and bottom tracks.
Steel Above Ground Pools are composed of a steel wall and steel uprights, top rails, top tracks and bottom tracks.
The History of the Above Ground Pool Manufacturing
For many years steel was all that pools were made from. These pools were heavy duty, strong and lasted for 20 plus years. I have a client that still has a 24' Doughboy Pool that is 30 plus years old and is going strong. As steel prices increased over the years, pool manufacturers began using thinner steel components to get away with using less steel, thus keeping price increases to a minimum. Eventually, steel prices became a major issue for pool manufacturers. Manufacturers began searching for alternate materials for use in the production of Above Ground Pools. The material they came up with was resin. To me this is a glorified name for plastic. Some of the earliest brands to produce resin pools were Aqua Leader and Vogue.
Resin is a much cheaper material and production costs for resin pools are substantially less than steel. Thus the influx of resin pools at local pool retailers. Although its higher profit margins, resin pools do not last as long as steel pools. In my experience, I have seen very few resin pools last longer than 8 years. This is in contrast to the average steel pool which will last around 20 years. This is especially true with the Aqualeader Concerto model sold locally by Allied Pools. This pool is horrible for the Wisconsin climate.
The reason resin does not last as long is that plastic breaks easily when cold. Resin also dries out and is bleached out from the sun making it brittle. Also when a steel screw is screwed through one piece of plastic into another it deforms the plastic and can melt it or crack it. Plastic pool components especially bottom tracks do not hold up well when they come into contact seasonal ground movements from cold and frost. Although most resin pools offer lifetime warranties it is difficult or impossible to get the manufacturer to cover these damages.
This is the main reason Pool Pros made the decision to stop building Pools for everyone in town and to only build pools that we sold. After we made that decision we chose to sell only the highest quality steel pools. We sought out the manufacturers that were still making steel pools and chose the best from that group. This leads us to the Seaspray Evolution Pool. To date, it is the heaviest gauge steel pool on the market. It also is coated with resin. It offers the best of both worlds.
Resin pools have lower cost and lower lifespan.
Steel pools have higher cost and longer lifespan.
You do get what you pay for with above ground pools. Trust the professionals with the real world, hands-on experience to bring you only the best in above ground pools. When Quality Counts, Count on Pool Pros.