Possibly the most important and difficult question which arises when planning to spruce up one’s garden and add a little more value to one’s home would be, “Which type of pool should I have installed ?”

There are 2 basic pool types one can have installed. These include “gunite” or a “prefabricated fiberglass shell”. The “gunite” pools can either be plastered with marble plaster or lined with a fiberglass layer. The prefabricated fibreglass shells are not built but rather “installed” in the ground and should be manufactured with high grade, high density fibre matt which, when finished, is usually around 8 – 10 mm thick. This makes for an exceptionally strong and tough, yet forgiving “shell” which makes for quick and easy installation.

Gunite is the term given to the process of “spraying” the ready mixed concrete over the steel mesh and reinforcing which is shaped and interlocked against a background of sand-filled orange bags. More often than not people tend to confuse a “marblite” pool with a “gunite” pool. The simple difference is that gunite is the “process” used to construct the concrete shell of the pool, and marblite is a “product” used to line and waterproof the concrete shell.

When contemplating which pool type to have installed/built at your home, one should consider factors such as:

• Price/affordability
• Size (area, maintenance and running costs)
• Pool type/surface

Price/affordability :
Not only does one want the best one can afford, but one usually also wants the biggest one can afford.
Well, the days of competing with the Jones’ are over and people are focusing more on what would suit their pocket.

Cement and sand/stone prices have soared in the past few years to the point where it’s now become ridiculously expensive to build big and extravagant pools. The prefab’d shells are generally less expensive as they require only the hole to be dug, comparatively little cement and no concrete when being installed.

If on the other hand, one insists on having a concrete shell built (for whatever reason), then the marble plastered gunite pools are generally cheaper than the fibre-lined gunite pools.

Size (area, maintenance and running costs) :
Apart from the fact that a smaller pool costs less money simply due to smaller amounts of material and labour needed, one should consider what would be a practical size for one’s garden, or the area where the pool will be situated.

Proportion is the order of the day! If the area/garden is small then it makes sense to install a smallish pool so as to not make the house or garden look smaller than it is.

If on the other hand one has a massive garden and a humungous house, then one would either have to install a gigantic pool, or find an area in the garden small enough to accommodate a smallish pool.

Running costs and maintenance/manageability are other important factors to bear in mind when considering the size of one’s new pool. A bigger pool uses more chemicals (larger volume of water), has a higher water loss factor (more evaporation due to bigger surface area, and longer backwashing sessions due to bigger filters), and not to mention the extra effort (a k a “elbow grease”) needed to brush steps, walls, etc.

In short, a larger pool requires more money and effort to maintain than a smaller pool.

Pool type/surface

Last but not least, the surface of the pool itself (not the water surface, that is) is vital in making this big decision for upgrading one’s home/garden.

Fibreglass pools are generally slightly more difficult to maintain as the ph level is quite unstable as far as pools go. The ph tends to drop rather than rise, which means the addition of an alkaline booster is necessary instead of lowering the ph by adding acid. This means that if you don’t have a good hold on your fibreglass pool’s ph then it will tend to go green quicker and more often. This in turn, will require shock treatments, algaecides, etc., which all cost money!

Marble plaster pools give off a certain amount of calcium which apparently stabilizes the ph, and this allows for easier maintenance.

The final difference I’d like to point out between marble plaster and fibreglass is that marble plaster is granular and tends to have a marginally rougher surface which stains easily and allows for algae to attach easily. Fibreglass is smoother and less rough/porous and allows for easy brushing and cleaning, with much less chance of staining.

We at Rhino Pools wish you good luck in making the right decision and happy swimming!