How to buy an above ground pool
Buying an above ground pool can seem like an overwhelming undertaking. In fact once it is broken down into reasonable steps, it is actually quite a simple process. As always, the experts at eFamilyFun are available to assist you every step of the way. Our goal is never to make the sale, but to help you select the right components that meet your unique requirements. We know from experience that if we can help you manage the process, and if we are competitive, the sale will take care of itself.
So let’s get started. These are the basic steps:
Take a good look at the area where you intend to install the pool. You will ultimately need to have a completely level surface for the installation. Depending on how much work you are prepared to do, this can be the single biggest factor in determining the size and shape of your pool. If you do not have a flat area, or if it is not flat where you want to locate the pool, you can still install it with the understanding that you will need to excavate a base until it is flat. You can also chose a pool that can accept partial or complete in ground installation, but please know that these are special features and not all pools can be installed in ground.
Now that you have picked a shape and size, also consider depth. The most common choices are 48”, 52” and 54”. While these depth variations might sound minor, they actually make a fairly significant difference. Consider that upgrading from a 48 to a 52 is more than an 8pct increase. While none of these sizes are ever suitable for diving, a bigger pool will give you a different overall experience. Since you are already leveling the area, building the pool and equipping it, the relative cost increase for a deeper pool is a relatively minor part of the total cost. Also keep in mind that the water level will on average be 4" lower than the pool walls ( so a 48" is 44" deep ). For this reason we find that many people do choose to upgrade the depth.
Now consider what the pool is constructed of. Having chosen size, shape and depth, the universe of options begins to get smaller and the pool of your dreams starts to come into focus. There will be different choices for the walls and the top rails, although sometimes these are of the same material.
a) Galvanized steel is strong economical choice. Steel construction can be found in our Atlantis round , Atlantis oval , Aegean Round, and Aegean Oval where it is used in both the sidewalls and the rails. The width of the rail also increases as you move up in quality.
b) The next step in quality is a polymer or resin pool. These are manufactured from high quality stabilized resins. They are strong, light and do not corrode. The Aruba Round and Aruba Oval are examples of great polymer pools. The Tahitian Round and Tahitian Oval are hybrid pools that combines steel sidewalls with resin top rails. The resin feels better to the touch and is generally considered more attractive.The stell is stronger and therefore these hybrids combine the best of both.
c) The last option is aluminum, which has the advantages of being very strong and not corroding. These are the only pools that should be installed semi or fully in ground. The Bermuda Round and the Bermuda Oval are outstanding aluminum pools.
When selecting quality and materials, an easy rule of thumb is to look at the warranty. The longer the warranty, the better the underlying materials are going to be. While you might not need a 30 year warranty (for example), it is a strong indicator that you can expect a trouble free ownership experience. This is obviously a huge consideration as your pool is going to be source a relaxation and recreation, not a new source of work!
Select a liner .So now you have selected a size, shape and construction material. At this point it is time to move inside the pool and select a liner and any padding or cove strips:
a) Gorilla padding: This is an excellent idea that will protect your liner and make your pool more comfortable. The gorilla pad is pre cut to the size of your pool. It is made of a super strong material that will prevent liner cuts resulting from rocks, roots and plant growth. It will provide an extra layer of protection that will feel good on your feet and prevent footmarks from forming in the bottom of your pool. If you do not use gorilla padding you will need a foam alternative that will need to be cut, shaped sized and taped. Since this involves more work and an inferior result, we strongly recommend the Gorilla pad.
b) Cove strips make a nice transition from the pool bottom to the pool sides. They go under the liner and their sole purpose is to make the pool fell better on your feet. They are a small investment with a nice return on comfort, so most people do install them.
c) Liners cover the inside of the pool going over the walls, the padding and the cove strips. A lot of sellers claim mil thicknesses on their liners that are not actually accurate. Over the last several years some liners have gotten thinner but the quality has still improved. We therefore suggest finding a pattern that you like with an installation style that works for you and a warranty that evidences quality. There are three basic liner types:
1) Overlap: For these liners you need to select your pool shape and diameter, but the depth is not a factor. The top of the liner goes over the side wall of the pool under the top rail. They are secured with coping strips (very inexpensive but must be purchased). The excess liner on the outside of the pool is trimmed off and the top rail is replaced or installed. An overlap liner is the most economical solution.
2) Unibead: This kind of liner is sized for depth, shape and pool size. The top end of the liner has a built in bead that runs the entire circumference. This bead has a grove cut in it where the liner installs in the pool wall. The top rail is installed over the bead.
3) Beaded : A liner with a bed ( like unibead ) that rests on s hooks that installs under the rail. Once the hooks are in place, you are able to remove and replace your liner without ever having to remove the top rail again.
Remember that a liner will have a big influence on the overall appearance of your pool. Pick one that is going to create the outside look that you are after.
Pump, filters and Equipment packs. There are really only three more things that you need to do before you can swim. You need to select a pump, a filter and a ladder. After that you will want some tools to keep your pool nice and clean. Fortunately we simplify this process with our optional equipment packs. These include a pump, a sand filter , a ladder and cleaning tools. We recommend a 1hp pump for any pool up to 24’ round. Anything holding a greater volume of water should then use a 1.5hp motor. The filters are sand, although cartridge options are available. Some people prefer the cartridge because they are lower maintenance, but they do require greater frequency of cartridge changes. Any ladder must have a fold up or lock out option for safety. The better ladders have greater capacity and are more comfortable with a less vertical assent. Our packages can be seen in detail at these links:
Maintanence :The last piece of business is a regular maintenance program to keep your pool sparkling and clean. Please review our chemical options and – optionally- our chlorine generators. You might also want to consider a heater and solar blankets to extend the season and increase your enjoyment. When the season is over, don’t forget to visit our winter cover section so that your pool is in great shape and ready to provide years of enjoyment
Ready to go shopping? Click Here to see the eFamilyFun selections. Have questions? Give us a call at 877 358 5579 and we will start getting you answers!