What’s the difference between a concrete pool and a liner swimming pool?

Concrete or liner swimming pools! What are the differences?

This is short explanation on the merits of two different types of swimming pool construction.

Concrete swimming pools

  • First a tiled concrete pool is a waterproof concrete shell where the surface of the pool is finished with tiles or mosaics covering the rendered surface of the pool shell. The tiles can be produced in many different dimensions. The mosaics come (usually), in sizes 20 x 20 x 4mm and the sheet size is 300mm x 300mm square.

    Maintaining swimming pools
    An indoor pool is easier to maintain, The solar gain through the glazed roof and elevations heats the pool water in the summer
  • Or it can be special marble type render that usually come in the form of 25kg bags. The marble render is used in conjunction with a tile band laid around the top edge of the swimming pool (again the usual size of the top band is 300mm), and a tile band on the floor adjacent or parallel to the pool walls usually 3 mosaic tiles wide.
  • A liner pool is much different to build as it involves installing a purpose made vinyl lining specifically designed to mimic a tiled or plain coloured concrete pool. In fact to the untrained eye you would not know the difference until you looked very close at the surface and touched the walls.

A swimming pool with a liner

  • Both methods of construction are totally different as the shell of a concrete pool is designed specifically to hold water and (believe it or not) the shell (Block walls and base) of a liner pool is designed “not” to be water proof and not to hold water as the liner pool shell/structure relies exclusively on the actual vinyl liner “only” is the waterproof membrane that holds the body of water in.Swimming pool cleaning
  • Liner pools are specifically designed to be much quicker greener to install than a concrete pool with less subsoil to be excavated and building materials to use.
  • A concrete pool is more than three or more times the cost of a top of the range liner pool.
  • Also the construction of the concrete tiled pool can take a tremendous amount of materials to build.
  • It can take three to four times as long to construct a tiled concrete pool as a liner pool.
  • This is mainly due to the curing and drying times of the materials needed for each stage of construction. (i.e. the cement rendering on the wall surfaces may need  3 or 4 weeks or more sometimes to cure and dry depending on conditions).
  • However a concrete tiled pool is more flexible when it comes to different “designs” much more than a liner pool, as the liner pool is governed by a made to measure vinyl liner is fabricated at the factory.
  • You still can have a liner pool of any shape or size but this would require “on-site lining” where the liner is welded to the shape of the swimming pool on site.
  • One must take into account when excavating for your swimming pool of what there is beneath your feet. (Type of subsoil).

    Pool safety cover
    Renovated swimming pool image was taken from the opposite end, and as you can see it looks completely different

In our area of Monmouthshire we have rock, clay and pit sand this is the same across the border into Gloucestershire. In and around the Cardiff area there’s a geologist’s treasure trove of different subsoil’s and rock formations.

However where you may find clay in as particular location, just a few metres away there may be rock or even a running spring.

So when deciding to build a swimming pool, try to find out what type of subsoil there is below ground as it can make a big difference to where you position your swimming pool.

I cover most ares including Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall and Devon. I carry out surveys and give advice for possible positions to locate a swimming pool 

John Cox TnISPE  Mobile website

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