The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming Pools

Saturday, 02nd Feb 2019 in Swimming Pool & Hot Tub Advice

The Complete Beginners Guide To Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are diverse and offer lots of fun for whoever uses them. As you can imagine, they’re also extremely complex. There’s a lot to understand about swimming pools, and this is the perfect guide to help you get started. 

Today, we’re providing the ultimate swimming pool advice guide for beginners. Below, you’ll find lots of information on the different types of swimming pools, how they’re made, what they’re made out of, how they work, how they’re maintained, etc. This will help you learn more about the topic and make a more informed decision if you wish to buy a swimming pool. Likewise, it will teach you how to take care of your swimming pool and make it last for as long as possible. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the big wide world of swimming pools:

Different Types Of Swimming Pools

Swimming pools come in so many different shapes and sizes. Mostly, we can put different styles into three main categories: 

  • Indoor Pools
  • Outdoor Pools
  • Natural Pools

There are also children’s pools, but these are much smaller and usually consist of a giant inflatable design that you blow up. 

What are indoor pools?

Indoor pools are any pool that is built inside a property. They come in different designs, but they tend to be smaller than outdoor ones. The reason for this is simply because most people have more space outside than they do inside. These pools also tend to be much warmer than outdoor ones – for obvious reasons. It’s also cheaper to heat them up because the pool is inside.

What are outdoor pools?

An outdoor pool can come in two main varieties: 

  • In-ground Swimming Pools
  • Above-ground Swimming Pools

In-ground pools are built below the surface. In effect, you have to dig up the outdoor area, then build the pool within the hole. It’s worth noting that indoor pools are also built into the ground, not above it. In-ground pools can be made out of different materials, such as fibreglass, concrete, and vinyl. Each material comes with its own pros and cons, but most of the modern pools are made from either vinyl or fibreglass. 

Above-ground pools are built on top of an existing structure. For example, you build the pool on top of your patio. Again, these can be made from different materials. This type of pool is usually cheaper than in-ground ones because it’s easier to construct. Not only that, but above-ground pools can also be portable. You don’t have to fix them into the surface, so they can be moved around as you please. 

However, some above-ground pools are fixed into place and complemented with decking. This is a personal choice, though it does make them look more aesthetically pleasing. 

What is a natural pool?

Natural pools tend to be in-ground pools, but there’s a stark contrast in how they’re made. Swimming pools are usually filled with chlorinated water that’s filtered by using chemicals. A natural pool is designed to replicate natural bodies of water – like the ocean or a lake. As such, they’re not filled with the same amount of chemicals as a traditional pool. 

The water is filtered organically – and the exact method varies from company to company. Some use gravel filters, while others use plants to absorb any micro-organisms. Either way, natural filtration helps to keep the water fresh and free from any algae. 

Which type of pool is best?

There isn’t a correct answer as it’s totally subjective. Our advice is to consider why you want your pool and where it will go. If you don’t have any space inside, then you’ll have to go for an outdoor pool. If you don’t want to dig up your garden, then an above-ground pool might be best for you. Weigh up the options and choose a pool that suits your specific requirements. 

How Are Swimming Pools Made?

Obviously, the construction of a swimming pool is mainly based on the type. The good news is that in-ground and natural pools follow a very similar construction process, as do indoor ones. The only difference comes when you look at above-ground pools. 

In-ground pool construction

Typically, the process starts by excavating the area where the pool will go. This can be long and messy, but the area is dug up and then prepped for the pool. From here, the excavation site is reinforced with material to ensure it can support the pool and stay in shape – steel is the material of choice these days. Then, the rest of the pool is built into this site using whichever material you choose. Concrete pools are made at the site by pouring the concrete into the excavated area. Vinyl pools come in kits that are then competed at the site. Fibreglass pools are pre-constructed elsewhere, then brought to your home and fit into the excavated area. 

Above-ground pool construction

Above-ground pools are normally made with an exterior wall that encases the pool itself. There’s a water-impermeable liner built into it, which prevents any leaks or spills. The exact construction can vary because above-ground pools come in so many different varieties and shapes. However, most are constructed away from your home then brought to you. 

There are some above-ground pools that you can buy and build yourself, but these are usually very basic ones that are typically brought out during summer and packed away again in winter!

How do swimming pools work?

At face value, swimming pools don’t look like they do a lot. From your perspective, they just provide you with a place to swim and have fun! However, pools are made up of various components that ensure they work properly. This means that the correct water levels are maintained, the water is heated, and there isn’t any debris. 

So, to figure out how swimming pools work, we need to look at the main components of every pool: 

  • The Basin: If you empty a pool of all water, you will see the basin. It’s basically just the design of the inside of the pool. Think of it as a giant sink. Obviously, this is required to keep all of the water inside a contained area. Water is then pumped into your pool via an outside source, and this is where many of the other components come into play. 
  • Water Pumps: Your pool’s water pump consists of a motor, and it will basically draw water from your pool. It pumps it around a water filtration system that then returns it back into the pool. This is how pools stay filled with water, but you don’t have to keep topping them up with a hose. 
  • Filters: There will be a range of filters in your pool that are used to keep any harmful things out of the water. The main ones you will have are a sand filter, DE filter, and cartridge filter. As the water passes through these filters, it gets stripped of any debris or micro-organisms that could cause a problem. 
  • Main Drain: Your swimming pool will have at least one main drain where water can leave your pool to be filtered and then pumped back inside. 
  • Skimmers: This component also helps with pool cleanliness. You’ve probably seen them in outdoor pools on your holidays, and they’re basically little gutters. They skim off the top surface of the water, which removes any debris that’s settled on the surface. This includes leaves, flower petals, dirt, etc. It prevents the waste from settling into the bottom of your pool, where it could block the drains. 
  • Heaters: As the name alludes to, this component will heat up the pool. The pool heater is connected to your pump and will basically push through hot air into the water. As a result, you get nice and warm pool water whenever you want it. 

In summary, pools work like this; the basin is filled with water, which is pulled from the main drains via a water pump. Here, filters work to clean the water, and it is pumped back out through the main drains. At the same time, skimmers work to remove any debris from the surface, and swimming pool heaters can adjust the water’s temperature. 

As well as all of these things, pools have other components that don’t necessarily impact how they work: 

  • Coping Stones: These are flat stones that cover the area around the outside of your pool. They’re found as part of in-ground pools, and they seal off the underground layer and prevent rainwater from getting inside. 
  • Steps: Some pools are built with steps that go under the water, while others have metal ladders to climb in and out of. 
  • Plant Rooms: A plant room is a room where you can store all of your pool equipment and tools. It keeps everything in one place and makes it easier to keep up with maintenance. 

How To Maintain A Swimming Pool

Keeping up with proper pool care is critical if you want your pool to stay in the best possible condition. Fail to conduct pool cleaning & maintenance, and you could end up with algae in your pool, water that’s full of nasty things, and clogged drains. 

So, here’s the lowdown on how to take care of your swimming pool: 

  • Run Your Pool Pump Every Day: Ideally, you’d run it 24/7/365. But that’s not possible. So, keep it running for a couple of hours per day to ensure your water is filtered. This lets the water pump it’s way through the filtration system and back out into the pool, free from any bad things. 
  • Backwash Your Filters: Backwashing is a technique that’s used to clean your pool filters. Your water pump should have a backwashing setting that will reverse the flow of the water. Here, it flows through the filters and knocks free all the grime that’s been caught, sending it through a waste port. Do this every week to keep the filters clean. 
  • Test The Water: Buy a water testing kit to check the chemical balance of your pool. You should see the pH levels, alkalinity, and sanitiser levels. The pH measures how much acid is in the pool, the alkalinity looks at alkalines, and the sanitiser is basically to measure how much chlorine is present. Based on the results of your test, you can add chemicals to achieve the right balance. 
  • Cover Your Pool: Of course, you need to keep debris out of your pool. Your skimmers do part of the job, but you should get a pool cover to protect your pool when it’s not in use. 
  • Remove Unwanted Items: Similarly, get some type of pool net so you can manually skim the surface and remove anything that your skimmers didn’t pick up. 

Follow these tips and ensure you keep up with regular maintenance. Don’t do it once in a blue moon – commit to pool care all year round! For more information on how to look after your pool, check out our pool care guide.

Get In Touch With The Blue Cube direct Team

Hopefully, this guide has taught you everything you need to know about pools. Now, you should know which types to consider, how they work, and how to look after one. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Blue Cube Direct team!

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