Buying Guides

Types of Above-Ground Pools


What Types of Above-Ground Pools Are There?

Above-ground pools may not be as customizable as in-ground pools, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Above-ground pools have a variety of materials, liners and shapes to consider.

Above-Ground Pool Materials

Traditional above-ground pools consist of a frame (which includes the posts, bottom track and top ledge), the walls and the liner. There are several popular material options for the frame and walls, including:

  • Inflatable – Inflatable pools don’t have a frame. The entire pool is made of plastic or vinyl. These are the least expensive option and can often be set up in one afternoon, but they are not very durable.
  • Steel Framed – These pools consist of a steel frame that snaps together to provide structure for the vinyl wall and floor. Steel-framed pools are the next step up from inflatable pools. They can be set up in an afternoon and must be taken down at the end of the season.
  • Steel – Steel pools have steel frames and walls and are the sturdiest of above-ground pools. The downside to steel is that it’s prone to rust and can be quite heavy.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum pools have aluminum frames and walls. They’re much less prone to rust than steel and are also lighter to move.
  • Resin – Resin is a type of hard plastic. Resin pools are made with resin frames and steel or aluminum walls. Resin is usually more expensive than the metal alternatives, but it isn’t susceptible to rust or corrosion like steel and aluminum.

There are also options like fiberglass, but those are rarer for above-ground pools.

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Above-Ground Pool Liners

The pool’s liner holds the water in the pool and prevents leaks. Liners also contribute to the pool’s structural integrity. All above-ground pool liners are made from vinyl, but there are three different types of liners:

  • Overlap – Overlap liners are the most common type of liner. They attach to coping strips inside the pool wall.
  • Beaded – Beaded liners are easy to replace because you don’t have to take apart the pool to install them. Instead, they attach to a bead receiver on the top of the pool wall.
  • Unibead – Unibead liners hook to the top of the pool wall with a J-hook or a bead receiver and can be used to replace an overlap liner.

Liners also come in various colors and designs, including pebble-look, tile-look, and more. Keep in mind, overlap liners tend to be more limited in design options than the overlap and beaded types.

There is also variation in vinyl thickness. The liner needs to be thick enough to be durable but flexible enough to conform to your pool’s shape. A thickness of around 20mm tends to offer a good balance between flexibility, strength, weight and thickness.

Above-Ground Pool Shapes and Sizes

Above-ground pools can be:

  • Rectangular
  • Square
  • Circle
  • Oval

Square and rectangular-shaped above-ground pools have more usable pool space, but round pools have fewer seams. Oval pools are the least popular option because they require extra structural support.

Additionally, above-ground pools come in various sizes and depths. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep at least three feet of walking area around your pool for safety reasons. When it comes to depth, the most popular wall height is fifty-two inches.

Ultimately, the best size and depth depends on your outdoor space and main uses for the pool.

Final Thoughts on Above-Ground Pool Types

In addition to materials and shapes, there are many other ways to customize an above-ground pool. Some homeowners build luxurious decks around their above-ground pools, while others customize them with accessories like ladders, lights and pool covers.

To learn more about above-ground pool options and care, reach out to your pool pro today.

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