Types of Inground Pool

If you are interested in designing or building a beautiful inground swimming pool in Houston, Katy, Cypress and surrounding areas, Outdoor you is here for you

By Amy Magness

As a novice who knows nothing about swimming pools other than it being the big tank of water we enjoyed playing in as kids even though i never did learn how to swim. I still enjoy being inside water and having fun with friends and family members or perhaps just to relax after a long and very stressful day. The first time i ever heard that there were different types of swimming pool, i was stunned as they all seem alike to me but in reality there are two major categories of swimming pool; Above ground pools and Inground pools. Interestingly, the one i happened to be in it as at that moment was an inground pool which interestingly also has different categories. It should however be noted that there are also a few in-between, or hybrid styles of pools which blur the lines between the original three types. Many at times, it can very hard to distinguish if not nearly impossible for the untrained eye.

Typically, inground pools are of of 3 types, broadly classified based on the material used in the  construction of the swimming pool. They can be classified as follows.

Concrete Inground Pools

There are three sub categories of concrete pools based on variations in strength, inherent water-tightness, and methods of construction. Shotcrete, “concrete/ Cast pool”, and gunite. The first thing everyone needs to know is that these three terms, that are thrown around so carelessly, are actually different forms of concrete with different strengths and weaknesses as it relates to swimming pool construction. Technical discussion aside cast pools, gunite or shotcrete, all of these examples describe something which should be called a concrete pool. Hence, all three terms will be used loosely in this article

Price Range / Average Cost: $45,000 - $80,000
Maintenance Cost (Over A Decade): $3,000 - $7,000
Life Span:

If you are having a pool installed in your backyard, there are many options available to you. A very popular choice most recently is a Concrete / Gunite swimming pool. Gunite is quite durable and it can be built in just about any shape you can imagine. Gunite pools use a framework of rebar, which is covered with a concrete/sand mixture. This method is preferred over the traditional poured concrete pool because it doesn’t require the normal wooden framework to hold the shape of the basin

Where It Excels

Gunite can withstand almost anything and is by far more durable than wooden-framed pools. These pools are built to last a very long time. It is so versatile that an unlimited amount of shapes are available. 

Not only are gunite pools available in unlimited shapes, but there are a variety of finishes available to ensure your pool and the rest of your outdoor oasis effortlessly flow together. This, with the flexibility of material allows for gunite pools to more easily mesh with your aesthetic as well as your budget.  

Where it falls short

Gunite like all concrete installation, requires contractor to be experienced and skilled in the particular technique of installation. There are even fewer people skilled in the use of gunite than that of cast-in-place or shotcrete concrete. More so, Inground pool construction using concrete is somewhat more time consuming than Vinyl Liner and Fiber Glass, which usually results in a slightly higher construction cost


Concrete pools (Shortcrete/ Gunite) are one of the number one choices for customers in the market for swimming pools in Texas, due to the versatility, durability, and sheer beauty they offer. If you are looking to build your dream, gunite,  inground pool in Houston, Texas, let Outdoor You ensure your project is properly completed to your specific aesthetic and budget today. Call for a free estimate with one of our outdoor designers. (832)593-9500

Fiberglass Inground Pools

Fiberglass pools come in a good variety of shapes and sizes. They are molded and installed in your backyard in one piece, rather than created on-site. These pools can be heated in order to extend the swimming season. Fiberglass is a lightweight yet strong material that is made by weaving small glass threads into a fabric, then hardening that fabric with a strong polyester resin. The smooth finish is created when weather-resistant gel is added. The flexural strength of fiberglass prevents cracking and is easy to remove when you move out.

This type of pool come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, and can include many options such as perimeter tile, inlaid tile, tile mosaics, built-in water features like cascades and streams, fiber optic and LED lighting, vanishing edges, and in-floor cleaning systems.

In addition, fiberglass pools act as a natural insulator, requiring less electric/gas to heat the pool. Algae are less prone to attach to the smooth surface of a fiberglass pool, requiring less chemicals and maintenance. In fact, estimated maintenance costs over 10 years are less than one quarter of the cost for a gunite pool


Generally speaking,  fiberglass inground pools require the least amount of maintenance of any swimming pool on the Houston TX market today. With their smooth, non-porous surfaces, it’s hard for algae to grow on fiberglass and when used with a salt chlorinator, the minimal maintenance is astounding for many pool owner in Houston and surrounding environment


One advantage to fiberglass is that they can usually be installed more quickly than other types of pools. Because the swimming pool structure is fabricated off site meaning that once the hole for the swimming pool is excavated the finished swimming pool structure can be lowered into the hole and all that is then required is for the decking and landscaping to be completed around the swimming pool. Fiberglass swimming pools can be fully installed an operational in as little as 7 days depending on the size.


Fibreglass pools generally cost lower than a concrete pool, with an average price of $45,000 to $85,000. However, it can cost much more if the project requires extra features, elaborate design or extensive retaining walls

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Vinyl Liner Inground Pools

A vinyl liner pool is made from a custom sheet of vinyl placed between the water and structure of the pool.  Vinyl Liner pools are also called packaged pools, these consist of components, including wall panels, steps, braces and a vinyl liner, that are assembled together to create a swimming pool. Vinyl liners generally lock on the top edge, which is called a bead, into a tract located at the bottom of the coping, which is level with the deck. Beneath the liner is a cement-like or sand floor. The walls, which are generally 3’ by 8’ panels made of galvanized steel or thermoplastic. The walls are supported so they won’t bow against the weight of the water.  

There are some advantages to installing a vinyl-liner pool. For one, they are quite flexible, and cannot crack like a concrete pool can. You will not have to re-plaster or repaint a vinyl pool. The  vinyl  makes the surfaces of your pool very smooth. Due to the flexibility with installing the steel walls, a vinyl pool offers a wide range of design options, sizes, and shapes for your backyard.


If you’re looking to get an inground pool and have a very limited budget,Vinyl pools are typically the least expensive type of pool you can find, and assembly and installation is usually less expensive as well and as a result a vinyl liner pool will in most cases cost $5,000 to $10,000 less initially than their concrete or fibreglass counterparts. While fiberglass pools require less labor to install, they’re costly to ship and manufacture.


The biggest disadvantage of a vinyl liner inground pool is the liner itself.  The material is a polymer and it will break down over time and need to be replaced.  Also, the liner can tear easily or become undone from the sides, causing it slowly to fall into the water. Also, pointy pool toys, playful dogs, and sharp objects can rip or puncture the liner.


Vinyl inground pools are available as ready-to-assemble kits, for installation by homeowners or professional pool installers. Either way, vinyl pools are easier to bring into your landscape and to assemble than prefabricated fiberglass and concrete pools. While these require no assembly, they do require special transportation and enough space to move the pool to the desired location in your yard.

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