This article on swimming pool construction is based on the methods used in the construction of about 40 pools over a 5 year period in south west France. It is worthwhile taking a look at the history of pool construction because it does affect the thinking of many pool construction professionals even today.
I am only concerned with the better quality type of pool in this article. There are a great many products on the swimming pool market throughout the world that are a complete waste of money in my opinion. Yes this does include pools with a fibreglass structure and panel pools with metal parts – in fact anything that will deteriorate when buried below ground in the presence of water. This is a basic tenet of all professional civil engineers. Early swimming pools were all tiled – and many still are today. In the view of the writer a tiled pool finish is not the best choice as PVC liners are better than tiles in many respects because;
– Tiled pools are very costly – can be several times the cost of a PVC liner pool
– Tiled pools often leak and the leaks are very difficult to trace
– PVC liner pools rarely leak and when they do the leak is easy to trace with electronic instruments that use the liners insulating properties
– Tiled pools that leak are very expensive to repair because the tiling often needs to be removed and replaced
– Tiled pools are vulnerable to wrong chemical balance of the pool water
– Calcium deposits are much more difficult to clean off tiles and the cleaning abrades the tiles surface causing premature aging
– Tiled pools take much longer to build
– Tiled pools need a much heavier and more costly structure
It is the last point that is very important and not appreciated by many – including many pool installation professionals. A pool that is going to be tiled needs to be a very rigid concrete box that is buried in the ground. If it is not rigid the tiling and the waterproof membrane underneath it flex, crack and then leak.
The ground beneath the box supports the heavy reinforced concrete slab that forms the bottom of the box. The necessary rigidity is provided by the thickness of this pool floor slab and it also acts as a foundation for the pool walls that are rigidly connected to the floor slab by the steel reinforcement.
In other words the slab has to be there to provide the rigidity required to ensure that the tiling and the waterproof membrane do not leak. In a PVC liner pool this rigidity is not needed because the liner will provide the waterproofing and small differential movements between the walls and the pool floor will not result in leaks or any other detrimental effects.
So how does all this help to achieve the objective of building a Luxury Swimming Pool For $10,000? It helps because it explains the theory behind the construction concept that is described in my second article on this topic How to Build A DIY Luxury Swimming Pool for $10,000 – Part 2.
Will Witt is a professional civil engineer and the co-owner of Bluepools SARL. Bluepools is a swimming pool installation company that specializes in the design and installation of luxury, bespoke swimming pools and has been doing so in France for the past 5 years.