Vinyl Liner Pool
Schall's experience in the industry reaches back to those early days when each new pool was invented from scratch. "They would build a pool wall that looked like house construction," he recalls, "with sills and headers, and they'd nail them together and put a liner in."
At the same time, steel was presenting a good argument for vinyl-liner support with simple bendable sheet panels that were notched and brake-formed. Like today, they were a maximum of 8 feet long due to the fact that someone was going to have to carry them.
They held the lines on the sides well and did better than wood in the corners, but it was their manufacturability that sealed the deal in the marketplace.
Steel frames came to dominate the vinyl-liner framing support industry. It has been the most popular wall structure material for in-ground liner pool kits for many years, and it retains the lion's share of the market today.
But there are several other materials that have strong adherents as well, including plastic, aluminum and even concrete.
Its strength is beyond dispute, and it's easy to shape as long as you observe a few rules and don't have a change of heart after the fact.
Of course, most concrete pools end up with a plaster finish instead of a vinyl liner. But for those builders who use a concrete base for a vinyl liner, the sand-and-cement mixture retains the same wonderful properties that make it popular for other jobs.
On the downside, the forms for pouring the walls have to be purchased up front, and they are not cheap. Forms may run six figures and up, so the money involved is a real commitment.
With the forms in hand, however, the material costs of building a vinyl-liner support structure are just rebar and concrete, which is relatively inexpensive and easy to transport to the job-site with modern ready-mix trucks.
Once the pool walls are finished, the concrete pool has to be measured for the liner. This is a notable difference with steel, as most steel pools are computer-designed and cut to fairly tight tolerances, and their pre-ordered liners arrive with the panels.
The polymer walls use polymer stakes, the steel walls use steel stakes, and obviously with rocky soil or really hard clay, the steel goes through there nice and easy where the polymer gets hung up a bit.
- The price of the polymer walls is bit higher than steel.
- The weight of the steel panel is much heavier than plastic or composite.
- Weight of the steel panels are 40 to 80 pounds vs. the polymer panels - about 20 pounds. Unlike metal, plastic does not rust, he notes. The plastic can be expected to remain pristine, whereas steel and aluminum, in the moist ground, will degrade significantly.
The main advantage of aluminum is that it provides good corrosion resistance in a panel that's easy to carry around. Because aluminum is extremely light, the panels can be made 16 feet long. Two workers can easily pick them up, whereas two people on an 8-foot steel panel is a grunt.
Delair Group offers an aluminum panels with an electrostatic powder-coat to increase its corrosion protection. Such paint systems provide an even, baked-on finish that is remarkably durable.