Central Florida above ground pools and Installations
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This site gives information on installing above ground swimming pools in the
Central Florida area. We provide how to guidance along with a price sheet on
a professional installation. We also have some information replacing a liner in an existing pool and a
liner change price sheet.
Greater Orlando and some surrounding counties make up the second largest swimming pool market in the country. This area is known for its huge amount of pools of all types especially the inground concrete types. It's interesting to note that for every concrete swimming pool you see there are two above grounds. Thats right. Two above ground pools for every one concrete inground.
There are several types, makes, and sizes of above grounds available for purchase both locally here in Central Florida and on the internet and the choices can make your head spin a little. Here is a list of pools and options that I recommend.
The different types of above ground pools.
There are round and oval above grounds that have steel, aluminum, and wood walls. Above ground pools also come with steel, aluminum, and resin/plastic top rails and or
uprights, and sometimes have resin bottom and top tracks. Finally there are a few options with the pools that make them different.
I'll give a brief description of each.
- Round pools. The most common above ground pool out there is shaped round and has a lot of advantages. A pool
structure above the ground holds a great deal of water weight and a round shape is good for that cause the weight and pressure
of the heavy water is held evenly around. Also, a round pool has a simple design so it's easier to install and more forgiving to build mistakes. As a result, round
above grounds are cheaper to buy and less expensive to have installed. The only real disadvantage to a round pool is that
it doesn't look as much like a traditional inground swimming pool.
- Oval pools Oval shaped above ground pools are a lot more entailed in thier design than the round ones. They have long straight sides which means the water
weight must be supported by a buttress system. This means two things to you. One, the buttresses stick out on the straight sides of the pool as part of the structure and
two, you most likely do NOT want to attempt a self install. Also, the most common buttress design has steel straps that run slightly under the pool connecting each opposing
buttress so this makes it difficult to have any kind of a nice deep end dug out.(It is possible to have a cheesy little hopper dug out on the radius ends of the pool before
the straps begin but its usually not worth the cost/effort)
There is also a strapless buttress design made famous by Doughboy and it's really not a bad design but they are often more money and most even seasoned installers won't
have much experience with the structure.
The advantages to have an oval pool is the more traditional shape of it, its better for volleyball, and you can think you're gonna do laps in it to get in shape.
- Both pool shapes are equally good for putting partially in the ground and for building decks around them.
- Steel, aluminum, and wood pools. I prefer steel wall pools over aluminum here in Central Florida for three main reasons. One, aluminum walls corrode just as easily as the steel ones. Two, aluminum
pools cost a great deal more. And three, aluminum pools are not a good idea to install partially in the ground cause the walls are "flimsier" and cave in easier when the
pool is drained.
In twenty-two years, I've only installed one wood above ground pool and I must say they look really nice. It's humid in Central Florida though and I don't think the wood can take
the extreme heat and moisture. Plus, wood pools are extremely expensive.
- Resin top rails. Resin parts on above ground pools are all the rage right now and are a huge selling point for "upgraded pool models". They cost more than there steel counterparts so the big question
is "are they worth the extra bucks"? My answer is "yes" but probably only for the top rails and top caps.
Resin/plastic top rails and/or top connectors started showing up about fifteen years ago and the big question then was "will they hold up against our relenting Florida summers?". After many years now of observation,
the answer is "yes they can". The even more expensive models have resin uprights and some even have resin top and bottom tracks and connectors. The price really starts to climb though so its uncertain to me wether
those plastic parts are worth it. Overall I'd say the resin is better but its all about how much money do you want to spend on your above ground pool.
- Upgraded liner. Getting a thicker liner is a good idea mainly cause they've been lasting two or three times longer lately than the thinner solid blue ones. I say lately cause some years back, they would all
last about the same. Not anymore. A thicker printed liner also looks better.
- Service panel The service panel is a fairly good idea cause most of the time the pool's wall will rust out at the skimmer and/or return openings. If the pool wall rusts out in these spots and you have a service
panel, than you can simply remove the old rusty panel and relace it with a new one and avoid having to replace the entire wall. Some models have this panel made of stainless steel and they are great cause the stainless
won't corrode. Lately, some service panels are being made of aluminum as a cost cutter and my opinon is if the service panel isn't made of stainless steel, then don't go out of your way to make sure your pool has one.
Above ground pool retailers and their pools.
- Recreational Factory Warehouse - Being an installer for more than twenty years in Central Florida, I have seen many people unhappy with their Rec. Warehouse purchase experience. The pools that Rec sells however are pretty good so if you can stomach the way they sell the pool then you will get a good pool for a fair price.UPDATE As of early 2012, Recreational Factory Warehouse is out of business! There are however, a few stores here and there with the Rec Warehouse name but they no longer sell Wilbar pools and the pools they sell are mostly from overseas and not great for what you spend for them.
- Pinch-A-Penny pool stores - Not all Pinch-A-Pennys sell above ground pools and very few have display models but they sell pools made by Del Aire Group and they are pretty solid pools that go together fairly well. Del Aire has a more expensive all aluminum pool that is good but I do not suggest you install it very deep in the ground cause the walls are thinner than steel and like to cave in when you drain the pool. The big advantage to getting a pool a Pinch is that they usually come with a great pump and filter package made by established manufacturers so when you need a part down the road you can get it easily.
Update As of 2010, the Del Aire Group no longer manufactuers above ground pools so it was up in the air as to which pool Pinch-A-Penny will be selling.Update Pinch-A-Penny is now selling the Swim-n-Play brand.
- Leslies pool stores - Leslies is a giant retail chain from out west so their stores have a slightly different feel to them. The pools they sell are usually simple in design and go together pretty nicely. When you buy a pool from Leslies you generally have to wait for it to come in a little longer than most retailers.
- Wal-Mart - Huge discount retailers like Walmart sell mainly pools made by a company called Intex. These pools are priced to sell in the $300 to $800 range and boy do you get what you pay for. They are very cheap and go up easy(after you get the ground level that is). They generally last only one or two summers and the pump and filter that comes with it is severely undersized. I have replaced many Intex pools with better quality more traditional above grounds for people who realize that they want a pool for more than just a year or two.
- Internet pool sites - Buying a pool off the internet is a "double edged" sword. You can certainly get the best deal on a really good quality above ground pool there but you can also pay too much for a crappy one too. Each site is different in what they offer in their pool "package", so its often that people think they got a great deal only to find out much later that the package didn't come with a filter, or a ladder, or a liner, or a printed liner and so on. Do lots of homework before buying on the internet and you will get a good deal. I recommend for an internet pool. They are based here in Central Florida and have many years of real experience with above grounds.
We have sold and/or installed above ground pools in these areas
Orlando, kissimmee, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Winter Park, Lockhart, Deltona, Orange City, Deland, Oviedo, New Smyrna, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach,
Merritt Island, Port St. John, Christmas, Mims, titusville, Avon Park, Pine hills, Sky lake, Orlo Vista, Hunters Creek, Celebration, Orange county, Ocoee, Clermont,
Winter Garden, Montverde, Minneola, Ferndale, Lake County, Groveland, Mascotte, Forest City, Apopka, Zellwood, Tangerine, Astatula, Howey-in-the-hills, Mt. Dora,
Tavares, Eustis, Leesburg, Lady Lake, Fruitland Park, Umatilla, Altoona, Paisley, Mt. Plymouth, Maitland, Altomonte Springs, Longwood, Oviedo, Chuluota, Geneva,
Sanford, Lake Mary, De Bary, Lake Helen, Daytona Beach, Union Park, Azalea Park, Conway, Pine Castle, Belle Isle, Taft, Bithlo, Wedgefield, Christmas, Mims,
Oak Hill, Port St. John, Meadow Woods, BVL, Buena Ventura Lakes, Narcoossee, St. Cloud, Harmony, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Rockledge, Merritt Island, Rockledge,
Satellite Beach, Indian Beach Harbor, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Malabar, Celebration, Davenport, Reunion, Polk City, Haines City, Winter Haven, Auburndale, Bartow,