In-Ground Pool Options in Greater Cincinnati

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Swimming Pools

Why we build what we do.

Eastgate Pools & Spas is one of the leading in-ground swimming pool builders in the region. Make that the entire Midwest. Our pools feature steel wall and vinyl liners, with expert excavation and installation teams. And with more than 4000 pools built, we know what we’re doing. But if you are considering an in-ground swimming pool, you’ve probably done some web surfing. In fact, that’s probably how you ended up here. You have undoubtedly found several different construction options from different companies. Everybody has the best idea and best pool. Right? Let me add a little clarity and perhaps more importantly, logic to the conversation. If I’m successful, you won’t be confused any longer.

Let’s start with a brief look at the three main construction options in the Cincinnati region.

Gunite, or Shotcrete pools.

These are often referred to as concrete pools as that is what gunite and shotcrete really are. Gunite is a dry mix of sand, cement, and small pea gravel. Components are mixed with pressurized water and sprayed onto a rebar frame. Shotcrete is the same mix except it comes pre-mixed by the supplier. Once applied, either is quickly troweled and allowed to dry. The biggest ‘plus’ of a gunite or shotcrete pool is that you can generally make any shape the homeowner can dream up. Just bend the rebar and customize the design. But…these are by far the most expensive pools on the market, with many pool and landscaping projects topping out well into the six-figure total.

Gunite pools are far from maintenance free. The gunite itself is rough and abrasive and not intended as a final finish. A plaster coating must go over the coating. And guess what? Plastering will eventually crack and need patching. And ultimately, it will probably need re-done in its entirety. Stains from leaves and organic growth? You may need an acid cleaning. Not cheap and generally, not environmentally friendly. Most gunite pools have a beautiful tile border that the homeowner selects. Tiles are adhered to the plaster finish, usually near the top of the walls. Do you think they might ever come loose and fall off? Service call time.

In all fairness, there are some great gunite pool builders in this area. They are professional and well-reviewed. Personally, I could never justify spending a quarter or half-mil on a pool project. Some people can and will. More power to them.

Fiberglass pools.

This is a less expensive option than a gunite pool, The ‘pitch’ is that these are simple and quick to install. Dig a hole, crane the preformed fiberglass pool into place, and finish it off. Easy-peasy, yes? Not so fast.

With any construction project, attention to detail is a must. With a fiberglass pool, there can be no shortcuts. There are no unimportant steps. The hole must be dug with great detail. Dig too deeply or fill in holes and you may have issues. Gravel is usually compressed and compacted in the floor of the dig. Many builders use a compressed sand base. Have a pocket hole filled in with improperly compacted gravel or sand and you have a settling point waiting to happen. Fiberglass rarely cracks, but if it does, this can be the culprit.

A more common issue is water getting between the fiberglass and the gelcoat finish on the water side. This is a non-porous surface that is smooth to the touch. However, water can permeate through the underside of the fiberglass via an osmosis process. This water is trapped between the two components, and under intense hydraulic pressure can cause bubbles on the interior finish. They aren’t going away.

Geology is a far greater issue. Southwest Ohio and Greater Cincinnati is known for its heavy clay soil. It holds water and drains slowly. Do an experiment. Pick a remote section of your yard and dig a two-feet deep hole. You’ll likely hit heavy clay. Fill the hole with water, then see how long it takes to drain on its own. You might want to have lunch while you are waiting as it won’t be close to immediate. Now, imagine you have a fiberglass pool in that hole. Heavy rains and storms saturate the ground. Water continues to collect under the pool. Finally, the hydraulic pressure under the pool is greater than the pressure exerted from the filled pool. Pop! The pool comes out of the ground, concrete decking cracks, plumbing is ripped, and you have a mess. Think it doesn’t happen? Google ‘fiberglass pools popping out of the ground’.

While gunite pools can be practically any shape or design, you will find limited prefabricated options for fiberglass pools. The cost of a fiberglass pool varies with shape and size. It is far less than gunite but surprisingly, more expensive than most steel wall/vinyl liner pools. Which brings us to what Eastgate Pools builds.

The Legacy Series Pool.

There are numerous advantages to an Eastgate Pools’ Legacy Pool. Our walls are anchored with concrete footers so it’s not going anywhere. The lifetime-warranted steel walls feature a commercial-grade galvanization for incredibly long life. We’ve never had a warranty claim on a wall panel. Never. The wall is the thickest you will find and features a triple-bend, seven-inch flange on top making it 33% stronger than other walls on the market. Support wall brackets are even heavier. Brackets are attached to the wall support frame via a bolt system. The result is an extremely strong wall system with no welds to scar the galvanization. The liners are thick and beautiful, with many designs to choose from. Will you ever need to replace the liner? Possibly, but most last well over ten years. In fact, many last more than fifteen or even twenty years. The number one reason most ‘young’ liners get changed is because the original or new homeowner just want a different look. Imagine that—making a pool look brand new ten or fifteen years after it was originally built.

Remember my discussion about fiberglass pools popping out if the ground? If the same pressure builds up under a Legacy Pool, it isn’t going anywhere. To reiterate, walls are locked in place with the footer system. We also put an underground drainage system in around the pool to divert water away from the pool. On rare occasion, hydraulic pressure below the liner can lift it off the floor. This is called a liner float and rarely does any damage. After all, the vinyl is flexible, and once the pressure is equalized, the liner settles back on the floor.

In summary…

We don’t give these pools away, but for most in-ground pool shoppers, our price is very competitive. This is especially clear when you compare features and benefits. Quality always costs more than inferior product loaded with cost-saving shortcuts. We are proud of the pools we build and take pride in our work. This is why we have been selected to the Aqua 100 Hall of Fame, arguably our industry’s most prestigious honor. It identifies the top builders in the nation, and we garnered the annual Aqua 100 award seven times. This commitment to quality product and customer service earned us our Hall of Fame designation.  We are the only in-ground builder in this area to earn this honor. At last look, no other local in-ground builder had earned the award more than once.

Trust Eastgate Pools & Spas to have a professionally constructed in-ground pool for you at a fair price. Who better to do the job than a family-owned company that’s approaching fifty-years in business. Come see us and check out the model in-ground pool in our outdoor pool lot. It’s 30+ years old and still going strong.