One big confusion that pool owners face these days, especially due to the crowded market, is whether to opt for steel walls or concrete walls for their pools. And understandably so.
When you are making such a massive investment, whether domestically or on a commercial scale, you want it to last. Both steel and concrete are strong contenders for a pool wall, each with their advantages and disadvantages.
The closely balancing pros and cons make the choice particularly hard, since the decision then falls on the specific details like the temperatures and the location.
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of both:
Steel Wall For Pool
Pros Of a Steel Wall
No Cracking Or Chipping
Steel is a relatively newer option for pool walls, and a major reason for its popularity is that it does not chip or crack like concrete pools.
The metal exists in the form of a tough continuous sheet, so there is negligible probability of a breach in its continuity. This is especially true for colder climates that experience thawing or freezing of the ground.
Under such conditions, concrete can crack in little time, while steel stands tall for decades.
Easier To Maintain
Steel, especially galvanized and stainless steel, require little to no maintenance during its lifespan. It does not get stained or discolored, and does not require re-painting or plastering like concrete pools.
Unlike concrete wall pools, steel wall pools do not need to be drained frequently either. Not only does this make life easier, but also saves you a lot of money.
Steel is a lightweight metal, and weighs at least three times lesser than concrete of the same size and dimensions. Thus, it is ideal for pools on rooftops and other surfaces higher above the ground.
Although there is not much variation in the initial retail price of a steel wall and a concrete wall, the former does, on average, cost less than the latter.
A greater impact on the budget is made by the lower construction cost of steel due to lesser weight, and a much lower overall maintenance cost. Thus, a steel wall is a significantly inexpensive option as compared to a concrete wall.
Steel is also superior in terms of its environment friendliness. Since it is recyclable, it is a more sustainable option.
Cons Of a Steel Wall
Prone to Erosion
A major downside of using a steel wall for a pool is that since it is continuously exposed to water, it is particularly prone to rusting which significantly decreases its life. This is especially true if the water chemistry is not properly maintained.
Moreover, if you own a saltwater pool, the steel wall will be eroded much more quickly which makes it an unsuitable option for it.
Another problem faced frequently with steel walls is that they tend to shift or bend. Due to their low weight and continuity, steel walls can shift from their place and hence, require a concrete collar at the base. Even then, the chances of a steel wall bending are quite high.
Risk Of Skimmers Leaking
For a steel wall, most of the pool accessories need to be bolted into it, including the skimmers. Whereas they are deeply embedded in the concrete in case of a concrete wall. This means that there is an increased risk of the skimmers leaking in a pool with a steel wall, which will require fixing and maintenance that can be cumbersome.
Concrete Wall For Pool
Pros Of a Concrete Wall
Although many alternatives are now available, concrete continues to be the strongest material for a pool wall. It is tough and virtually unmoveable, with no chances of bending or displacement. It is particularly ideal for pools that are outdoor and on the ground floor.
Concrete has been used for walls in the pool for centuries, and is known to last a lifetime. Since it does not rust, erode or weaken, a concrete wall can stand in the face of increased water pressure and harsh weather conditions like storms.
However, this is strongly dependent on adequate maintenance of pool water chemistry.
Another great advantage of concrete walls for a pool, especially in this day and age, is that it can be shaped and molded into a variety of designs.
You can go for a free form pool with a unique construction and a concrete wall will not only allow it to be possible, but also make sure that it is tough and robust.
Ideal For Sloppy Areas
Since concrete walls allow for flexibility in design and shape, they are suitable if your pool is on a property with a slope. Unlike other options including steel, a concrete wall will not require a retaining wall and thus, will be stronger and cost-effective.
Can Withstand Salt
A great advantage of concrete walls for a pool is that it is capable of withstanding salt water without rusting or erosion, unlike steel walls. This makes concrete walls the most suitable choice for saltwater pools, and pools located in areas near the shore.
Cons Of a Concrete Wall
Concrete walls have a great risk of chipping or cracking if the pool water chemistry is not balanced. This weakens them and also allows for bacteria to harbor in these cracks and make the pool water contaminated.
If your pool has concrete walls, they will need to be plastered and painted after a few months to a few years. This can add to the cost and can be a hassle.
From the discussion thus far, it is evident that both concrete and steel walls come with a few benefits and hassles. Under most circumstances, however, concrete is a more suitable material since it provides unparalleled strength, durability and longevity and an overall greater value for money.
Nevertheless, the final choice rests with the owner and depends on the specific conditions in your area, as well as the availability of a reliable builder.
If you found this comparison helpful, here a few other comparisons for you to check out: