Will your next pool be one of the newest resin above ground pools pools?
Read this page first before you make that major purchase. I do not have a definite yes, buy a resin pool, nor do I have a definite no. I do, however, have my own thoughts as well as those of others to share with you. From there you will have to make up your own mind.
Having installed just about every make and model of above ground pool ever sold, if I were to buy a new pool tomorrow, it would be an all steel pool. Here are a few of the pros and cons as seen by others.
"I was just told by a pool salesman to avoid a resin top rail here in Colorado because the sun will bake it and make it crack." I would have to second that opinion having seen the Arizona sun do the same thing.
"I had a salesman tell me to never order anything resin because we are in the north and it would crack with the first freeze or in the spring if the ground shifts at all." I am not at all familiar with freezing weather conditions on resin above ground pools but I do know that resin pool parts have very little give. A metal top rail will bend or become dented and can easily be straightened back into shape. Resin rails may be stronger in some ways but they do not bend, they snap into two pieces. I have seen the resin connector cover caps do that many times simply because they were too cold to bend a little.Along those same lines a pool installer from Minnesota wrote this "If you have seen a 20 year old resin pool and a 20 year old steel pool you would choose the steel. Simply because the resin breaks and does not bend as the steal does. When it does break, it is a total failure and looses all support. The steel may corrode but you won't have a complete failure of the material".
The one thing about resin above ground pools pools that bothers me the most are the top rails. The top rail attaches to the upright plates with four screws. The screw holes are near the ends of the rails. There is maybe a half an inch of thin resin from the screw hole to the end of the rail. Any amount of outward pressure on the rail screws will cause the resin to tear and the rail to come loose.
A round pool installed, perfectly round and perfectly level, should never have outward pressure on the top rails. On a perfectly installed pool, you should be able to remove all of the top rails and uprights, with the pool full of water. I have seen many do-it-yourself installed pools that I would not take one rail off of without draining the pool first.
The outward pressure on the top rails is most noticeable on the corners of an oval pool. If the side braces settle just a little bit pressure is applied to the top rail and resin rails will simply let go and separate from the top connector plate. That has happened on a couple of my own installs and it scares me more than just a little.
I suppose to be fair I have to add a positive comment about resin above ground pools, so here it is.
"My pool is 2 years old, my resin uprights and top plates are as nice as the day they were bought, there is NO sign of any UV damage such as drying flaking etc. If they all rot out down the road, replacing them will cost me 0 dollars because they take about 2 minutes to remove (for 1 top rail and 1 upright) and I can replace them without needing to do more than releasing one bolt per set." The last part of this quote is referring to the warranties not covering labor. If you are handy with tools and the uprights are not buried in the ground, or the top rails covered by a deck, changing them should be easy.
One of the reasons for buying an all resin pool is for salt water generating systems. These systems eliminate the need for chlorine and are becoming very popular. The salt does cause metal to rust quickly so they have made special pools called salt water pools. These pools are practically all resin from top to bottom. I have even installed one with a resin sidewall. That was not a user friendly pool to install and I hope to never see a resin wall again. A properly maintained steel wall pool will be just fine with salt, just don't let it sit with a leaky liner.
It is most common to combine the use of steel and resin as this pool does. It is one of the Wilbar pools that combine steel and resin. The bottom rail and footplates are resin, This gives some protection for rust in this area. On this model the uprights, top plates and top rails are steel. The retaining rods and decorative caps are resin. This is pretty standard for a lot of pools. Others go so far as resin top plates and top rails, that difference makes it a salt water pool.
This is the same pool as above in an oval design. With an oval pool you are going to have a lot of steel in the side supports. I have yet to see anyone try to do resin side supports. A lot of this steel structure is buried in the ground such as the bottom brace support channels, the pressure plates and the connecting straps.
This is the Doughboy version of a resin pool. It has resin uprights, top rails and decorative caps. The side supports, top and bottom connectors, bottom rails and retaining rods are all steel. This is not recommended as a salt water pool. This is also the pool where I have seen the decorative top caps crack while installing in cold weather, we now make sure to preheat them in the sun before installing and never have a problem. This is also the pool where I have seen the transition top rails break loose. I now reinforce these with a couple extra screws and don't have a problem with them anymore. Having seen these for several years now I can say they seem to hold up well as for as any sun damage to the resin parts. I like this pool much better in the round sizes. I still say leave the oval pools with as much steel as possible.
This is the Doughboy version of an all steel oval above ground pool. You won't find any resin on this pool. With a few minor changes over the years this is the pool I have been building for fifty years and have never had a problem with it.
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