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The pros and cons of different pool plumbing options in Brisbane

As experienced Brisbane plumbers, we’ve installed and serviced just about every type of pool plumbing system you can imagine over the past 20 years. From basic inground vinyl liner pools to luxury concrete and fibreglass designs with all the bells and whistles, each setup has its own unique pros and cons.

If you’re planning a new pool installation or renovation, evaluating the different plumbing options is crucial for long-term satisfaction and Return-on-Investment (ROI). Here’s a rundown of some popular pool plumbing configurations and what to consider with each:

Vinyl liner inground pools

Pros:

  • Most affordable inground pool option upfront
  • Simple plumbing with just a skimmer, pump and filter
  • Easy plumbing repairs by replacing liner sections

Cons:

  • Liners need replacing every 5-9 years ($4,000-$10,000)
  • Limited options for water features and spa jets
  • Caustic pool chemicals deteriorate plumbing faster

Fibreglass inground pools

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and low-maintenance plumbing
  • Non-porous surface resists algae better
  • Can add basic water features like bubblers
  • Light chemical usage prolong plumbing lifespan

Cons:

  • More expensive upfront than vinyl liner pools
  • Limited customisation and design options
  • Potential cracking/leaks if ground shifts

Concrete gunite/shotcrete pools

Pros:

  • Unlimited customisation for shape, size and features
  • Highly durable plumbing that can last 30+ years
  • Tiling provides smooth, non-abrasive interior finish
  • Ideal for luxury pool/spa combos and water features

Cons:

  • Most expensive inground pool to install ($30,000-$100,000+)
  • Plumbing for advanced features is very complex
  • High chemical usage accelerates plumbing deterioration
  • Potential cracking and leaks from ground movement

Above ground pools

Pros:

  • Very affordable and easy to install
  • Simple filter pump and skimmer plumbing
  • Great for temporary or portable pool setups

Cons:

  • Less aesthetically pleasing look
  • Not as durable – pools last 10-20 years typically
  • Limited options to add jets, waterfalls or other features
  • Restricts flow rates and plumbing capacity

Inground plumbing vs Fully aboveground systems

One key decision is whether to run the main plumbing lines in ground or have all equipment and plumbing above the pool deck:

Inground Plumbing Pros: More concealed look, easier landscaping, better insulation Cons: More complex/expensive install, accessibility issues

Aboveground Equipment Pros: Simple setup, easy accessibility for service Cons: Visible plumbing/equipment, potential freezing issues

The importance of quality pool plumbing installation

Even with a top-notch pool design and premium plumbing equipment, a shoddy plumbing install can be an Achilles’ heel:

  • Pipes not properly pitched for drainage
  • Improper pipe sizing and flow calculations
  • Poor ventilation and airflow for gas heaters
  • Skimmer and inlet misplacement
  • Leaks due to faulty glue/primer or connections

Our team takes the time to expertly plan and execute every plumbing installation, from trenching and pipe layout to equipment calibration.

Maintenance and service requirements

One final consideration is the long-term plumbing service and maintenance each pool type demands:

  • How frequently does filter media need changing?
  • What is involved for opening and closing the pool seasonally?
  • Are there warranty requirements for servicing?
  • How easy is it to access and service the plumbing?

Our plumbers will walk you through the maintenance cost projections over the pool’s lifetime.

Conclusion

When it comes to pool plumbing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every option has its own advantages and compromises in terms of cost, longevity, future-proofing and aesthetic appeal. Our veteran plumbers will guide you through evaluating the ideal pool plumbing setup for your lifestyle, property and budget. With over 20 years specialising in pool plumbing for Brisbane homes, you can trust our team’s expertise for a top-notch pool installation.

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