Ask The General: The Benefits of a Rectangular Pool

Dear General-


My family has committed to getting in shape in 2019, and we’ve decided that since we want to have fun doing it, one of the ways we’ll get more exercise is with a new fiberglass pool! There are so many pool shapes and sizes out there—what are the best pools for both exercise and fun?


Getting Fit in Fishers


Dear Getting Fit-

rectangular poolFirst of all, congrats on the decision to get an inground pool. You won’t regret it. In addition to getting in shape together– you’ll enjoy quality time with friends and family.

When evaluating shapes to accommodate both exercise and games, a rectangular pool is your best bet. Let’s take a look at the reasons they’re great from several angles.

  1. They’re excellent for lap swimming. Since you’ve mentioned that exercise is one of your primary goals, a larger rectangular pool makes the most sense because of the wide-open swim lanes and straight sides. While you can also find some large freeform pools with wide-open swim lanes, the uniform length of a rectangular provides plenty of space for multiple swimmers to swim laps side-by-side.
  2. They play nice with automatic pool covers. You’ve heard me talk about how much I like automatic pool covers for so many reasons, such as ease of maintenance, reduced chemical use and peace of mind (safety). Most any rectangular pool is compatible with automatic pool covers, making it easy for your pool builder to install while they’re putting in your new pool.
  3. They’re easier to keep clean. I personally have an “L” shaped pool, but my next pool will be a rectangle. The “L” shape is very functional because you have a deep end along with big shallow end. However, it is very hard (nearly impossible) and expensive to install an automatic cover. Plus, it’s not very compatible with automatic cleaners, so unless you strategically placed return water inlets (eyeballs), surface debris collects in the corners. I’m all for easier pool maintenance, so I’ll vote for anything that simplifies it.
  4. They’re easier (and cheaper) to install. Whether you’re choosing vinyl, fiberglass or gunite, rectangle pools are just easier to install. And since time is money, that means you’ll save a bit when it comes to installing a rectangular pool over other shapes. With a vinyl liner pool, rectangles are easier to square up and level during installation, and the liners fit better in rectangles than they do in freeform pools. Gunite (concrete) rectangular pools are by far easier to frame during construction than shaped pools. And when it comes to fiberglass pools, they’re manufactured in one piece at the factory, so framing isn’t a concern, but the dig specs are much more straightforward with a rectangle. So, no matter which kind of pool you choose, rectangles can be easier on your budget.
  5. You can get the best of both. Maybe you’re thinking, “But General, I don’t like so many straight lines. I want our pool to be unique!” Well, first of all, your pool will be unique because it’s yours. You’ll put your own spin on the furniture, landscaping and accessories. Additionally, when you choose a rectangular pool, that doesn’t mean you can’t have rounded corners, square corners, reversed radius corners or diagonal corners. You can also make your concrete deck any shape you want. So, if you want a lima bean, an “L” or a full-on freeform, you could accomplish that same look with decking all the way around your rectangle pool. And, if you REALLY want it to be unique, get a rectangular beach entry fiberglass pool (Patent US 10,358,837 and 10,472,839). They just came out, so you’ll most likely be the only ones in your neighborhood to have one.

rectangular poolDon’t get me wrong. I’m not saying freeform pools aren’t great. Dome-shaped pools are great. Pools, in general, are great. In a future post, I’ll point out the virtues of non-rectangular pools, but from what you’ve told me about how you want to use your pool, I personally think rectangular is the way to go. Best wishes.

Until next time-

The General

Every month, The General uses his more than 30 years’ experience in the pool business to tackle a topic for curious pool owners. Stay tuned for more helpful pool owner tips and tricks!