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Why steel frames are the best choice for pools

Why steel frames are the best choice for pools

Inground pools are usually made from either vinyl, concrete, or fibreglass. However, steel is a very popular choice for above ground pools – and for good reason.

The majority of above ground pools are made from steel or aluminium walls, resin, and metal posts. Steel frame pools are one of the most common types of above ground pool because they are extremely durable. The steel framework attaches to a liner which contains the water within the pool. Steel frame pools are sturdier than aluminium and will resist deformation for a much longer period – usually lasting between 5-10 years.

Steel is one of the most affordable pool materials. This is for a multitude of reasons; it is lightweight, easy to transport, can be recycled, and is ergonomic in the long term due to its durability. Constructing a steel frame pool is simpler than pouring concrete, making the actual installation of a steel pool much easier and cheaper for the contractors.

It is worth noting, however, the impact of the pandemic. Steel production was significantly delayed by the impacts of the coronavirus and supply is still struggling to meet demand. This does not mean that steel is impossible to get – merely that the wait times could be longer than expected. If you are in need of an above ground pool urgently, fibreglass pools can come prefabricated and assembled immediately on arrival. It is important to get stainless steel for use in pools as stainless steel is the only rust resistant metal appropriate for use as pool framework.

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

Steel frame pools have a few benefits over other pool types such as concrete, vinyl or fiberglass. Steel frame pools are one of the lightest pool materials, meaning that the supporting structure of a steel pool can be less robust and will save money in construction. Stainless steel is also incredibly durable, resistant to corrosion, and long-lasting. The right stainless steel will not show ware or damage over time and can resist delamination, cracking, peeling, discolouration, and leaking.

The maintenance of a stainless steel pool is also easier than some materials like vinyl, which requires a renewal of the lining roughly every five years. Stainless steel pools have an impressive strength-to-weight ratio which gives them the ability to frame pools of an equal size to concrete and fibreglass, and with three times less weight.

The recyclability of stainless steel is also a huge draw in modern times with a focus on environmental issues. Stainless steel is extremely long lasting and at the end of its duration in pool framing it will be 100% recyclable, lowering the carbon footprint of your home and helping to contribute to sustainable architecture.

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

Stainless steel pools are more popular above ground as they are easy to install and access is better. For inground pools, the more popular choice is easily concrete, fibreglass or vinyl. However, this does not mean that all steel pools have to be above ground. If you have done your research and decided that the flexibility and durability of a stainless steel pool is what your home environment needs most, talk to a contractor about setting an inground steel pool – it is slightly more complex, but it can be done. In fact, the Brazilian Olympic pool constructed for the 2016 Olympic games was constructed with steel cladding panels.

For more ideas on pool design and what to consider when installing a pool, see the list of beautiful steel frame pool ideas below.

Steel frame swimming pools: the 5 best design styles for steel swimming pools

5. Below ground

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

Some steel frame pools are appropriate for inground and above ground use. Not all pools can be buried and with steel there are a few conditions. However, the majority of metal walled above-ground pools are easily suited to being partially buried. A semi inground pool is a pool which is approximately half buried.

4. 10ft / 12ft

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

Above ground pools are usually around 10-12ft as this is the optimal size to maximise water usage without requiring extreme fortification measures or becoming too heavy. Because this is the most common size, you can find 10 and 12 ft above ground pools at a variety of chain stores including Bunnings, Big W, Bestway, intex, ozquatic and driclad. These pools are also easily affordable, with the average cost in the low hundreds.

3. Rectangular

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

A rectangular shape is one of the best designs for a multi-purpose pool. This is because they provide a large amount of both space and length which allows for multiple people to swim at the same time without the pool becoming crowded. They are also versatile and can be easily used as a lap pool or converted into a sporting pool with a volleyball net.

2. With deck

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

Installing a steel frame pool with a deck is a great way to create a coherent pool area on which you can relax when not swimming. Plunge pools are also a particularly popular choice for those with small backyards as they provide a submersion area without taking up too much space. Plunge pools also fit neatly into the deck and can be tucked away on the corner or made into the focal centre of the area.

1. Above ground

steel pool frame ideas designs affordable cheap above ground inground vs tile aluminium rust resistant

The overwhelming majority of steel framed pools are above ground. There are many benefits to choosing an above ground pool over an inground pool. The first is affordability; above ground pools are tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than installing an inground pool.

Above ground pools are often also transportable, meaning that if you were to move house you could disassemble the pool and bring it with you to the next place. Installing an above ground pool is speedy and can be completed in days rather than the weeks/months it would take to excavate and install an inground pool.

Above ground pools are also safer for children and animals as they are difficult to get into due to the height of the walls. There is a much lower chance of children, pets or wildlife stumbling into the pool and requiring rescue when the pool has a higher entry point.


Juliet Taylor is one of the leading content writers for Indesign Media Asia Pacific where she publishes weekly research articles across multiple platforms. She graduated from the Australian National University in 2021, with a strong portfolio of academic writing as well as writing for entertainment. Her specialty is in media and philosophy, though she shares a passion for interior design with the Indesign Media conglomerate. Her work with Indesign Media covers a broad range of subjects including interior design trends, architectural advancements, materials and the evolution of modern construction, products and processes for a healthier home, and the proper care of flora. Juliet writes for both residential and commercial audiences and over the past year working with Indesign Media has produced research articles in the hundreds for architects and interior design enthusiasts alike.