Stainless Steel Pool Pros and Cons

stainless steel pool in backyard

When considering a new swimming pool, you may only think of three different types. First, the vinyl liner. This pool has metal, wood, or polymer walls and has vinyl liner for the waterproof finish surface. Next, you may consider a fiberglass pool. This type is obviously made of fiberglass, and is installed in one piece with a crane. Then, there’s the ‘gunite’ or ‘shotcrete’ pool which is site fabricated out of concrete. This one is generally thought of as the high end option. However, there is another high end option which has been out there for decades, the stainless steel pool.

What Makes Stainless Steel Pools Unique?

If you have swam in a rooftop pool, you may have swam in a stainless steel pool without realizing it. Often they’ll be painted or tiled so you may not even notice there’s anything different about the pool. Unlike fiberglass pools, which are limited in size to what can legally be driven down the road, stainless steel pools can be installed in sections and then welded together on site. This takes a lot of skill and is why there are only a few stainless steel pool companies in existence.

Unlike your traditional pool builder, the stainless steel companies will provide pools all over the world. They are no stranger to traveling to projects. One such company is Diamond Spas. Like the name suggests, they specialize in spas. However, they also do great pools, bathtubs, kitchen sinks, and more. Despite being out of Colorado, we’ve worked with this company on homes in New England, some 2,000 miles away, so they really do travel everywhere.

stainless steel pool infinity edge in backyard
Courtesy of Bradford Products

Stainless Steel Pool Advantages

One advantage to a stainless steel pool is they can be self supporting. That is unlike fiberglass and vinyl you don’t need to worry about the outward force from the walls. Stainless steel pools can be installed on a flat surface. Therefore, due to their lightweight construction method, they make excellent rooftop pools. These are the number one choice of high end hotels and developers around the world.

Also, if the pool is small enough to be fabricated off site and trucked to the site, it can be tiled in the factory, then brought to the site, craned into place. This makes installation a one or two day process, unlike gunite pools that can take 6 months. This not only greatly reduces the time required on site but also keeps the construction site much cleaner than a gunite pool in the same location. Additionally, a stainless steel pool is installed pre-plumbed and generally only need some piping from the main manifold to the equipment area and then they’re done.

Stainless Steel Pool Disadvantages

Though they are beautiful and convenient to install, stainless steel does have some downsides. One being the limited number of companies working in the space. When demand peaks for the product there can be delays. At the time of writing this (July 2022), there is an 8 month lead time on custom pools and spas from Diamond Spas. However, if you speak to gunite pool builders right now, don’t be surprised if they tell you they’re booked for the next year. Another drawback of stainless steel is the price. They are expensive. However, you might be surprised to find out they cost just about as much as a gunite or shotcrete pool price or less.

Bottom Line

When you look at the options you can integrate into a stainless steel pool, you’ll find there is truly no limitation. You can build infinity edge stainless steel pools, multi jetted spas, incorporate automatic motorized covers, water features, etc.. You may want to leave the finish a brushed stainless steel, or you may opt for the all tile option. Whatever you choose, a stainless steel pool is an excellent option for some projects, and should be considered alongside gunite, vinyl, and fiberglass for your next swimming pool project.