The trend for shipping container pools is now growing rapidly in many countries around the world, particularly in Australia, Canada and the US, where they are becoming popular features in many backyards nationwide.
But are these upcycled solutions really the best way to have your own swimming pool at an affordable price?
Here we take a look at the container pool in comparison to a different type of small pool solution, to help you make an informed decision about the best type of pool to choose.
About shipping containers
Shipping containers, as you probably know, are large rectangular boxes made of steel, which are used for transporting a wide variety of goods on ships throughout the world. However, this is no longer their only purpose.
For several years now, shipping containers have been used in other ways. Once they reach the end of their working lives, they can be repurposed very creatively, with offices, sheds, restaurants and even homes now being fashioned from old shipping containers. This innovative upcycling technique is becoming more and more popular, and now shipping containers are even being used to make swimming pools.
The concept of the container pool
Shipping container pools are designed to be off-the-shelf, instant swimming pool solutions which are installed above ground in your backyard. They are quick and easy to install, requiring very little ground preparation work, as they simply need a level concrete or gravel surface to sit on, and a connection to an electricity supply.
The shipping containers are cleaned up and rust treated before being lined to transform them into swimming pools. There are a number of different varieties of shipping container pools now on the market. Some of these are simply lined with an extra layer of steel, while others have vinyl-liner inserts.
The highest quality and most durable shipping container pools have fiberglass pool shells inserted into the containers, which offer seating areas as well as swimming space, increasing your leisure and relaxation options.
Once it has been transformed into a swimming pool, the container is then loaded onto a truck and delivered directly to your home, where it can be installed in your backyard using a crane. The pool comes complete with its own filtration system, so once the electrics have been connected and the pool is filled with water, it is ready to use almost straight away.
The popularity of shipping container pools
Australia is where the idea for shipping container pools first came about. The warm climate originally cemented the popularity of shipping container pools in Sydney several years ago, with many young people choosing them as an affordable swimming pool solution.
Thanks to their compact size, they are ideal solutions for Australian cities where land is at a premium, so we are seeing a growing number of shipping container pools in Melbourne and Brisbane. However, shipping container pools are also increasingly being seen as chic additions to backyards in more rural parts of Australia, spreading the trend nationwide.
Although Aussie container pools were the originals, this idea is now growing in popularity throughout the world. Shipping container pools are now being manufactured by companies in the USA, Canada and the UK amongst others, and they are being shipped all over the world, as more and more homeowners want to buy their own swimming pools at budget-friendly prices.
What are the main advantages of the container pool?
The quick and easy installation is one of the main advantages of the container pool. As it sits above ground, it does not need to be built into the ground of your backyard, so there is none of the long preparation and building work that goes with having an in-ground pool built. This means it causes very little disruption to your lifestyle.
Even having a prefabricated fiberglass pool installed in-ground can take weeks, whereas if you choose to have a concrete swimming pool built from scratch
in your backyard, you can have builders and other contractors on your property for several months, causing noise, mess and a serious degree of inconvenience.
As most shipping container pools come as complete kits with everything you need to get started, including pool lighting and a filtration system, this means they can be used practically straight away as soon as they have been installed and connected to an electricity supply.
This enables you to start enjoying your pool almost instantly, instead of having to wait for it to be built. Waiting can be frustrating, especially in the summer months when you want to take advantage of the warm weather, so this is a great option for the more impatient of us.
Another major bonus of the container pool is that it can easily be transported by road on a truck, so it can also be taken with you if you decide to move home, making it an extremely convenient option for a wide variety of homeowners.
Alternatively, you can include the pool as part of the deal if you sell your home, or choose to sell it separately if the new owners decide they do not want a pool.
Most importantly, shipping container pools are highly attractive because of their affordable price. However, you do have to take some care here. Shipping container pools can be built to a wide range of different standards. While it is possible to buy an inexpensive container pool, this is unlikely to be of particularly high quality.
The safest and most durable container pools are those with fiberglass inserts, so it is worth paying the extra for the higher build quality. The average container pool price in the US is between $40,000 and $50,000, which may still be a significant saving on the cost of having a pool installed in-ground in your backyard.
Do shipping container pools have any disadvantages?
Aside from the dramatic variance in quality, shipping container pools do have a number of other disadvantages. The first of these is the shape, which is highly restrictive, as shipping containers are only ever built as long, narrow rectangles. While this shape is ideal for swimming laps, it is not so convenient for families, who are likely to want to relax together and play games in the pool.
Shipping container pools tend to come in one of two different sizes, 20 foot and 40 foot, but the width is always the same, so they might not be suitable for all shapes and sizes of backyard. It is important to measure your backyard carefully before ordering a shipping container pool in case it is not suitable for your property.
Another issue with a container pool is the appearance. While some have windows cut into the sides, or can be painted different colours, ultimately, they still look like shipping containers, which are always made of corrugated steel and difficult to disguise. While there is a trend for the “shabby chic” look of upcycled goods, the container pool will not suit all properties or fit in with the tastes of all homeowners.
However, probably the biggest disadvantage of the container pool is its construction. Shipping containers are designed to keep water out, not in. Major modifications in the structure of a container must be made in the bottom and side walls for the container to support the pressure of the water. This can be expensive. It also adds weight to the pool.
That weight adds significantly to the cost of transport and crane costs to install the container pool. And take into account that it is steel, which does not always play well with water, salt, and chlorine.
Are there any alternatives to shipping container pools?
If you are looking for a convenient, almost instant, small pool for your backyard, there is an alternative to the container pool. The Little Pool Co has worked with one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of fiberglass pools, using some of the best engineers in the swimming pool industry, to create a compact, transportable pool at an affordable price.
Little Pools have all the advantages of shipping container pools. They come as a complete solution with filtration system, lighting and steps already included, and just like container pools, they require very little preparation work – just a level concrete pad to sit on and an electrical connection. They can then be filled with water and enjoyed practically straight away. Little Pools are also easily transported to your home and can be taken with you if you move.
However, Little Pools have several important advantages over shipping container pools. They have been specifically designed as swimming pools, using the latest technology, industry manufacturing techniques and the highest quality materials.
They are made from fiberglass with an extremely durable ceramic core, so they are guaranteed to last for many years into the future. As they have been developed in conjunction with a leading pool manufacturer, Little Pools offer the outstanding build quality of a first-rate, full-sized fiberglass pool, in a compact and affordable package.
In addition, aesthetics have been considered during design. Your swimming pool is the main feature of your backyard, and at The Little Pool Co, we believe that your pool should look beautiful. Our pools feature a smooth gelcoat interior in a choice of four attractive colors, and a selection of three different types of exterior cladding, which is also available in a wide range of different shades.
This way you can easily coordinate your pool with the rest of your property, integrating it effortlessly into the design of your backyard. If you want your own unique “look”, the exterior of a Little Pool can be finished on site in almost any form; anything from wood to tile to brick and stone veneer. The options are almost endless.
The Little Pool patented frame system is made from Glass Reenforced Polymer (GRP). It is lightweight, stronger than steel, and impervious to rust and rot. No worries about partially burying a little pool and have a steel structure in the ground.
Compared to a similar size container pool, the weight of a little dramatically reduces freight and crane costs as well as making installation much easier. As an example, we have Little Pools installed at rooftop penthouse locations all around Australia.
Little Pools also offer a choice of two different shapes. Both are designed to be compact, so they can be installed in backyards where space is limited. However, instead of both being long and narrow, we have adjusted the width, making it much easier for all homeowners to find a pool which suits the shape of their backyard and caters for all their swimming and leisure needs.
Even with all these features, we believe in keeping our prices highly affordable. Little Pools start at $28,627 + shipping, which when you consider weight, freight, and installation, can make a backyard project with a Little Pool $10 to $15 thousand dollars less than a similar size container pool. A little Pool Co. pool is clearly the best value for cost of ownership.
Find out more about Little Pools
If you would like more information about Little Pools and the various swimming pool options we offer, our friendly team are always happy to help. Please contact us to discuss your requirements and we can help you find the best and most convenient swimming pool solution for you.