Move over cattle, stock tank plunge pools are the new cool trend

They’re usually used as water vats for cattle to drink, but people have found a new use for storage tanks – a stylish, functional, and inexpensive version of a plunge pool.

Important points:

  • People are jumping on a new trend that uses cattle and water tanks as plunge pools
  • A Sydney tank supplier diversified its business when asked to pool it about two years ago
  • Since then he has developed the product into a fully functional pool that has everything a normal pool has

When David Mortimer started building custom tanks 15 years ago, he never expected to make pools.

“We build stainless steel water tanks for residential, commercial and rural customers,” he said.

“But about two years ago we started asking some customers if we could build a tank without a lid.”

Curious to see what all the fuss was about, Mr. Mortimer began experimenting with a number of different sizes and structures that would work best as pools.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities and areas to diversify … so we went with this concept and developed the product further,” he said.

“We have it [the stock tank pool] Fully engineered and certified and has made sure to withstand the forces of people jumping in it.

“It’s been going off like wildfire ever since.”

The pools are designed to stay above ground and are ideal for building a wooden deck for access and presentation. (Delivered: David Mortimer)

Price point of the best seller

Mr Mortimer said many of his customers are looking for a cheaper alternative to the standard built-in pool.

“You have your pools that you dig a hole in and build the pool and they start at around $ 50,000,” he said.

“Then you have your concrete plunge pools, which are generally hovering around the $ 12,000 mark, but you need a pretty big crane to get those in.

“But the tank pools are around $ 5,000 to $ 7,000.”

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Mr Mortimer said the tanks would fit in most small backyards too, which had made them widespread in subway areas.

“We get the customers who come with a really small backyard and think their only option is to buy a spa or something,” he said.

“But the nice thing is that you can choose the size you want and we build the pool to fit.”

Man in Fluro rolls huge steel tank through hole in the fence. Compared to concrete plunge pools, the tanks are light and can be installed using rollers. (Delivered: David Mortimer)

Trend is growing across Australia

Spiros Dassakis, chief operating officer of the Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia (SPASA), said the niche trend for small pools has started in New South Wales and Queensland.

“We have seen over the past few years that storage tanks have become more attractive in rural settings, but also in urban environments where the home appears minimalist,” he said.

A steel tank filled with water stands on a concrete slab next to a windmill. Storage tanks are also popular in the regional NSW. Pictured here is a freshly installed tank at Eurabalong. (Delivered: David Mortimer)

Mr Dassakis said the small pool trend is not limited to storage tanks.

“As urban apartments get smaller, there is a growing desire for smaller pools,” he said.

“For example, there are prefabricated plunge pools, container pools and plunge pools made of fiberglass.”

Don’t be fooled, they are fully functional pools

Not all tank manufacturers have followed the trend like Mr. Mortimer, who developed the tank pool in such a way that it has everything that makes a normal pool.

“The pools are fully functional pools – they have filters, chlorinators, pumps, you can get water heaters too,” he said.

“Some people really decorate it and get creative with it, add LED lights and everything.”

Smooth steel rim of the stainless steel tank basin. The impact of COVID-19 on international travel has resulted in more people spending money to renovate their homes. (Delivered: David Mortimer)

Mr Mortimer said his pools were made from corrugated stainless steel and did not require plastic linings, which, like typical above-ground pools, could be prone to damage.

“Stainless steel is quite thin, so its thermal performance over water is quite poor,” he said.

“You don’t become like a thick piece of steel that heats all the water, it sticks pretty close to ambient temperature.”

Difficult to do it yourself

Mr Dassakis said it was important that people looked for properly made alternative pools.

“We advise against anyone building their own hydraulics that deal with the pump or the heart of the pool,” he said.

“We don’t want anyone thinking over the weekend that they can turn any type of ship into a swimming pool.”

Mr Dassakis said that a pool larger than 2,000 liters could not be installed without going through the permit process.

“Products that you buy from reputable retailers that are properly installed meet relevant Australian standards to ensure the safety of Australians,” he said.

“It’s an exciting new trend that we believe will continue.”

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