Pros and Cons of Fiberglass PoolsJuly 1, 2022
When shopping for a swimming pool, there are many different factors to consider. The first decision you must make involves what type of pool you should choose—there are several types of swimming pools available, each with its own pros and cons. One of the most popular types of swimming pools available is the fiberglass pool. Such pools are widely respected for elegance, practicality, and their variety of features. If you’re in the market for a fiberglass pool we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for your consideration while shopping for your new pool.
The benefits of fiberglass pools
It should be noted that not all fiberglass pools are created equally. The advantages we'll cover in this list apply to high-quality, well-manufactured fiberglass swimming pools of the sort produced by our manufacturing team at Barrier Reef Fiberglass Pools, LLC. The standards we hold for our fiberglass pools are high, but these qualities may not apply to all manufacturers.
Durable and Flexible
A primary benefit of fiberglass swimming pools is their high durability— inside and out. Both the structure and the surface of a high-quality fiberglass pool can last many years, provided you properly maintain your pool. The gelcoat on a fiberglass pool is intended to last the lifetime of the pool without needing to be replaced. If a fiberglass pool needs to be resurfaced, it is generally only after decades of regular use. Fiberglass pools are notoriously hardy while remaining elegant and attractive, as well as being easy to take care of.
It is common for the earth to shift subtly over time, which is often the reason for cosmetic or even structural cracks that can appear in concrete pools. Fiberglass is strong and durable, but it also maintains a flexibility that allows it to move with the earth and refrain from cracking as long as it has been backfilled properly. Unpredictable, rapidly changing weather may also cause damage to other kinds of pools. The expansion and contraction of water in the cold or heat may also apply stress pressure that would cause cracking on other types of pools. Fiberglass pools are much better able to resist such damage.
For those who dislike pool chores, a fiberglass pool might be the right fit for you. Algae is a common enemy in the fight for a clean and clear pool. Concrete pools quickly become algae breeding grounds due to the porous plaster they are lined with. This means you’ll need to add more chemicals, run your pump more, and scrub to keep a concrete pool clean. This isn’t the case with fiberglass pools. The non-porous gelcoat surface on a fiberglass pool is smooth and resistant to algae growth and won’t react negatively to chemicals commonly used to sanitize pool water. This reduces the amount of time you’ll have to spend carefully balancing chemicals, scrubbing down the walls of your pool, or changing a liner.
No Scraped Knees or Elbows
The non-porous gelcoat of a fiberglass pool is algae resistant, but it’s also great for keeping little ones from getting scraped knees. The smooth gelcoat means there’s no rough plaster to scrape yourself on. Despite being smooth, fiberglass pools are still slip-resistant. Texture is added to pool entrances and exit stairs to help prevent accidents.
Over the lifetime of a concrete or vinyl pool, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars simply maintaining it. Between acid washing, resurfacing, and liner replacement, a concrete or vinyl pool ends up costing far more than its sticker price. Because a fiberglass pool doesn’t require this sort of maintenance, you can save thousands of dollars on overall costs.
The installation process for a concrete pool is about 2 to 3 months. The installation process for vinyl is admittedly faster, taking several weeks, but nothing can top the speedy installation of a fiberglass pool. A fiberglass pool can often be set up and ready for decking in as little as 3 to 5 days, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy it during the warm summer months. The actual installation time will of course vary depending upon the specifications of each project.
Once the pool is in the ground and the backfilling process begins, the pool is already being filled with water, speeding up the whole installation process. This leaves everything else around your pool ready to be installed, such as decking, water features, etc. Fiberglass pools arrive ready to install, which speeds up the installation process. Above or inground, with or without a deck, even on a roof. The possibilities are endless with a fiberglass pool.
Compatible with Saltwater Systems
Though it is often advertised that saltwater systems work with any swimming pool, this is not the case. It is not recommended that you use saltwater systems in concrete pools because they wear down the plaster faster, meaning you’ll need to resurface them sooner. Vinyl pools also aren’t a good fit for saltwater systems because the salt can corrode the metal walls that often lay behind the vinyl liner. Fiberglass pools, however, work well with saltwater systems. The gelcoat that makes it algae-resistant also allows it to hold up against saltwater.
Fiberglass pools come in a wide range of colors, and at Barrier Reef we have chosen colors that specifically make our fiberglass pool models stand out, while adding vibrancy to your overall living space. If you’re looking for specific features such as a deep-end pool, a style with seating, or adding a spa, a fiberglass pool will come with these options.
Fiberglass Pool Cons
Fiberglass pools are amazing, but even the best solutions aren’t perfect. Different expectations across the owner spectrum, coupled with situational factors, might result in a downside of owning a fiberglass pool. Much depends upon the needs and wants of the individual pool owner. We’ve compiled a list of a few factors to help you make the best decision for your home before buying a pool.
While there are a wide range of fiberglass pool designs, it is impossible to accommodate for every single customer. The ability to select a surface color and add-ons is available the same as in other pool types, except you will have limited ability to choose a completely custom shape or adjust it to be a specific size and depth. Fiberglass pools are made with expensive molds, so a completely custom shape would require a brand-new mold. It’s cost-prohibitive to both the manufacturer and consumer if completely new pattern molds were built for every single pool.
Fiberglass pools also tend to have a maximum width. While theoretically, you could make a very large fiberglass pool, transporting it is another issue. In order to adhere to shipping laws, prefabricated swimming pools are not recommended to be wider than 16 feet. If you do want a superload-size pool, specific permits must be acquired from government regulatory bodies, further complicating the process. But by keeping a pool underneath 16 feet wide, we are able to ship all over the country in a timely manner.
In the event that the gelcoat on a fiberglass pool needs to be repaired, it can sometimes be difficult to match the exact color. Fiberglass pools will also fade slightly over time, so the repaired areas may slightly stand out.
If you’re looking to install a pool that is the most cost-effective over time, a fiberglass pool would be the best investment! Vinyl pools are generally considered to be the cheapest pool option, whereas fiberglass pools can cost up to a third more upfront. However, the additional cost may be outweighed by the longer lifespan and lower long-term maintenance cost of a fiberglass pool, saving the owner money in the long run. This should be factored into the equation when weighing your options.
We encourage you to browse our selection of fiberglass swimming pools. For any questions, please contact us here or reach out to us on our social media listed below. We would love to help you find your new pool!