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Today we dive into the difference between Barrier Reef Fiberglass Pools and other brands in the marketplace.
Video Transcript | Length ~ 9 minutes
It's Mike Peterson, with Barrier Reef Pools. We're here at the Midwest distribution center, up in Rockford Illinois, and I thought I'd take a moment to explain the difference between Barrier Reef fiberglass swimming pools, and some of the other brands out there in the industry today.
Consumers are looking for the best possible pool that they can buy, because obviously when they add a swimming pool to their life, they don't plan on replacing it any time soon. At Barrier Reef one of the biggest things that sets us apart is our culture, and most manufacturers in the industry today are purchasing raw materials from the same suppliers. So today, from the difference from one manufacturer to another, has to do with how we use these raw materials, and how these raw materials are selected, to make sure that they're the best possible products for you, the user.
As we're talking about the construction of fiberglass pools, I want to take a moment and share with you the differences between a fiberglass swimming pool, and fiberglass technologies for the boating and yachting industry. They're totally different. Sometimes pool manufacturers refer to the boating industry in how their swimming pools are made. At Barrier Reef, we believe that the two disciplines are completely different.
Now, let's take a moment and examine the boating industry and how that's different. The marine industry is looking to build the boat as light as possible. Obviously you want your boat to go fast, so the engine size is very dependent on the weight of the boat. The boat also has to be very flexible, because as you're in the waves, and you're crashing through the waves, you actually want the material to absorb some of that energy. Using the woven Rovin method, and making the boat thinner and lighter, completely makes sense in the marine industry. We just don't believe we want our walls of the swimming pool to be like a boat, in that we don't want that flexibility.
The swimming pool in the ground is subject to some movement, especially if you're in a freeze-thaw cycle type of climate, but that's very minimal when compared to a boat or a yacht. Imagine a powerboat racing offshore with 2,000 horsepower going a hundred miles an hour. The pounding that the hull has to take is entirely different than what the swimming pool is subjected to.
When we're building your Barrier Reef pool, we know that it's not going to be moving in the ocean at a hundred miles an hour. We just want to make sure that it's going to stay solid, it's never going to bow or move in the ground. Therefore the Chop method of construction is much better because it gives us the thickness that we need to ensure that the swimming pool is not going to move.
The material that you're most concerned with as a consumer obviously is how the pool looks. That is called the gel coat layer, which is the colored layer, or in some cases is still actually white. The gel coat has metal flakes in it in some cases. Some manufacturers choose to have various colors in the actual shell itself. At Barrier Reef it's just part of our culture to buy the best possible gel coat that we can.
Now what makes a gel coat better than another? Normally it's its resilience to things like fading, its UV resistance, its resistance of chemicals, chlorine, things like that. So at Barrier Reef, we choose the most advanced gel coat available to us in the industry today. We never compromise on this critical component of your swimming pool.
After thousands of pools being placed in the ground here at Barrier Reef, we've found that the best possible recipe for your fiberglass pool is to make the structure as robust as possible. Now, what does that mean? How does a pool become more robust? Our pools at Barrier Reef are much heavier, and much thicker than any other brand on the market. There's many, many benefits to that - to the owner - there's benefits also to the installer of your new swimming pool.
I want you to think about the forces of your fiberglass swimming pool that are working against it. A fiberglass pool in a sense is a retaining wall. It's having to retain everything behind it. Those forces are trying to push the pool in. Obviously we have water inside the pool that's pushing it out, but the best possible mix that we can get is to build a very, very strong swimming pool. A very heavy and robust swimming pool. So one of the things that our dealers will notice with Barrier Reef, or should I say maybe installers, is when they receive their first pool they can't believe how heavy it is. In fact, sometimes they actually need to use heavier equipment than normal to put the pool on the ground.
The reason why our pools are so heavy, is because we use a very, very thick layer of chopped fiberglass, and you're gonna hear the word chopped fiberglass from me because it is the way that we believe that the swimming pool should be constructed. The advantage of this is that when the installer is handling your pool with the crane, when they're putting it in the ground, the wall is not very flexible. The pool is very rigid. It goes into the ground, and it's very solid. This also is important as the pool ages, because ground pressures can't cause a Barrier Reef pool to bulge, like some manufacturers that make a thinner pool.
When comparing different types of construction, you're gonna notice a difference in some manufacturers that are utilizing instead of using a chop material on the swimming pools, they're utilizing a fabric, which is an actual woven Rovin, or should I say maybe a fiberglass matting, as the structure of the swimming pool. Now what the difference in theory is, is that this material is extremely strong. It's, it's like a web of fiberglass. But what we find is, is that it would be great, for let's say stopping a bullet on a bulletproof vest or something, because it's almost like a safety net, but what it doesn't do is it doesn't give us any structural rigidity on the swimming pool. The swimming pool has a lot of flex.
Now let's compare if we were using a woven Rovin product, this would be laid on the actual mold, and then the resin would be shot across it with a gun. The problem that we have with this, is is that we can actually create a situation where we have what's called resin richness - where we actually have too much resin pooling on the actual fiberglass matting. This can actually cause a problem with the pool as it ages, and is not the ideal way to get the perfect mix, or a perfect ratio of fiberglass and resin. Whereas at Barrier Reef, what we do is we choose to shoot the fiberglass strands which really look like almost like, like fishing line. This is actual fiberglass strands. We choose to shoot this out of a specialty gun, and that specialty gun actually chops the fiberglass into strands.
The advantage of building the pool this way, is that you have the strength of the fiberglass being put on with many, many different angles. Many, many different angles, gives you more strength in the actual swimming pool, then let's just say a cross pattern, like this, which is more like a fabric.
A gun very much like this is being used to add layers to your swimming pool. One of the advantages of building the pool with a chopped gun is that as we're adding layers we get a perfect ratio between the resins and the fiberglass. This ensures that the resin saturates equally into the fiberglass, and gives us the best composite structure. At Barrier Reef, our culture is to build the best possible swimming pool that we can, which is why we add more fiberglass, more resin, and make the pool heavier, and it's a much better structure over time.
Fiberglass VS Gunite In-ground Swimming Pools
Here Are 5 Reasons To Choose A Fiberglass Pool VS A Gunite Made Pool:
1. How Much Does It CostThe pool price will be contingent on shape, size, features and other factors. When comparing the two, of equal size and features, our fiberglass pools will generally have a lower cost entry point as well as less cost over the life of the pool for maintenance and other services.
2. How Long Does It Take To InstallA Gunite pool takes considerably more work and will take much longer to complete the installation process. Gunite pools are built one at a time at the project site and in some cases a project started in late spring or early summer may not be ready for swimming until the next swim season. On the other hand, a fiberglass pool of the same size and dimensions could be finished in as little as two to four weeks. We manufacture the best pools at our plant in South Carolina and deliver them to your home ready to be installed. This means your family could be ready for family fun in the pool this season.
3. Which Lasts Longer?Concrete pools are more maintenance intensive due to their needing to be resurfaced every seven to ten years. This takes time away from your active pool season and can be a costly project to boot. Fiberglass pools will not require resurfacing but may require some buffing of scratches.
4. What Designs Are Available?Our fiberglass pools come in free form, rectangular, kidney, other classic shapes and spas for just about any swimming pool project. Our models are built with integrated features such as entry stairs, lounging ledges, seating benches and more. With a Gunite pool each feature must be custom built which takes time and more money.
5. Am I Protected By A Warranty?In most cases a homeowner will only ever purchase one pool in their lifetime. This means that the pool project you purchase should be one that’s the best fit for you and that provides years of fun and relaxation. Our fiberglass pools come with a comprehensive warranty to ensure your pool was built to last. A standard Gunite pool project will not have a warranty.
Cons Of Choosing A Gunite Or Concrete Pool
- The first downside of choosing a concrete pool is the time it will take to install. It can literally take months to complete this project.
- All things being equal, a Gunite pool will cost more to install, take longer and require expensive maintenance over the life of the pool.
- Children and adults often find that when swimming to the bottom of the pool the concrete is abrasive and uncomfortable. Pools should be fun and having such a situation is just the opposite.
- Gunite and other concrete pools tend to harbor certain forms of bacteria which means more chemicals to keep the water within safe swimming levels.
- Gunite and other concrete pools will need to be replastered. Over time a Gunite pool will begin to chip and crack, which can lead to unsafe conditions.