Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Pools

The pros and cons of fiberglass pools are something you’ve almost certainly considered over the course of planning out a new pool. But there’s a lot to gain by turning idle consideration into a more fact-based examination of your options. In fact, by doing so you’ll be able to stop stressing over the question. You’ll know whether fiberglass is right for you. And you’ll know you’ve made the right choice. Read on to discover whether a fiberglass pool is a perfect fit for your needs.

fiberglass being applied via a spray gun
Fiberglass is made up of millions of glass fibers sprayed onto a surface which when bonded together are very strong yet remains relatively light.

Pros

Part of the fun in finding out what type of inground pool is best for your needs comes from just imagining the fun you can have with it. When you read over the benefits of a fiberglass pool you should think about how much each point means to you. By all means, you should also keep the cost of a pool in mind when going over the options. But if a feature really speaks to you then you can always break out the loan calculator and see if there’s a way to make it happen within your acceptable price range. But with that in mind, get ready to see some of the reasons why fiberglass pools are so popular.

Durable yet flexible

You might not think that pools need to be flexible. But remember that the earth is constantly shifting. Sometimes slowly, and sometimes more rapidly. Concrete can crack when the underlying earth shifts. But the inherent flexibility of fiberglass lets it seamlessly adapt to those changes. Its multiple layers of fiberglass allow for high durability which lends even more resistance.

process for hand lamination with roller in fiberglass production
The multiple layers are bonded together with a resin which allows them to be able to still flex which makes them more forgiving than a concrete pool.

Low maintenance

All pools are going to need some level of maintenance. But fiberglass needs far less than the other options. Your pool maintenance costs are lowered in large part because fiberglass is resistant to the growth of algae, mold, and mildew. This keeps your overall cost of pool maintenance down.

Lower lifetime costs

The lower maintenance costs also contribute to an overall lower long-term cost. Maintenance costs on a yearly basis can be an annoyance. But those numbers really start to add up when you’re looking at decades worth of use. And you’re also saving money thanks to the fact that you’ll need less costly chemical balancing, acid washes, and repairs.

Smooth algae-resistant finish

The algae resistance found in fiberglass is due to its smooth gel coating. Algae grows in the tiny cracks and crevices found in many other materials. But the totally smooth surface of a fiberglass pool doesn’t provide any holes to take root. This prevents algae growth unlike in a concrete pool and therefore eliminates the need for such thorough cleaning or acid washing. This smooth coating also provides you with a soft non-porous surface that won’t chafe or scrape.

Fast installation

The time it takes to build a pool is one of the biggest differences between all the types of pools. Concrete pools can take as long as six months to install. But a fiberglass pool can be ready in as soon as two weeks. And even if you need additional deck work the project shouldn’t take longer than six weeks.

Built-in features (molded steps, benches, coves, and sun deck)

Fiberglass pools are prefabricated. This means that they’re essentially created as a whole piece and then moved to your home for installation. The prefabrication also makes it easy to provide built-in features. Many options like molded steps and sun decks are so popular that you’re almost certain to find them available and ready for immediate use upon installation.

Does not affect water pH levels

Fiberglass is chemically inert. This means that it doesn’t change the nature of the water stored within it. This is contrary to many other materials which will change the pH level of your pool water over time. A fiberglass pool makes it far easier to manage your pool’s pH levels. And you save money on the chemicals needed to regulate those levels.

More eco friendly

The chemically inert nature of fiberglass also means that you don’t have to worry about chemicals or rust being leached into your area’s groundwater. Likewise, the fact that you’re using less harsh chemicals to clean and maintain your fiberglass pool also helps the environment as a whole.

Small repairs are easy

Because fiberglass pools are prefabricated there’s not going to be much potential for major damage. When repairs are needed they’re typically going to be relatively minor issues that are easy to do on your own.

Cons

Of course, if fiberglass pools were a perfect solution for every need then there wouldn’t even be any other options. But the fiberglass vs concrete pools and fiberglass vs vinyl debate will almost certainly go on for a very long time. While there are a lot of great things about fiberglass, it also carries the following disadvantages.

Limited by designs available

Prefabricated designs also come with downsides. The biggest of which is the fact that you can’t create custom fiberglass pool designs. The pools are created in advance and moved out to your home for installation. As such, the size, shape and color of your pool is limited by what’s currently on the market. This does still give you a wide variety of shapes and designs but not the freedom of a custom shape that you get from a concrete pool.

various fiberglass pools sitting on their ends for display
Although there are many designs available from various pool manufacturers, you may still not find one with all the features you want, the desired shape, and perfect size to work in your backyard space.

Width limit (16ft)

The fact that a prefabricated shell needs to be delivered to your home also creates size limitations. Your pool can’t be wider than what’s allowed on oversize load trucks. And this effectively limits your pool’s width to 16 feet.

crane on truck about to pick up a fiberglass pool from another truck
If you want an especially big pool then fiberglass just won’t cut it as it needs to be transported by truck which limits it to 16ft.

Not the cheapest option

Fiberglass is cost-effective, especially when you look at long-term ownership. But the initial cost of a fiberglass pool is higher than many of the other options. In fact, you might pay as much as twice the cost of concrete or vinyl. This is of course offset by the fact that for example, vinyl liner pools need a liner replacement every 5-10 years which is a very expensive process.

Install process is crucial to the life of the pool

A properly installed fiberglass pool is both sturdy and flexible. But that all changes if it’s improperly installed. Installation mistakes can impair the pool’s structural integrity, which can result in unsafe conditions. The problem is further complicated by the fact that while small repairs are cheap and easy, larger repairs are typically quite expensive. As such it’s vitally important that you make sure that you’re not taking any chances with poor weather or rushed installations when you get a fiberglass pool. This is a key area where the difference in pool builders can have a huge impact on your project.

crane moving a fiberglass pool into position
Although installation of the pool is a relatively fast process, it is also the most important phase of your project. A quality pool builder proves their worth during this part especially.

Heavy equipment access needed to install

The same factors that complicate fiberglass pool’s shipping complicate installation. You’ll need to ensure that construction equipment is able to transport the pool’s shell into your yard. Of course, that’s not an issue if you have easy access to your backyard. But if you only have narrow driveway access or a particularly steep property then installation can become quite complicated.

digger positioning a small fiberglass pool
Consider how the pool will get into its position, if you have limited access then you will also be limiting the options of equipment that can be used.

Weighing the Options and Coming to a Decision

The final point to remember is just that there’s no objectively perfect pool. But there is a perfect pool for your needs. Your own personal preferences, and even gut feelings, are what’s going to ultimately determine the best option. So take a moment to go over the pros and cons again and really take note of how each option makes you feel. And then turn those feelings into reality by getting your perfect pool.

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Disclaimer:

At Viking Capital, we try to provide accurate information on loans, credit scores and pool care, but it may not apply directly to your individual situation. We are not financial advisors and we recommend you consult with a financial professional before making any serious financial decisions. The content on poolloan.net is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.

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