What does "home" mean to you? For many of us, our home is our place of safety and comfort. If you are looking for a new and exciting way to make your home even more of an oasis for your family, it's time to consider the addition of a backyard swimming pool.
A pool provides the ideal setting for family gatherings and can help you build stronger relationships with each other. It's no secret that kids love water, so you'll be happy to watch them engage in healthy and fun swimming activities right in the safety of your own backyard. Plus, a pool is the perfect backdrop for potlucks, barbecues, and other social events with friends and extended family.
Making the decision to install a pool is only the first step in the process, though. You also need to choose the type of pool that meets your needs and your budget. In this article, we'll focus on the fiberglass pool, including how it compares with the other two main types of in-ground swimming pools – vinyl and concrete. We'll also give you a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of owning a fiberglass pool.
What is a fiberglass pool?
A fiberglass pool is a one-piece swimming pool that is built from a mold in a factory and then shipped to its location for installation. These pools are comprised of tiny finely spun fibers of glass, as well as numerous layers of resin. Fiberglass, which is found in everything from airplanes to medical equipment, can be molded into many shapes and forms. In addition to its flexibility, fiberglass is strong and durable.
How does a fiberglass pool differ from other types of pools?
Fiberglass pools have factory-molded shells that are sealed with a durable and smooth gel-coat finish. Installers use a crane to lower the shell into an excavated hole at the site. Although sizes and shapes are somewhat limited, fiberglass pools often can be installed in a matter of just a few weeks.
Fiberglass swimming pools tend to be more environmentally friendly than other pools because fewer cleaning chemicals are needed because of their algae-resistant smooth surfaces. Also, fiberglass pools do not have as much potential to leech chemicals into the groundwater surrounding your pool as other pool types.
Concrete pools can be customized to fit any size or shape. However, the process of designing and installing a concrete pool can take up to 12 weeks. Workers must dig the hole and then create a rebar framework in the ground. Then they spray over that framework with shotcrete or gunite. Concrete pools are long-lasting, but, in addition to the initial longer installation timeframe, they can involve more time and money for proper maintenance.
To install a vinyl pool, workers dig the hole and install a steel or cinder-block wall that they then cover with a one-piece flexible liner. Most vinyl pools are rectangular, but L-shapes and a few other configurations are also available. A vinyl pool can be installed in about four weeks. The biggest drawback to a vinyl pool is that sharp objects can rip or puncture the liner.
What do vinyl pools cost?
The cost of a vinyl-lined pool ranges around $50,000, including installation. The liner, which costs about $4,500, usually needs to be replaced every five to 10 years.
Depending on the style and the size, concrete pools can range in cost between $61,000 and $100,000, including installation. Concrete pools can be custom-designed, updated, and enlarged. Fiberglass pools cost $60,000 to $95,000, and these pools have the lowest maintenance costs of the three types of in-ground pools.
What do fiberglass pools cost?
Fiberglass pools start around $65,000 and up, including installation. These pools have a higher initial cost but have the lowest maintenance costs of the three main types of in-ground pools.
Depending on the style and the size you choose, concrete pools can range between $84,500 and up, including installation.
The cost of a vinyl-lined pool is in the $50,000 to $60,000 range. The liner, which costs about $4,000, usually needs to be replaced every five to nine years.
How do I properly maintain a fiberglass pool?
All pools need regular cleaning and maintenance, but fiberglass pools need less of it than the other two most popular types of in-ground pools. For example, the fiberglass pool's smooth surface makes it easier to control the algae and bacteria that can get caught on the rougher surfaces of a concrete pool.
Testing and maintaining your pool's water is the most important aspect of fiberglass pool maintenance. Fiberglass pool owners also need to be vigilant in wiping down the waterline around their pool's perimeter. This area is susceptible to a build-up of body oils, sunscreen, dirt, and airborne contaminants. It's a good idea to wipe the water line on a weekly basis with a soft cloth and a mild detergent. Be sure to avoid abrasive cleaners, automatic dish detergents, steel wool, metal scrapers, or rough brushes that could damage the pool's gel coat finish.
Over time, you may notice hairline cracks and scratches in a fiberglass pool. Most of these are superficial and can be easily buffed out by your pool professional. If buffing doesn't work, the cracks can often be repaired with an epoxy filler or a gel coating reapplication.
With proper care and cleaning, a fiberglass pool can last more than 25 years!
What are the pros and cons of a fiberglass pool?
Now, let's look at the advantages of owning a fiberglass swimming pool.
Fastest installation times
Several choices of shapes
Several attractive color choices
Strong and durable construction
Lowest lifetime cost of the three top pool types
And here are the disadvantages of owning a fiberglass pool.
Improper chemical management can damage gel coat finish
Sizes and shapes are limited
Pool cannot be wider than 16 feet
Repairs may not match the original look
Higher initial cost but lower lifetime cost
A backyard pool is a great way to stay safe and healthy while enjoying exercise and quality time with family. If you have any questions about fiberglass pools or the other types of pools our team at Top Pools installs, just let us know. We are happy to help you make this important decision for your family.