Fiberglass Pools: Everything You Need to Know
You may have heard about fiberglass pools lately as they have become a popular trend in pools. But did you know this type of pool has actually been around since the 1950s? New innovations in shape, design, accessories, materials and colors have made fiberglass pools an excellent choice for many homeowners today.
What are Fiberglass Pools?
A fiberglass pool is made from a composite of fiberglass and resin. Fiberglass strands are layered and coated with waterproof resin to create a strong and durable molded structure. Then a gel coat is applied for a smooth finish available in many colors.
The pool shell is made completely off-site and brought to your backyard in one single piece. It is then placed into an excavated area where it is leveled, secured and filled. Let’s go swimming!
Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Pools vs. Gunite or Vinyl-lined Pools
Now that you understand what a fiberglass pool is, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this type of pool versus a gunite (cement) or vinyl-lined pool.
Fiberglass is an inherently durable material. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio making it lightweight enough to be transported to your home in one piece, but able to withstand pressure and force without breaking. It absorbs more impacts and resists cracking unlike cement and is very strong so there is no worry of punctures and rips like vinyl.
Fiberglass pools are known for having excellent insulation properties. The composite material retains heat, significantly reducing heating costs. Solar pool heaters are not always an effective option for large gunite pools due to heat loss, but the efficient heat retention properties of fiberglass make solar an excellent choice.
The smooth, non-porous surface of fiberglass helps to prevent algae and bacteria growth. This in turn reduces the amount of cleanings and chemical treatments needed for this type of pool. And guess what that means for you? More relaxing-in-the-pool time!
A fiberglass pool can be swim-ready in 1-3 weeks! That is compared to vinyl-lined which takes four to eight weeks and gunite, coming in last, with 8-12 weeks. This is because a fiberglass pool is pre-constructed off site and doesn’t require any additional framing, plastering, tiling or curing.
Long term costs
Gunite pools require expensive resurfacing every 10-15 years, and vinyl liner pools need the liner replaced every 5-10 years. Overall, fiberglass pools tend to offer a more cost-effective option in terms of maintenance and repairs over their lifespan.
Fiberglass pools can be installed in-ground, fully above-ground or semi-inground. The latter is particularly useful when dealing with sloped backyards or properties with challenging terrain. The ability to install the pool partially above ground allows for better integration with the existing landscape.
One of the drawbacks of fiberglass pools is the limited customization options compared to concrete and vinyl-lined pools. Since fiberglass pools are manufactured in predetermined shapes and sizes, your design options are more limited. If you are looking for a unique shape, size or customized features like step placement or a bench or shelf, a fiberglass pool may be less suitable.
Fiberglass pools generally have higher upfront costs compared to vinyl liner pools, but they are often more affordable than concrete pools. However, the long term benefits such as durability, lower maintenance and energy savings can offset the initial investment.
Transportation and installation constraints
Fiberglass pools require specialized equipment and professional transportation due to their large size and weight. Additionally, there may be limitations on accessing your backyard such as narrow pathways, existing structures and tight spaces, which can affect the feasibility of installing a fiberglass pool.
Potential for color fading
Over time, the color of the gel coat finish on a fiberglass pool may fade or dull due to exposure to UV rays and pool chemicals. While this doesn’t affect the structural integrity or functionality of the pool, it can impact the aesthetic appeal. Regular maintenance and proper water chemistry can help slow down the fading process.
Fiberglass pools are typically manufactured with a maximum depth of around eight to ten feet, whereas concrete and vinyl-lined pools can be designed and constructed to have much greater depths. This can be a consideration if you would like a pool for activities like diving.
Fiberglass Pool Design & Installation in Northern Virginia
With our thoughtful, beautiful landscaping and hardscaping plans, Outdoor Spaces Design will create a luxurious outdoor oasis incorporating your fiberglass pool. You can choose to work with one of our established pool-building partners, or we can work alongside your pre-selected pool company if you already have a favorite. Ready to see what we can do? Take a look at our pool portfolio.