Swimming pools: is fibreglass or concrete the better choice?

Selecting pool material - fibreglass or concrete

There are many decisions to make before you go ahead and purchase a swimming pool. Choosing the right size, shape, colour and style to fit in with your landscaping are all options you will need to consider. Just as importantly, is to look at the price, installation cost and time, ongoing ease of maintenance and durability of the pool. However, one of the most important factors to consider before buying is whether to go with concrete vs fibreglass pools. Both have advantages and disadvantages and both will boost the value of your property. The one you choose will depend on your specific needs.

The pros of a fibreglass pool

Fibreglass pool shells are ready made and delivered to your home for quick installation. The fact that the fibreglass pool is already constructed in the factory cuts out a great deal of installation time. Your fibreglass pool can be ready for use in as little as one week. This is a big advantage over a concrete pool which may take weeks — even months in some cases — before you can use them.

A quality fibreglass pool looks attractive with no extra work. This means, you can skip the step of installing tiling or pebblecrete, which is a part of the concrete pool installation process. For tiling, you’d have to lay tiles along the surface of the pool, which then need time to dry. Pebblecrete is a material used for concrete pools that consists of a mixture of pebbles and cement. It is laid on to act as a seal for the surface of the pool.

Maintenance is also important when you are comparing concrete vs fibreglass pools. Whereas a concrete pool will require ongoing surface repair and cleaning to remove algae, a fibreglass pool comes with a gel coating surface, which is designed to repel algae and other unsightly (and unhealthy) build up. Therefore, cleaning a fibreglass pool is not only easier and less expensive than a concrete pool, it is also healthier for your family. This because fewer chemicals are required in the cleaning process.

As well as ease of maintenance, fibreglass pools require less ongoing care. All you need to do to keep the pool at its best is follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Fibreglass pools require little in the form of repainting or resurfacing, compared to concrete and vinyl liner pools, which need such care every few years, depending on use and conditions.

Fibreglass pools also have an excellent reputation for strength and reliability. Manufacturers tend to offer lengthy warranties to back up the fact that the fibreglass is both resilient and long lasting. This resilience also means the shell is more resistant to cracking in unstable soil than a concrete pool.

The cons of a fibreglass pool

It’s important to note that fibreglass pools are pre-designed and built in the factory and not shaped on site. This may mean shopping for the desired size and shape beforehand rather than building it around the space you have in the backyard landscaping area. Fibreglass pools are usually designed for easy transport to sites and are therefore limited to road law requirements. There is also the need for access to the backyard for a crane to lower the shell into place. However, despite the lack of customisation possibilities, customers can usually find the shape, size and colour of their choice.

The pros of a concrete pool

One of the chief advantages of purchasing a concrete or vinyl-liner swimming pool is their design flexibility. Because you can get a customised shape and size, you’ll have far more control over the ultimate design of your backyard pool landscaping area, particularly if you require a fairly unique design to match your individual landscaping needs. The space you have set aside for a pool may not suit, for a number of reasons, the restricted shape and size of a fibreglass pool. Here a concrete pool would be preferable.

Cons of a concrete pool

Concrete pools require more expensive materials to build and a much more involved manufacturing and installation process. Because of this, they can cost as much as two times the amount of a fibreglass pool. This higher price can make concrete pools cost-prohibitive, or for some people, paying that much more for a backyard pool simply isn’t a practical option. Money saved on the purchase of a fibreglass pool could be put into added backyard pool landscaping features, for example, to make improvements and boost the value of your property even further.

Added to the extra cost is the time taken to construct a concrete pool. As this often takes weeks or months, depending on a number of conditions, the pool may not be ready for use during the warmer months of the current season. While this may not be as much of a problem if you are planning a time-consuming backyard renovation, it may be inconvenient if you wanted the pool to swim in this season.

Weighing the pros and cons

Deciding between concrete and fibreglass may be a matter of personal preference. However, if you do select the fibreglass option because of cost and ease of maintenance, it is very important to select a quality brand. Not all fibreglass pool manufacturers are the same in this regard. Make sure you check the companies’ reviews and look at the range of options available.

Check to see if the company offers special shell-hardening composite technology such as Ceramic Composite Technology (CCT). The added strength of CCT means the fibreglass pool is better able to cope with any changing soil conditions that may arise, as well as some ground movement and severe weather events which are prevalent in many parts of our country.

Take your time to check online and fully research the pros and cons of a fibreglass pool vs a concrete pool. If you wish to have a little more design flexibility and don’t mind the extra cost and maintenance that comes with a concrete pool, then this may be the option for you. However, if the easy installation, range of colours and designs and cheaper price tag are more attractive, consider a fibreglass pool.

Interested in hearing more about the advantages and disadvantages of concrete and fibreglass pools? Please don’t hesitate to contact us and allow our friendly team to assist you.

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