Commercial pool proprietors were the only ones apart from the wealthy, who could afford swimming pools. The swimming pool industry took a leap in the mid 1950s, when fiberglass was introduced. Initially used in the boating industry, fiberglass not only managed to revolutionize the boating industry, but also turned around the swimming pool industry.
Fiberglass comprises tiny fibers of glass that are strengthened with a polymer, making it a composite material. Fiberglass does not fade or allow algae to collect on its surface, and is a material sturdier than vinyl and concrete.
What is a Fiberglass Swimming Pool?
A fiberglass pool is a one-piece, preformed shell made from fiberglass resins, and coated with a gel to form a non-porous surface, unlike plaster or concrete. Since the pool is coated with a gel, these pools do not require pool liners. They are built at a factory and then set in an excavated site.
The installation of this pool takes 5-13 days only and comes with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. These are available not only in various shapes and sizes, but also with several tile patterns, in-floor cleaning systems, and fiber optic lighting. Fiberglass pools are extremely popular in earthquake-prone regions.
This is because the fiberglass pool bends with the ground and does not split open like the other types. Moreover, it can withstand stray roots of trees better than the vinyl-lined ones. As far as the price is concerned, the initial cost may be more than concrete, but in the long run, the cost involved is lesser than the concrete type.
Installation of this fiberglass pool takes approximately 5-13 days, as compared to 8-12 weeks for concrete pool installation. To install a fiberglass pool, all that has to be done is dig the hole and use a crane to lower the pool into it. These pools can also be installed in the winter months, which is not possible with the concrete type.
Less Chemical Usage
Fiberglass pools require less chemicals as compared to the other types. This is because unlike concrete, fiberglass does not leach alkali into the water. Plaster from concrete pools affect the pH level of the water and require chemicals to correct it.
Since fiberglass does not affect the water that much, lesser chemical requirement exists. Less amount of chemicals implies lesser requirement of water circulation, leading to lower electric bills.
Easy to Clean
Fiberglass is resilient towards bacteria, mold, and algae. Further, in case any algal growth does take place, it can be removed easily by brushing. Being non-porous and smooth in texture, these pools do not hold dirt as stubbornly as concrete pools, thus, making cleaning easy.
Simple cleansers are enough to remove any rings or stains left by body oil or sunscreen. Pool filters and pumps do not have to work very hard to keep the pool clean, thereby reducing the electric bills.
Fiberglass swimming pools can withstand drastic changes in temperature, unlike the other pool types. Hairline cracks on the surface of the fiberglass, do not affect the entire structure. Areas with frost are not suitable for concrete, however, fiberglass is suited for regions with extreme temperatures. They come with lifetime warranties.
Since fiberglass pools lack liners, they eliminate the need of liner replacement, as in case of vinyl-lined pools. These pools do not crack easily and do not require frequent professional services, as required by other types. Resurfacing, repainting, replastering, etc., are not needed. Daily maintenance of the pool is also easier.
Fiberglass features a non-porous smooth surface, unlike the rough porous surface of concrete pools. Rough concrete sides need to be tiled, or else can lead to scraped skin, red-tipped fingers, and bleeding toes.
Swimsuits also experience wear and tear due to contact with the rough surface. Fiberglass pools eliminate the scraping issue and ensure safe swimming. To prevent slipping on the smooth surfaces of fiberglass pool, 'slip resistant surfacing' can be done to improve the grip of the structure.
The main drawback of this swimming pool is that water must remain in it at all times. This is to avoid causing any structural damage to the fiberglass, such as cracking or buckling. Improper drainage leads to formation of ground pressure, which causes the fiberglass to crack.
Thus, owners cannot drain the water on their own, but require professional assistance to do so. Emptying the pool during the winters cannot be carried out with this pool. A minimum level of water is to be maintained at all times to balance the pressure inside and outside the pool.
Lack of Customized Options
Fiberglass pools are prefabricated into different shapes, sizes, and colors, and cannot be customized as per requirements. One is confined to choose from the available pool options.
These pools are installed over a bed of sand, and have the tendency to move upwards over a period of time. When this shifting of sand takes place, the pool has to be reset. Moreover, in very soggy and marshy areas, the fiberglass can actually be pushed out of the ground and float.
Fiberglass pools are prefabricated, and are transported to the house on a large truck. The property layout must be such that it allows the passage of the large fiberglass pool case. The lack of customized options makes this problem worse.
Only in-ground fiberglass swimming pools are possible. This is because fiberglass requires the surrounding ground to support the pool, which is not possible in above-ground pools.