Inground swimming pools have garnered so much demand in the last year or two that the supply has struggled to keep up, and waitlists abound. Considering that an inground pool is a significant, long-term investment, homeowners should weigh their options carefully and choose the type of pool that will fit their needs for as long as they own their home. We know it’s tempting to just go with the pool type you can get the soonest—resist the urge! Fiberglass pools are an inground pool option that is both worth the wait and fits a wide array of buyers’ lifestyles. That said, you may have questions: Is a fiberglass pool worth the money? What is the downside of fiberglass pools? In this blog post, we’ll discuss fiberglass pools’ pros and cons.
Fiberglass Pools Pros
- Design Options. Once very limited in design options, modern fiberglass pools are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors that will complement any backyard design. From sleek and modern to free-flowing and laid back, there is a design for just about every taste as well as a size for every yard. Plus, you can easily customize them with tilework that matches your personality and your home’s aesthetic.
- Built-in High-End Features. Fiberglass pool shell designs are artfully crafted to include some of the hottest trends in inground pools. Depending on the model you choose, many desirable features like tanning ledges, swim-outs, and wrap-around benches are built-in. Features that were once considered only for the realm of resort pools, like beach entries (zero entries), are now built into affordable fiberglass pools.
- Smooth, Non-skid Finish. Have you ever brushed against the side of a pool and snagged your swimsuit? Or maybe you got out of the pool with redness, soreness, or abrasions from scraping the surface? Concrete inground pools (gunite) tend to have a rough finish. Maybe you’ve had the exact opposite sensation, where the surface was so slick that you couldn’t find your footing. Vinyl pools often are slippery in spots, especially where algae tends to build up. Fiberglass pools are smooth, so you may be asking, “Are fiberglass pools slippery?” Actually, with a fiberglass pool, you have a gel coat finish that looks polished and shiny but is non-skid and non-snag!
- Durable. Don’t be fooled by the “glass” in the word fiberglass. While not all fiberglass pools are made equally, Thursday Pools fiberglass pools are made of nine layers of strength, with both the structure and the surface lasting for decades with less maintenance required than either vinyl or gunite. Non-porous fiberglass inhibits algae and other minerals that break down other pool finishes. Whereas a vinyl liner typically needs to be replaced every eight to ten years and a gunite pool needs to be replastered after 10 to 15 years, the pool maintenance required for a fiberglass pool can help it last 50 years!
- Lowest Maintenance. It’s generally accepted that fiberglass pools have the lowest maintenance cost of all three pool types. Over ten years, fiberglass pools maintenance costs could be estimated to be around $3,750 on average, whereas other pools maintenance costs could be greater. A big part of long-term gunite pool maintenance costs involves steel brushing the surface every week, acid washing every three to five years, and resurfacing every 10 to 15 years. For vinyl liner pools, replacing the liner every five to nine years costs will need to be factored into maintenance cost plans. Because there is no need to resurface, and fiberglass pools require fewer chemicals, you can get the most enjoyment and the least headache with a fiberglass pool.
- Quick to Install. Vinyl and gunite pools are built on-site in your backyard. This means you must factor in the elements and potential delays that inclement weather brings to construction projects. Fiberglass pools are constructed in a controlled factory environment. When it arrives at your home, it is ready to be put into place. Not having to wait for the weather to cooperate means the whole process goes a lot faster and can take place in as few as three weeks during non-peak seasons. Compare that with concrete pools that typically take three to six months for full installation and vinyl liner pools that often take six to eight weeks.
- Pet-friendly. Concrete inground pools can be rough on your pet’s paws, and vinyl inground pools can be slick and can tear when they come in contact with pet nails. The durable, non-skid surface of fiberglass resists scratches and tears from toenails and prevents slipping when your pet is attempting to get out of the pool. Plus, built-in features like tanning ledges and swim-outs are very pet friendly, especially if your four-legged friend is getting on in years.
- Saltwater System Compatible. It is technically true that saltwater systems can work with any swimming pool. However, with a vinyl liner pool, the walls are often made of metal subject to corrosion that shortens the pool’s lifespan. With concrete pools, salt wears the surface down quicker (think of holes in the sidewalk you may have seen after winter salting). The wear and tear that salt puts on concrete means the surface becomes rougher and that you may need to resurface your pool sooner. With their gel-coated surface, fiberglass pools work well with salt systems.
- Increased Home Value. As home resale value varies by location and condition of the home, a home with a pool’s resale value also varies by type of pool installed. Because of the significant long-term maintenance costs of vinyl and gunite, fiberglass pools tend to be preferred by homebuyers and can increase the value of your home.
- Environmentally More Friendly. Other non-fiberglass pools can leach chemicals and rust back into the groundwater. Additionally, acid-washing pools can result in harm to the environment. Fiberglass pools don’t pose these types of problems. If you go with a fiberglass pool manufacturer committed to the environment, you’ll also be taking a step towards better caring for our planet.
Cons of Fiberglass Pools
- It’s not a DIY Home Project. Installation of a fiberglass pool should be performed by a qualified installer – one who is licensed, bonded, and insured. If you go with a non-licensed installer, the performance and durability of your pool can suffer. If you try to do it yourself, your warranty will be voided, and you very well may not get to enjoy your pool until you fix all the mistakes. Common problems people have when trying to install a fiberglass pool on their own are getting the pool level and pouring coping around the fiberglass pool. These can be expensive but necessary to correct.
- Size Limits. Gunite and vinyl pools are built on-site, so there is some flexibility if you want to go really big with your pool. One of the disadvantages of fiberglass pools is that they are generally limited in size and shape by what is able to be transported from the factory to your backyard. Road restrictions limit the size of a fiberglass pool to approximately 16′ wide x 40′ long.
- Customizability. Fiberglass pool designs are highly lauded for their features and variety in shapes, but they are pre-built so the manufacturer’s parameters can limit you. For example, if you have your heart set on building a guitar-shaped pool, you’ll likely need to look into gunite. Additionally, if the fiberglass pool design you want comes with a tanning ledge that you don’t want, you will also need to look at another pool type.
- Access/Space for Installation. Because a fiberglass pool shell is transported to your backyard, you must have access and space to allow for the installation. Installers often use cranes and other heavy equipment to get the pool to its destination, but this need for access and space to move a large object can be a dealbreaker in some situations. If you are subject to HOA restrictions, be sure to check before considering a fiberglass pool.
As hard as it is for us to conceive, a fiberglass pool is not for everyone. But, we still believe that there is someone for every Thursday Pools fiberglass pool. You may be the one! Check out our Pool Selector Tool to find your match, or get started now with an estimate.
Thursday Pools designs and manufactures the world’s most durable and elegantly crafted fiberglass pools. We are ISO 9001 certified, which means that fiberglass pool shells are made with the highest standards and from the best quality material available. We are also ISO 14001 certified, which means we are committed to environmental stewardship.
Our one-piece, inground fiberglass swimming pool manufacturing facility is based out of Fortville, Indiana. At Thursday Pools, we aspire to be the world’s most respected fiberglass pool manufacturer and to help our customers create a lifetime of memories with their family and friends. Our innovations, commitment to quality and beautiful designs set us apart. Thursday Pools is the creator of the world’s first beach entry (or zero entry) fiberglass pool. View our exclusive designs for the Grace Beach Entry and the Sandal Beach Entry.
Get a free estimate on a new fiberglass pool today. With Thursday Pools, your weekend starts early!