Fiberglass pools are hot right now. Homeowners like the way they look and feel. They also like the low maintenance and durability. And dealers like the expanding design variety, ease of installation and relative low lifetime cost of fiberglass.
Fiberglass pools come in sizes and designs to fit a wide array of budgets and tastes. Inground fiberglass pools accommodate high energy users and those who want to chill and relax in the sun.
Fiberglass pools are relatively quick to install and new construction techniques make it easier than ever. Annual and lifetime maintenance of fiberglass pools compares favorably to other options - with less work and less money required by the homeowner.
There is an almost endless list of built-in and add-on pool options that can tailor a fiberglass pool to your lifestyle. A backyard pool can truly become the centerpiece of the time you set aside for entertainment and relaxation.
Are you ready to take the plunge?
Find the fiberglass pool that’s right for you.Get An Estimate
More for you on the advantages and disadvantages of fiberglass pools
Fiberglass pools are hot. The look, feel and improvements in technology have made them a go-to option for pool dealers and homeowners alike. Fiberglass pool market share has steadily increased over the last decade, especially in midwestern states. A few advantages builders cite are that fiberglass pools are predictable, they result in reduced labor costs, decreased cycle time (fiberglass pools are typically completed in 2-4 weeks as opposed to 2-4 months) and the final product is both beautiful for the customer and profitable for the dealer.
They are a beautiful product. Fiberglass pool shell manufacturers have expanded design offerings to the point where a fiberglass pool can truly feel custom. The color, sizes and shapes available ensure there is a fiberglass pool for every interest and lifestyle—from sitting, sunning and lounging, to enthusiastic games of water volleyball and hoops. The size, breadth of designs and shapes offered in today’s fiberglass pools complement the design notes of any backyard.
One of the most popular features of today’s fiberglass pools are tanning ledges. A tanning ledge is a shallow area in the pool that allows you to place a chaise lounge or similar piece of pool furniture in the water. You can catch the sun’s rays while staying cool and at least partially wet. The fiberglass pool innovation pace is fast, with newer pool designs that include sunken living area and beach entry. With a sunken living area, you can read, enjoy some snacks or even play cards in a dry area, surrounded by the pool! And with the beach entry option, you’ve got the comfort and feel of wading into the increasing depth of the water just like you would at the beach!
A pool patio rounds out the look and feel of an inground pool. While a standard quote from your builder will likely include a 3 to 4 foot concrete patio, that is far from the only option. The architecture of your home, the surrounding landscape and your personal tastes may prompt you to consider other options. These options can include adding a decorative border around the pool or the edge of the patio. Your patio could be stamped concrete, pavers, brick or colored concrete. It can be broad and expansive or it can be peppered with greenery and landscape accents, or it can be both!
If a particular vacation spot has captured your imagination, your pool can take a starring role in the creation of that place in your backyard. With a beach entry and carefully chosen tile, you have a start at creating that perfect staycation spot. Going to Mexico on your staycation? Blend decorative tile and stucco in bright shades of yellow, orange and blue with lush vines and succulents. Perhaps a chiminea or grand outdoor oven? Going to the Caribbean with your pool? Perhaps the accents of choice are deep blues, whites and buffed grays with splashes of tropical colors. Set up some weathered teak furniture, made comfortable with indoor-outdoor pads and pillows. Order up a slushy beverage and you are ready to go!
As pools have evolved, the creative ways we find to enjoy them has evolved as well. And they don’t have to be built-ins or large decorator projects. The world of inflatable toys has moved way beyond the standard beach ball or personal blow-up float. An inflatable can be perfect for raucous fun or sunny pampering. They can accommodate your food, drink, card games, bluetooth devices and so on – all in the service of turning your backyard float into a little bit of paradise.
How much do fiberglass pools cost?
While vinyl pools often have the lowest upfront investment, fiberglass pools trail only slightly behind. And because of their impervious surface, they require fewer chemicals to maintain water balance versus vinyl or gunite. In addition, fiberglass pools are sturdy and long-lasting and therefore require less frequent surface repair or replacement. In a “time is money” world, fiberglass also gets the nod with a shell turnaround time of less than a month. Add to that quick install times due to its one-piece design and the fact that the elements (weather) have little impact on installation, and fiberglass pools gain a cost advantage.
Fiberglass pools are affordable, and there are financing options to fit your budget and timeline. The average fiberglass pool installation will run somewhere between $40,000 and $60,000, depending on the decisions you make relative to size, design, decking, landscaping and other related elements of the install. It’s easy to find online tools to help you in the selection of a pool and a tighter estimation of costs.
A good rule of thumb if you’re putting together a rough budget is between $1,500 per linear foot. So a pool that’s 10 feet x 30 feet would come in at $45,000. Keep in mind, you’re pricing the pool plus the accessories you must have. You may be wondering – “What about that financing you mentioned?” Much like any sizable home investment, there are many options for financing your pool. Your dealer has likely helped buyers just like you find financing for their pool.
As you put together your plan, you might find it works for you to separate the resources you utilize for the purchase of the pool, landscaping and add-ons. For example, you may find it useful to finance the pool, pay for the landscaping using a credit card that generates miles or points and then save the finishing and add-ons for next year and pay out of pocket. Some factors in how you go about it will include how soon you want to get into the pool, your other financial obligations, your dealer’s build schedule, the local climate/seasons and your desire for frequent flyer points.
As we alluded to above, pool cost is more than installation. This is true of vinyl, gunite or fiberglass. You will need a host of products to maintain proper water chemistry and a clean pool, including: pH increaser/decreaser, calcium hardness increaser, stabilizer, sanitizer, shock and algaecide to name a few. Of course, your maintenance cost will be affected by your pool size, but on average, you can expect a monthly maintenance cost of around $120.
Are there hidden costs outside of installation and regular maintenance?
There are also some costs that might not factor into a standard quote that become part of your project due to geography, location regulations or other reasons. A few of the most common hidden costs include: site preparation, site access, permits, fencing, restoration, electrical wiring and dirt hauling. Fencing may be a local ordinance or state law. Restoration is what you might think of as ‘clean up,’ but that might be understating the scope and scale of the post-installation work. Keep in mind that you might have removed as much as a one or two-car garage’s worth of dirt to install this pool. The equipment required has a significant impact on the appearance of your backyard.
Site preparation may sound simple, but can become quite involved. If the ground is hard or if there is a considerable volume of earth to remove prior to installation, these can impact the cost. If the backyard site is difficult to access by truck, your dealer may need to contract a crane and crane operator or temporarily take down existing infrastructure to access the backyard. Permitting for residential pools varies by state and local municipalities – your dealer should know the particulars of your area. Permits might include fees paid to the municipality or an HOA. They might also require the purchase and installation of safety fencing.
Restoration can be as simple as clean-up and replacing some sod, to as involved as a full-scale landscape revamp. If you’ve had large trucks, dozers and/or cranes in your backyard during an install, you will have restoration and should include it in your budgeting. Electrical could be as simple as making a connection to a box on the rear of the house, but there is usually more to it. An upgraded or separate electrical box is usually a necessary accommodation for a backyard pool that has a filtering system, lighting and jets. Dirt hauling is just what it sounds like – trucks hauling dirt. However, it’s easy to overlook and you might be hauling away that “garage-load” of dirt after you’ve installed an inground pool. That’s not an insignificant volume of dirt!
You’ll want a cover. Many pool owners opt for an automatic cover. Pool covers are about much more than just keeping out a few leaves. In addition to keeping airborne debris off the water’s surface, pool covers help lower water loss and chemical use while your pool is unused. In addition, automatic pool covers can provide an extra level of safety above and beyond the security fence or other precautions you may have in place.
Fiberglass looks and feels like a million bucks
Another favorable comparison when looking at fiberglass versus vinyl and gunite is the look and feel of the surface. Fiberglass pools come in an array of colors and finishes and positively make the water shimmer in the sunlight. On top of that, there is the feel. Fiberglass pools look slippery, but they’re not. It’s easy to get that impression looking at their shiny surface. It’s a pleasant trick of the eye. Our fiberglass pools are finished with a gel coat that is non-skid and non-snag and is great for pets’ paws and everyone’s swimsuit.
Fiberglass is a versatile and durable material. It’s created when fibers of glass are spun so finely that they can be molded into all kinds of shapes. The best fiberglass pools are built with gel coats created for the most demanding industries including marine boat hulls, tub shower units, wind energy blades and automotive applications – all of which place harsh demands upon fiberglass material. Innovation for pool industry fiberglass took off in the early 2000s with the introduction of deep-blue, colored gel coats that not only looked great, but had environmental and production savings benefits as well.
Are there disadvantages to fiberglass pools?
A fiberglass pool isn’t immune to damage. For example, a fiberglass pool gel coat can discolor if water chemistry is not in balance. That’s why it’s important to stay on top of it! With a dose of vigilance and dedication to upkeep, your fiberglass pool can provide you with a lifetime of enjoyment. Some well-cared for fiberglass pools have been known to last up to 50 years!
Fiberglass pools are manufactured in a controlled environment, in advance of arriving to your backyard. They are not custom. Once upon a time, this generated a problem of limited choice, because there were not more than a few fiberglass pool designs available. On top of that, the material’s durability and beauty was not yet established as it is today. Today there are dozens upon dozens of beautiful and durable fiberglass design options that really can suit almost every backyard residential customer. However, if your desire is for a 70-foot lap pool, fiberglass may not be your first choice.
In addition, fiberglass pools are not the cheapest pool option on the market. If you’re just looking to get a pool in the ground, you can spend less with a vinyl liner pool. You can also try doing it yourself, though we would not recommend this approach. The professionally-installed fiberglass pool earns its affordability stripes through lower annual maintenance costs, long-lasting durability and outstanding manufacturer’s warranties.
Fiberglass inground pools are innovative
It would be easy to think that fiberglass pools are manufactured in an assembly line, “every Model T is black” mode, but that’s far from the case. The innovations and options available to the sun-seeking pool buyer are staggering. Beginning with the size and shape. Of course there are the classic shapes of rectangular, semi-oval and ‘kidney bean’. There’s also classics with a twist, like a rectangular pool with an arched entry. More recently, there are ever-more daring, freeform or “wavy” pool shapes that pair wonderfully with the deep blue hue of a fiberglass gel coat finish.
Whether you go traditional or more freeform in shape, there are myriad options for how you enjoy the pool with the built-in design features. From a beach entry design to a sunken living room to a fiberglass pool with a tanning ledge and swim outs, there is something for everyone. As you browse the many fiberglass pool designs, you will likely find a size and design combination that will fit your lifestyle whether it’s soaking up the rays or spiking a volleyball into the water on the other side of the net.
Innovation in residential, inground fiberglass pool designs and features have opened up the creative minds of homeowners. Take beach entries and tanning ledges for example. The presence of these features just beg for additional context and ambiance. Tropical plants, creatively landscaped waterfall features, exotic LED lighting and beach-themed bars are just a few ways homeowners bring the beach to their backyard pool.
Sunken living room features are one of the latest innovations in fiberglass pools. And they can be tailored to fit your lifestyle. They have a dry sunken area within the pool. Within that area can be a dining table, poker table, fire pit or a swim-up bar with a fridge. They can be customized with LED lighting and sound as well as design accents like wood trim, tile or stone. It can even be topped with a tanning deck or putting green. There are few limits on where you can let your creativity take you!
Fiberglass pools are an elegant centerpiece for your backyard
How do you go about picking out a pool design that’s right for you? The best starting point is lifestyle. Consider how you like to interact with your family and friends. Take into account who will be using the pool and their needs. Once you’ve decided on approximate size, you can think about features like tanning ledges, beverage benches and open swim lanes, and which of those features are must-have for you.
Are you a part of a big family that likes to do big-family get-togethers? Maybe your home is the traditional hub of those gatherings? If your door is always open and more often than not, your friends and family accept that open invitation and end up at your place, you may want a bigger pool with features that accommodate a wide range of people like wide open swim lanes, ample steps and benches.
Is your family all adrenaline with a garage full of sports gear and balls everywhere you look? You’ll probably want a pool with space for a game of splash basketball or volleyball. You may want a deep end for the installation of a dive board. A classic design, shallow at one end and deep at the other, can fit the bill. And it should be spacious enough that you can have benches or comfortable entry steps too.
Perhaps you fell in love with classic lines of stone architecture and crisply designed landscape architecture on a European vacation? Be the lord of your manor! Your fiberglass pool design can be a design element in a grand backyard scene. Relaxation, grace and glamour are yours with a pool set amongst carefully chosen stonework, a perfectly manicured lawn and a nearby stand of trees. Oh, pool boy!
There are other decisions you’ll likely need to make when you make the decision to contact a fiberglass pool installation company. They will want to check your site out and inform you on local regulations, fencing requirements, and other fiberglass pool installation costs. From there, you’ll consider the larger ‘build-out’, making decisions on decking, furniture and fixtures, lighting and utilities, filters and pool covers and more.
It would be easy to think that your backyard isn’t big enough for a pool. But when you consider there are models that are full-featured and still less than 10 feet by 20 feet in area, you will definitely see things differently. A pool this size can be outfitted with features like elongated benches and can easily accommodate swim jet systems.
The best fiberglass pool manufacturers are customer-focused
Fiberglass pool manufacturers recognize that an inground fiberglass pool is a big decision for a homeowner. Look for a manufacturer that is willing and able to provide not only personal service in response to an email or call, but also a host of self-service research options. This includes informational videos, idea books, inground fiberglass pool cost calculators, pool selector tools, financing guidebooks and more. In addition, manufacturers who spend time cultivating relationships with dealers will help them be a greater resource to you, their local customers.
The best fiberglass pool manufacturers are good stewards of the environment. This includes being ISO 14001 certified. ISO 14001 sets out criteria for an environmental management system that can be measured and improved. In practice, it can be realized through optimizing the application of gel coat, reducing emissions and improving air quality, for example.
Are there fiberglass pool installers near me?
It’s very likely there are multiple fiberglass pool dealers near you. It’s worth doing some research, seeking out referrals, talking to your neighbors or even interviewing the dealers that make it to your final list. After all, you’ll be spending at least a few weeks with a crew and their equipment in your backyard.
When you have a chance to talk to a dealer, it’s a good idea to ask them about the work they’ll be doing and what they’ll subcontract out. You may want to ask for a pre-construction meeting. It might seem like extra work, but in the long-run, it’s usually a time-saver and benefits the efficiency and clarity of the project. A pre-construction meeting should take place on-site and is an opportunity for the dealer and homeowner to take note of the elevation of the pool location, rainfall drainage routes, underground utilities and electrical plans.