Why Fiberglass Is Better
There are three types of in ground pools: Fiberglass, Vinyl liner, and Concrete (also called Gunite). Below is a detailed comparison of these three pool types including the pros and cons of each. Let's look at the following comparison chart that outlines specific pros and cons for each type of pool on a scale from one to five (red is good):
Why are fiberglass pools so easy to maintain? It all has to do with surface porosity. The surface of a fiberglass pool, called the gelcoat, is virtually non-porous. In contrast, the surface of a concrete pool is extremely rough and porous.
These rough cavities and pores give algae a place to hide and call home, making pool ownership much more difficult. Concrete pool builders teach their clients that weekly brushing of the entire pool surface is mandatory to keep algae at bay. In addition, chemical usage in concrete pools is much higher because of the need to penetrate the pool surface to kill algae.
Concrete pools also require daily doses of muriatic acid to lower the pH of the water. This is because concrete is alkaline based and constantly increases the pH of pool water. Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, are inert and do not effect water chemistry in any way.
For these reasons, fiberglass pool owners typically spend 75% less time and money maintaining their pools. This means anyone who owns a fiberglass pool will spend more time in the pool and less time maintaining it.
Speed of Installation
Because the fiberglass pool shell is manufactured off site, the installation of the shell typically occurs in about two days. Compare this with three to six months with a concrete pool and we're talking about a huge difference in the duration of time your yard is in disarray and often the difference between swimming this year or waiting until next Summer.
Because fiberglass pools have no liner, there's no need to concern yourself with puncturing the pool surface. Vinyl liners are not cheap....often upwards of $4-$5k to replace. This can happen from dogs getting in the pool, tree branches, patio furniture blown into the pool, etc. Fiberglass pools are incredibly strong and durable so there's no need to be concerned about damaging the pool during daily use.
Over the past 30 years fiberglass pools have transformed from the typical white bathtub you'd find at a rental beach house, to the elegant designs and aesthetic features that are now as much works of art as pool. This is due to advancements in the industry such as beautiful colored finishes, ceramic tile, tanning ledges, water features, stunning pool lights, elevated spas, poolside walls, etc. This is one of the many reasons why fiberglass pools have gained exponential market share over the past decade.
Compatibility with Salt Systems
Salt chlorinators have proven to be a low maintenance, high water quality option for pool owners. However, if you have ever seen what de-icing salt does to the surface of a sidewalk you can guess what it does to the surface of a concrete pool. In our opinion this makes the combination of salt systems and concrete pools unfavorable. Also, many vinyl liner pools are constructed with metal wall panels and most have aluminum coping around the perimeter of the pool....this is also a terrible scenario for a salt system. The liner will eventually leak and good-by wall panel! In comparison, fiberglass pools and salt systems go together like peanut butter and jelly. With no adverse effect on the fiberglass shell, you can enjoy the low maintenance benefits of salt with confidence that your pool is not compromised.
Low Lifetime Cost of Ownership
Check out the following chart to compare what the average pool owner would spend over a 10 year period with each type of pool:
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