Pros and Cons of a Fiberglass Swimming Pool

Popularity of fiberglass pools is continuing to grow in the US.

The decision to put in a backyard pool is an exciting one, but figuring out what kind of pool to invest in can be confusing. Is vinyl, fiberglass or concrete right for you? According to Sonco Pools, fiberglass is the fastest growing segment of the U.S. swimming pool industry. Fiberglass does offer many desirable options, but it also has a few drawbacks. 

The Pros

  • Want a pool right away? Fiberglass swimming pools are the quickest type to construct.
  • Fiberglass naturally resists algae growth and requires less maintenance and chemicals than other materials.
  • Fiberglass is the greenest option. Vinyl pools create waste when liners must be replaced and concrete/gunite swimming pools come with higher energy costs and chemical use.
  • The one-piece molded construction of fiberglass is durable and reduces the chance for damage. However, if damage does occur fiberglass can be repaired on-site.
  • Fiberglass does not corrode and is a suitable material for salt-purification systems.
  • Based on maintenance, energy use, repair or replacement, a fiberglass swimming pool offers the lowest overall cost of ownership.
  • Non-slip steps can be part of the molded shell, offering safety and convenience.
  • Fiberglass feels good underfoot. Unlike vinyl, wet fiberglass is smooth without being slick and there's no abrasive feel as with concrete. 

Fiberglass feels good underfoot.

The Cons

  • Customized fiberglass shells are extremely expensive. While a variety of sizes and shapes are available from most manufacturers, designing a swimming pool specifically for your site can cost upwards of $50,000.
  • Shipping a fiberglass shell is costly, especially if you live a long way from the manufacturer. Costs range from $6,000 to $10,000 or more. Very large pool shells, those over 14 ft. wide, require an escort vehicle (which increases cost) and those over 18 ft. wide may require a police escort.
  • Shipping is also difficult, damage during moving or installation in not uncommon. Consumers need to read the fine print on their contract and know which costs they're responsible for.
  • It's difficult for a consumer to discern poor quality fiberglass from high quality. Finding a reliable retailer is crucial.
  • Fiberglass may need to be refinished every 15 to 20 years in order to keep its shine.
  • Depth options are limited, typically 4- to 6-ft., and diving pools are almost impossible to get without paying for customization.

A fiberglass swimming pool may be the perfect choice if your site is a standard size and shape and if your budget allows for the high initial costs. The low maintenance requirements and low energy use are just two of the many benefits a fiberglass pool has to offer. No wonder the popularity of fiberglass is continuing to grow throughout the U.S.

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