Fiberglass pools are increasing in popularity due to their low maintenance features, longevity and visual aesthetics. As an Outer Banks builder, the vast majority of pools I’ve installed over the years have been concrete/gunite. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to install several fiberglass pools for clients, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.
Don’t get me wrong, those in our company are big fans of concrete pools. With no limitations to the size or depth and the flexibility in custom designs, these pools can result in a work of art. Yet, there remains a high cost of ownership over time which includes the expense to acid wash (every 3 to 5 years), resurface and retile (every 15 to 25 years) and the cost of chemicals and filtration for algae prevention. These expenses can result in the addition of a pool area not meeting many client’s budgets.
Concrete on the Outer Banks is a relatively expensive product so the decision to install a fiberglass pool in our area is often a more cost effective option. These shells can last decades and many come with a limited lifetime structure and surface warranty – just be sure to read the small print to understand the conditions.
Because concrete is porous it creates the ideal environment for algae growth. To prevent the growth and spread of these organisms requires regular scrubbings and the added cost of sanitizing chemicals. In comparison, fiberglass shells are covered with a nonporous gel coating that resists algae so fewer chemicals are required and (as a bonus) this coating is less likely to stain. In addition, the gel surface is smooth and nonabrasive which protects against hand and foot abrasions.
Fiberglass pools are prebuilt in a controlled factory environment. Homeowners cannot design a custom shape, instead they choose from a variety of sizes and shapes with steps and built-in seating already manufactured into the shell. Once selected, the pool shell is then trucked to the homesite for installation.
Whereas concrete pools can take weeks or months of onsite work to design and complete, a fiberglass pool can conveniently be installed in a matter of days. A hole is excavated, plumbing is installed, a base of sand is prepared and then the pool is lowered into place and leveled. To avoid bowing, the sand is then backfilled around the shell while the pool is simultaneously filled with water.
With many parents working full time jobs and shuttling children to extracurricular activities, time for home maintenance has become a more precious commodity. In addition, the construction of second homes being built for future retirement is increasing on the Outer Banks. Given both of these lifestyles, we’re seeing an increase in homeowners requesting easy care features like vinyl siding and railing, composite decking materials and low maintenance pools areas.
We purchase our fiberglass pools from a leading nationwide supplier that offers great design options in distinctive colors and patterns with corresponding mosaics and tiles. To personalize your pool design, clients can also add water features such as water cascades, tanning ledges, vanishing edges and more. The results are quite impressive, so when deciding which type of pool best suits your needs, be sure to ask us about fiberglass options too.