What is a Fiberglass Pool?
A fiberglass pool shell is factory molded structure made entirely of fiberglass. Fiberglass pools can be constructed out of various fiberglass materials melded together. The pool shell typically ends up being around ⅜ inches thick compared to vinyl pools which are normally 4 inches thick and gunite pools which are typically 5-6 inches thick including the rebar.
Wait a sec, you may be thinking – if they are less thick, doesn’t that mean they are less durable? No, fiberglass is actually an ultra durable material. There are fiberglass pools that were installed in the 1960’s that are still in working operation today!
Reinforced Fiberglass Pool Shells
Many fiberglass pool shells are reinforced with steel these days for added structural support. When buying a fiberglass shell or hiring a pool contractor that specializes in fiberglass pools, ask if your shell is reinforced with steel. You want a premium model fiberglass shell with reinforced steel bars.
Homeowners Love The Ultra Smooth Finish of Fiberglass Pools
One of the most popular features that fiberglass pools offer is the ultra smooth interior finish. This is achieved through a gel coating smooth finish that is applied in the factory.
Many fiberglass pool shells are constructed using a vinyl ester resin or polyester resin which adheres to the pool shell for added structural integrity.
Before it is delivered the pool shell will be factory checked for quality assurance.
How Are Fiberglass Pools Built
- Gelcoat sprayed onto the pool mold.
- Chopped fiberglass is applied with vinyl ester / polyester resin.
- Woven roving applied at stress points for added structural integrity.
- Additional support materials applied to pool walls.
- Final layer of fiberglass applied with polyester resin.
- Fiberglass pool in mold allowed to cure.
- Pool shell removed from mold.
- Excess fiberglass trimmed away.
- Quality assurance check performed.
How Are Fiberglass Pools Installed?
Your pool contractor will still have to submit plans and permits to a housing association (if applicable) as well as your local city building permit office. Once the plan and permit are approved excavation can begin.
Your pool contractor will plot out the excavation area in spray paint and then excavate the soil, rocks and remove the dirt from the pool area where the fiberglass pool will go.
A fiberglass pool shell may travel by truck across the country to be delivered to the homeowners residence. On delivery day a pool contractor will schedule a crane to lift the pool shell over the excavation area.
Workers will manually hand fit the shell into the hole. The pool is then set and leveled. After plumbing has been run and connected to the pool equipment that will run the pool, it’s normally back filled. Tile and coping can come next and then the pool is filled and should be ready to swim after being properly treated.
Advantages of Fiberglass Pools
- Quick installation – usually less than 3 weeks
- Highly Durable
- Low maintenance
- Visually appealing
- Ultra smooth satin finish
Disadvantages of Fiberglass Pools
- Transport costs and crane rental fees may be expensive
- Roughly $10,000-$15,000 more than a vinyl liner pool.
- Limited options to shapes and sizes
How Much Do Fiberglass Pools Cost?
In estimating the cost for a fiberglass pool your actual costs per linear foot will be roughly $1,000 – $1,500. A standard size pool is roughly 13’ x 27′. Multiply that by the $1,000-$1,500 per linear foot and you have a ballpark range of $27,000-$40,500 for a basic installation.
Manufacturers of Fiberglass Pool Shells
Things To Ask A Pool Contractor If You’re Considering a Fiberglass Pool
Fiberglass pools are not like gunite pools and vinyl liner pools. They require a specific skillset. Many times pool contractors specialize in a particular pool type for a reason. The experience and trade skills necessary to specialize in a particular pool type take years to develop. It’s important to ask your pool contractor the right questions before hiring a builder to install your fiberglass pool. Ask your pool contractor how they dealt with any of the following issues:
- Soil settlement or shifting of the pool shell
- Leaks in plumbing lines and around jets and other pool fittings
- Separation between the pool and patio
- Bulges in the side walls of the pool