Most fiberglass pools are known to last 25-30 years, but we take that to the next level. Our manufacturer, Narellan Pools, makes the best fiberglass pools around. Their unique fiberglass formula results in a pool that can last as long as 50 years! Plus, these pools are notoriously easy to maintain.
The cons associated with fiberglass pools are primarily related to cost and installation issues. Contrary to popular belief, fiberglass pools aren't cheaper than traditional options like concrete (we'll provide more details in the “Costs” section later on).
Fiberglass pools are extremely easy to maintain, can be installed quickly, are very durable, and can be beautifully designed. However, their initial cost can be higher than vinyl liner pools, and the shapes and sizes are not as customizable.
Fiberglass pools can craze or check crack from imprecise manufacturing or when the surface is not fully supported, like under the steps or areas where the backfill is eroded. Gelcoat can also crack during transport and installation if it gets bumped around too much.
Gunite. Gunite pools are among the longest-lasting pools on the market. When gunite pools are properly installed they could potentially last 100+ years. They are extremely durable and totally customizable.
Concrete pools tend to be the strongest of all the inground swimming pools. Since they are rebar and concrete they can't oxidize or corrode. Like every other form of concrete, they get stronger as time passes. They are at the upper echelon of price points and have a higher end product reputation.
While they are easier to install, fiberglass pools are nowhere near as durable as a gunite inground pool. The inside surface of this type pool is a gel coat on which the fiberglass has been laminated. The walls of the pool are only ½ to ⅜ inch thick compared to the 8 to 10 inch thickness of a gunite pool.
Big disclaimer: only authorized fiberglass pool professionals should drain a pool. Never drain a pool without professional assistance. For most (if not all) pool manufacturers, an authorized dealer must drain the pool, or you may void your warranty.
A Common Gripe About Fiberglass Pools
One of the biggest gripes that we see have to do with the slippery surface of a fiberglass pool. The fact is, this material can be so slick that pool users can actually slip and fall. This can be a real problem for pool steps, where a slip-and-fall accident can be dangerous.
Premature or uneven fading of the gelcoat surface of fiberglass pools is almost always due to improper care of the pool's water chemistry. This is especially true with salt water pools, as the chlorine generator often produces far more chlorine than needed.
Some of the most common include that this pool type floats or pops up, that they look cheap, that they only work in warm climates, that they are are lot more expensive than vinyl liner pools, and that they cannot be customized. Unfortunately, many people shy away from fiberglass pools because they believe these myths.
Luckily, heating is not only an option for fiberglass pools, it's actually a wonderful idea for them. Fiberglass pools are both the easiest type of pool to heat and the least expensive.
Fiberglass swimming pools are very compatible with salt water systems. If you are using a vinyl liner pool, you must be careful as those pools tend to have metal parts or connections which salt will eat through and corrode.
A Pool That Lasts a Lifetime
Most fiberglass pools are known to last 25-30 years, but we take that to the next level.
Fiberglass pools are durable
Both the structure and the surface of a high-quality fiberglass pool can last as long as you want them to, provided you take good care of it. A well-made fiberglass pool can last at least 50 years, with less maintenance required to keep it useful and enjoyable decade after decade.
Fiberglass pools tend to be the least problematic in freezing conditions. This is because the materials used in the surface and structure of the pool are flexible and can withstand both high and low temperatures.
Fiberglass pools that are 27' to 35' long have depths which range from 3 ½' to 6 ½'. Fiberglass pools that are 35' to 40'+ long the depths can go anywhere from 3 ½' to 8' deep.
Because we do have to haul the swimming pool to your home, fiberglass pools are usually no wider than 16 feet. Any larger than this, and we would go beyond the oversize load limit, which would make it much harder to deliver the pool. Most fiberglass pools are also no longer than about 40 feet for similar reasons.
Close the pool for winter – but don't drain it.
In winter, the water in your pool is still your friend. Especially when properly winterized, it helps to protect the pool liner, keep it clean and prevent unnecessary damage from debris, harsh weather and other factors.
While there are many myths about fiberglass pools, the one thing you should NEVER EVER do is DRAIN your fiberglass pool without professional help. Let me say that again, NEVER drain your fiberglass pool for any reason. In fact, we recommend NEVER letting the water level drop more than 2-3 inches below the skimmer!
Time and Money. Since fiberglass pools are often much smaller than gunite pools, they are usually much less expensive to have installed and require much less time.
Range of sizes – fiberglass pool sizes can be built as small as 10×16 – 4ft and as large as 16×40. Lower cost – depending on your preference for shape and size, fiberglass pools inclusive of equipment can range from $55k-$70k. This is often a lower cost option compared with a custom gunite pool.
A poorly built Gunite pool certainly has the potential to crack. But a properly built Gunite pool can and should last for 100 years or more, with no risk of cracking whatsoever.