If you are investigating the idea of an in-ground pool, you will find that some pool builders offer you a choice of either concrete or fibreglass. Figuring out what type of pool is going to suit your needs best might seem like a daunting decision at first. In this article we’ll take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both options to help you in your decision making.
What are the benefits of a fibreglass pool?
- They are quick to install: One great thing about fibreglass pools is that most of the work is done in the factory before your pool arrives on site. A standard installation can typically be completed in a week or two, whereas concrete pools will typically take several weeks, if not months to complete.
- Fibreglass pools have a visually appealing surface: Some fibreglass pool manufacturers (including Compass Pools) have invested a great deal of time and resources into creating stunning pool surfaces that truly enhance the over-all look of the pool.
- They are easy to look after: The smooth gelcoat surface on a fibreglass pool makes it much easier to control against algae and bacteria growth. Because of this, fibreglass pools are easier and generally less expensive to keep clean and healthy (less work and fewer chemicals).
- They require very little ongoing care: Unlike some pool surface finishes, high quality fibreglass pools should not need resurfacing during their lifetime. In most cases, all that is required is basic care in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines to keep in good condition.
- Fibreglass pools seem warmer: Many existing pool owners who have owned both types of pools report that fibreglass pools are warmer. Check out online forums where multiple Australian-based users state that their fibreglass pools heat up faster than concrete and retain heat for longer.
- Fibreglass is an incredibly durable building material: These days most fibreglass pool manufacturers make a reliable product and offer lengthy warranties to back them up. Fibreglass is a super-tough material which means that quality-manufactured fibreglass pools get the benefit of being both strong and flexible at the same time. Compass Pools offer added strength, durability and chemical resistance with its patented ceramic composite technology (more on this in the final section of this article).
What are the downfalls of a fibreglass pool?
- Shape/size limitations: Because fibreglass pools are made on a factory mould rather than onsite, you can only choose from the pre-determined shapes that the various manufacturers provide. The sizes and shapes are further limited (particularly in width) by the fact that they need to be transported by road. The widest pool supplied by Compass Pools for example is 4.2m in width. Most manufacturers have a pretty diverse range of shapes and sizes available and the majority of the time you can easily find what you’re looking for. Many Compass dealers also offer a unique customisation service allowing additional swim-outs, beach entries and lounge areas to be built into the pool design.
What are the benefits of a concrete pool?
- Flexibility with design: The one obvious benefit is that you can build a concrete pool to match any shape or design you have dreamed of. And because concrete pools are made on-site, your pool builder can adjust your design exactly to suit your site.
- Aesthetics: New concrete pools tend to look very appealing, and there are a range of surface finishes available from pebble to tile, depending on your preferences and budget.
- Strong: It’s fair to say that concrete pools have been around a long time and that from a structural point of view they are reliable and strong.
What are the downfalls of a concrete pool?
- They can take a lot longer to build: It can take several months of onsite work to complete the construction of your concrete pool, whereas other options can be finished in a few weeks or less.
- Concrete options can be more costly to build: Concrete pools can quickly become complex in design and it does not take long for costs to grow.
- Many popular surface finishes are rough under foot: One common complaint of concrete pools is that they can be rough on bare feet and can cause grazes and scrapes – especially for kids who like to rough and tumble in the pool.
- They can cost more to run on a daily basis: Concrete surfaces are often porous, allowing them to absorb water and become the ideal breeding ground for algae and bacteria to grow. Owners of these concrete pools typically spend more time and money keeping their pools healthy and safe to swim in.
- Concrete pools are generally more susceptible to black algae: Where black algae has attached itself to pores in the pool surface, it can prove very difficult to completely eradicate.
- They can require expensive up-keep over the long term: Concrete pools require ongoing care and maintenance and in some cases will need to be reconditioned after fifteen years or so, depending on the type of surface finish used.
Are all fibreglass pools the same?
The short answer is no. Most manufacturers in Australia make reliable and long-lasting products but a few have significant differences which make them stand out from the rest. One such difference is the use of ceramic composite technology. This innovative technology was first developed and patented by Compass Pools in the mid 90’s and is used in all its pools supplied across the Compass dealer network. Similar technology has also been used by Aqua Technics (in Western Australia only) and Viking Pools (in the Northern Territory only).
Compass Pools pioneered ceramic composite technology by mixing super-strong ceramic micro-spheres into vinyl-ester resin and then applying this mixture to create a super-tough and chemically resistant core in the pool shell. This core gives the Compass pool even greater durability, making it ideally suited to cope with the full range of soil conditions (which can affect seasonal ground movement) and severe weather events (which can affect groundwater pressure).
Which is better – you decide!
When you compare the list of pros and cons of concrete and fibreglass pools, it’s not surprising to discover that more than half of all in-ground pools installed in Australia today are fibreglass pools, which represents a significant increase in market share over the last 30 years. Modern fibreglass pools offer an amazing range of shapes and sizes, durability, good looks and can be easier and more cost effective to look after (over the long term) than concrete pools. Compass fibreglass ceramic pools also come with industry-leading warranty protection and the option of the exclusive Vantage in-floor system. Concrete pools on the other hand, tend to give you more flexibility when it comes to design and can include premium tile finishes where the budget allows. Some concrete pool builders also offer in-floor cleaning and circulation systems.