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Fiberglass vs. Concrete Pools: Pros and Cons

On Feb 13, 2017

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Fiberglass swimming pools and hot tub spas have many advantages in Florida. These pools can be set entirely in the ground or with about 18" of the pool's rim above the ground. This works well in areas with a high water table.

Specifications and Installation

A fiberglass pool is a one-piece molded unit that is transported to your home and placed into a prepared hole.

  • Maximum size is 16 x 40 feet
  • Maximum depth is eight feet
  • Pools are available in various sizes and shapes

Fiberglass pools are molded in shapes from round to freeform but they cannot be tailored to fit the yard. The yard must be large enough to accommodate the pool. They are transported by truck and must meet transportation size regulations.

Fiberglass pools are the easiest to maintain, according to the many manufacturers. They have a gel coat that is usually blue and very rugged. Different colors are also available including yellow, green and red. A black or dark blue gel coat may be ordered to complement a landscape. The darker colors absorb and hold in heat.

It is difficult to damage the surface and they rarely crack. They are not affected by ground vibrations. The most important part of the installation is the backfill once the pool is in place. The ground should be a mixture of sand and dirt with good drainage. The pool must be filled immediately and remain full to the recommended waterline. An empty pool can buckle if the ground is wet and too much pressure is exerted on the pool's sides.

Railings and special decking may be attached to fiberglass pools. Covers are available for all sizes of pools and highly recommended for protection. Covers will control evaporation and chemicals are required less frequently.

Fiberglass hot tubs can be installed in ground or stand alone above ground. Some larger fiberglass swimming pools can also be installed above ground if they are supported by a wall or hillside. Well-maintained fiberglass pools will last for more than 20 years although the gel coat may need repainting.

Concrete and Gunite Pools

Traditional swimming pools are made from concrete or gunite, a mixture of concrete with sand and water applied through a high-pressure hose. The pool material is applied to a rebar frame that will take the mixture and hold it in place. A plaster coating is added to the pool's interior surface to keep it smooth and watertight.

Decorative tile can be placed anywhere on the surface leading to many beautiful and original designs. Tiles are often placed around the waterline. Gunite pools can be made in any shape, size, and depth. Most freeform pools in unusual shapes are gunite. Diving pools and Olympic size pools are usually gunite. Resorts also use this type of pool, often with swim-up bars and landscaped islands in the designs.

This is the most expensive pool to install but it can last for decades with proper maintenance. Many gunite pools have hot tubs attached.

Checking for Pool Leaks

Gunite pools can get cracks in the plaster surface that must be repaired immediately. Fiberglass pool surfaces are not likely to crack and leak unless they are struck with a heavy object. Fittings must be tight and checked frequently in most pools.

Contact us at Aquaman Leak Detection if you suspect a leak anywhere in your fiberglass or gunite pool. We will repair the problem immediately. Aquaman serves Brevard County and 10 neighboring counties in Central Florida coast-to-coast, as well as Houston, Texas.

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