You’ve decided to take the plunge and go ahead with your dream of installing an in-ground pool for the enjoyment of all your family. Now there are many decisions to make, firstly whether a concrete or fibreglass pool would best suit your requirements. So let’s take a look at the different reasons one option might suit your particular needs better than the other.
Why choose a fibreglass pool?
Quick installation: if ease and speed of installation is important to you, then fibreglass is the best option. Fibreglass pools are manufactured in a factory and delivered to your site readymade once your excavation is completed. Installation can take as little as one week to complete with a fibreglass pool, whereas concrete pools can take many weeks, and even months, to complete.
Visually appealing surface with no need for tiling: a quality fibreglass pool will have a visually appealing underwater surface that looks stunning as is, with no need for the further time and expense of tiling or pebblecreting.
Easy maintenance: a quality fibreglass pool will have a smooth gelcoat surface that repels algae by making it harder for it to establish and grow, making fibreglass pools easier and less expensive to clean and healthier for your family as fewer chemicals are necessary. Less time on pool cleaning also allows more time to enjoy your new pool.
Minimal ongoing care: concrete and vinyl liner pools require repainting or resurfacing periodically over their lifetime, while fibreglass pools rarely require such upkeep. Simply following the manufacturer’s instructions on basic care should keep your fibreglass pool in great condition.
Warmer water: pool owners who have experience of using both concrete and fibreglass pools report that fibreglass pools are generally warmer, heating up faster than concrete and retaining the warmth for longer periods. To see what other Australian pool owners have to say on this topic, visit this forum here.
Strength and reliability: fibreglass is both super-strong and flexible as a building material. Compass Pools offer lengthy warranties to back up the reliability of their products, and offer added strength, durability and chemical resistance with its own patented ceramic composite technology.
Are there any drawbacks to a fibreglass pool?
Design limitations: fibreglass pools are manufactured in a factory, rather than made onsite, so you can only choose from a range of predetermined shapes that are limited further by width requirements so they are transportable by road. Compass Pools, for example, supply pools up to 4.2 metres wide. However, 95 per cent of the time you will find that manufacturers have a large range of shapes and sizes you can order and it’s generally easy to find a pool to suit your site requirements. Many Compass dealers offer customisation services, so you can include extras such as a swim-out, beach entry or lounge area in your pool design.
Why choose a concrete pool?
Design flexibility: the biggest benefit of building a concrete pool is the ability to create any shape or design you desire as they are made onsite to your design specifications.
Aesthetic considerations: as with design and shape, a concrete pool gives wider opportunities for creating a truly unique pool, with a range of surface finishes to choose from including pebble and tiles. With a concrete pool, if you have a sufficient budget, the end result can be customised to suit your preferences and achieve a unique result.
Strength: from a structural point of view, concrete pools have strength and durability that endures. This is attested to by existing concrete pools that have been in use for many decades.
What are the drawbacks of a concrete pool?
Length of build time: onsite construction of a concrete pool can take several months, opposed to several weeks or less for a fibreglass pool, meaning a longer period of machinery noise, workers on site and disruption.
Cost: concrete pools are invariably more expensive than fibreglass options as more complex designs and onsite delays can create cost overruns.
Rough surfaces underfoot: a common dislike of concrete pools is that they can be tough on bare feet and cause grazes and scrapes, especially if the kids enjoy a bit of rough and tumble when playing in the pool.
Higher daily maintenance costs: as a surface, concrete can be porous and absorb water, making it an ideal breeding surface for algae and bacteria. Concrete pools typically take up a great deal more time and money than fibreglass pools in order to keep them healthy and safe to swim in.
Danger of black algae: without vigilant regular maintenance, the porous concrete surface can develop black algae colonies, which are almost impossible to eradicate once established.
More expensive on-going upkeep: concrete pools require greater ongoing care and maintenance than fibreglass pools, generally requiring repainting or resurfacing at least once every 10 to 15 years.
Are all fibreglass pools equal?
In short, they are not. Leading Australian fibreglass pool manufacturers offer reliable and long-lasting products, and in addition, Compass Pools offer significant differences that make them stand out. One such exclusive advantage offered by Compass is the use of Ceramic Composite Technology (CCT), developed and patented in the mid-1990s.
With CCT, super-strength ceramic spheres are mixed into vinyl-ester resin then applied to create a core in the pool’s shell that is super strong and chemical resistant. This core ensures better coping with ground movement, changing soil conditions and the kind of severe weather events that can affect groundwater pressure. CCT is used by Compass Pools Australia in every pool shell supplied throughout its entire dealer network and similar technology is also available in fibreglass pools manufactured by Aqua Technics (Western Australia only) and by Viking Pools (Northern Territory only).
Now it’s up to you to decide!
Looking at the pros and cons, it’s evident that fibreglass pools have many advantages and offer strength, durability and aesthetic appeal while being easier to install and more cost effective to care for than concrete pools. On the other hand, if budget is no object and you are after a unique shape and design, then concrete is the right choice for you. We also have another pool advice article for you to learn more about the factors affecting the pool cost.