Fiberglass Pools 101

Ashton Pools enthusiastically embraces the construction of in-ground fiberglass swimming pools. After years of building custom vinyl liner pools, we noticed that many of our customers wanted to incorporate expensive features such as benches, ledges, stairs, and swim outs into their pool design. What we love is that these are all standard items on fiberglass pools, and this is what initially drove us to make these feature-rich swimming pools our primary choice for installation.

Fiberglass vs. Other Pool Types

You are probably aware by now that there are three main types of in-ground swimming pool constructions: steel with a vinyl lining, fiberglass, and concrete. There are specific advantages and disadvantages with each type of construction. Though we strongly believe that there are more advantages to installing a fiberglass swimming pool, there are certain circumstances where a vinyl lined or concrete pool may be a better fit.

We have prepared a chart to give you a quick overview of the relative advantages of each type of pool, where one check mark means relative disadvantage and five check marks means relative advantage:

Feature Matrix.xlsx

Low Maintenance

Fiberglass pools are easy to maintain because they have a non-porous surface. This prevents algae from embedding itself in the pool wall, virtually eliminating the need to brush the walls and reducing the amount of chemical treatment required by as much as 75% compared to a concrete pool.

Speed of Installation
Fiberglass swimming pools are manufactured off-site in a climate controlled factory where the process cannot be affected by rain, wind, mud, or flood. That means that your quality inspected pool shell can arrive on site and be installed in about two days. A concrete pool can take anywhere from three to six months to construct, making for a much longer time for your backyard to be in disarray.
Durability
Fiberglass pools have a hard, durable surface that cannot be punctured by animals, tree branches or patio furniture. In comparison, replacing a vinyl liner can cost $4,000 to $5,000 on average every 10 years and resurfacing a concrete pool can be even more expensive.
Compatibility with Salt Systems
Salt water chlorine generators have become popular as a low maintenance, high water quality option for many pool owners. However, most of us know what happens when metal is exposed to salt. Once a vinyl liner starts to leak and salty pool water gets behind your liner, your steel wall panels can be at risk. In a similar way, salt will react with concrete pool surfaces, similar to the way de-icing salt seems to eat at your sidewalk a little more every year.

In comparison, fiberglass is not affected by salt water – think of the offshore racing boats that pound over the ocean – thus allowing you to enjoy the low maintenance benefits of salt water without any concern for the long term performance of your pool surface.

Low Cost of Ownership
Fiberglass pools not only offer more standard built-in features up front, they also offer a very low long-term cost of ownership. Consider the costs of ownership of the three different types of pools over a ten year period:Cost of Ownership.xlsx
Initial Cost to Install
There are mixed perceptions about the price of fiberglass pools in comparison to other types of pool installations. Some people may suggest that a fiberglass pool is more expensive than a similarly sized vinyl liner pool, while we would contend that they are not comparing apples to apples. The basic price, size to size, can be higher for a fiberglass pool, but when you consider the built-in features, a fiberglass swimming pool offers much better value than a typical vinyl liner pool. When you factor in lifetime costs of pool ownership, a liner pool is a lot more expensive than a fiberglass pool. Concrete pools, which cost more to install initially than any other type of pool, also have a high ownership cost due to necessary resurfacing that usually requires the expertise of a professional.
Fixed Shapes and Sizes
We consider this to be the only real disadvantage to a fiberglass pool. You cannot customize the shape or size of a fiberglass pool and you cannot change the location of the stairs, benches or ledges. While this can be an initial objection, we have found that 98% of people like one or more of the dozens of shapes that we offer in fiberglass swimming pools.

The 2%  of people that need something bigger, deeper, longer, wider, or just different need to look at the vinyl lined or concrete alternative. We’re sure that you will agree that for a vast majority, a fiberglass swimming pool is the best option available today.