In recent times, the majority of homeowners (roughly 65 – 70%) across Australia have invested in fibreglass pools. However, the popularity of fibreglass pools is a recent trend. When fibreglass pools first emerged back in the 1950s, concrete was the most popular material for building swimming pools. So, what changed?
The answer lies in the advancements in fibreglass technology that have led to the development of long-lasting swimming pools. But how long do fibreglass pools exactly last? How do other pool materials compare to fibreglass in terms of longevity? To know the answers to these questions, read on.
Understanding concrete pools
Before fibreglass pools started to dominate the Australian swimming pool market, concrete was the undisputed champion in terms of pool material popularity. Concrete is a strong and durable swimming pool material, and a well-built concrete pool can last up to three decades with proper care and maintenance.
However, there’s a reason why the popularity of concrete pools has declined over the years – their interior surfaces. Concrete pool interiors comprise porous aggregate, which makes it prone to algae and bacteria build-up. So, keeping concrete pools clean requires substantial time, effort, and money.
Also, concrete pool interiors require resurfacing after ten years, which further adds to maintenance costs. Another drawback of concrete pools is that they need a lot of energy and time to get heated up, which can be annoying during the winter months.
Understanding vinyl liner pools
In terms of affordability, there’s no type of swimming pool that’s cheaper than vinyl liner pools. However, while their affordability is definitely tempting for prospective swimming pool buyers on a strict budget, their biggest drawback is their durability.
If you invest in a vinyl liner pool, you need to shell out a few thousand dollars every decade for replacing the pool’s vinyl lining. Quite simply, if you add up the costs over time, it amounts to a lot of money.
Vinyl liner pools are also prone to splits and tears, which may compound the maintenance costs further. So, unless your budget for a new swimming pool is shoestring, we recommend against investing in a vinyl liner pool.
Understanding fibreglass pools
Fibreglass pools are more expensive than vinyl pools but less expensive than concrete pools. They have numerous pros to offer and have only one major drawback, so let’s get the latter out of the way first. In terms of size, fibreglass pools are limited as they are created from pre-designed factory-made moulds. So, you can’t do much to customize a fibreglass pool.
However, the pros should be more than enough to compensate for the drawback. For starters, fibreglass pools take 3 – 6 weeks to install, making it the pool type with the quickest installation time in the market right now. Then there’s the durability, which is top-notch due to the thickness of fibreglass.
You can also expect low maintenance costs when you own a fibreglass pool. Due to their non-porous interior surface, the algae and bacteria build-up is minimal, which helps cut down on chemical expenses. They’re also heated significantly faster than concrete pools, which is great news for those who want something sustainable and energy-efficient. If cared for properly, a fibreglass pool can last more than 30 years, which makes for a longer period compared to all other pool types.
Factors that can affect your fibreglass pool's lifespan
While fibreglass pools are generally longer-lasting than concrete and vinyl liner pools, you shouldn’t take their lifespans for granted. If you want your fibreglass pool to give you an entire lifetime of satisfaction, you’ve got to keep the following factors in mind:
How the pool is installed: Proper installation can make a lot of difference to how long a fibreglass pool lasts. For some homeowners, the priority might be to save money on the installation, but this is something we don’t recommend. Cutting corners during the installation may result in levelling issues and bulging walls. These issues may cause further problems down the line and result in major repair expenses. That’s why you should only trust reputed and most importantly, licensed fibreglass pool builders to install your pool. It may cost you more money in the short term, but it’ll save you way more in the long run.
The pool shell quality: Reputed fibreglass pool builders put a lot of thought, time, and effort into ensuring that the quality of the pool shell is top-notch. However, due to the ever-increasing demand for fibreglass pools, a lot of inexperienced builders are trying to cash in on their popularity. These builders often offer their pools at a fraction of the cost offered by reputed builders. On the surface, their offers definitely seem lucrative. However, it would be a mistake to judge a fibreglass pool only by its price. What you actually need to check for is the warranty on offer. Typically, inexperienced and opportunistic builders don’t offer any warranties on their pools, while reputed builders do. Without a warranty and an inferior pool shell, you’re bound to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Maintenance: In the previous section, we mentioned how fibreglass pools are low-maintenance compared to concrete and vinyl liner pools. However, low maintenance doesn’t translate to no maintenance. Also, you’ve got to be careful on the chemical use front. Quite simply, it would be a huge mistake for you to think that adding a lot of chemicals will keep your pool water clean. For starters, it could jeopardize your health along with the health of your family members. Additionally, it can damage the pool’s interior surface. So, if you don’t have any idea as to how many chemicals you should use, consult a pool maintenance professional.
All in all, it’s safe to say that a fibreglass pool will last you a long time if you take care of it and get it made and installed by builders of repute.