Fibreglass Pools

If you are considering the installation of a self-built outdoor swimming pool you may be uncertain as to which type of pool will provide you with the best value for money. The over-hyped marketing claims of the pool installation contractors just adds to the confusion.

Fibreglass can provide a cheap option but it may not be the best solution.

Does a Fibreglass pool really provide the best value for money?

Why ICF "Polybloks" could be a better choice for your pool.

I. Premium Quality Fibreglass Pools

The best ceramic and fibreglass pools available have a 15 year guarantee on the life of the pool shell and 7 years against osmosis. They should also have a gel-coat that is designed to resist the UV radiation that will eventually destroy all fibre-glass pools.

If you are going to buy a fibreglass pool, make sure that the supplier is a company with substantial presence in the UK and a balance sheet that will support it's activities so that you can get compensation if things go wrong. Check here on the UK company register.

When things go wrong with a fibreglass pool project - they can easily go badly wrong. A new pool shell will be required if any part of it is overloaded during the complex transport and installation process. You should also make sure that any guarantee explicitly states that it covers all labour and other costs involved in disposing of the damaged pool and installation of the replacement. These can easily amount to far more thn the cost of a new pool shell.

A so-called ceramic pool is a fibreglass pool with an inner core of a ceramic composite material - some manufacturers claim that it is a carbon fibre composite - it is certainly not the same as the carbon fibre used in Formual 1 cars!

It is also far from clear exactly how the ceramic core is supposed to benefit the buyer or user of a fibreglass pool and this leads to the conclusion that it is probably just a marketing gimmick.

Poor quality fibreglass pools can be covered in black spots where the gel coat has failed with a few years after installation. Because of this they are rarely used for indoor pools because the high capital cost of the pool hall and equipment justifies the installation of a long lasting concrete pool tank.

Because of the potentially short life of a fibre-glass pool they can have a negative effect on the value of any property where they have been installed. This problem is exacerbated if the pool has been surrounded by concrete to stop it from floating - the removal of 20 or 30 tons of concrete can be very expensive!

II. Fibreglass Pools Unsuitable for Self-Build

The cost of manufacture, transport and installation of premium quality fibreglass pools results in a situation where they can cost as much as a vinyl liner pool built in Polybloks.

There is a also significant risk of structural damage during transport and installation because fibreglass pools are not easy to install.

When the pool shell arrives on site, the skimmers, submerged LED lights, water inlets, floor outlets and vacuum point all need to be carefully fitted to holes that need to be cut through the pool shell. After these and the connecting pipework have been installed the whole pool needs to be dropped into the excavation and a concrete ring beam constructed around it.

If the shell is placed over the pool for this operation it will allow the fibreglass pool to be lowered down onto the gravel base in the excavated pit without the use of a crane. But it will need to be chocked up with timber framing / blocks. This is a difficult and dangerous task but if the pool shell is fitted with pool wall equipment alongside the excavation, another crane will be needed to move it. Access for craneage like this is often difficult / impossible and always costly.

The risks involved, the skill and experience required to manage the installation results in fibreglass pool installation being entirely unsuitable for a self-builder.

It is also impossible to renovate the surface of the gel coat of a fibreglass pool to any state that remotely resembles the beautiful shiny surface that it will have when brand new. And vinyl liners that can easily be renewed in a Polyblok pool (See below) cannot be fitted to a fibreglass pool shell because the top of the pool shell is not strong enough to carry the load imposed by the liner anchor strips .

III. What is the alternative?

Bluepools exclusively use Polybloks to build their pools. These are ICF high density concrete formers and are used to construct massively strong and highly insulated reinforced concrete pool walls.

Every other type of pool tank provides very poor value for money when compared with a Polyblok pool that has been waterproofed with a vinyl liner.

Find out more about Polybloks and why Bluepools will only use these in the construction of pools.

ICF Pool Construction