Fibreglass pools vs. concrete pools – A guide on how to decide which pool is right for you

Traditionally speaking, concrete pools seem to be the Australian standard for backyard pools. When it comes to in-ground pools, they represent a long-standing and durable option and are generally accepted as the norm. However, the growing popularity of fibreglass pools in recent decades has changed the game – for many households, fibreglass is simply the better option. From being more cost-effective to suiting the backyard landscape better, there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account when considering which type of pool is right for you. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between these two popular materials.

Customisation is likely not the first requirement that popped into your head, but it can indeed factor into what type of pool will best suit your needs. Although fibreglass pools are cast from pre-made moulds, there are many different options when it comes to shape and size, and customisation beyond the actual pool shape and size is also an option. The colour of the pool shell, surface finishes, pool lighting and so on can all be selected with your preferences in mind. While concrete pools can be a good option for those with unique and challenging backyard layouts, the array of different styles and designs with fibreglass moulds means you’re more than likely going to find something that suits your needs regardless.

Your capacity for pool maintenance is also something to consider. Although you will still need to regularly clean a fibreglass pool, there is far less effort and time involved when compared to its concrete counterpart. Due to the smooth and almost non-porous finish of fibreglass pools, there’s no algae to worry about cleaning because there’s nowhere for it to grow. Concrete pools however, being very porous, will require scrubbing with a steel brush at least weekly. The gel-coating unique to fibreglass pools is also something that won’t affect your pool’s pH balance, meaning you will very rarely need to mix in acids to balance your pool water. Concrete pools require hydrochloric acid to be added every day, due to concrete increasing the alkalinity of the water. Overall, the extra cleaning measures required for a concrete pool will necessitate a higher spend on not only chemicals, cleaning equipment and materials but also electrical energy – something to keep in mind when contemplating how much time and money you will be able to dedicate to the upkeep of your pool.

The third major factor that separates concrete pools from fibreglass pools is the installation or construction process. Although it’s not recommended, it is possible to self-install a fibreglass pool – this sees costs dip to around $12,000 – $30,000, however it is easy to install incorrectly and potentially cause trouble for pool owners down the track. This often ends up incurring more costs than saving them. Including professional installation, fibreglass pools tend to range between $35,000 to $85,000 depending on the size of the pool and a number of other things like the soil and accessibility to the backyard. By contrast, concrete pools tend to start at around $50,000 and can cost all the way up to $100,000 depending on your situation. This is due to the normally larger design of concrete pools and more extensive building requirements. Not to mention, of course, the enormous difference in installation times – where fibreglass pools can be installed in a matter of days, often resulting in pool owners having their pool ready to go within a week, concrete pools need to be built from scratch on-site. Rather than simply excavating, placing a pool shell in the ground and connecting up filtration and heating systems as you would with a fibreglass pool, the process for concrete pools takes three – sometimes even up to six – months.

When it comes to installing a pool, there is never a black-and-white answer to which type is better. All situations, backyard layouts, maintenance capabilities and cost capacities are unique, not to mention different tastes in appearance and design. All of these elements will work together to inform your decision and should be considered from multiple angles before making a definitive choice on whether a fibreglass pool or concrete pool is right for you.

How much do fibreglass pools cost? Are they more affordable?

It’s clear that fibreglass pools are a little different from your stock-standard concrete edition, but the difference in investment is where it gets really interesting. Considering all the benefits of fibreglass pools, it would be understandable to think that the cost associated with them would be less affordable – but it’s not necessarily quite that simple.

Pool costs are generally broken down into two categories; the first being set up costs, inclusive of the pool itself and installation, and the second being maintenance costs. These are recurring monthly fees that will need to be allocated for pool maintenance and cleaning and will generally go towards cleaning products, equipment and servicing where applicable. Fibreglass pools set up costs may be on par with (though often lower than) concrete or vinyl-lined pools, their maintenance costs are vastly cheaper, making them a more affordable option for most. Thanks to their glossy finish fewer chemicals are needed in order to clean them, and their virtually non-porous surface means there is nowhere for algae to grow. Consequently, their pool water needs less filtering as well – overall much simpler and cheaper to look after.

In terms of filtration, final costs will depend on the size of your pool, how much you use your pool and external environmental factors like weather, but you can expect to normally pay a rather affordable 50c/hr to run a pool filter pump and 7c/hr to run a chlorinator. Of course, the real cost with filtration is in the equipment itself; for a wall climbing pool cleaner, you may be looking at anywhere between $300 and $500. A 1.5Hp swimming pool pump will set you back roughly $500, and a self cleaning chlorinator between $600 and $800.

Not keen on the extra responsibility? Luckily, pool cleaning is a service you can book for anywhere around $70/month.

As mentioned, when it comes to setting up and installing a fibreglass pool they can often be even cheaper than their concrete counterpart. Costing roughly $10,000 for installation plus anywhere between $6,500 and $25,000 for the cost of the pool, fibreglass pools commonly come in as low as $25,000 (as opposed to concrete pools which generally start at $30,000).

Of course, there are a range of factors that will impact the final cost associated with your fibreglass pool, including not only the size and shape of your selected pool but also the backyard where it will be installed. The quality of the soil, accessibility to the space, the slope of the ground and how it will integrate with the rest of your backyard setting will all have some effect on the final cost. It’s important to ensure you are prepared to take on any ancillary costs as well; for example, pool permits can be quite expensive depending on your local council. This will vary depending on your location, so it’s recommended you check in with your local council beforehand to avoid any surprise fees. Waste disposal after the pool installation may also fall on you, so it’s important to be prepared for any costs involved in getting rid of things like extra soil, shipping materials or cut offs.

How about pool heating?

Again, this is not necessarily something you need to have for your pool, but many who look at installing pools will consider this as part of the package. Costs for heating vary greatly depending on your energy provider and the size of your pool, but for solar heating you may be looking at $200 per year which comes in as the cheapest option. Above that, electric heating can fall anywhere between $300 and $750 annually, and gas heating anywhere between $500 and $2,500 depending on the type of gas (natural or LPG).

Overall, there’s no simple answer to exactly how much a fibreglass pool will cost – as it will depend heavily on your unique desires and situation. The good news is that you can browse our Special Offers to see what the right package is for you, or even request a quote with us directly. We even have flexible payment plans available if you’re wanting to swim now and pay later.

Happy swimming!


How are fibreglass pools made?

As opposed to concrete pools, fibreglass pools arrive as ready-made shells that simply need to be installed into your backyard in order to use. How’s that for a plug-and-play solution? Shells are cast using moulds in accredited manufacturing facilities, and a number of materials and processes are used for their creation. So how exactly does it all work?

Our fibreglass pools are cast with six different layers, but before it comes to creating the pool shell, manufacturers begin with the ‘pattern’. Also referred to as the ‘plug’, this will simulate the original shape of the pool shell using wood, fibreglass, primer and body filler. Created to be a replica of the pool, it’s used for the creation of the mould and takes up to four months to complete. Think of it like a mould for the mould!

From there, the mould is created with a steel-frame interior and fibreglass. It’s generally made in a red-orange colour, so that when it’s used to create the pool shell, it stands out against the blue gelcoat and manufacturers can easily tell where the mould ends, and the pool shell starts. As opposed to the 3-4 months it takes to create the pattern, moulds only take around 3-4 weeks, and are manufactured with wheels on the bottom so they can be maneuverered around the space easily.

Last but not least comes the actual pool shell itself! This step interestingly only accounts for a very small part of the manufacturing process. Taking only 1-2 days to complete, the pool is built on top of the mould and then released, ready for use.

Summertime Pools are built using a layering system of 6 different materials, beginning with white high resin and fibreglass. It creates a hardened exterior barrier and locks all of the proceeding layers and laminations together, ensuring strength, colour and manufacturing solidity in the pool shell. Next up is the foam core supports, which create stiffness and structural integrity for a lifetime guarantee. A layer of white resin and fibreglass follows again to enhance this structural integrity, before a vinyl ester and fibreglass layer is laid down. This provides a protective barrier that prevents the growth of bacteria in the pool, ensuring a safe and hygienic environment. The second to last layer is where it gets a little more fun – the marine grade colour gel coat, where you can choose the colour of your pool. Will you look for a deep sea blue or something a little more neutral and warm? The final layer is the colour shield clear gel coat, which is the pool shell’s first line of defence for durability. The gel coat is marine grade, meaning it offers unsurpassed UV protection to stop any chance of colour fade – also part of our lifetime protection guarantee!

After the pool shell has been built, separating it from the mould is a careful process. The mould is wheeled out of the building, and using straps, the shell is gently pulled out from the mould. The first pool shell pulled out of a new mould can sometimes get stuck, but with a team of experienced builders, the process can be smooth and easy. The mould is then ready to be wheeled back into the building, ready to create more pool shells!