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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.