Having your own swimming pool is a great investment and a wonderful way to relax and exercise. But which type of pool is right for you? Before you make your purchase decision, it’s important to look at the different options available so you can make an informed choice.
Here we look at the most common materials swimming pools are made from, and the advantages and disadvantages of each, to help you choose.
What are the most common swimming pool materials?
There are three materials commonly used to construct backyard pools in Australia. The most popular types of pool are:
- Fibreglass pools
- Concrete pools
- Vinyl-liner pools
Vinyl-liner swimming pools are less common than the other two, as it tends to be a less durable material which doesn’t stand the test of time. As your pool is a major investment, it needs to be built to last.
Fibreglass and concrete swimming pools both have the advantages of strength and durability – but they have very different benefits and drawbacks from each other. Here’s a handy concrete vs fibreglass pools comparison guide to help you decide which of the two is the right choice for you.
Design and aesthetics
The main advantage of a concrete pool is its design flexibility. Concrete is practically limitless as a pool construction material – you can easily design a custom concrete pool in any shape and style, totally unique to your backyard. This gives you a great opportunity to use your imagination and truly stamp your own personality onto your property.
Additionally, you have more control over the finished aesthetics of a concrete pool, as there are a variety of surfacing options to choose from, including tile and pebble.
In contrast, fibreglass swimming pools are pre-made in factories. They are designed to be convenient, off-the-shelf solutions rather than custom projects built on-site, so they come in a range of shapes and sizes for you to choose from.
These days, fibreglass pool ranges are extensive, and you do have some control over the appearance of your pool, such as being able to choose the colour and include optional extras for customisation. It is generally easy to find a fibreglass pool that fits well in your yard and suits your tastes.
Ease of installation
When it comes to the installation process, fibreglass pools have a clear advantage, as they require far less construction work. Depending on the shape and condition of your yard, and your choice of pool, a fibreglass pool can be installed and ready to use in as little as one week.
As concrete pools have to be constructed from scratch on-site, rather than being factory constructed like fibreglass pools, they take a lot longer to build. You may have to have workers on your property for several months, which causes a lot of disruption and noise in your home life.
Strength and durability
Both concrete and fibreglass pools are extremely strong and durable, which is the main reason why they are both more popular than vinyl-liner pools. Both can withstand the Australian climate and weather conditions and are sound, long-lasting choices.
Concrete has been tried and tested as a swimming pool construction material for many years. Many concrete pools which were built decades ago are still in use today, which shows that a concrete pool will last long into the future.
Fibreglass swimming pools are a more recent invention, but their strength and reliability have already been proven. Modern technologies, such as the patented ceramic core technology from Compass Pools, have vastly increased the durability of fibreglass pools. Ceramic core pools have even survived earthquakes in Australia where all the surrounding properties have been severely damaged.
Compass Pools are recognised as world leaders in fibreglass pool strength technology. It is essential to choose a leading pool manufacturer with a solid reputation if you want to guarantee the strength of your fibreglass pool.
Whether you choose a fibreglass or concrete pool, you are choosing a pool that you can continue to enjoy for many years to come.
Swimming ease and comfort
This depends on your own particular needs. If your backyard is an awkward shape but you need a large swimming area, a concrete pool makes sense, because you can customise it – fibreglass pools come in standard sizes and shapes. As fibreglass pool shells have to be transported by road, their width tends to be restricted to about 4.2 metres.
However, fibreglass pools have a couple of advantages over concrete pools when it comes to comfort. They tend to heat the pool water more quickly, and the water remains warm for longer, creating a more pleasant swimming environment.
In addition, fibreglass pools have an attractive, smooth gel coat surface which doesn’t require tiling or pebbling. This means the surface isn’t rough underfoot, so there is less risk of swimmers cutting or grazing their skin on the pool floor. This is an important consideration if your pool will be used by children.
Cleaning and maintenance
It is essential that your pool is clean and hygienic at all times, to make sure it stays safe and healthy for you and your loved ones to swim in. This means you will have to spend time cleaning and maintaining your pool on a regular basis.
Fibreglass swimming pools have the advantage here. The smooth gel coat surface is resistant to algae and bacteria, so the pool is much easier to clean and requires fewer harsh chemicals to keep it hygienic. This creates an altogether healthier swimming environment, as well as cutting down on cleaning time.
Concrete swimming pools tend to be more porous, creating ideal conditions for algae and bacteria to multiply. In some cases, black algae colonies can develop in concrete pools, and these are practically impossible to destroy once they’re established.
This means concrete pools require more upkeep, more chemicals, and more of your time. They also tend to need resurfacing or repainting approximately every 10 or 15 years, unlike fibreglass pools.
Remember, the less time you have to spend maintaining your pool, the more time you can spend enjoying it!
Concrete pools are more expensive than fibreglass. Your initial outlay will be higher, as a concrete pool requires far more design and construction work, tailored to suit your own property. It will also need tiling or pebbling, which comes at a cost, and as not all construction projects run smoothly, there is a chance of the job over-running, which can increase costs even further.
In addition, the ongoing upkeep and maintenance costs of a concrete pool are higher. Your pool will require more chemicals to keep it clean and use more energy to heat it. You will also need to factor in the costs of repainting and resurfacing as and when required.
A fibreglass pool comes at a lower initial cost and requires little ongoing maintenance, making it the more affordable option.
Whether you decide on fibreglass or your budget will stretch to a concrete pool, your backyard pool will be a sound investment which adds significant value to your home.
Ready to make your choice?
If you have come to a decision about the type of pool that’s right for you, or you would like more information about the different options available, please contact us. Our pool specialists will be happy to discuss your requirements.