Fiberglass pools have garnered a lot of attention in recent years as long-lasting, viable alternatives to concrete and vinyl pools. The advantages they offer are unique, but are they worth the price tag? How long do they last? How do you maintain them? Are they better than concrete or vinyl pools? I’m here to answer all these questions and more, so let’s dive in.
- Fiberglass is super durable, but if you notice cracks, leaks, or any issues in the pool, fix it immediately before the problem worsens.
- Concrete and vinyl pools typically have shorter lifespans compared to fiberglass pools.
- Using a pool cover, keeping the pool clean, and ensuring the water is balanced correctly can help maintain and significantly extend the lifespan of a fiberglass pool.
How Long Do Fiberglass Pools Last?
On average, fiberglass pools can last between 20 to 40 years. Fiberglass pools from quality companies that are correctly installed can last even longer for up to 40 to 50+ years in some cases! Of course, this expected lifespan is much longer than concrete or vinyl pools, making them a perfect choice for pool owners seeking durability and longevity from their investment.
However, fiberglass pools aren’t completely invulnerable. Ground pressure caused by improper drainage can cause the shell to swell and crack, for instance, or overly harsh chlorine levels (trichlor or dichlor) can spoil the surface of the fiberglass. Ultimately, how long your fiberglass pool lasts depends on the quality of the materials, the installation process, and, of course, how well you maintain it.
Let’s look at these points a bit more closely.
Factors That Determine How Long Your Fiberglass Pool Will Last
As mentioned, there are three main things that factor into the lifespan of your fiberglass: material quality, installation, and maintenance. Here’s why.
Quality of Materials
The firing process, the type of resin used in the shell construction, and the thickness level all impact the pool’s lifespan. A strong fiberglass shell is made with well-woven fiberglass and high-quality resins, making it a lot more durable and resistant to damage.
Installing a fiberglass pool may be less complicated than a concrete pour, but it can lead to cracks, leaks, and an overall shorter lifespan if done incorrectly. Make sure you hire a reputable pool company to install the fiberglass pool without any hitches or issues.
Fiberglass pools are much less maintenance than other types of pools, but this does not mean you should not forgo maintaining the pool altogether! Fiberglass pools require proper care and maintenance like any other type of pool. To maintain your fiberglass pool and ensure you get the longest lifespan possible, keep the water chemically balanced, brush and clean the pool, and vacuum the pool too. It helps to keep the pool covered when it’s not in use as well.
How to Maintain a Fiberglass Pool
So, how do you maintain a fiberglass pool so that it lasts you decades?
Keep the Water Chemically Balanced
Hygienic, clean, and chemically balanced pool water is a non-negotiable requirement of any pool, whether fiberglass, vinyl, or concrete. Test and adjust your water on a weekly basis. For a fiberglass pool, make sure your chemicals are balanced as follows:
- Chlorine: 1 to 3 ppm
- pH: 7.2 to 7.8
- Alkalinity: 80 to 120 ppm
- Calcium hardness: 175 to 225 ppm
Anything outside the norm can cause long-term damage to the shell, especially when you start dappling with harsh substances like muriatic acid. And make sure you absolutely avoid using expired products.
Maintain Overall Pool Equipment
I know I may preach this a lot, but taking good care of your pool equipment can make your life MUCH easier down the road. And caring for your pool equipment also helps extend your pool’s lifespan. In a pool system, everything is interconnected. Keeping your filtration system, heater, and other equipment clean and well-functioning contributes to the overall health of your fiberglass. Furthermore, you should look after the surfaces of the fiberglass pool, so make sure to clean and brush the surfaces at least once a week.
Use a Pool Cover
Covering an outdoor fiberglass pool is a no-brainer. Pool covers are cheap, easy to install, easy to use, and go a long way in protecting your pool from damage caused by severe weather elements such as harsh sunlight, hailstorms, dust, and algae spores carried by the wind. With that said, one of the biggest advantages of a fiberglass pool is its resistance to algae, so you’ll find there may be less maintenance needed overall!
Tips for Extending the Life of Your Fiberglass Pool
Here are some of my top tips for extending the life of your fiberglass pool:
- Be cautious with your chemicals. Harsh substances, such as muriatic acid and even chlorine, can react with and damage the surface of a fiberglass pool if misused.
- Keep the water clear of debris. As with any other pool, make sure you keep the pool clean to help extend the life of your pool. This includes skimming, brushing, and vacuuming the pool regularly.
- Shock the pool at least once a week to make sure the water is sanitized and crystal clear.
- Do not drain your pool unless absolutely necessary. Draining your pool without proper oversight places enormous pressure on the fiberglass shell, causing it to crack and buckle. If drainage is unavoidable, have a team of professionals do it for you to avoid structural damage.
- If damage occurs, fix it right away. This includes everything from cracks, leaks, or other issues with the fiberglass. The tiniest crack can snowball into much larger problems if ignored.
Lifespan of Concrete and Vinyl Liner Pools
Concrete and vinyl pools have comparatively shorter lifespans than fiberglass pools. But just like fiberglass, how long they last depends on the materials, the installation, and maintenance. However, as a general rule, concrete pools are also relatively long-lasting, with most lasting up to 20 years. Unfortunately, you do need to resurface concrete pools every 4 to 7 years on top of that!
On the other hand, a vinyl liner pool has the shortest lifespan—around 10 to 15 years for the shell. But you’ll need to replace the liner every 5 to 9 years.
Do you want more on comparing fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl pools? Check out my complete comparison guide.
Why Fiberglass Swimming Pools Last Longer than Concrete or Vinyl Liner Pools
So, it’s probably embedded in your brain by now that fiberglass pools last much longer than concrete or vinyl pools. But what makes fiberglass so durable?
To start with, fiberglass is stronger than steel or aluminum and has a high tensile strength. The material is also lightweight and resistant to corrosion and ultraviolet (UV) damage, making it pretty well-suited for containing a lot of water under the sun. In terms of engineering, this substance is designed to withstand a lot of pressure for a long time. For pool owners like yourself, that’s excellent news.
Another winning characteristic of fiberglass is its smooth and non-porous surface, making it challenging for algae to latch onto. In comparison, concrete pools can develop crevices where algae can take root, while vinyl liner pools have a textured surface that can trap dirt and debris. This makes fiberglass much easier to maintain and less likely to end up in severe algae infestations, which can mess with your pool!
Fiberglass pools are a lot easier to maintain because of their resistance to general wear and tear. Their high resistance to general damage means they tolerate most chemicals well and do not generally need a gel coating replacement – as long as you look after the pool properly. Cracking is extremely unusual and a sign of an extreme issue, as opposed to concrete pools, which get cracks more easily for little reason.
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But Are Fibreglass Pools the Right Option for You?
Fiberglass swimming pools aren’t a completely flawless option. Sure, they’re durable and low-maintenance and can last several decades with proper care, but they’re also quite expensive compared to concrete or vinyl. Plus, if they aren’t manufactured well with excellent quality resins, it can cause problems for pool owners in the long term. Concrete or vinyl pools, in comparison, are much easier on the pocket. That said, the maintenance and repair costs you might incur for concrete or vinyl pools might balance the scale over time. In a sense, a fiberglass pool sort of pays for itself over the years, making them a financially sensible option.
If you have the starting budget for it and care about longevity in your pool with minimal hassle, a fiberglass pool is the perfect option for you! Just be careful to choose a trusted, well-rated pool fiberglass manufacturer before going ahead. And make sure a well-seasoned pool expert installs your pool to avoid issues with cracking down the line.
Do you have any more questions about whether or not fiberglass pools are a good option for you? Let me know!