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Home » In Ground Swimming Pools Types » Gunite vs. Vinyl Liner vs. Fiberglass Pools

Comparison of different types of in ground swimming pools
12/22/2010 5:20:39 PM

SPN Team
SPN Team
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There are several distinct construction methods of residential swimming pools which are typically called concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass.

Concrete pools have many different construction methods, as the term concrete describes the basic materials used in construction, and fiberglass refers to the base material of the pool shell which is fiberglass reinforced resin generally 5 mm in thickness. As these terms refer to different parts of the pool the names may be confusing to the newcomer to the swimming pool world.

Concrete (gunite) Pools

As per Wikipedia concrete pools are not dissimilar to concrete ships (ships built of steel and ferrocement or another word for reinforced concrete, instead of more traditional materials): i.e. they are a contiguous shell that will float under certain circumstances. It is therefore essential that an unrestricted hydrostatic valve is incorporated in the pool design. It is not advisable to empty these pools unnecessarily – especially during rainy months - as the operation of the hydro valve is necessary to avoid flotation (and possible destruction) of the swimming pool.

Vinyl liner pools

The term vinyl liner pool describes the method of lining the interior, not the construction materials, which may be concrete (of various types), pressure-treated wood, or paint-coated or galvanized sheet steel.

They are very popular in the Eastern and Southern United States, where this pool type is considered to be a less expensive option to concrete or referred to as a prefabricated pool that can be quickly installed during a single week. Replacement liners can be installed in one to two days, and providing the basic pool shell is of substantial construction, a pool may have several new liners over its expected life.

Fiber Optic Pools

Fiberglass pools, or composite pools, are another entry into the swimming pool industry taking the lead from the boating industry. Much of the positive manufacturing processes used in the fiberglass pool industry stem from research in the boating industry. Fiberglass pools have been around since the 1950s and have proven to be a great alternative to the traditional concrete pool or vinyl liner pool.

Fiberglass Pools are pre-made/pre-fabricated pool shells shipped and installed on site. In their early stages, fiberglass pools were rather ugly, with white being the only finish available and exposed fiberglass coping edges. But with new mold innovations and colored finishes (gel-coats); fiberglass pools have come to rival the aesthetics of concrete pools

Note: The emptying of all pools must be conducted strictly under the supervision of the pool builder or an authorized consultant

Here are top 10 reasons of choosing fiberglass pools vs. other pool types:

1. Latest Technology:
The fiberglass swimming pool industry has an established and competitive manufacturing base that strives to bring the best materials and manufacturing techniques to customers. With finest raw materials combined with sophisticated manufacturing techniques this competitive environment pushes manufacturers to be the most innovative and bring the highest quality to the swimming pool market.

2. Designs:
With hundreds of shapes, sizes and colors to choose from, fiberglass pools offer an astounding array of stylish designs for homeowners at many price points.

3. Warranty:
Fiberglass pool manufacturers offer some of the best structural warranties in the industry. Warranty ranges by manufacturer from 25 to 100 years. Vinyl Ester Resins are multiple integrated layers that give fiberglass pools extreme resistance to the most corrosive chemicals, providing a waterproof barrier and adding significant strength and stability. Flexural strength that prevents cracking in freeze-thaw climates. 17 times stronger than concrete. As we all know by now, the liner of a vinyl pool needs to be replaced over time and concrete pools have to be re-plastered and will eventually crack. In ground fiberglass pool manufacturers can offer such a great warranty because they know their product never needs resurfacing or replacing.

4. Faster Installation:
Because the fiberglass pool shell is pre-manufactured in an environmentally controlled setting and being delivered at the time of installation, typical fiberglass pool installation takes between 2-7 days compare to vinyl and concrete pool construction that can last for several months!

5. Pool Surface:
Smooth finish means no skin abrasions, No more skinned knees, torn or stained bathing suits. The surface of the fiberglass pool is smooth to the touch and won’t scuff your feet or hands as you swim. Additionally, you will never have to deal with a wrinkled pool liner.

6. Pool Finishes:
Every fiberglass pool manufacturer now days offer variety of different surface colors. Not only is the pool surface is smooth, but the color finishes are fantastic! The prices for optional surface color could range from $400 to $2,000 based on the pool size and finish type.

7. Low Maintenance:
If you choose a fiberglass swimming pool you’ll spend more time enjoying it rather than cleaning and balancing the water chemistry of their new pool. Fiberglass pools finishes are a multilayered formulation of gel coats, sparkles, and colored resins utilizing the latest in technological advancements for swimming pool finishes. That kind of non-porous surface resists the problems associated with imbalanced water chemistry, requiring less chemical maintenance, labor, and electric and is algae resistant

8. Maintenance Cost:
Fiberglass pools act as a natural insulator, requiring less electric/gas to heat the pool. Algae is less prone to attach to the smooth surface of a fiberglass pool, requiring less chemicals and maintenance. But the most significant savings is the long-term renovation costs associated with replacing a vinyl liner, or re-plastering a concrete pool surface. Choosing a fiberglass pool eliminates the need for any of this work and gives you the best cost savings over time.

9. Features:
Fiberglass pools can have as many pool features as concrete or vinyl pool, and you can always customize your pool with slides, jets, fountains, and waterfalls.

10. Longevity:
Vinyl and concrete pools are susceptible to staining, fading, wrinkles in vinyl and etching in concrete. These materials will fade over time and start to deteriorate as right away. Fiberglass pools have a proven record of maintaining their look and feel for years. New fiberglass pools don’t need to be re-surfaced, you can be assured that the finish of your pool will look the same in 20 years as it does today. The finish of the fiberglass pool pool will look beautiful for years to come
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