While building custom homes, our clients often face a dilemma on pool type selection. There is an abundant amount of information on pools, but navigating it without any special knowledge is overwhelming. Furthermore, the desire of pool supplier to push for their product creates biased information that people often times find hard to rely on. Based on our experience, we gathered pros and cons on inground fiberglass and concrete pools, most popular choices on the Outer Banks, that could help you make an informed decision when it comes to pool selection.
Comprised of several layers of fiberglass material 3/8 inches think, this type of pool comes in one piece typically with built-in benches and steps. Since fiberglass pools are made out of the mold, they are available in limited shapes and sizes. Pool shell gets covered with smooth gelcoat that does not have big pores of plaster. This helps to prevent algae growth and significantly reduces pool maintenance. Fiberglass pool is a better fit, if you are looking to have a pool installed within a short timeframe. Depending on the permitting process, the installation can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks. It is important to note, that once the pool is installed, you should avoid draining water at all costs as it will lead to coping, pool deck, and side walls damage. Fiberglass pools should only be cleaned manually. If your pool requires extensive cleaning where water draining is necessary, it is imperative you address a professional.
In terms of the cost, fiberglass pools are most cost efficient than concrete. Pete Kelly with Caribbean Pools suggests that a good rule of thumb for fiberglass pool is to multiply the length of a pool in feet by $1300 – $1400. The cost will give a fairly accurate budget for a turnkey project including pool, equipment, concrete, and fencing.
If you are looking for a pool wider than 16’ with some wild custom design, concrete pool will be the best bet. This pool type can allow your imagination to be only sketch away from reality. Concrete pool can deliver the highest durability. Their structure consists of framing, steel which improves its structural ability to move and flex, concrete that is placed through gunite process, waterproofing that prevents water from migrating through its structure, and plaster. To be structurally sound their shell is typically 6 inches thick which is much harder to damage than fiberglass surface. The materials used in construction make the surface porous leading to trapping bacteria and algae growth. It must be noted that they require higher maintenance costs, but if taken care for properly, can last for decades. Concrete pools building process is more labor intensive and considering the materials used is more time-consuming. Construction process can take anywhere between 3-6 months. The cost of concrete pool will vary depending on the size and features you might want to add: tile permitter, lights, water heater, etc. Typically, they end up being more expensive than fiberglass pools.