HISTORY OF FIBERGLASS SWIMMING POOLS
In the past, concrete and vinyl liner pools have been the staple of the swimming pool industry throughout the world. Recently though, there has been a major shift with the rising popularity of fiberglass swimming pool installations. Just to give an example of this growth, in 1994, 61,540 fiberglass pools were installed in the United States. In 2005, over 283,000 fiberglass units were installed. Neither concrete nor vinyl experienced even close to such growth during this time period.
So what are the reasons for such a drastic shift in the fiberglass swimming pool industry?
Why do so many pool owners find fiberglass to be their pool style of choice? In the beginning of the fiberglass pool era, there were very few pool designs and white was the only available color. When these pools were installed, most were done without a concrete coping edge (aka cantilevered or bullnose), therefore leaving a fiberglass lip exposed on the deck. Needless to say, the aesthetics of these early projects were not the most attractive, which can attribute to some people’s belief that fiberglass pools look like a “bathtub”. Times have changed though, and such stigmas have practically been eliminated with the introduction of so many new features.
No more bathtubs!
To combat this “bathtub” perception, manufacturers are rolling out a variety of alternative finishes. For example, Leisure Fiberglass Pools offers 6 gel coat finishes: Sapphire Blue, Crystal Blue, Graphite Gray, Diamond Sand, Ebony and Aquamarine. These finishes give homeowners a comparable look of a pebble finished gunite pool. Other features we see more and more of are: ceramic waterline tile, LED lighting, tanning ledges, swim/therapy jets, and spill-over spas. Convenience items like heaters, automatic covers, raised beams, water and fire features are also become more the standard than the exception. Homeowners want a complete environment, not just a pool. These features, in conjunction with cantilevered concrete or bull-nose paver coping creates an impressive back-yard feature, not just a swimming pool.
Less Maintenance – More Strength
Although these aesthetic improvements have made a major impact on fiberglass swimming pool growth, there are two other main factors which have led to their strong presence. Because the fiberglass surface is non-porous and has no seams, unlike concrete and vinyl, it is much harder for algae to grow. This leads to less brushing, cleaning, and chemical use, which in turn saves on time and money. This smooth surface will also not be abrasive to feet, which can be a major draw back to plaster finishes in concrete pools. The second factor leading to this growth is the durability of fiberglass. With its high tensile strength and ability to move with shrink/swell soil, there is no soil incompatible to a fiberglass pool. This also allows for exceptional warranties. For example, Leisure Pools carries a 35 year structure warranty and a finish warranty on their pool shells. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy their pools for many years without the worry of major repairs, such as re-plastering and liner replacements.
Aesthetics, longevity, and low-maintenance- These are the features pool owners want and this is what they get with fiberglass. Times have changed, and with its stigmas having been virtually removed with the help of technology, the future looks extremely bright for the fiberglass pool industry.
Article inspired By Marcus Sheridan