Installing an in-ground pool can increase the value of your home while offering great exercise and fun that the entire family can enjoy. Choosing the building materials for your pool should be given some consideration before making the investment. Fiberglass and concrete pools are two popular options, both offering varying advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages to Concrete
Building a pool with concrete is typically a more economical decision in the short term. Concrete offers more flexibility with design and can be custom designed to suit your personal or landscaping needs. Cement pools allow for drastic sloping that creates many options for depth and diving levels. Concrete is also an environmentally safe and locally available material which can reduce fuel consumption and transporting costs.
Disadvantages to Concrete
Cement pools have rough surfaces that can cause skin wounds and tears in clothing. Caution must be used when swimming in cement pools. A steel reinforcement bar is required to maintain the shape and form of the concrete and if this support is not adequate it can cause damage to the structure of the pool. Concrete pool surfaces typically crack and erode over time, making repairs and maintenance potentially costly. Concrete pools may take up to 12 weeks to install.
Advantages to Fiberglass
The installation process for fiberglass pools tends to be the quickest, averaging about three weeks. Fiberglass pools tend to be much cheaper in terms of long-range maintenance and repair. Fiberglass pools do not attract much dirt or debris so they will not require acid washing or resurfacing. The surfaces are covered with a smooth-finish gel that minimizes the risk of injury as well as wear and tear on clothing. Fiberglass pools are very sturdy, free-standing structures that do not require additional support.
Disadvantages to Fiberglass
Fiberglass pools tend to cost more in terms of initial installation. Fiberglass pools do not offer landscaping and structuring flexibility. It can be more difficult to fit a fiberglass pool on certain properties and landscaping or ground leveling may be required before installation can begin. Fiberglass pools also do not provide the versatility in terms of depth levels, shape and overall design.
Making the Decision
Both fiberglass and concrete pools will increase the value of your home if maintained properly. The first consideration should be cost. If you do not have a large sum of money to put upfront for installation, concrete would most likely be the cheapest option. Keep in mind the long-term ramifications of this decision and the potential costs of upkeep and repair accumulating over time. If you want a pool with a very shallow end and a diving board over an opposing deep end or, any kind of specialized design for that matter, concrete would be the only material that would allow that. If you are concerned with long-term costs and want a safe, smooth surface for your pool, fiberglass would be the most beneficial choice.