A fiberglass swimming pool can transform a patch of grass into a dream backyard. When you begin your pool building journey, your first decision is: do I want a fiberglass pool, vinyl liner pool or a concrete pool?
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to understand the differences and choose the right pool design for your home and family.
Vinyl Liner Pools
Installation is fast and straightforward. You can be swimming in your new Narellan Pools fiberglass pool in no time at all!
Fiberglass installation requires an initial site assessment to confirm access and mark out the pool shell and equipment locations.
Once the hole is excavated and trenches for the plumbing is complete, the pool shell arrives at the site, and a crane lifts it into position. The hole is backfilled, the pool filled with water, and the bond beam installed. Done!
Vinyl liner pools take a little bit longer to install than a fiberglass pool. Installation time could take from 3 to 4 weeks.
Along with excavating, the vinyl liner pool must be assembled on site, as they are delivered in separate pieces. First wall panels, then concrete footing, plumbing, base, then finally the liner. This step alone takes several days.
Once everything is assembled and all wrinkles smoothed, the pool is filled with water to hold the liner down while holes are cut out for lights and equipment.
After this is complete, the pool is filled with fresh water and ready to enjoy.
Bear in mind that this process will have to be repeated when the liner needs to be replaced in a few years.
Concrete pools are typically custom designs built from scratch on-site.
After the excavation is complete, the pipes and a metal lattice framework is installed. Once a structural engineer signs off the structure, the pool’s interior is sprayed with multiple layers of gunite.
Once the concrete has cured, typically around 28 days, the finishing coating of tiles or pebblecrete is added. With the pool’s interior complete, it is filled with water, and the filtration system is turned on.
Fiberglass pools are available in various shapes, sizes, depths and colors.
Did you know that Narellan Pools can customize your dream pool with a spa and splash deck, and enhance it with sun pods, water features, fountains and bubbling spa nooks, not to mention swimming pools lights and pool heating? When it comes to pool design, fiberglass swimming pools are more flexible than you may think!
Vinyl liner pools are quite customizable. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and even offer patterns of your choosing.
When it’s time to replace your liner, you could get a similar liner style that you loved, or go with a new color and pattern if you felt like changing up the look of your pool for the next few years.
Your imagination is the only thing that limits concrete pools design.
Concrete pools can be as big or small as you like, feature deeper sections and include ledges, swim outs and even a beach.
Everything about a concrete pool is custom – let your imagination run wild!
When filled with water, fiberglass pools sparkle! As the sun moves, the water takes on a life of its own. On a cloudy day, the pool water will appear darker, and in full sun, it will glisten!
The gel coat applied to the interior of fiberglass pools ensures a smooth finish, making them softer underfoot and non-abrasive. Little ones will never scrape their toes on the pool’s surface!
The smooth nature of a fiberglass pool shell also ensures they are naturally resistant to mold and algae, helping to keep the pool water sparkling and healthy.
A quality vinyl liner pool may not sparkle like fiberglass or concrete, due to the lack of tile. But it will certainly pop in your backyard thanks to its bright color. And pattern choices can really enhance their overall look.
Like fiberglass, vinyl liner pools have a smooth surface – though they don’t have a gel coat. Even so, there’s no scraping of hands and feet, and they are resistant to mold and algae, as well.
Popular interior surfaces of concrete pools include tiles and exposed and polished aggregates, such as pebbles, glass beads and quartz. Your choice of finish will determine the level of sparkle in your pool water. For example, polished glass beads will be reflective, whilst pebbles produce less vibrant water.
Concrete pool finishes can be rough on bare feet and cause scrapes and abrasions. If not completed by expert craftsmen, tiled pools can have sharp edges that may even pop over time.
Fiberglass is a super-tough material that’s highly resistant to everyday wear – it is one of the most robust and durable materials on earth!
Some vinyl liners may be more durable than others, but compared to fiberglass or concrete, it’s just not as durable.
Over time, they wear out from chemicals, sunlight, aging, weather, and need to be replaced every few years.
A high quality vinyl liner may last up to a decade, but a cheaper one may need to be replaced at minimum every 5 years.
Concrete is a strong material resistant to chemical attack, making it an excellent choice for saltwater pools.
Because of their porous surface, concrete pools absorb water and are therefore susceptible to algae and bacteria. Concrete pools may require repair work at some point during their lifespan to handle general wear and tear. They typically require resurfacing every 15 years.
Fiberglass pools have a well-earned reputation for being the most durable swimming pools in the world. Because of this confidence, fiberglass pool manufacturers openly promote structural and surface warranties.
A manufacturer’s lifetime structural warranty backs every inground fiberglass pool crafted by Narellan Pools.
Regarding longevity, the exclusive Marbleglass™ gel coat technology used by Narellan Pools is class-leading.
A 10-year warranty supports the Marbleglass™ gel coat interior surface of every pool shell manufactured by Narellan Pools.
Some reputable vinyl liner pool brands offer warranties up to 25 to 30 years.
However, it’s very important to read the fine print in any vinyl liner warranty, even a good one.
The length of the warranty is misleading. While a vinyl liner pool may come with a 25-year warranty, some people think that means it will last that long. That is not the case. So it’s important to keep a close eye on your pool in those first 5 years for any problems to arise that the warranty may need to cover.
Plus, most vinyl liner warranties are prorated, so they lose value over time. Another downfall is that they usually don’t cover unavoidable replacement costs, like labor or water refilling.
Due to the unique nature of concrete pools, pool builders cannot match the extended warranties offered by fiberglass pool builders.
Concrete may require repair work at some point during its lifespan to handle general wear and tear.
In the absence of an advertised warranty, when considering a concrete pool builder, make sure they’re members of the Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association.
Fiberglass pools start around $50,000 and can exceed $200,000.
Vinyl liner pools can cost less than $10,000 up to $65,000, but have a typical range of between $25,000 to $45,000.
This, however, is not factoring in the cost to replace the liner, which can range from $1,000 to $4,000 every few years.
Concrete pools are unique AND require custom trades and can take up to 3 months to build.
The labor alone adds to the project’s overall cost, never mind the expense of mosaic tiles and structural supports!
Concrete pools start at around $60,000 and can exceed $220,000.
Fiberglass pools require basic maintenance to keep the pool water sparkling and healthy.
Balancing the pool water is vital, as is removing debris.
The gel coating of fiberglass pools is smooth and non-porous, which helps keep mold and algae at bay. That means less cleaning, fewer chemicals and less energy consumption, so there’s a smaller carbon footprint.
Sometimes there can be waterline stain build-up, which is easy to remove with a soft sponge and elbow grease.
Daily maintenance is usually pretty simple for a vinyl liner pool. At least there’s no need for hard scrubbing to get rid of algae or mold. You should be hard scrubbing a vinyl liner, anyway, to avoid tearing.
It’s important to keep the water balanced as much as possible, though. Vinyl liner pools are some of the most susceptible to damage from chemical imbalance in the water.
And of course, the liner will also need to be replaced every few years, even if you maintain it well.
Long-term maintenance costs are typically higher for concrete pools.
They tend to be more prone to issues such as algae, as their surface is more porous.
Concrete pools require regular brushing to dislodge algae and bacteria, vacuuming to suck up the algae, regular water testing and in extreme cases, acid washing.
Concrete can also crack and degrade over time. Concrete pools typically require resurfacing every 12+ years. Depending on the pool’s interior surface, the cost of resurfacing can exceed $20,000.
Fiberglass has thermal properties that make the raw material a natural insulator of heat. Fiberglass absorbs and retains heat from the sun, which in turn naturally heats the pool water.
Fiberglass pools are fast to heat and retain their temperature for longer than concrete pools.
According to Coverstar, an automatic pool cover can increase pool water temperature by 8 to 10 degrees and extend your swim season by up to three months.
Vinyl liner pools don’t make the best heated pools.
Some kind of pool heater can help, and there are affordable ways to heat a vinyl liner, like a solar pool blanket.
However, vinyl liners lack insulation, and so you’ll end up paying to heat the ground more than the pool. They just don’t retain heat at all.
Concrete is not an insulator of heat and doesn’t retain heat like fiberglass pools. Concrete pools take longer to heat up, and without a solar pool blanket, heating costs can quickly add up.
Absolutely! A plunge pool, also known as a cocktail pool, will transform your backyard of unused space into a vacation at home oasis.
You’ll have a designated area to relax and decompress from the stresses of everyday life, and the kids will love splashing about with their friends in the refreshing water.
Thanks to their compact size and industry-leading fiberglass technology, Narellan Pools can install your plunge pool in a space you never thought possible – next to your deck, tucked in the corner of your backyard or nestled into a terrace.
The wonderful thing about plunge pools is that they have a flat bottom, making them perfect for low impact exercise and wading. If you install swim jets, you can use your plunge pool for endless aquatic exercise.
A previously wasted space, where grass never grew, and muddy puddles are a permanent fixture in winter, will become a tranquil feature of your home.
Pool heating will extend your family’s swim season into Fall and Spring. When it comes to fiberglass pools, the great news is can you choose from solar pool heating, gas or an electric heat pump!
You can even set up your fiberglass swimming pool as a ‘smart pool’, making it super easy to control the temperature, filtration and self-cleaning systems using an app.
Solar Pool Heating
Solar heaters use the sun’s free energy to circulate water through a rubber or PVC mat or panel affixed to a North-facing roof.
As the water runs through the system, the sun warms the matting, heats the water, and returns it to your swimming pool. Once installed, when the sun is shining, solar pool heating is almost free!
- Are inexpensive to operate thanks to the sun’s free energy!
- Eco-Friendly & energy efficient
- Lifespan of 15 – 20 years
- High initial installation costs
- Needs clear skies and direct sunlight to work at optimal efficiency. In winter, when the sun isn’t bright, you may need an alternative heater
- Slow to heat water
Gas Pool Heating
Gas heaters draw heat from a flame, making them very effective for heating pools and spas. Gas pool heating is the fastest way to heat your pool and spa water. They’re perfect if you use your pool or spa spontaneously or if friends pop over for a surprise visit!
- Heats water quickly
- Works fast in all climates temperature
- Low emissions
- Costly to install and expensive to operate
- Needs access to natural gas or a propane tank
- Not eco-friendly
Pool Heat Pump
An electric pool heat pump is essentially an air conditioner that heats or cools your pool water. A heat pump draws outside air into a chamber and converts it to hot or cold air by circulating it through a heating tank. Once the water reaches the set temperature, it is pumped back into the pool.
- Eco-friendly & extremely energy efficient
- Good alternative to solar for pools used regularly
- Inexpensive to run
- Lasts around 20-25 years on average
- Requires electricity
- Less effective in colder temperatures
- Expensive to purchase
- Heats pool water slowly compared to gas
Automatic Pool Covers
Automatic pool covers that comply with ASTM standards are the perfect choice to close a pool when it is not in use. It secures the pool, stops leaves and debris falling in, reduces evaporation, and prevents the loss of chemicals.
Automatic Pool Covers can be installed on a broad range of pool designs and shapes.
Fiberglass is a natural insulator
Fiberglass pools are easier to heat and keep warm than gunite or vinyl liner pools. Why? Because fiberglass is an insulator! Fiberglass pools heat faster, and when you use a solar pool blanket, will help retain and even increase your pool’s water temperature.
The wonderful thing about fiberglass pools is that they are fast and easy to install because they’re prefabricated. But with that, there are limitations on pool design. Or are there?
The Narellan Pools range of fiberglass pool designs includes traditional and contemporary shapes in a range of modern colors.
The popular Harmony is a splash deck, also known as a wading pool. When added to a rectangular-shaped fiberglass pool, the Harmony can create a coveted L-shaped design or add an entrance feature to the pool. Perfect for children gaining their water confidence or for adults just lounging in the sun, the Harmony can be run on a separate water circuit with a heating system, allowing you to control the temperature between the wading pool and your main pool.
Combining a pool, spa and wading pool, known as a combination install or pool and spa combination, allows you to create the ultimate vacation at home oasis in your backyard.
Here are the most popular (and spectacular!) pool and spa combination configurations. Let your imagination run wild!
Why consider a pool and spa combination?
Combining a pool and spa will enhance the use of your backyard space by creating dedicated areas for swimming, lounging, relaxing in a spa and wading. Contact your local Narellan Pools pool builder to discuss what’s possible at your home!