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Fiberglass Swimming Pool Myths and Misconceptions

By Marcus Sheridan

Having been one of the first companies in Central and Eastern Virginia to embrace the fiberglass pool industry, I have been able to address the concerns of many clients involving the pros and cons of owning a fiberglass swimming pool. Despite the exponential growth of the composite(fiberglass) market throughout the United States, I have found there are still some serious myths regarding the potential drawbacks of owning a fiberglass pool. Hopefully the following paragraphs will address and alleviate these issues.

Myth #1 Fiberglass Pools will float or pop-up:

This is one of the most amusing, and most common, of all misconceptions I have heard regarding fiberglass pools. If anyone (especially another pool dealer) tells you that fiberglass pools pop out of the ground, then they are simply being dishonest and trying to use fear as a means of motivating you to get another type of pool. There is a local company (I will not mention any names here) in the Mechanicsville area that loves to tell homeowners that every time there is a hurricane in Virginia, fiberglass pools all over the place float up out of the ground. I personally called this company once and asked them to give me just one name of someone who had a pool float, and of course they were unable to give me such information. During our five years in business, and after having installed well over 400 fiberglass pools in the ground, we have never had a pool float after installation. This is because not only are the pools always full of water, but the concrete deck engulfs the pool's outer lip, making it impossible for the pool to move unless the concrete deck moves with it. Hopefully I am explaining myself clearly here. I have hundreds of customers who would be happy to verify these facts. Please don't be fooled by anyone who uses this ploy as a means to push a potential customer in a different direction.

Myth #2 Fiberglass pools look cheap:

Had someone said this 15 years ago, I would have agreed with such a statement. But times have changed in the fiberglass industry, especially with the introduction of cantilever concrete coping, colored pool finishes, waterline ceramic tile, mosaic inlay tile, fiber-optic lighting, water features, etc, etc. With so many options and features to choose from, homes of all value ranges can easily find a pool that corresponds aesthetically with their appearance. When I show pictures of the pools we have installed to customers, I often get asked if they are seeing concrete pools. This is because fiberglass pools are now very beautiful and permanent looking. This is also why customers of all economic classes (we have installed many pools where the home value is well over 1 million dollars) are going with the fiberglass advantage.

Myth #3 Fiberglass Pools only work in warm climates:

This one really makes no sense to me at all. It is an accepted fact in the swimming pool industry that fiberglass has the ability to "flex" due to its incredible tensile strength, much more so than any other type of permanent pool (i.e. concrete). When people are concerned about freeze conditions having an adverse affect on fiberglass, they are forgetting that the water in a pool, when it freezes, expands in an upward direction (where there are no barriers). But the simple fact is that we have never had one customer sustain any damage to their fiberglass shell due to freezing weather conditions. Again, this statement is easily verifiable with our customer reference list.

Myth #4 Fiberglass pools are much more expensive than vinyl liner pools:

The answer to this one is a little tricky, but hopefully I'll explain myself clearly here. Typically, if someone is comparing a fiberglass pool to a liner pool, apples to apples, features with features, they will find that a fiberglass unit typically runs 5-10k more initially. I say initially because when someone is considering the cost of a pool, there are two different ways to arrive at the number. The first way is by solely looking at the initial cost of the project. The second, unlike the first method, takes the initial price but also adds the expenses of the pool over the course of its lifetime. For example, let's say you spend $25,000 initially for a vinyl-lined pool. Considering the liner will typically last 8 years on average (this number can be more or less depending on a variety of factors) before it has to be replaced, and the average cost of a liner replacement is usually between 3-5k, a pool owner could easily spend 8-12k on liner replacements alone during the first 20 years of the pool. The same principle is applicable to concrete pools who have to be replastered (every 8-12 years), where the average cost for this service is well over 5k. This is one of the great beauties of a fiberglass pool. There are almost never large expenses down the road for a homeowner to worry about. When a potential pool buyer figures in the cost of these long term repairs/expenses, as well as the year to year savings on chemicals, it is no wonder why so many consumers are willing to pay more initially for a fiberglass pool in order to pay less and have less headache in the long run.

Myth #5 All Fiberglass pool manufacturers are the same and it doesn't really matter which company I choose:

Since starting PoolSchool, I have received hundreds of emails from pool owners across the country describing the good, the bad, and the ugly with respect to the quality of their swimming pools. I've certainly heard the best and the worst of pool builders and manufacturers. This is also why I decided to write my ebook. Simply put, it really bothered me hearing frustrated and angry customers after they had spent thousands of dollars on their 'dream pool' only to be incredibly dissapointed. Just remember, as you research which fiberglass pool manufacturer to go with, pay attention to their warranties, especially their FINISH warranties. Every company purports to have a great STRUCTURE warranty, but what seperates great fiberglass pool companies from the average and poor ones is the FINISH warranty. And be careful, many manufacturers have pro-rated pool warranties and enough disclaimers to make any lawyer squirm. So read the fine print and do your due diligence. You've only got one shot to do this the right way.

To learn more about how to choose the right swimming pool contractor, view Jason's popular "How to Find the Right Pool Contractor" video.


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