Concrete VS Fiberglass Pools - Everything you need to know!

Thinking of an in-ground swimming pool? Dive into this! 

10 minute read

Custom concrete pools have always been the “go to” option when considering an in ground swimming pool. Because of its longevity and ability to be fully custom built to your design or requirements maximising the space and creating a truly enjoyable lifestyle area.

Fibreglass pools are an increasing decision due to the lower installation costs and significantly shorter construction times. This is similar with above ground vinyl liner pools where its difficult to construct a concrete pool or install a fibreglass swimming pool.

Fact: fibreglass pools aren’t for everyone!

The most common choices for a new swimming pool are concrete or fibreglass. Let’s go through how these two types of pools compare in the following areas:

  • Overall construction cost
  • Styles and sizes
  • Interior finishes
  • Advantages of fibreglass pools
  • Advantages of concrete pools
  • Lifespan

 

The two main attractions to installing a fibreglass pool is the ease of installation and lower cost. Though the price difference between a quality fibreglass pool installed by a reputable builder versus a custom concrete pool is much less than consumers think. Many fibreglass pools can be easily installed incorrectly, as it's a much quicker job, leaving many headaches ahead for the new pool owner. Most fibreglass pools can be installed within a week, while a concrete pool can take approx 3 months to construct.

To have full control and style over your pool concrete is a must, concrete pools can be styled and designed as wild as your imagination. Tropical oasis can easily be created with natural stone finishes or a feature waterfall. The modern appearance can also be achieved with some sharp styling points like making the pool run the length of the back yard and adding an infinity edge for that wow factor!

Overall construction costs

Common fibreglass pools cost $35,000–$85,000 this is for the pool shell, delivery of the shell onsite, a crane to lift into position and all the relevant approvals and labour required to complete the job. Jobs can also be much more depending on how fancy you get with landscaping, accessories, and water features.

We don’t think DIY-ing a fibreglass pool is a good idea, You would save approx $5000 - $10,000 Although the risk of problems is much greater and can cost you more to fix than what you saved! 

Tip: Always ensure ALL aspects of the completed project are clear and noted in the tender and contract!

Concrete pool construction usually costs between $40,000 and $100,000.  The higher costs mainly come from the specific shape, size and requirements needed to complete the job. Additional materials are needed for any changes, but you have a much more robust, and timeless design!

The wider range of styles and sizes

Fibreglass pools typically run up to 4 - 5 metres wide, 6, 8, 10 or 12 metres long, and 1.2 - 1.8 metres deep. They’re created from pre-designed molds, so you’re creativity is limited to the established shapes and sizes.

Outside of the structural size restrictions, you can customize a fibreglass pool to any aesthetic with water features, tanning ledges, tiles, and colourful lights and finishes.

Fibreglass VS Concrete Installation and construction

Once the ground is excavated (1 - 2 days), the fibreglass pool shell will be delivered onsite and using a crane the pool will be installed into its position. Installation would take 1 - 2 days and then a further 2 -3 days to plumb the equipment, fill and hand the pool over. Any sort of landscaping or decking will take another week or two. From beginning to end, the process usually takes 3–5 weeks.

Fact: It takes approx 3 months to construct a concrete pool with all approvals, excavation, construction and finishes. See the construction process here https://www.mrpoolman.com.au/blogs/news/what-are-the-steps-to-building-a-pool-pool-building-process

Different Interior Finishes

The interior surface of a fiberglass pool is called the gelcoat. It’s smooth to the touch and resistant to scratches, UV and treated water. This interior will fade over time, usually 10 - 15 years which it can then be rejuvenated and brought back to life, looking like a completely new pool! Steps or tanning ledges are designed to have an anti-slip texture, but even that’s not rough.

Concrete pools are exactly that, a concrete structure so they are incredibly durable. From there you can either have a pebblecrete, jewels 4 pools, tiled or painted surface, which are all low maintenance and reliable surfaces to expect 15 - 30 years of life.

Tip: the interior finish (style, colour, type) can make or break a pool, ensure you 100% happy with your choice.

The benefit of having a concrete pool is that if the surface does wear or tire you can reapply a new surface to totally transform the appearance of the pool!

Common finishes can be seen below.

The best and recommended pebblecrete here

The best and recommended Jewels 4 Pools finish here

The best and recommended tiles here

Key points of both Fibreglass and Concrete pools!

Here are 3 advantages of installing a fibreglass pool straight from our construction supervisor!

Affordable

Fibreglass pools cost around 20% less to install than a concrete pool.

Fast

Installation could be as little as 1 week! Usual time frames is 1 - 3 weeks.

Flex

Fibreglass is very durable and can withstand ground movements in the earth better than concrete, this could save the pool from cracking.

With that being said, these are the 4 drawbacks with fibreglass pools.

  • Fibreglass pools are often limited in design and colour.
  • They are pre-made and could have a production lead time if your choice isn’t ready to be installed.
  • The pool shells need to be transported by road so the width is limited to approx 4.2m which is usually wide enough for most applications.
  • Access for a crane is usually needed to lift the pool shell off the truck and into your backyard.

    Here are our 5 professional opinions on why we think concrete pools are the way to go!

    The look

    There are so many options with surface finishes (pebble or tile), steps and making it custom fit to any size yard you have, so the sky is the limit with your design and ensures best use of the space.

    Size

    You can make the pool any length or shape your imagination allows

    Interior Finishes

    Working with a concrete pool shell you can do whatever you like to the interior.

    Custom additions

    You can add ledges, alcoves, steps and swim-outs

    Poolscaping

    Concrete pools are perfect if you want to create a natural pool-scape or blend the style into your existing house landscape designs.

    The 2 drawbacks with concrete pools in our opinion

    Time

    Concrete pools will take longer to construct

    Cost

    On average, concrete pools will cost you more, and the cost will rise with the additions of shapes and designs.

    The average life span

    The expected lifespan of a fibreglass pool would be 15-20 years, you will find that within this time the surface of the pool may need recoating, this is common from the normal wear and tear on the surface, chemically treated water and expose to the sun.

     

    Tip: A pools life can last much longer (in both concrete and fibreglass applications) if the pool is adequately maintained during its lifespan.


    Concrete pools can last up to 40+ years, commonly not requiring any form of resurfacing, this may only be done for aesthetics.

    Summary

    Buying a pool is a big consideration, research widely and spend what you feel comfortable spending – it will be a great investment, if done correctly and it will be there for a long time, so ensure you consider all aspects and ask ANY questions you may have!


    You can see real opinions from people on Concrete VS Fibreglass here.

    https://www.propertychat.com.au/community/threads/fibreglass-vs-concrete-pool.9078/

    Keep in mind that any pool will require a fence around the pool to ensure it is safe and prevent child drownings. There's no better way than supervising children at all times! The fence will be required to meet applicable safety regulations where you are located.

    Post author:

    Tom Hintze

    Head of eCommerce & Operations at Mr Pool Man,
    Co-Founder at Water TechniX

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