For most folks, owning a home with a swimming pool is an essential part of the American Dream. But for some, building a gunite or concrete swimming pool is simply out of the question. The high installation and maintenance costs are often enough to deter someone from building a pool. But installing a prefab pool can be a wonderful alternative with many benefits and very little downsides. Read on below to find out the pros and cons of prefab pools.
What are prefab pools?
Prefabricated or prefab pools are made of fiberglass.
Fiberglass is a durable plastic infused with glass fiber material. It’s stronger than many metals and can be molded into almost every shape there is. Fiberglass is widely touted for its industrial applications, but it’s also great for consumer needs.
In an interview with Aqua Magazine, one swimming pool contractor stated that “fiberglass is our fastest-growing pool construction segment because it’s a ‘one and done’ product that is easy to maintain.”
Consumers are going crazy for fiberglass pools, and the statistics back it up. Prefab fiberglass pools now account for up to 17 percent of the new swimming pool market, and it’s only projected to rise from there.
There’s never been a better time to get in on fiberglass pools. So if you’re looking to install a swimming pool in your home, keep reading to know the pros and cons of this trendy pool option.
1. Faster installation vs. traditional pools
Concrete pools typically take 2-4 months to complete. Prefab pools, on the other hand, are significantly quicker to install. A fiberglass pool usually only takes 2-4 weeks before it’s ready to use.
You would essentially be cutting your installation time by half just by choosing fiberglass over other pool materials.
Less time to complete means more savings for you. It’s not a secret that you can save money on a contractor and construction materials by choosing the more efficient option.
2. Fiberglass pools are very durable
Prefab fiberglass pools are known to last for up to 40 years. That’s a long time for any swimming pool. Also, fiberglass resists algae growth better than vinyl, gunite, or concrete pools. This is due to the protective gel coating that comes standard with fiberglass pools.
Not only does it prevent algae growth, but it also gives the surface a layer of protection in case of damage. When that happens, the pool surface can easily be buffed or sanded to restore its appearance.
Some of the best and luxurious aircraft, boat, and yacht models out there make use of fiberglass material. That said, you can be sure that you never have to sacrifice quality by opting for this kind of pool.
3. Lower maintenance needs and costs
As mentioned above, fiberglass is a hardy material, especially for swimming pools.
The protective gel coating used in prefab pools can withstand the elements, be it the heat from the Houston sun or even tornadoes that ravage the state of Texas from time to time. Fiberglass pools also require less chemical treatment for maintenance, due in large part to its ability to stabilize the pH levels in the water. Unlike traditional pools, you’d ideally be paying less for pool cleaning and maintenance because of this nifty feature.
4. Prefab pools have a smooth surface
Some people can’t stand the abrasive surface of concrete swimming pools, and for good reason. A rough pool surface can often get in the way of enjoyable swimming experiences. Not to mention that concrete surfaces may cause injury in case of a person slipping and enduring a bad fall.
With fiberglass pools, you won’t ever have to worry about uncomfortable surfaces. The texture of fiberglass proves to be superior time and time again. This is just another one of the features of the gel coating on prefab pools.
5. Wide variety of design options
A swimming pool is a natural extension of the house it occupies. It can also be a valid artistic expression of the designer. Homeowners want their pool to live in harmony with the architecture of their homes. These days, having a basic swimming pool just isn’t enough. And just because you’re looking to save money with a prefab pool, it doesn’t mean you can’t build a beautiful pool you can be proud of.
Fiberglass pools can be of different colors and installed with tilings that match the design of your house. Also, there are molds that you can attach to the main pool itself that ensure the options are near limitless. Stairs, raised decks, divisions, and the like can easily be achieved with a prefab pool.
Whether you’re looking to build something simple and practical or a more elaborate backyard oasis, fiberglass pools can work with most design choices.
1. Prefab pools may leak over time
Because fiberglass pools are prefabricated, the backfill used during installations isn’t very tailored to the land it sits on. The result is plumbing that may become compromised when the backfill, typically sand, is eroded over time. The pool itself may also warp, bend, or crack when the sand backfill it rests against shifts in place.
Unattended leakage will lead to consistently lower water levels in the pool, and will inevitably result in a higher water bill.
This is a scenario that homeowners don’t want to happen. So one solution is to avoid sand backfill and opt for gravel backfill instead. While the costs may escalate, the long-term outlook for the prefab pool can be guaranteed by using gravel.
2. Prefab pools can turn ugly fast
If you’re not careful or don’t spot the signs early, your precious fiberglass pool can show its age rather prematurely. Most pools like this are painted with multiple layers of topcoat. While fiberglass is physically durable, its cosmetic appearance is another story. Exposure to the sun and general use, among other things, may cause the topcoat to fade or scratch.
Now, you can remedy this by applying a new topcoat layer or two, but this becomes difficult when your pool has an intricate design. The pool can quickly turn into a patchwork of off-putting paint.
What you can do is regularly check and maintain the pool. Also, try to cover the entire pool area when not in use or when the weather is too chilly for swimming. If you can install a covered area over the pool, that’s all the better. Remember, a pool can be an investment or a liability.
A fiberglass pool that’s well-taken care of will last you decades, and may even survive a move to a different location.
3. Heavy-duty equipment may be used during installation
Fiberglass pools are prefabricated, so they normally arrive at your house in one piece. Depending on the size of your pool, the contractor may use heavy-duty equipment to aid with installation. The contractor may arrive with a crane to position the pool unit in the perfect spot. It may also be used to dig through your property.
All this means you may need to secure additional permits before you can go on with installing your prefab pool. Renting the heavy-duty equipment and their operators may also reflect on your contractor’s bill. But if you’re willing to proceed despite this, then a fiberglass pool just might be for you.
Texas regulations on prefab pools
All residential swimming pools in the state of Texas are subject to stringent rules and regulations. Prefab pools are no exception. For this reason, you need to abide by the following regulations if you want to install a fiberglass pool in your home.
- A residential swimming pool must have a safety fence installed.
- The safety fence must be at least 4 feet in height in each section.
- Any gaps in the fence must be smaller than 4 inches in diameter.
- The pool fence must not be constructed of chain link materials.
- The pool fence must be self-closing and self-latching.
- The fence’s latching mechanism must be at the top quarter of the pool-side of the gate.
- The gate must have a locking mechanism that uses either a padlock, combination lock, or key/card lock.
- The gate must open outward, away from the swimming pool.
Prefab pools may have their fair share of hiccups, but so do all other kinds of pools. If done right, a fiberglass pool can be a beautiful and enjoyable addition to your home. It’s highly customizable, costs about half that of concrete pools, highly durable, faster to install, and easier to maintain. While the problems that may arise can be solved with some simple adjustments.
If this sounds like a great proposition, discuss your options with your local contractor.
Do you think prefab pools are better than traditional pools? Leave your thoughts on the comment section below.
Pool Cleaning Services
Are you ready to install a prefab pool in your home? While they require less maintenance overall, it’s still best to have your fiberglass pool regularly cleaned and maintained by established professionals.
SSD Pools is trusted in the Houston area for swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services. Whether it’s a simple cleaning job or a chemical treatment, we’ll make sure your pool is at its best.
Schedule a free estimate with SSD Pools now!