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The Great Debate: Concrete or Fiberglass Pool?

Buying a swimming pool comes with a number of important decisions, the first and foremost being which type of pool is best for you -- concrete or fiberglass? Each has its advantages, which we’ll discuss in detail here.

Installation

Concrete

Of the two options, a concrete pool requires a more extensive installation process that includes rebar, framework and concrete which is mixed onsite and applied via a high-velocity pneumatic hose. This is what the industry calls gunite or shotcrete. The shell is smoothed out and prepped for plaster or other interior finish.

Expect the installation to stretch across six to eight weeks.

Fiberglass

A fiberglass pool is a pre-cast shell that we’ll lower into an excavated hole as a single piece -- pretty simple. Depending on access, we may be able to tip the fiberglass shell on its edge and roll it into the backyard. Otherwise, we may need a crane to lift the pool over your house.

Installation is relatively quick. You’ll be swimming within three to five weeks.

Both a concrete and fiberglass pool will require extensive plumbing, pump, filter and lighting. (We’d also highly recommend a heater.) And to comply with code, you’ll need at least two barriers of safety. These can be any combination of a fence, pool cover and alarm.

Cost

There’s a common misconception that a fiberglass pool will be cheaper. This isn’t necessarily the case. An entry-level concrete pool and a fiberglass pool of equal size will cost about the same -- approximately $50,000.

There are, however, longterm expenses to consider. A concrete pool needs to be resurfaced every 10 to 15 years. That’ll run you about $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the finish. Maintenance costs associated with concrete pools tend to be a little higher, too. That’s due to the porous surface, which can promote algae growth, necessitating more chemicals. This, however, isn’t a dealbreaker for most people.

Surface

Concrete

A concrete pool can be finished with a variety of materials, which will range in cost from white plaster, or marcite, at the low end to quartz and pebble at the high end. Let’s take a look at each option:

Marcite: Forms a smooth finish, but options for customization are limited. The wet mix can be dyed shades of blue or grey for a dark-bottomed pool.

Quartz: Tougher than marcite, quartz resists chipping and erosion and has a longer lifespan. The material provides a broad spectrum of colors to choose from.

Pebble: A pebble finish is the most durable of the three options. Staining, mottling, fading and chipping won’t be a concern. Plus, it is the most aesthetically appealing. The mix includes a variety of pebble sizes, so give the blend careful consideration. Larger pebbles make for a rougher surface.

Fiberglass

Essentially, a fiberglass pool is like a giant bathtub. The gel-coat surface is smooth, almost slippery. It’s non-porous, which inhibits algae growth.

Customization

Concrete

This is where concrete pools have the edge over fiberglass. From lagoon-style to contemporary vanishing-edge pools, design options are nearly limitless. Plus, sun shelves, bench seating, beach entry, window walls, attached spas, water features, slides are all on the table as options. Plus, we aren’t restricted to any particular size. In short, if you can dream it, we can build it.

Fiberglass

Your options will be limited to what the manufacturer has available. That said, there are plenty of options to consider in terms of size and features, such as bench seating and tanning ledge. And, of course, we can add slides, waterfalls and other options around the perimeter.

Bottom line: We happen to be one of the few pool builders in the Los Angeles area that installs both concrete and fiberglass pools. Either option is going to provide you a personal oasis and increase the value of your home. To schedule an appointment, call (661) 667-4220.

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