So you want a pool. But what type of pool is best, concrete or fibreglass?
Deciding between concrete or fibreglass is the first step towards building your perfect pool and there are pros and cons of each depending on your priorities. Let’s take a closer look so you can work out whether fibreglass or concrete is the best type of pool for you.
Fibreglass vs concrete: build process & customisation
Fibreglass pools are manufactured into pre-defined shapes off-site, then delivered and dropped into your excavated hole. This provides limited options for your pool size or shape (including a maximum width of 4.2m as it’s transported by road), but it does make the pool quicker to install.
Concrete pools are built and poured on site, fully customisable to your exact specification across shape, design, interior finish and colour. This process requires extra time for allowing the concrete to cure, then finishing your pool interior on site, however it gives you total freedom across design decisions such as:
Size and dimensions
Custom shapes to incorporate seamlessly with your home design
Ledges for small children to play
Step depth and width for sitting, or luxurious shallow steps
Swimming lanes for laps
Glass windows to see into the pool
Above ground, in ground or partially above ground
Wet edge finish where water sits flush with the ground
Infinity edge where water laps over an edge
Deep end location – up one end or in the middle so you can stand at both ends
Colour and interior finish
Fibreglass vs concrete pool: interior
Concrete pools usually have a pebble or glass aggregate interior concrete interior with a waterline tile edge, or they can be fully tiled, (which does add quite a bit to the cost). The pebble and glass bead concrete interiors have come a long way since back in the 80’s. They are no longer the toe-shredders of your childhood and now have a fabulous smooth-but-grippy feel underfoot with infinite customisation options for both colour and texture. You can customise your pebble / glass exposure for a smooth, matte finish or a brighter shine with more exposed bead. Be aware there are some pool builders who still use the old 80’s techniques for pool interiors that will decay quickly and shred toes. At Pinnacle we only use the latest interior finishes and processes designed to last decades, not years.
Fibreglass pools have a smooth gel-coat finish that is algae resistant and easy to clean but can be less grippy compared to concrete interiors and doesn’t look as premium. Fibreglass pools typically don’t have a waterline tile added, which can lead to the bath-ring style staining over a long period of time. Fibreglass does retain heat well, which reduces the need for pool heating.
Fibreglass vs concrete pool: Longevity, maintenance and durability
Both fibreglass and concrete pools are extremely strong and durable.
Fibreglass pools have less day-to-day maintenance due to the smooth nature of their interior which is less prone to algae, however a concrete pool can be readily kept clean with simple water checks and occasional adjustments.
A major consideration is how your pool will date or age over time. Concrete pools are able to be readily refreshed with new interiors, waterline tiles, coping, or shape revisions, which means your pool can look modern and add value to your home for decades to come. Fibreglass pools are fixed. Once they are in, they are not able to be renovated or changed if it looks dated or tired in the future.
Fibreglass vs concrete pool: Price difference
According to realestate.com.au, fibreglass pools typically cost about 20% less than an equivalent concrete pool. A pool is a major investment, one that you only want to make once! A concrete pool adds value to your home and can be renovated over time along with your home to keep it looking modern without ever needing to be fully replaced.
If you’re looking for a premium finish that adds value to your home and can be readily modernised in line with future home renovations, we believe that concrete is the most versatile option and worth the additional cost.
A simple case study is our recent Kirrawee pool renovation. If this 90’s pool was fibreglass, it would need to be removed and completely replaced to modernise. Because it was concrete, we could turn it into this:
The first interior lasted almost 30 years, and now they can get another 30+ years with this design – without the waste, inefficiency and cost of starting again. To us, that makes it well worth the additional 20% up-front investment.