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Fibreglass or Concrete Pool: Pros and Cons

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One of the hottest topics of pool debate is over installing a fibreglass or concrete pool. Because pool suppliers will always push their products, it's hard to get objective answers from them. Pool owners have their preferences, but a satisfied concrete owner will be as passionate about concrete as a satisfied fibreglass swimming pool is about fibreglass.

The fact is, there are pros and cons to both fibreglass and concrete pools. If you know both sides of the story, you'll be in a better position to choose the right one for you.

Pros and Cons of Fibreglass Pools

Two of the biggest attractions of fibreglass pools are their lower price and ease of installation. The price difference between a high quality fibreglass pool and a concrete pool is not as great as some believe it to be, but a fibreglass pool can be installed within a week, while a concrete pool can take months to install.

Another advantage of a fibreglass pool is that fibreglass has enough flex in it that it won't crack in unstable soil. In some areas where soil subsidence or unstable soil is a problem, many homeowners who have installed concrete pools have regretted it. If you're leaning towards concrete, find out about soil conditions in your backyard first.

The biggest drawback to a fibreglass pool is that you are limited in your design and colour options. Fibreglass pools are factory-made in a variety of sizes and shapes, but if you can't find exactly what you want, you are better off having a concrete pool custom designed for you.

Another sometimes overlooked drawback to fibreglass is that the pool shell has to be installed with a crane. Getting the crane into the back yard can be a problem, so ask pool builders about this before you decide.

Pros and Cons of Concrete Pools

Concrete swimming pools give you complete control over the design of your pool. If you want a freeform or natural pool, concrete is your best option. You can make the pool look like a natural lake or pond, complete with natural stones lining the side of the pool and a waterfall pouring down from a verdant hillside. For an ultra-modern appearance, your pool can run the length of your backyard, ending with an infinity edge.

Have the soil in your yard tested before you install a concrete swimming pool. More than one homeowner has paid $40,000 or more for the pool of their dreams, only to have to spend $10,000 or more on repairs just a year or two later, when cracks in the pool appear and the pool leaks. In most cases, it has nothing to do with the workmanship and everything to do with the soil.

Opinions are divided, but many homeowners who have had both concrete and fibreglass pools say fibreglass is easier to maintain than concrete. Some say concrete is colder than fibreglass, too, but others don't notice a difference.

What's the verdict? Explore your design options, check any access issues and find out about your local soil conditions before you decide between fibreglass and concrete. If all things are equal, you will be happy with either one. Otherwise, choose the pool that works best in your location and rest assured you've made the right choice for your backyard pool.

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