A Complete Fiberglass Pool Buying Guide
Inspired by the strength and flexibility of fiberglass boats, fiberglass pools were invented in the 1950s as an alternative to concrete pools. Unlike concrete, they don’t crack in cold temperatures. They’re also easier to install and slightly less expensive.
Fiberglass swimming pools are pre-assembled in a factory. The pool is delivered to your home in one piece, then installed quickly – typically in a matter of days or weeks.
The price of a fiberglass pool depends on its size, features and local labor rates. However, the average cost falls in the range of $20,000-$40,000, which includes shipping and installation but not decking or patio.
About Fiberglass Pools
Early versions of fiberglass pools were not ideal. They were very limited in size in shape, prone to blistering and spotting, and not all that attractive. But the technology has come a long way, and fiberglass pools have skyrocketed in popularity.
Modern fiberglass pools are strong, durable and attractive. They’re sold in a variety of shapes and sizes, although there are design limitations. They come in round, oval and rectangular shapes but not custom designs. Due to trucking requirements, fiberglass pools max out in size at about 40 feet long, 16 feet wide and 8 feet deep. Like prefabricated hot tubs, fiberglass pools usually have built-in steps and/or seating.
Fiberglass pools are very low maintenance. They are nonporous, so they require fewer chemicals than concrete pools and are not susceptible to algae growth. Unlike concrete pools, they never require resurfacing.
Cost of a Fiberglass Pool
Generally, fiberglass pools are slightly less expensive than concrete pools but more expensive than vinyl pools.
- The smallest fiberglass pools without features such as lights, heater, slides, pool covers and decking start at $12,000-$15,000.
- The largest high-end models start at about $30,000 for just the shell.
- A complete fiberglass pool package that includes the shell, shipping, installation and electrical work, heaters, lights, decking and fencing usually costs $45,000-$65,000.
Fiberglass Pool Installation
Installation of a fiberglass pool is relatively quick – the process usually takes a matter of weeks. Often, installers will give you two options: turn-key installation or just a drop off. With turn-key installation, the company will handle everything from excavation to filling the pool. When they’re done, you’ll be ready to swim. If you opt for a drop off, you’re in charge of installation – whether you do it yourself or act as a general contractor by hiring a variety of subcontractors to do the work.
Fiberglass Pool Pros
- Low maintenance – Fiberglass pools are nonporous, so they’re not susceptible to algae growth. They require fewer chemicals than concrete pools, and they never require resurfacing.
- Easy to install – Because fiberglass pools are shipped in one piece, the site work in minimal. You can be swimming in your pool in a matter of weeks.
- Strength/durability – Fiberglass is better able to absorb fluctuations in the earth’s surface than concrete. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, fiberglass in generally a better option. And it is longer-lasting and more durable than vinyl.
Fiberglass Pool Cons
- Limited design options – Fiberglass pools are sold in standard shapes and sizes; custom shapes and designs are not available. If you want a beach entry or a L-shape, for example, you’re out of luck.
- No diving – Because fiberglass pools are usually no deeper than eight feet, they’re not designed for diving.
- Slippery – The surface of fiberglass pools is slippery, which creates a potential hazard, particularly on the stairs. You can avoid this by paying extra for a non-slip coating.