Fiberglass Pool Basics: Pros, Cons, and How They’re Made
What is a fiberglass pool, in the most basic sense?Confession: between you and me, I didn’t know the basics of a fiberglass pool until I joined River Pools. I knew what fiberglass was and what a pool was, individually, but I wasn’t sure how fiberglass changed the pool essence and the process. I imagined it as being basically a curvy plastic bowl someone stuck in the ground.Of course, I’m a pro now, but with vivid memories of how lost I felt at first. So if you’re quietly wondering about the fundamentals of a fiberglass pool, I’m here for you.We’ll discuss these aspects in layman’s terms:ComponentsManufacturing processInstallation processCostPros and consWhat is a fiberglass pool? Not a curvy plastic bowl, as it turns out. But I hadn’t been completely off: it’s a one-piece structure made entirely of fiberglass materials.For comparison, a vinyl liner pool has 1) plastic or metal wall panels and 2) a grout or vermiculite pool bottom with 3) the vinyl liner on top of them.A concrete pool has 1) a cage of steel bars encased in 2) concrete covered in 3) plaster.Recommendation: definitely watch our 8-video series on River Pools’ manufacturing process. My coworker Cristian is both funny and informative, and his videos take you into the factory to see the manufacturing process up close.The fiberglass pool shells manufactured by River Pools consist of six different layers of fiberglass materials, all melded together.
On the other hand, I could stick newspaper alone to the balloon, but it wouldn’t stay there without something holding it to the mold (in this case, the balloon).The resin is the glue to the fiberglass’s paper. When mixed and applied together, they keep the correct shape with proper support.Vinyl ester resin is what we use with the first layer of chopped fiberglass because it’s waterproof. It prevents water from passing through the gelcoat into the semipermeable polyester resin, which would make the gelcoat bubble (in osmotic blisters) and separate from the next layer of the pool shell.
We look for any cracks or inconsistencies in the fiberglass. While each manufacturer’s process may differ slightly, make sure they quality check the pool shell.The builder should also weigh the pool shell to make sure it falls within an acceptable range (about 5% of the design specifications). A pool that falls outside that range may have insufficient or faulty material.You can ask for a dig sheet (the design specs) and compare the weight listed there to the weight logged on the side of your pool.How are fiberglass pools made? The short answer: very carefully.Since the pool is built in the factory, you won’t see this part. Still, you should interview potential manufacturers to be sure they have a solid procedure, experienced builders, and customers you can talk to.This is the manufacturing process River Pools uses:Spray the gelcoat onto the mold.Apply chopped fiberglass with vinyl ester resin.Apply chopped fiberglass with polyester resin.Apply woven roving at stress points for additional strength.Apply structural honeycomb materials to support the side walls.Apply the final layer of fiberglass with polyester resin.Cure in the mold.Remove the pool shell from the mold.Trim the excess fiberglass.Quality check the pool shell.How are fiberglass pools installed? Most of the time, pool shell manufacturers work separately from the people who install that pool. In this case, you’ll want to interview the installer in addition to the manufacturer to verify their experience and process and ask for customer references.River Pools is both a manufacturer and installer, so we’re able to provide a seamless pool project experience.This is our process for installing your pool:Excavate the soil.Set and level the pool.Install the pool’s plumbing and filter system.Backfill the pool shell.Install the coping and patio.Install the pool fence.The installation process takes only a few weeks, so you can enjoy your pool all summer long rather than staring sadly at your torn-up yard for months.
Disclaimer: This blog article was written by and belongs to River Pools