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Thread: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

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    Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    Hi all,

    I am new here. I live in eastern Pennsylvania and I am looking into putting in a new pool. I have decided to go with gunite or fiberglass. I've read a lot and I am still undecided mainly because of all the online sales pitches and inability to get the real "truth".

    If you are a pool installer, please do not respond. I'd really like to hear from people who have fiberglass pools and have had them for at least 7+ years.

    In talking with a few builders, I did get one piece of advise that I think I can believe. They have told me that Barrier Reef makes the best pools. They feel they are superior in strength and that they are much heavier than the others. So, I am going with Barrier Reef or Riviera (made by Barrier Reef). My only hang up on fiberglass is two things:

    1) Lifetime Warrantee - The pool companies state a lifetime warrantee on the structure. I forget who and where, but I was told that this is limited to only 7 years in Pa. If this is true, I doubt I will go fiberglass as a "cracked" fiberglass pool seems like it will have to be ripped out and replaced.

    2) Maintenance - The fiberglass pool companies say there is very little maintenance and the pools will look great forever. I just saw a white fiberglass pool that was installed 3 years ago. Honestly, I thought it looked terrible. There was a black film on the sides and it looked bad. This is my fear....I install this beautiful pool and it starts to look horrible.

    I am realistic. I don't expect the pool to look as good as it did say 15 years after it was installed, but it shouldn't be an eye sore.

    So, I guess my question is to those people who have had a fiberglass pool for many years. These are the people who are past there "honeymoon" period and have the experience of reality. Please tell me, how is your pool holding up and are you still satisfied?

    Thanks,
    Doug
    13,500 Gallon Gunite Aggregate Finish, DE, SWG, 2.0 HP pump, 1.0 HP pump for 3 Sheer Descents

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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    I am in the 8th season of having a fiberglass pool and I would install another one in a heartbeat. Any issues that I've had are purely from my own ignorance and lack of information from the installer.

    Mine is made by Aloha. Maybe there are better alternatives but in my area this was about the only choice of manufacturers. (Other dealers carried the Alohas too. I chose builder based upon price.)

    I don't know what your friend's black stains are but mine looks almost as beautiful as the day it was installed. (The reason I say "almost" is explained below. I have every belief that, very soon, it will be "just as beautiful as the day it was installed".)

    My only problem was that I didn't know that I needed to worry about calcium hardness in a fiberglass pool. Since my fill water is through a water softener (which I thought was a good idea as it adds salt back into my pool), my CH was way, way, way too low for 7 years. I've found the product that is fixing it and I predict that by the end of this summer, I'll have removed all of the white "powder" (lack of a better word) from the sides. In addition to the product I'm using, I've raised my CH hardness levels to the recommended levels. This issue doesn't detract from the use of the pool and unless I pointed it out to you, you wouldn't even know it was an issue. (It doesn't show up until you scrub at the sides.)

    I have had some staining from time to time (from leaves, rose petals, bugs that get lodged against the side at that water line) but the stains bleach out after a short period - just a day or two - from the chlorine in the water and the sun's effects. I scrub the water line with either a scrub brush or magic clean eraser. I used the latter sparingly as I have heard - never confirmed - that magic clean erasers can be harsh on the gel coat. I've never noticed any effects, i.e. scratching, pitting, etc. from using the magic clean eraser, but I keep it in the back of my mind and only use it for more difficult stains.

    I once had a problem where I was developing a pinkish hue to the pool and was told it was from iron in the water. I bought some vitamin C powder and the pink went away within about an hour. (That was pretty amazing!) It's never come back.

    I've only have personal (somewhat) experience with two other fiberglass pools. Both of the other ones probably don't get the personal attention that I give to my pool. The pool that gets about 1/2 the attention of mine looks fine, it's just not quite as sparkly as mine - which is really a water issue, not pool issue. The sides look good though even though I know that she doesn't tend to that as well as she should. The second one is a mess. It's a homeowner who moved into my neighborhood and knew nothing about pools. Despite my best efforts, they don't run their pump for days at a time (maybe even a week, honestly!). The dogs are missing from their timer and they forget to turn it on. Why they haven't bought new dogs, I couldn't say. English is not their native tongue. For the first several months, I kept them supplied with chlorine boost packs (that I keep on hand for parties and heavy bather loads). I finally stopped stocking them so that I wouldn't have to keep them supplied. (Now, I just use liquid chlorine.)

    I should add (in case you don't notice in my signature) that I have a SWG and have had a SWG from the beginning. So.....your mileage may vary ;-/

    I can attach pics of the pool one week ago (pool is 7 years old) and one pic from '09 when the pool was three years old. To find photos of when it was installed would force me to find them buried on CDs somewhere. At least this will give you some comparison of how it's aged from year 4 - 7. Just for fun, I won't tell you which picture is which.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    There are a few good threads here about fibreglass installs gone wrong or fibreglass with cracks (within or beyond warranty).
    From what I've read I believe a level base is critical with fibreglass.

    You should discuss installation and cracking warranty with the builder and pool manufacturer so you know exactly how things work.

    Not trying to alarm you, I've only followed a couple of fibreglass pool threads so I'm certainly not informed about them, but I recommend doing some searching/reading so you can learn from other peoples problems.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    Thanks Jenischmeni! SWG? Does that stand for "Salt Water Generator"? Yeah....I haven't really even begun to tackle the beast of salt vs. chlorine vs. minerals as my head is about to explode as it is.

    Here's a funny thing I just realized and off topic. I just gutted and re-finished my bathroom. I went from an ugly fiberglass shower tub combo to a large 36" wide Kohler soaking tub. When I filled it for the first time, I noticed after it filled that the water had a blue hue. I was worried that my copper pipes were the source of the color. I guess it is just a reflection of some sort off of the white tub.....and is quite evident by your pool and other white fiberglass pools!!

    Ok....a few more questions. Why did you go with white? I have been looking at colored finishes, but heard today from another forum that I'll have more issues with colored gel coats. More confusion! LOL!! Personally, I'd prefer a light to dark blue finish.

    Yes, I heard to that the magic eraser's are the way to go to remove stubborn stains, but that they can also be too much for the gel coats to handle. There is a very large installer in my area and I told him about my friend's black stains and the magic eraser is what he mentioned....hmmm. Now, you sound very much like me.....A CLEAN FREAK!! LOL!! What do your sides above the water line look like? This is where I noticed the black on my friends pool. The installer I talked to also said it sounds like he isn't taking care of his pool.

    I have read about this "white chalk" that you speak of. Are you sure you know what it is have a solution for it?? That's a little concerning. It sounds like from what I've read that is really only visible when you sweep the sides.

    Ok ok ok....The bottom pic is the later pic. Figured out by the name pool 6-09-13.JPG Your pool looks very nice and it doesn't seem to be ageing as I would have thought. Thanks for the posting!!
    13,500 Gallon Gunite Aggregate Finish, DE, SWG, 2.0 HP pump, 1.0 HP pump for 3 Sheer Descents

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    Jenischmeni's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    Yes, SWG = Salt Water Generator.

    I was told that the blue water in a white fiberglass pool is not the color of the water, it's the reflection of the sky. I've been told that water is actually clear. What reflected in your bathtub, I couldn't say! LOL

    I went with white because when I started the building process, white was my only choice. Sometime between putting money down and the actual start, the colored ones came out. (Again, this could only be applicable in my own area.) I did, briefly, discuss going with a blue version except that there wasn't any real good data on it. They were new, nobody really knew how they were going to age. It was a lot of money to risk on it fading. And I felt that if I shocked or got chlorine waaaay too high, maybe I'd bleach out that blue color. Or, maybe I'd scrub it too hard and scrub off the blue. It just felt too risky for my own personal happiness. (When I chose my fiberglass pool, I knew of no one that had one and there weren't really very many in the area for me to check out.)

    My sides look great. Since I had just got out of the pool when I read the email that you'd responded, I grabbed my phone, jumped back in the pool and took pictures of the water line (which includes some of the side). I tried to get as close up a reasonably possible, yet allow you to see a bit of the area. I took two different places; lest you think I only took picture of the part that I had cleaned! LOL (In fact, I did not even scrub the sides today. Merely splashed up water to sloosh off the dead bugs and send them down to the skimmer.)

    Am I sure I have a solution to the chalky white problem? Not 100%, no. That's because no pool store, no pool person, no one has EVER heard of this issue. Most kept trying to tell me that it was because I have a salt water pool and the salt is collecting on the sides. Others said my gel coat was dissolving. I had Googled it until I was crazy. (Mind you, I've been fighting this for a long time!!!!) I *finally* found a posting here on these forums and shouted out loud "THAT'S IT!" The product that they recommended wasn't available in my area, but I found a private label version of it at Leslie's. (Well...I had to travel about 45 minutes to find a store that had it in stock.) I added it as we were refilling (we lowered the water to reduce salt content and caulk the jets/lights) and by that night, the white was already dissolving. Every time we're in it, we scrub away (which helps the stuff work faster) and now we can't even rub off enough white stuff to make a cloud. (Whereas days after adding that stuff, the white stuff came off in huge clouds and we turned the water into something like milk!) Yes, it was only visible when you scrubbed the sides. (And even when it was at it's worst - prior to finding the supposed solution - it wouldn't even come off with normal use. It would only come off when you scrubbed at. So, nobody other than me and hubby really ever noticed it. Of course, it drove ME batty!)

    Trust me, if only I'd known that CH was important, I sure would have made sure to have that right all along.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I'm always happy to snap a photo or answer a question.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Central Indiana, 7200 gallon, IG fiberglass, L250 Jacuzzi sand filter, Hayward H150 gas heater, Pentair fiber optic light - installed '06. AOSmith 1.0hp pump, CPSC-24 SWG - installed '13. TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    I did a ton of research and chose fiberglass...I have only had for 6 months, so can't comment on long term success, but based on what I know about my MFG and HOW they put the pool together I don't expect any issues.

    ONLY CRITICAL issue is the levelness and the backfill material. DO NOT USE SAND PERIOD! If a PB wants to use sand for fiberglass RUN RUN RUN away. I had a self compacting gravel #8 I think. Plus the base was leveled using an engineers level/transom (did I spell correctly) and this same #8 gravel that was compacted multiple times.

    If you PM me I can share more details of MFG, etc....
    14,750 GAL IG Fiberglass (16 x 33) NE Ohio || Jandy 1HP 2 speed Pump || Waterco MultiCyclone 16 Centrifugal pre-filter (removed due to not working with sand filter) || 30" 575 Lb. Sand Filter || AquaCal 140K BTU Heat Pump || Solar Cover || Inter-fab Adrenaline Slide || GLI Monsoon Solar Cover Reel || K-2006C Test Kit || BBB with Liquid Chlorine Stenner Injection || Rayner Mighty Mesh Winter Cover

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    I am not an expert in the FG pool but reading here, it sounds like the quality of the installer and the install itself are the biggest factors in the happiness of the purchaser.

    I hear things about installers burying jacks (may be the norm) and fit testing in the dark (not the norm) and dropping pools (bad).
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Fiberglass Pool Decision??

    Jenischmeni....That pool does look nice! I can even see the shine in the clear coat very well! Looks great....obviously, my friend is not caring for his pool. I know I will....so no problem there. That enough pictures and thanks for your help!
    13,500 Gallon Gunite Aggregate Finish, DE, SWG, 2.0 HP pump, 1.0 HP pump for 3 Sheer Descents

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