Fiberglass vs. gunite pool

Jul 29, 2018
224
FL Panhandle
We are just starting the planning for construction of a new home in the Asheville, NC area. My wife swims every day, and we are considering including an indoor pool in the plan so she can use it year round. Nothing fancy, probably just a simple 30' x 10' rectangle without any water features. We have a screen-enclosed gunite pool at our current home, but was wondering whether a fiberglass pool would be appropriate for the new home. Every search I do on the internet on pros and cons turns up someone who is trying to push one or the other. Figured I should turn to the members here to get some disinterested input. The plan is we would be in this home for the next 20 years, so I do want it to last. But I also want to reduce the maintenance burden as much as possible. There could be times when we would be traveling for a month or so, and would like to be able to not to have to worry too much about the water chemistry while we are away. It would be a salt pool, and I have a CO2-based pH control system in my current pool that I would move up to the new home. Would appreciate input on which pool surface is most appropriate for this application. Thanks.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,780
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
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Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
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Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Surface doesn’t really matter.

What does matter to an indoor pool is the ventilation and HVAC system for the pool room. You can’t just stick a swimming pool inside an enclosed structure and call it a day. Unless you want serious mold, moisture, and structural damage, and truly “indoor” pool needs to be built by someone who has done that kind of work before. The room will need its own environmental controls as it is not the same as keeping air comfortable in a home. You’ll also want to provide good lighting inside the pool room.

As for equipment, the pool will need temperature control (you may be able to tie into the household heating system) and you’ll likely need a UV system with fairly high output. An indoor pool gets little to no UV light so combine chlorine becomes a much bigger problem to deal with. A good quality UV system can help add back a supplemental oxidation source that most pool owners take for granted.
 
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Jul 29, 2018
224
FL Panhandle
Understand the need for good ventilation and humidity control. Did not know about UV, need to research this. When you say "temperature control", do you mean for the pool room or the pool water? Is this different from just using a heater to heat the water when needed?
 

guinness

Well-known member
May 3, 2019
1,271
California
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
See the following thread regarding environmental equipment.

 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,780
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Understand the need for good ventilation and humidity control. Did not know about UV, need to research this. When you say "temperature control", do you mean for the pool room or the pool water? Is this different from just using a heater to heat the water when needed?

Sorry for the confusion.

You’ll need a heater for the pool. That could be an independent heater like a gas heater or heat pump OR some people with hydronic heating systems for their homes have found ways to tie that in to their pools. That choice is entirely up to you but I would definitely want to be able to control the pool water temp in an indoor pool. Heat pumps could be a good option as some brands offer both heating and cooling features.

As for the room air itself, the choice of using the same system as your home or independently is entirely up to you. Both options have their complexities. However, I would be cautious about trying to use a home HVAC system designed for room air to do the right job for POOL ROOM air. Indoor pool rooms are always going to be significantly more humid than regular rooms in the home. That greater humidity could overwhelm an HVAC system that was solely designed for standard household room air. Again, it’s one of those situations where details really matter and there are few builders that understand that.
 
Jul 29, 2018
224
FL Panhandle
I was planning to have a pool heater. I wouldn't think I will need to cool the water, and because the need to heat will be greatest in the winter months, perhaps a heat pump would not work as well as a gas heater. I think it would be highly advisable to have the pool room on its own separate HVAC system, that's certainly what I was envisioning. I was also thinking that having a pool cover would be a good idea to help some with water loss.

But back to my original question. It seems to me that the surface would have *some* impact on maintaining water chemistry and algae growth. Am I wrong about that? And how long could I expect a fiberglass pool to last?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
21,780
Tucson, AZ
Pool Size
16000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
But back to my original question. It seems to me that the surface would have *some* impact on maintaining water chemistry and algae growth. Am I wrong about that? And how long could I expect a fiberglass pool to last?

This is statement that you find all over the internet and it is total BS. Usually you see the fiberglass manufacturers and FG pool owners on Facebook making the claim that their pools “use less chemicals” and are “easier to care for” without offering any proof whatsoever to their claims.

Surface type doesn’t matter. All pools need maintenance and water chemistry management. Lack of consistent care and maintenance can destroy any pool surface.
 
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