Looking into a fiberglass pool and I have lots of questions!

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Hi everyone!

IÂ’m new to TFP but IÂ’ve learned so much over the last couple of days poking around!

I really just started seriously considering a pool this year. IÂ’ve wanted one for as long as I can remember and no matter what I set as a goal it seems something comes up, itÂ’s time for me to take the plunge. I live in Upstate NY so I have a short pool season and an awful sloped, probably rock filled back yard.

IÂ’ve talked to two installers. IÂ’ve tried to reach about 15 and these are the only two that have reached out to schedule a site visit. IÂ’m hoping this is because itÂ’s not typical pool installing season but IÂ’m not sure. Anyways, sorry for getting side tracked - one is a Viking dealer and the other a Leisure dealer.

The Leisure dealer does everything from pool to pavers and fencing. I love the idea of having one guy do everything however, IÂ’m looking for about 30 feet and nothing in the Leisure line IÂ’m in love with. I like the kidney shaped Tuscany but the dealer said you lose so much space and for roughly the same amount of money I should go with the Supreme which is bigger and a little deeper (I started this process convinced I wanted a true deep end). Has anyone installed the Leisure Tuscany? Or a kidney shape in general? Any complaints in size? ItÂ’s really just the shape that if I could specify everything I would be drawn to hands down. I guess I should tell you IÂ’ve chosen fiberglass over vinyl because it seems maintenance wise itÂ’s a good choice and I have two dogs, one is a Newfoundland - so 160lbs of fluff that LOVES to swim. This dealer also told me I should use an area about 20-30ft away from the entrance into my backyard to avoid retaining walls.. this area is sunken down and to the right of the area I was hoping to put it. He has only one bad review online that I can overlook, every other review is 5 Stars, he does you tube videos of his installs and overall IÂ’m very impressed with his work. The downside is price. I do want some lights and deck jets to make it seem like itÂ’s a high end pool I suppose but nothing crazy, no real water features or spa or anything and my quote was $85k. Again, I am in NY so I wasnÂ’t thinking itÂ’s a rip off but $85k is a lot of money.

Now lets go to the Viking dealer. He told me he wouldn’t have a problem putting the pool where the first guy said absolutely not. This guy was concerned with the other’s spot due to it being a low spot and drainage concerns. This guy has been doing Fiberglass pools for 30 years, however his reviews have some more bad experiences. Overall a 3.5 Star. He said there may have to be some building up with dirt to level the yard but I have property and places to steal dirt from that would make this an ok option. I am in love with the Viking Sea Breeze. It’s the kidney shaped pool I want. The only problem is the deep end would be closest to the entrance of the pool (closer to my back door) and the steps would be further down. Has anyone had to do something like this? Would this be something I regret? I don’t see it as a big deal but my dad seemed to be hung up on this point when I said it to him. Another option would be the St Thomas. We can position it “correctly” with the step logically where they should be and I would get a 7 ft deep end! :D Or he has some pools on the lot that are discounted. One is a Liberty Lincoln (not truly kidney shaped but closer lol) or a Roman that the manufacturer I’m unsure of but it does have a 6 ft deep end. I’m pretty sure I’ll go and look at these discounted options because they’re about $20k less and the original price maybe started to scare me. But, I’m not in love with either at this point. To be fair, I think every pool I’ve ever seen in person is rectangular. The quote for the Sea Breeze with concrete and fencing (not the pool dealer but guys he works with extensively) is $75k. The Sea Breeze is the most expensive so we’ll be conservative.

IÂ’m incredibly torn about what to do. The conflicting site problem is a major concern for me. I also had my bf and dad at both site visits and they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. My bf loved the Leisure guy, my dad the Viking. I am a little concerned about the bad reviews of the Viking dealer but I will say I think people are more likely to say bad than good.. so maybe IÂ’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt?

I really love the kidney shape as IÂ’m sure you know my now and I love the idea of the 8 ft over a slight slope the whole way. The fact Leisure doesnÂ’t have an option for me in 30ft makes me want to go with the Viking dealer where I have that option. IÂ’ve read a lot about people saying they regret their deep ends but I think this is a nostalgic thing for me. My grandfather had an 8 ft pool and I remember diving into it and thatÂ’s what IÂ’m stuck on. My mom is in the same boat as me on the deep end and IÂ’m sure itÂ’s a nostalgia thing for her as well. I donÂ’t have kids now, IÂ’m 29 and I have my dogs. I imagine one day kids and dogs will be in the pool but for right now itÂ’s mostly going to be me and my bf. I donÂ’t know if this really matters but everyone except for my dad who is average height is 6 feet or over. And thatÂ’s part of the reason I may think I need a deep end.

Other concerns for me is the Leisure guy only does salt water while the Viking guy said salt can be harsh on the concrete. IÂ’m not opposed to chlorine but it seems like a salt water system is so much less maintenance.

Any one think concrete is a bad idea period? I originally had in my head it might not be a good idea because itÂ’ll crack and look bad and then I donÂ’t know what a repair cost will be like.

Any help/suggestions would be great! I really appreciate it. It just seems like such a huge decision and some objective views would be nice. IÂ’d really love to hear from people that have the pools I mentioned, but IÂ’ll take opinions over Viking or Leisure. To me it seems I may have less problems with the Leisure gel coat but the Viking dealer did say he used to do Leisure and had problems with them warranty wise. I know he has an interest in my going Viking but just curious to see if anyone has any experience either way.

Again thank you. And I apologize for the super long post. Just trying to get all of my thoughts out there.
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,300
Chapel Hill, NC
What do you want to do in the pool? If you want a diving board/diving rock, you should have 8ft depth. If you want to jump in off the decking (feet first) then 6-7 feet should be adequate.

I have a kidney shaped pool. If I had to do it again, I might go with some other shape as a kidney does take careful integration into the space you have to maximize utility in and out of the pool.
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Thanks for the reply Keith! I honestly imagine myself mostly floating around, it’ll be more of a hangout spot than for laps. I don’t want a diving board so 8 ft might not be a necessity. And I just want to have a deck no extra landscaping for me... maybe I should look into a rectangle a little more.
 

riley00dog

Gold Supporter
Nov 14, 2017
2,213
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
My advise is to go with the company with the glowing reviews. We went with a company that has been building pools for 35+ years. Excellent industry reputation but several average/not so great reviews. We should have put more weight in those reviews since they are the customers’ experience. We are overall happy with our pool but it has all been a bit of a nightmare and incredibly stressful. Communication has been non existent. It’s almost like our business has been an annoyance to them.

We have a rectangular pool and very glad we do as we are tight on space. I think Pb 1 is correct in his recommendation here. It is a personal preference though.

If you’re not planning a diving board then you don’t really need 8 foot. That extra foot or two is extra pool volume you will need to maintain and fill etc. Also your pool will likely be colder the deeper you go.

If you have a short swim season I would factor in a heater or at least a provision for one. You will get so much more use out of your pool with one.

I suggest writing a list of definite things you want and take it from there. You are wise to include a swcg. Don’t be talked out of it.
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Thank you so much for the suggestions! I’m definitely going to add a heater. You’re right about 8 ft probably being more than I need and it will end up costing me more to maintain. I’m sure I can deal with 6! And thank you for advice on the pool builder - I know being as anxious as I am already someone not returning my phone calls would drive me up a wall :)
 

riley00dog

Gold Supporter
Nov 14, 2017
2,213
Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Thank you so much for the suggestions! I’m definitely going to add a heater. You’re right about 8 ft probably being more than I need and it will end up costing me more to maintain. I’m sure I can deal with 6! And thank you for advice on the pool builder - I know being as anxious as I am already someone not returning my phone calls would drive me up a wall :)
You are welcome. We have just finished our build (still a few little things that need doing). I wish I had known how stressful and frustrating the whole process would be.
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Did you deal with several contractors throughout the process? I’m sure it’s common but I’m getting a little hung up on having to deal with 3 people over one.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
As a FB pool owner, I would keep the following in mind:
- First, decide on what you want the pool for (swimming, diving, games, lounging) then focus on a shape, size, and depth that meets those needs. Look 5-10 years down the road.
- Ask the companies you are shopping with the following as a starter:
-- What type of base is used to support the shell? What is the process and how do they backfill?
-- What type of chlorine options will you use? Manual chlorine additions, salt water generator, liquid dispensing?
-- Confirm what type/size filter will come with the pool you chose
-- Confirm what kind/size of pump(s) will come with the pool
-- Confirm sub-contractor pay-out rules and what exactly will be subbed-out

Remember that once the pool is set and full, you probably won't hear much from anyone. They got your money. :gone: Know what you want, ask lots of questions in advance, and don't fall for any gimmick type products they may want to add to the pool or equipment system. Come back here with info to validate what you are being told and the forum members will be glad to help. Good luck shopping.
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Thank you for the advice! Now that you brought up backfill material I have a question. It seems like sand might be standard? One of the PB said he uses gravel. Being in the northeast this made sense to me, not that I know anything about it! Is gravel an ok option?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
A gravel-type product is generally going to provide more stability over time. Mine was sand and my pool settled ever-so slightly over a few years. Most don't notice it except me, but if I could do it over, I'd insist on gravel/crushed stone product.
 

gwtw

Well-known member
Apr 23, 2018
78
Kentucky
I am not a moderator in this forum but I've learned a lot about construction of fiberglass pools this year because I had crack in mine. If I were you, I'd definitely consider getting your pool backfilled with gravel and consider getting a sump tube installed so it can be safely drained for repairs if it is ever needed. My pool was backfilled with sand which caused it to settle over time and crack along the wall, according to a fiberglass pool expert. I was told that this might not have happened if they had simply backfilled it with gravel instead of sand. When I got the crack fixed, they had to be very careful draining my pool because I didn't have a sump tube so I would definitely recommend getting one, just in case you ever need to drain it for some reason like I did. I also highly recommend getting a salt water generator because it is extremely easy to keep a fiberglass pool balanced when you have one. I've never heard that salt water can damage concrete so I'm not sure if this is a valid concern or not.
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
226
Brentwood, CA
I was considering a FG pool during my first pool attempt back in 2011.

A place called riverpools and spas from VA/MA is very informative on items such as backfill (they refuse to use sand etc.)

They have a blog and YouTube channel for pool newbies i thought was interesting.

Might be worth your time reading what they have
 

Winger 03

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2009
225
Frederick County, MD
River Pools was my installer several years ago when they carried Leisure Pools. Great website and extremely knowledgeable. They actually manufacture their own shells now and have qualified installers in many parts of the US.


I was considering a FG pool during my first pool attempt back in 2011.

A place called riverpools and spas from VA/MA is very informative on items such as backfill (they refuse to use sand etc.)

They have a blog and YouTube channel for pool newbies i thought was interesting.

Might be worth your time reading what they have
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,171
Morris Cnty NJ
if you arent diving into the pool 6ft is all you need for cannonballs. I also think 85k is ridiculous for a fiberglass pool. the shell can be bought for less than 20k do you have that much sitework to justify 65k profit with no features or waterfalls? look into a liner pool you can get the pool done for under 30k and even with a bad slope and retaining walls you should be 20-25k to do the hardscaping. I also think the kidney and freeforms are nice but you lose waterspace. I have 14x30 rectangle and I was limited by my town I couldnt go bigger because of coverage issues w small lot. length is good some width would be nice for me, 16x32 is a good size and rectangle can fit into any yard or landscaping. look at some liner pools on here w liner over steps and pavers or cantilever coping you cant tell its not a concrete pool. for that matter 85k should get you a killer gunite pool with some water features. fiberglass isnt worth the price your getting make some calls to gunite and liner guys just to see the difference. I also started out looking for a fiberglass to DIY and I have a liner pool now
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
Wow, thank you everyone for the suggestions! I will definitely go with gravel over sand. I have read a lot on the River Pools site and it is incredibly helpful!

Jimmy if I’m being honest I thought $85k was crazy after reading what some other people spent - it seems like everything is more expensive in NY (can’t wait to deal with the tax increase too!). That’s why I was so seriously considering the discount options - they may not have been my first choice shape wise but $30k in savings would be amazing! My one hesitation with vinyl or gunite seems to be more maintenance. Everyone I know has one or the other though, no fiberglass to speak of near me!
 

NorCalX

Gold Supporter
Feb 3, 2011
226
Brentwood, CA
i had a ballpark quote of 70 to 90k for a viking gulfshore + spa before an onsite visit about 2 years ago (SF Bay Area). I asked if they use sand or gravel for backfill and was told sand only no changes (I've learned this is a viking manufacturer specification item). I declined the onsite visit.

I have neighbors with custom gunite here with stunning grottos/waterfalls/slides and sunshelves in that same price range.
 

Jdecast1

Member
Oct 27, 2018
10
Liberty, NY
i had a ballpark quote of 70 to 90k for a viking gulfshore + spa before an onsite visit about 2 years ago (SF Bay Area). I asked if they use sand or gravel for backfill and was told sand only no changes (I've learned this is a viking manufacturer specification item). I declined the onsite visit.

I have neighbors with custom gunite here with stunning grottos/waterfalls/slides and sunshelves in that same price range.
Are you planning to go with gunite?
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,171
Morris Cnty NJ
There is maintenance w any pool ita no different whatever u choose. Using tfp methods and having a robot make it a breeze I spent 10 min every 3 days worrying about the pool. Same as any other. Save ur money and get some more prices. Ny is just as expensive as NJ prices and elsewhere u can get a whole lot more for 85 large than basic fiberglass
 

Costas > DownUnder

Bronze Supporter
Dec 17, 2017
610
Adelaide | Australia
While the overall shape is important, when selecting the shell also consider the seating options available while in the water.

If you are going to lounge around in the water a lot, then ensure there are some good seating spots in the pool.