Toronto new pool question - Vinyl vs Fiberglass - Looking for responses from fiberglass owners of 5-15 years

Jonovision

New member
Jul 12, 2020
3
Toronto
First post...

We are planning to install a pool next year, 98% of the pools in Ontario are vinyl with fiberglass rounding out the other 2 percent. Since my home is in a regular subdivision the maximum size of the pool i can fit is around 32x12 to centre in my backyard with 6 ft ( 2 m) on either side. I am thinking 30x12 is more reasonable.

We really like the fiberglass models and the finish on them. My only concern is that in 20 years there are no real good options to refinish a fiberglass pool, whereas the vinyl keeps going and going (we know of pools 25-35 years old stilll going fine). Can some fiberglass owners share their experience with the gelcoat finish? I'm really curious on the durability after 10-20 years and how it holds up.

Thanks in advance
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,620
Evans, Georgia
Hi there, welcome to TFP :)

My fiberglass pool is 9 years old.... seems fine to me. I do have a lightened water line mark which may have taken place at one time or another, perhaps before we discovered TFP?

I understand there are fiberglass pool refinishers and Ecofinish options but know no one personally who have done either.

Do you have dogs that will be in the pool? If so I'd give fiberglass a tic on that pro/con list. Dogs can do a number on vinyl liners.

Maddie
 
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Jonovision

New member
Jul 12, 2020
3
Toronto
Hi there, welcome to TFP :)

My fiberglass pool is 9 years old.... seems fine to me. I do have a lightened water line mark which may have taken place at one time or another, perhaps before we discovered TFP?

I understand there are fiberglass pool refinishers and Ecofinish options but know no one personally who have done either.

Do you have dogs that will be in the pool? If so I'd give fiberglass a tic on that pro/con list. Dogs can do a number on vinyl liners.

Maddie
Hi! Thanks for the reply, We don't have any pets but good point in terms of durability. I'm still surprised there isn't a definitive way to refinish the fiberglass. One would think a company would develop a procedure similar to the original application.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome! :wave: We have at least two active members who have had their FG redone based on warranty claims of fading. Perhaps not the norm. The results of their re-applications are still questionable. Our pool experienced chalkiness at about the 3-5 year mark and I have been evaluating the potential causes. Jury is still out on that one as well. But even with the chalky discoloration in our pool below the water line, which does not happen to all FG pools, the pool still looks great. We opted for FG for two reason - horrible clay soil that breaks-down in the heat and expands in saturation. Also because we have 6 dogs. Didn't want to take a chance on those claws.

But those who grew-up with liners lover them for their initial cost savings, multiple pattern choices, and predictable periodic replacement in their budget. Other than my cosmetic gelcoat chalky issue, I don't really ever expect to have to have the gelcoat redone in my lifetime. Structurally I don't think it's going anywhere.
 
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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,620
Evans, Georgia
I've had a FG pool for 42 years. At about 25 years, the gel coat began to have blisters. A couple of years later, I had the pool resurfaced which was basically sanding down the blisters, pressure washing the surface and applying a new gel coat. Went from blue gel to white, but seems fine yet at this point. HTH
Was that terribly costly?
 

dianedebuda

Gold Supporter
Jan 2, 2018
409
Austin TX
Was that terribly costly?
Cost in 2009: $3850. Small, 1-man business that a friend had used to do her pool. Think the guy misjudged how deep my pool was and cheated himself a bit according to his helper/dad. Not too much sympathy from me though 'cause I tried to show him the specs before he bid. Think I had another bid for something like $6000. Probably couldn't touch it under 10K these days.
 

Jonovision

New member
Jul 12, 2020
3
Toronto
Cost in 2009: $3850. Small, 1-man business that a friend had used to do her pool. Think the guy misjudged how deep my pool was and cheated himself a bit according to his helper/dad. Not too much sympathy from me though 'cause I tried to show him the specs before he bid. Think I had another bid for something like $6000. Probably couldn't touch it under 10K these days.
How is it holding up after 11 years? Do you know what they used?
 

dianedebuda

Gold Supporter
Jan 2, 2018
409
Austin TX
As far as I can currently tell, all is well. Pool has been out of service for a few years 'cause of bad timing combo of pump failure & medical issues. Did a partial drain as part of my in-process rehab & walls look great.

No idea what materials were used.
 

TechieTechie

Member
Jun 4, 2020
6
New England
Fiberglass boats have been around since the early 1960s. Many Bertrams from that era are still around. When the gelcoat gets chalky or blistered, you can resurface. Have to assume it's very similar. What's important is the thickness and quality of the gelcoat. And, the cool thing is, if you need to repaint, you can change colors!
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,887
Chapel Hill, NC
I had a hybrid pool (concrete bottom, fiberglass walls). After about 5 years, the walls started blistering and this got progressively worse over the next 15 years. I couldn't find anyone to sand and re-gelcoat the sides in my area (North Carolina). After this experience I would never have fiberglass again as you don't know how porous the gelcoat finish is. Blistering is caused by tiny pores in the gelcoat - water gets behind it and starts dissolvong the fiberglass resin; this creates pressure behind the gelcoat and causes it to blister (same as fiberglass boat hulls).

Fiberglass pools may be great for the first 5-10 years but as the poster above says, sooner or later, the gelcoat will blister. You can always find someone to replace a liner or replaster a pool but you might have more difficulty finding someone who will resurface a fiberglass pool's geloat finish.