Fibreglass Pools Vs Concrete Pools -What Are the Main Differences and Which is the Better Choice?

Planning the construction of a new pool is always an exciting time. But it can also be stressful leading up to the build. What type of pool should you get? An in-ground one or an above-ground one? What shape should the pool be? What type of accessories should we have fitted?

But most importantly, the biggest question you might be faced with at this moment, may be about the material your pool is made of. Although there are numerous pool surface/tiling materials available, most Australians today limit their choices to fiberglass or concrete.

Which material is better? Which one is right for you? Here, we explore the key differences between fiberglass pools and concrete pools and help you take a pool build decision, that is right for you.

Comparing fiberglass vs concrete for pools

Let’s evaluate how fiberglass and concrete materials perform on various criteria:

Manufacturing & installation

Fibreglass pools are made using moulds. The flexible fiberglass sheets are pressed into a mould of a specific shape, size and design. After being heated and set, the pool is removed from the mould and ready to be directly installed. The pre-fabricated nature of fiberglass pools means that you can have your pool installed within a few days of giving the order for the pool. The fiberglass pool comes fully-made to your residence and is directly set into the chosen spot. 

Concrete pools are built at your home. Concrete is mixed and set into blocks. These blocks are fitted into the desired shape of the pool. Once the concrete blocks set firmly into place, they are either painted or coated with a finishing to protect the concrete blocks from the sun. The overall process can take up to 2 weeks to finish, depending on the size and shape of the pool. 

Aesthetics & customization

When it comes to aesthetics, both fiberglass and concrete have their own strengths. Both pools look great when installed. After the concrete is painted, its hard to tell the difference between a fiberglass pool and concrete pool just by looking at it. 

But there are slight differences between the two materials in terms of customization. Since fiberglass is moulded into shape, you can have a pool of practically any shape, size or design you want. This makes fiberglass a great option if you’re interested in having a really eye-catching pool shape for your home. 

In comparison, it’s a tad harder to customize concrete to an unconventional shape. While some shapes like rectangle, oval and circle are easily doable, the quirkier pool shapes will take a lot of time to do. The concrete need to be manually re-shaped to fit into your desired design. The extra effort will also increase your cost. 

Apart from this, the finishing of the pools will differ too. Fiberglass pools are very smooth to touch, while concrete pools tend to have rougher surfaces. If you have kids or senior parents who’ll be using the pool often, the softer and gentler fiberglass will be much better.

Cost of the material

So, what does a fibreglass pool cost you? 

Well, a small above-ground fiberglass pool can be made for as less as $7000. In-ground pools can cost you from $25,000 onwards. Even if you get cutting-edge accessories fitted to your fiberglass pool, you may end up spending around $50,000 at the most. 

In comparison, concrete pools are more expensive, with smaller concrete pools starting around the $50,000 range. Depending on how big your pool is, what type of customization you ask for and which accessories you have installed, the cost can go as high as $150,000. 

If your backyard or terrace is small or you have a small budget to work with, then a fiberglass pool is your best choice. You will be getting a good-quality pool without breaking the bank. 

Cleaning & maintenance

Where there is water, there is algae. If your pool is outdoors, you’ll also have dead leaves, flowers, seeds and insects to contend with. While the latter list of debris is something both fiberglass and concrete pools need to contend with, algae is a different issue altogether. 

Concrete pools do suffer from algal growth. If you live in a humid or rainy part of Australia and the conditions are damp enough, the risk of mildew and mould on your concrete pool increase considerably. 

But a fiberglass pool isn’t this vulnerable to algal growth. Fiberglass is a non-porous material which doesn’t take in any water. When there is no dampness, the ideal conditions don’t exist for algae to grow. Additionally, fiberglass pools come coated with a special gel/resin, which stops anything from growing on the material. So, you won’t have to worry about removing algae from fiberglass pools. 

The second cleaning-related issue has to do with salt. 

Most Australian home pool owners choose saltwater pooling systems because of the humungous health and economic benefits they offer. You can read all about it in our article, “Can Fibreglass Pools Be Saltwater?”. 

The materials in concrete react negatively with the minerals in salt and cause the concrete blocks to crack from within. If you plan to get a concrete pool, you won’t be able to use a saltwater system. If you do however choose saltwater for your concrete pool, you’ll need to invest in a lot of cleaning and scaling agents as well. This can rake up your maintenance costs and efforts. 

On the other hand, fiberglass is a completely non-reactive material and doesn’t react adversely to salt. This means, you can get a fiberglass pool and leverage from the benefits of a saltwater pool purification system as well. 

Safety

Taking-off from the previous point, fiberglass pools are a lot safer than concrete pools. Since there is no worry about algae on the walls or floor of fiberglass pools, you don’t have to worry about slipping while getting into the pool. 

Plus, since fibreglass pools are salt-friendly, you don’t have to worry about cracks, crumbling or breakage that is common with concrete pools. This also means you never have to worry about tripping accidents when around or in your pool. 

Finally, since the fiberglass material is softer than concrete, you won’t be at risk of scraping your hands and legs against the wall, when you’re having a boisterous swim. 

Weather-friendliness

Australia is a country with diverse climatic changes. You may be living in a city that experiences both heat and cold. In such a scenario, you’ll need to select a pool material that is weather-friendly. This is where concrete doesn’t help. 

Concrete tends to expand when it is very hot and contract when it is very cold. Frequent climatic fluctuations can cause your concrete pool to develop cracks due to the constant expansion and contraction. 

But fibreglass is a material that has a very vast weather range. It is a material that doesn’t expand and contract after it is moulded and set. It makes for the ideal pool when you need a good option that works in all weather conditions. 

Heating capacity

While we’re on the topic of hot and cold weather, let’s touch upon the heat retention potential of both materials as well. 

Concrete pools require a more powerful heat pump to warm up your water. Plus, since concrete is a poor insulator, the heat isn’t retained for a long period of time. You may need to keep your heat pump running for days at a stretch to ensure your pool remains warm. 

Fiberglass on the other hand, is an excellent insulator. It ensures your pool remains warm for a long time, even after the heat pumps are switched off. Because of this, you’ll need to switch on your heat pump for a short time, with every subsequent heating.

Longevity

It’s probably only in terms of their durability, that concrete pools are better than fiberglass pools. If you maintain your concrete pool well i.e., ensuring there is no algal growth or salt accumulation or cracking due to temperature changes, it can last as for as long as 30-40 years. 

In comparison, a fiberglass pool can last for about 20-25 years with good care. 

Australia’s pick

Although concrete pools do last longer, overall, fibreglass pools have many more advantages. 

They’re cost-effective and can fit into absolutely any budget. They are non-reactive and non-corrosive, making them great for saltwater systems. They’re excellent insulators, perfect for all climates. They can be easily customized to your needs and they take such little effort to care for. 

What more could you ask for from a pool? In fact, these are the reasons why most Australian households have fibreglass pools and not concrete. 

At Swimming Pools Sydney, we are reputed pool installers headquartered in Sydney. We have an expansive range of fibreglass pool designs for you to choose from. We use the highest-grade fibreglass to custom-build your pool for you. Our quick and seamless pool installation service ensures that you have your pool swim-ready within a matter of days. 

Contact us to speak to a member of our team. We offer free quotes.