One of the joys of fiberglass pools, is the very limited number of things that can go wrong.
Unlike concrete pools, where a crack can mean the ruination of the whole project, or vinyl liner pools where liner damage and bottom damage can get very costly very quickly, fiberglass pools are pretty much indestructible. In fact, one of the great attractions of fiberglass pools, is the relative lack of maintenance. The incredible strength of fiberglass, and the smoothness of the surfaces mean your new fiberglass pool will be there year after year, providing you with backyard enjoyment just like it was new.
After 400 and more fiberglass pools built over the years, we have become very good at installing fiberglass pools. Everyone knows how much I love building fiberglass pools, so in the interest of fairness I decided to discuss some potential issues with fiberglass pools. This has been difficult to write, because, well let’s face it, there are really not many things that cause problems in fiberglass pools. Some problems do remain, however, and here is a list, and the best way to prevent or resolve these issues – and now as I think of this, perhaps we shouldn’t think of these things as problems, but just nuisances that cut back on our poolside chillin’ time – a little – maybe…
* Fiberglass cracking
* Fiberglass color fading or chipping and color mismatch
* Fiberglass metal staining
* Fiberglass Pools Floating (my personal favorite)
There are two types of cracks that will commonly appear on a fiberglass pool – stress or spider cracks, and structural cracks. Stress cracks, are often called spider cracks because they will radiate out on numerous directions and look like a spider’s web. These cracks are usually the result of rough handling while loading or unloading, or a twist in the fiberglass shell by a poor installation. They are usually only in the gelcoat (the shiny smooth surface of the fiberglass) and do not damage the structure of the fiberglass. And while they are unsightly, and can also cause stress in the homeowner, they are easy to repair and will have no long lasting effect on your fiberglass pool. They are usually seen at the joints of steps and ledges. This is almost always an installer issue.
Structural cracks occur when you back the loader into the pool while preparing to install the pool in the ground – and yes we did that once – and two days later you couldn’t find the damage with a magnifying glass. Fiberglass is AWESOME! Structural cracks in fiberglass happen because something damaged the pool, and they can always be repaired.
The solution to spider cracking is to buff out the cracks and sand the gelcoat smooth again, and re-apply new gelcoat. The procedure is quick, as in minutes, and when complete you will never know there were cracks at all. Your installer should take care of this problem should it appear, and of course it should be considered a warranty item by your builder. Ultimately, your choice of builder will be essential in prevention of this kind of problem.
Fiberglass Color Fading or Chipping and Color Mismatch
The introduction of new colors to fiberglass pools was a wonderful and exciting thing. No longer were homeowners restricted to White, Not-So-White and Blue, but beautiful sparkling iridescent colors have became the new thing. The powerful image of a large sparkling fiberglass pool glistening in the sun is a sight to see. The problems arrive when the colors begin to fade because they were not maintained properly, or when the gelcoat is chipped by accident or abuse. When it comes time to repair that color, it may not always be a perfect match. Sometimes the “patch” will be very obvious, and while it is not going to impact the integrity of your fiberglass pool in any way, it might be bothersome. I would not consider this an issue if I wanted a colored pool, and sometimes the repairs are so good you cannot see the difference, but it is never certain with color repairs.
The solution to color matching issues is to get a solid color fiberglass pool. If you like the nice “Teal” look of the Caribbean waters, purchase a white fiberglass pool and it will look just the same color as a shoal beach in the tropics. Sometimes the best solution to color issues is to install a white pool, and let the water color your pool. But, remember, the new San Juan Irridium colors are just spectacular!
Fiberglass Metal Staining
Fiberglass loves metals, and because most of our water contains metals in small concentrations, the fiberglass will do a very nice job of removing those metals and holding on to them for you. After a while you will begin to see metal stains appearing as round saucer like things that are darker than the rest of the pool. Or the metals will cause your nice brilliantly glistening colors to fade and look dull. This is also a problem in concrete pools and vinyl liner pools, but it comes off much more easily from fiberglass.
The solution is as simple as a little regular maintenance. The addition of a metals removing product like “Metal Magic”, (we add it when we first fill your pool) will prevent metals from building up on the fiberglass. Add an ounce or two ever week or so and you will never have a metals problem. If your pool should become dull from metals or you see metal staining, addition of a metals remover will wash metals away like mud from a glass door. Most of these metals removers are just “ascorbic acid – vitamin C”, and are very effective in removing metal stains – as in seconds of application.
Fiberglass Pools Float
This is one of my favorites. Usually I hear this when a fiberglass pool buyer has run into someone selling negatively. The truth is that it was proved many years ago that if the water displaced is greater than the weight of the pool, it will float – fiberglass or concrete…. or steel. My favorite example of this, is just down the street in the harbor in Wilmington, where about 35,000 tons of steel is floating – and here it is :
The truth is that fiberglass pools, concrete pools and battleships will all float – but fill them full of water and……. you get the picture. Our beloved USS North Carolina floats because it was designed to, and our fiberglass pools don’t float because they are designed to be full of water. If the installer does his work properly, and if you do not drain your fiberglass pool, you will never have a problem – and that is a fact.
So – there it is – the most common fiberglass pool problems and their solutions – such as they are. It’s no wonder fiberglass pools are quickly becoming the worlds most popular form of residential swimming pool.
The fiberglass problems we have discussed here are really small problems, but they tend to be the biggest problems you will ever have with a Fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are clearly the best way to bring swimming fun and entertainment into your back yard, and using a high quality fiberglass pool like those from San Juan Pools, and choosing an expert builder like ABLE, your fiberglass pool will give you a lifetime of carefree enjoyment.