Swimming pools have become more and more affordable over the last 50 years, offering homeowners a way to cool off in the summer, exercise and have fun. That said, deciding to invest in a swimming pool is not a light matter, the first and perhaps greatest question being the material: concrete or fiberglass. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, including installation cost, maintenance and ease of design.
Pools can be made from many different materials. Traditional concrete swimming pools are still around and commonly used, but the more modern fiberglass pools offer an attractive alternative. Concrete pools were the historically popular choice until the last half of the 20th century, when fiberglass became an option. Only the wealthy or commercial pool proprietors could afford the high cost of a swimming pool until after World War II.
Generally speaking, it is much easier to install a fiberglass pool than a concrete one. Installing a fiberglass pool takes around three to four weeks, while building a concrete pool could easily take three months. The ease of installation may come with a slightly steeper price for the pool itself, depending on the size of the pool and the contractor, but it is definitely a simpler, quicker job.
Because pools can vary so much in shape, size and quality, prices vary widely. Not counting installation costs, usually determined by the pool contractor, concrete pools are typically a 25 to 40 percent more expensive than fiberglass.
Fiberglass pools have a big edge here, as they require much less work to maintain a healthy appearance than concrete ones. For example, algae can simply be brushed off fiberglass when it grows, whereas it may have to be scrubbed off concrete. Additionally, filters have to work harder to keep a concrete pool clean, running up electric bills in the process. Lastly, concrete tends to retain more dirt than fiberglass because of its porous nature.
Other factors to consider in deciding between concrete and fiberglass involve the variety of pool shapes. In this area, concrete pools have a the edge, as they can be custom designed to almost any style. Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, usually must be selected from a list of predetermined designs. Additionally, cleaning chemicals are harder on concrete than fiberglass, resulting in some extra costs to periodically resurface the pool.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Casey Serin
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