There are many different types of swimming pools available to consumers today. One of the more popular types is the in-ground fiberglass pool. These pools have the smoothest surfaces in the industry making standing on them or coming in contact with them a comfortable experience. At the same time, this smoothness eliminates any footholds for algae to grow on, reducing the amount of chemicals required. The advantages of these attractive pools outweigh the disadvantages. Most problems can be avoided or overcome by the consumer, but identifying and addressing these issues is important.
Fiberglass pools are more expensive initially than their above-ground counterparts. Vinyl liner replacements, additional algae killing chemicals and time and money spent on pool cleaning due to algae can equalize the equation over time, especially if the labor for professionals to change the liner more than once is required.
Color choices are not as limiting as they once were, but consumers still need to deal with size limitations. These preformed pools, transported to the installation site via a truck using highways and city streets, under the law are limited to being a maximum of 14-feet wide and perhaps a depth of 8-feet. It is an oversized load and must have escort vehicles in front of it and behind.
The installation site must be accessible to both the transport truck and or a crane required to hoist the pool into its final position inside of the hole previously dug. The pool owner sometimes incurs additional expense if a larger crane is required to hoist the pool completely over the roof of the house to reach the backyard.
Major cracks can develop from improper manufacturing, failure to properly balance the load during transport or if several attempts or pounding of the pool occurs during installation. Structural cracks should require a new pool to be set, but the installation team routinely patches the problem. The color match is not usually close enough to blend and as a result, sticks out like a sore thumb.
A major problem occurs when fill sand becomes waterlogged and liquefies. Fiberglass walls, designed to be strong enough to stand up to the normal weight of the fill, use the water inside the pool pushing outward to neutralize the fill’s effect. Liquefied sand weighs more than normal sand and the excess weight pushes in on the walls and can create a bulge. Besides being unsightly, this problem is an indicator of more potential problems.
Pool plumbing buried in the fill sand should normally remain untouched and operating fine. The sand, however, can shift or liquefy, causing excess weight or pipe stress that can create a leak which is a major problem. The entire installation needs fixing and the pool should be reset. Crushed bluestone that is ¾ of an inch in diameter or smaller is the recommended fill of choice. It does not change in weight by absorbing water and will not settle over time like the sand.
In an area with a high ground water base and a mixture of clay in the soil, fiberglass pools, without a cantilevered concrete surrounding deck, can pop up out of the ground and float in the surrounding water and mud.