The Advertiser - Real Estate

Make a splash in your own backyard

- Charlie Albone

Swimming pools come in all shapes and sizes but which is best for you?

The first and biggest question when installing a pool is whether to go for fibreglass or concrete. Both have their advantages and disadvanta­ges.

Fibreglass pools are extremely quick to install and set up, with a realistic time frame of two weeks from the start of digging to swimming. Concrete pools, on the other hand, take more time as concrete needs to cure for 21 days to obtain maximum strength before finishing and filling with water.

Fibreglass pools look a lot cheaper than their concrete counterpar­ts. If you have a house that is worth more than the median price, it would be expected (especially when selling) that you have a concrete pool. This price difference and cheaper appearance also carries a stigma, where people think fibreglass is inferior.

They look cheaper for a number of reasons. Primarily, they are limited in their size and shape, giving the appearance they are off the shelf rather than custom-built for the landscape. They also have a large silicone joint between the top of the shell and the coping stones that line the perimeter of the pool. A concrete pool can be made to whatever shape your imaginatio­n wants and will have a crisp edge up to the coping that looks tidier. It can also be tiled for an improved appearance.

A fibreglass shell should come with a 20-year guarantee but its colour will fade over time and, unlike a concrete pool, it cannot be renovated to improve its appearance. A concrete pool, on the other hand, can be renovated after 20 or 30 years to make it look as good as new.

Fibreglass pool suppliers will also say their pools have a smoother finish so are safer for children, however, any reputable concrete pool installer should be able to achieve the same smooth surface in their pools, so don’t be fooled. It should also be noted that the water in a fibreglass pool is warmer than in a concrete pool. Some people find this an advantage, others are put off by it.

So with all this in mind, what would I suggest? The answer comes down to budget. If you can afford a concrete pool, go for it.

If a fibreglass pool is within your budget, it’s a great way to enjoy being outside and soaking up the sun.

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