The Basics of Fiberglass Pool Installation

There are 3 basic types of inground pools: concrete, vinyl lined and fiberglass.

Concrete pools allow design flexibility but the freeze/thaw cycle can be tough on concrete. That means you run the risk of your very expensive concrete pool developing cracks over time. A situation that could lead to equally expensive repairs and potentially much worse.

Vinyl-lined inground pools come with the same drawbacks as the vinyl-lined above ground pool. The vinyl liner tends to wear out, is susceptible to tearing, is easily punctured and can fade and stain over time. Repairing a vinyl liner that has developed a rip is no small task either.

Fiberglass pools are typically less expensive than either concrete or vinyl, they can be installed much faster, aren’t susceptible to cracking or tears and they provide fewer opportunities for algae to take hold. Below we’re going to go through the basics of installing a fiberglass pool.
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Step 1 – Choose a site- Where you site the pool is nearly as important as the installation itself. You’ll want to keep the following in mind when choosing a site.

  • Choose a sunny location away from trees to maximize solar heat potential and minimize potential cleanup hassles.
  • You’ll need some type of windblock to minimize evaporation, prevent debris from being blown into the pool and to insure the comfort of swimmers.
  • Don’t install the pool in a low lying area that might flood during heavy rain events.
  • Minimize risks by making sure there are no electrical wires near the pool.
  • Make sure you can see what’s going on in and around the pool from the house.
  • Make sure you leave room for the kind of deck you want along with any accessories like a slide or waterfall feature.

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Step 2 – Clear it with zoning – Once you know where you want to site your pool but before you purchase it you need to apply for a building permit and receive official approval from zoning. While it’s unlikely your pool installation proposal will be rejected there are a couple of key items to keep in mind. First, you’re going to have to satisfy certain setback requirements. That is, the pool must have X amount of space between it and the property lines, sewer lines and anything else that might be in play. And second, you’ll likely have to commit to installing a fence around the pool and that fence will need to satisfy the requirements of the zoning board.

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Step 3 – Choose a filtration system – There are 3 different types of filters used in most pools today: cartridge, sand and DE (diatomaceous earth).

  • Cartridges have been around a while and recently have seen a spike in interest. Exactly why isn’t clear but it may have something to do with how easy they are to clean. Just remove them, rinse them off and return them to their place.
  • Sand filters have been around even longer than cartridges and are extremely common. Sand filters work by sifting debris from the pool water as it passes through. They do a good job but can be a pain to clean.
  • Diatomaceous earth or DE filters utilize a porous powder that is capable of filtering extremely small particles, including some types of bacteria. As with sand filters cleaning them can be a bit labor intensive as it requires backwashing the filter.

Step 4 – Excavate – You will need to be present at the start of the excavation process in order to guarantee the contractor is digging in the right place and is creating the proper shaped excavation. Typically excavation takes only 1 day. Once complete 2 inches of gravel are typically spread out at the bottom of the excavation for the pool to rest on.

Step 5 – Setting the pool – The fiberglass shell is then moved into position, typically using a crane. Once in its new excavated home the plumbing is installed around the periphery and then the area around the pool is backfilled. Once everything is in place the installation must undergo inspection. And once the pool has passed inspection work can begin on creating the deck, which is another project altogether.

Installing a beautiful, affordable fiberglass pool is nowhere near as difficult or expensive as other types of pools. Talk to your local pool installation professional for more information.

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