Australians – and particularly Queenslanders – have always loved a backyard swimming pool, but their desirability has hit new heights over the past couple of years. The Swimming Pool and Spa Association of Australia (SPASA) reports a 30-50% increase in demand for pools and spas, primarily driven by travel restrictions and people spending more time at home due to the COVID pandemic.

If you’re installing a new inground pool, you’ll generally be deciding between a fibreglass or concrete pool.

Is a fibreglass or concrete pool right for me?

Whether you’re looking to create a luxurious tropical oasis, low maintenance space for the kids to play in, or you’d like a small lap pool to exercise at home, fibreglass and concrete are both great options with their own pros and cons. Some of the aspects to consider when comparing concrete and fibreglass swimming pools include:

  • Cost – both upfront and ongoing
  • Speed of installation
  • Design flexibility
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Durability

Fibreglass pools are generally cheaper and faster to install than concrete pools, but because they’re pre-made, you can’t design your dream pool from scratch. Concrete swimming pools give you complete design flexibility, but they’re usually more expensive to install and maintain, and it can take several months for them to be poured, cured and swimmable.     

So, do you choose a concrete or fibreglass pool? We look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each option below.

Advantages of fibreglass pools

  • They’re affordable: Fibreglass swimming pools cost around 20% less to install than a concrete pool.
  • They’re quick to install: If you want to be swimming fast, a fibreglass pool is a good option as they can be installed and in use within 1-3 weeks. Depending on access, you may need a crane to lift the pool shell into your backyard. 
  • They’re low maintenance: Fibreglass pools’ smooth gelcoat surface is algae and bacteria resistant, so they’re easier to keep clean and need fewer chemicals than concrete pools.

Disadvantages of fibreglass pools

  • You’ll have less design flexibility: Fibreglass swimming pools are constructed offsite using pre-made moulds, which means your creativity is somewhat limited. While you can’t fully customise your fibreglass pool, there’s a broad range of shapes and sizes available, and you can still choose the colour of the pool surface (called the gelcoat).      

Advantages of concrete pools

  • They’re totally personalisable: Concrete swimming pools give you total design flexibility. With concrete, you can create a unique pool that suits your lifestyle and backyard. Any size or shape is possible, and you can choose from hundreds of tile and pebble options to make your pool your own. 
  • Your pool, your way: Want an infinity edge, resort-style alcove with bench seating or even a lazy river? With a concrete pool design, it’s all possible – the only limit is your imagination.
  • Easy poolscaping: Concrete pools give you more scope to blend your new pool design into your existing house and landscaping. Plus, you can easily transform the look of your pool with a new surface if it needs an update.   

Disadvantages of concrete pools

  • Installation takes longer: Concrete swimming pools can take as much as three times longer to install than fibreglass pools.
  • They’re more expensive: Concrete pools generally cost more than fibreglass, and the difference in cost will increase as you add custom elements.

Installing a swimming pool is a big and expensive undertaking, so it’s worth doing your research, speaking to friends and family with pools, and questioning local pool companies about the pros and cons of fibreglass and concrete options.

Consider your budget, timeframe and lifestyle when choosing a concrete or fibreglass pool to ensure your new swimming pool is a sound investment that adds to the enjoyment of your home for years to come.

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