By Paul Kennedy
Installing a fibreglass pool is easy. A pool builder can provide a family with a lifetime of enjoyment and great memories in less than a week and call it a career. Most families who purchase a swimming pool have been dreaming and saving for many years; therefore, the reward of a successful pool installation is shared by both the homeowner as well as the installer.
Education does not always come easy, especially when a process is in its pioneering stage. The fibreglass swimming pool industry has seen tremendous growth in Canada; however, it has not always been applauded for its stellar construction practices.
On several occasions, many homeowners and builders have been heard saying, “So you just dig a hole and plop it in the ground, right?” Unfortunately, when this happens it causes all parties unnecessary grief.
The goal of this article is to provide a fibreglass swimming pool installation process that not only sounds easy to the customer, but also delivers a spectacular end result. However, before discussing the installation process, it is important to address three misnomers often faced by new fibreglass pool representatives.
Addressing the following questions before they are asked is sometimes the most effective way to handle these potential concerns. Having a better understanding of the makeup and design of a fibreglass pool can make a swimming pool builder a better installer.
Question #1: Is it true a fibreglass pool can float and pop out of the ground?
A fibreglass pool is like a sunken ship, if left full of water it will never float. It is true that a fibreglass pool can float; however, the important point to remember is the pool needs to have more water inside than what is around it.
When draining a fibreglass pool, provisions must be taken for the possibility of the property having a high water table. To do so, a 203-mm (8-in.) pipe is typically installed in the deep end so the removal of ground water can be easily achieved and pool draining can be safely accomplished.
Question #2: Is it true a fibreglass pool can break when the water freezes?
Fibreglass pools are built like big ice cube trays. For example, an ice cube tray purchased from the dollar store does not break because of its strength; it remains intact because of its design. In fact, both products are built with a draft (i.e. the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the pool/tray) and provide the same result when water freezes.
As water freezes, it expands upwards; therefore, it is safe to leave water in a fibreglass pool during the winter. And, once the ice is thick enough, the homeowner can actually skate on the frozen surface.
Question #3: Is it true a fibreglass pool will not withstand the Canadian climate?
Not only can fibreglass withstand Canada’s freeze/thaw cycle, it is one of the best materials for holding liquids in this climate. Fibreglass is not only flexible, it is 17 times stronger than concrete and has no shelf life. There are many fibreglass pools still being used today that have been installed in North America more than 50 years ago, while many in the U.K. and Australia were installed more than 70 years ago.
Most fibreglass pool manufacturers offer a 25- to 35-year structural warranty. If warranty claims were an issue, many of today’s fibreglass pool companies would be out of business as most self-insure their warranty programs. Reputable manufacturers use proven building techniques along with high-quality products and resins, the ‘factory-written warranty,’ although providing comfort to the consumer, is virtually never called upon.