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3 Reasons NOT to Drain a Fiberglass Pool!


draining fiberglass poolsIt’s hard to go wrong with fiberglass pools.  They’re easy to maintain, they use very little chemicals, and they have the lowest lifetime cost of any type of pool. 

Notwithstanding, there is one way fiberglass pool owners can totally screw all that up:  By Draining the Pool without professional help.

Every Year we hear accounts (not from our customers) of folks intentionally draining fiberglass pools for various reasons.  I’m here to tell you that’s a big no-no!

Here are 3 common reasons people erroneously drain their fiberglass pools:

1.  Dirty, Nasty, Stanky Pool Water (yes, I used the word “stanky”)

An ill-informed fiberglass pool owner may mistakenly believe that draining and refilling the pool is required, or simply easier, than cleaning the pool manually.  It’s a rare case indeed that a fiberglass pool needs to be drained for cleaning….possibly after a flood or other natural disaster…..or maybe after years and years of neglect.  But for the most part, a fiberglass pool will be crystal clear within a matter of 1-3 days of adding chemicals and vacuuming.

2.  Someone moves into a home with a fiberglass pool

We take time to educate our customers of the importance of not draining the pool.  However, we have had an instance or two when someone else purchased a home with one of our pools and the new homeowner drained the pool for some reason…..again, big no-no! (We’re now printing labels to put on filter systems to prevent this from occurring in the future). 

3.  A foreclosure home that’s been abandoned for years

When someone takes on the task of whipping one of these properties back into shape they have a major task on their hands.  Talk about a to-do list!  Imagine what a pool that’s been sitting for 2-3 years looks like:  it seems a no-brainer to simply drain and clean it…..wrong-o!  Don’t go there, not without professional assistance anyway. 


So What Do I do if the Pool really Needs to be Drained?

If your pool really needs to be drained, contact a local fiberglass pool professional to do it for you, or at least give you some assistance.  Some pools are perfectly fine to drain without any precaution, but only some.  A good percentage of fiberglass pools will incur some damage if the pool is drained without taking proper measures.


What are “Proper Measures”?

Two things:  first, it needs to be determined how much water is around the outside of the pool.  Some people mistakenly believe that because there was no water during their pools excavation, that the hole remains dry at all times.  This is far from the truth.  The hole around the outside of your pool is no different from any other hole in your yard….it fills with water.  Your type of soil will determine how long water remains in the cavity outside your pool.  Sandy soil is most permeable, clay is least. 

If there is water around the outside of the pool, the water either needs to be removed, or if this is not possible you will have to wait until a dryer part of the year when the hole is dry.  

The second thing to be sure that the pool is properly braced.  I won’t go into how to do this, but it’s good practice to brace fiberglass pools when draining them because they are engineered to remain full of water.  The design of the pool will determine where and how many braces to use. 


What type of damage are we talking about here?

Well, rumor has it that fiberglass pools pop up.  I’m not saying that’s an impossibility, but I can say that after over 600 installations over the past decade, we have yet to have that happen to one of our pools after the project is completed.  The damage that we have seen comes in the form of bulging side walls and floors, and splits in pool floors…..all of which can be repaired.   But my point is, why incur any unnecessary damage at all?  Leave the bloody thing full and we have nothing to worry about….right?

I need to state here that these principles apply to all types of pools.  Concrete pools will actually float.  Vinyl liners bubble and float as well.  It’s necessary to take these precautions with any inground pool. 

So, whether you have a pool with nasty water, have just moved into a home with a fiberglass pool, or find yourself in a major renovation project with a fiberglass pool, just know that draining the pool without professional assistance is not an option.    

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our fiberglass pool started sinking right after it was installed each time it rained (an inch so far). the pool co does not want to fix it. they did not backfill with sand or gravel. only the dirt in the yard. someone suggested we drill 8" holes around it, drain it and pump concrete in the holes. what do you guys think? our dream pool is a nightmare pool now.(other issues as well)
Posted @ Monday, April 11, 2011 4:17 PM by sam
Sorry for the delayed response my friend. 
The only real solution is to remove the pool, the crappy backfill material and start over. Anything else will result in long term issues and you not being happy.  
There's no compensating for a poorly set pool. 
Sorry your haveing such a bad experience. Your contractor needs to be held accountable.  
Best of luck buddy.
Posted @ Thursday, April 28, 2011 1:16 PM by Jason Hughes
Thanks for your reply. Don't think they'll be that cooperative. Bad thing is now you don't want unhappy contr. back on your property to re-do it for fear of what else can go wrong. Will keep you posted. Thanks again.
Posted @ Thursday, April 28, 2011 3:26 PM by sam
I have a San Juan Fiberglass Pool put in early 1980. Children are grown. I was in an accident 6 years ago and out of work. To make Long story short. It is now a frog pond. What are the pros and cons of filling in and building a deck over it. It is 5ft. deep 12 by 31. Could and should we drain it first and then fill in with dirt, drill holes in it or is there someway to cover it first and build over it...HELP HELP
Posted @ Thursday, July 14, 2011 6:05 PM by Delores Snider
We have a Viking fiberglass pool (16 x 40) that was installed in March 2000. Last year it developed a crack just below one of the swimouts and was losing water. I contacted Viking and they will repair the pool but I must prepare it for draining. They only tell me that it has to be braced before draining but don't give me any instruction about how to do that. 
Do you possibly know of a website that might provide some information and guidance on how to properly brace and drain our pool. 
Jimmy W Stiglets 
Jackson, MS 
Posted @ Saturday, September 10, 2011 9:46 AM by Jimmy Stiglets
I have a 15 year old fiberglass pool that seems to have the valve in the bottom stuck open. The water level just keept rising so we turned off thje filter to the bottom drain and now the water either comes in less or the level lowers. However we cant clear the water enough to see the bottom of the pool for someone to go in and clear whatever is holding the valve open. Pool has been flocked since that didnt work I am being advised to drain. Do you have any other suggestions before taking draining the pool?
Posted @ Saturday, June 16, 2012 12:06 PM by jance
I get the point. But I wont take the risk of damaging your pool by completely draining it.
Posted @ Saturday, February 16, 2013 3:56 AM by Air Temperature Specialists San Diego
Our gunite pool was fibreglassed about 20 years ago - there are now 
cracks in the pool is it possible to repair without having to redo the complete pool
Posted @ Saturday, February 23, 2013 5:21 PM by Linda Milne
Yes, most likely it can be repaired without re-coating the entire pool. It depends on the extent of the damage and how much of the pool area it covers. Good luck!
Posted @ Wednesday, March 06, 2013 8:48 AM by Jason
We have a Kidney sharpe pool in an enclosed area that noone has used for about 10 years. The cost off the pool has got very expensive. So we thought we would empty it and fill with sand. How would you suggest we go about this?
Posted @ Sunday, March 24, 2013 12:47 AM by Helen Rowlands
the round sealed light fixture in our fiberglass pool 25x13 feet is filled with algae and water about 3/4 full. It has gone up a little bit since we moved here 10 years ago. I want to drain the pool down to that fixture and clean it out. Do I have to worry about anything popping up? It is only down about 2.5 feet and that part of the pool is about 5 feet deep. But I keep getting algae problems and need to get rid of that stuff.
Posted @ Saturday, April 13, 2013 5:42 PM by julia
Have a leak somewhere in pool. The backfill has settled and you can hear a big empty void under the middle of the pool from the settled backfill. Pool is like 15-18 years old. The installer is talking about cutting holes in the pool in order to again backfill it. Is this the right way to do this, or should I rip up the deck and do it that way?
Posted @ Sunday, April 21, 2013 9:20 AM by Clinton
@Julia, do not drain the pool. A professional need to do it. Even though there's a good chance the pool will be fine, a home owner should never drain the pool themselves.  
@Clinton, that's a tough one. It's difficult to say which method would be best without seeing it. I would think that starting over is the way to go to prevent any issues from surfacing in the future. Good luck!
Posted @ Friday, April 26, 2013 11:11 AM by Jason
thanks for the feedback, maybe I will just let it go. In 2 years we are getting water meters and I think the whole pool will be changing into something else, like someone else said, a frog pond, a large frog pond. Some interesting questions on this blog. thanks.
Posted @ Sunday, April 28, 2013 10:36 PM by julia
The shallow end of my fiberglass pool has spots where the gelcoat has worn off. (Pool is 16' x 39' by 6' deep). 
I'm thinking about draining pool enoukgh to re-gelcoat the eroded areas. 
Any suggestions??
Posted @ Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:19 PM by Ron
We are developing some dark spots on the bottom and sides of our pool. We believe its about time to have it repainted or resurfaced, but not sure which option is needed. Do you do those types of things or will you suggest someone to us? We live in NE Louisiana.
Posted @ Saturday, July 06, 2013 1:17 PM by Michelle
I drained my Pool twice since 1980. Less costly than putting all those stinkin chemicals in it. I had no problems whatsoever. Then five years ago I drained it for good. Drilled big holes in it with diamond core bit. Thinking about plantin a garden in it. Love it empty. Nice place for lizards to play n dogs have a great tine chasing them. Muwhaaaaaaaa!!
Posted @ Sunday, July 07, 2013 5:28 AM by Dee Snider
my pool is full of water, and it is unlevel and is getting worst. It is on the left side of the deep end.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 16, 2013 4:59 PM by Rhonda
I have a 28 year old fibreglass pool that is getting a lot of what I think are cobalt stains, black spots with a trailing tail.I have thought of repairing it myself using acrow props for support and sanding, repairing , and gel coating. I am just afraid of pool floating. Any ideas?
Posted @ Sunday, August 18, 2013 10:07 PM by Robert Jakubeck
I have opened my sand filter to change the sand and found became very hard and difficult to remove. Any recommendation? Any reason why the sand became hard? What to do to avoid it happening again?
Posted @ Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:17 PM by Ahmed
That is why those are for the people and Looking forward into it now. 
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Posted @ Sunday, November 03, 2013 6:12 AM by Hanna
Thanks author for your nice blog and great article
Posted @ Wednesday, January 01, 2014 12:02 AM by Concord drain cleaning
I have a fiberglass pool that was installed elevated & there was no retaining wall put in. Bottom line ground around pool is shifting & pool is moving! Can I put a retaining wall in now ? Or is it to late ?
Posted @ Saturday, January 04, 2014 5:30 PM by Cole
I have inground spa, vinyl hold about 700 gallons of water. I can't afford the chemicals, nor gas to heat the water, and the maintenance to the filtration system that always seems to leak. I don't want to get rid of or fill in the spa because eventually, I will sell my property and I think the spa does add value to the property. I would like to drain it but I'm Ted that the lack of water will cause the spa to heave out f the ground and could also break water pipes. What an I do to decommission my spa for a couple of years? Is that even possible?
Posted @ Saturday, February 01, 2014 10:29 PM by Michelle
Thanks creator to your wonderful website as well as wonderful document.
Posted @ Friday, February 14, 2014 11:51 PM by Maxworthy Pool Restorations
Nice job, it’s a great post. The info is good to know!
Posted @ Tuesday, February 18, 2014 4:14 AM by Dallas Drain
I am loving this blog !!!!!! I grew up with a fiberglass pool and we loved it, I remember hearing my dad tell people you never drain them, blah blah blah, I was a kid ;) now fast forward a few ( we won't say how many) years and my husband and I are under contract on a house with the largest fiberglass pool I have ever seen. However I am a bit concered, it is empty!!!! It is braced, one large brace about a quarter of the way into the shallow end that looks like a massive shower curtain rod. We are waiting to hear back because we have asked that it be filled so we can have someone run test on it. They have assured us that it is in great shape and the rest of the house is very well cared for. What concers me almost more than the fact that it is empty is that from what we hear they empty it every year!!!!! They said they were told to empty it during the winter because of freezing conditions.  
Also, I am having a hard time finding someone to look at it, no one wants to touch a fiberglass pool. The house is in Amarillo Texas. 
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks, Amy
Posted @ Tuesday, February 25, 2014 10:20 PM by Amy Moffett
It's always better to opt for a fiberglass pool if you can afford, the best thing is that you don't have to do maintenance operation too much. And if you need to you can do it yourself, while in conventional pools you always need a professional to take care of these things. 
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Posted @ Saturday, April 26, 2014 5:48 AM by Richmond
Great info to know about!
Posted @ Tuesday, April 29, 2014 2:20 AM by Advantage Drainage
Need advice re a 21 yr olf fiberglass pool . One side is bulging in in test 3 months It belongs to my parents who are in their late 80's. Manufacturer and dealer both no longer in business. How to find someone who will look at it and advise. Incidentally, two large trees came down and were removed from the zero lot line yard behind about 1 year ago. Could this be the cause? Wondering if insurance might cover ... I really need some direction!
Posted @ Wednesday, May 07, 2014 1:52 PM by Audrey
I have a major problem, our pool was filled in with sand and no holes were made for drainage. 
What are my options now 
Please help
Posted @ Wednesday, June 11, 2014 12:12 PM by Ursula
Our new fiberglass pool has concrete set up under water in numerous spots on the benches, steps, walls, floor, etc... Above the water level, vinegar and elbow grease seem to be working to remove the sloppy concrete pour. I am very stressed about the mess in the under water locations as it cuts my children's skin, looks dirty and uninviting, and is responding very little to the stain and scale remover & scrubbing-- of the small area I can reach without becoming a scuba diver. I realize draining is rarely recommended. Is that my only solution so that all the areas can be addressed? HELP!
Posted @ Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:15 AM by Cheryl
Hi Cheryl, send me some photos via email and I'll take a look and we'll see what we can do to help. Jason
Posted @ Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:19 AM by jason
your blog post is just completely quality and informative. Thanks RV Liquid Roof Coatings
Posted @ Monday, August 11, 2014 4:23 AM by Mike Jackson
I have a fiberglass pool was wanting to know if I could drain it and build a deck over it what would be your recommendation?
Posted @ Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:03 PM by Jenna
We have a fiberglass pool but it's in a terrible place in our garden, can't be safely fenced off for kids. We want to fill it in and tile over it to make a patio. Is it possible to simply add sand and concrete into the pool to fill it in rather than draining and removing it which will be a huge cost and hassle. Or would you say we drain, drill and then fill? Thanks a mill
Posted @ Saturday, October 25, 2014 3:21 PM by Jenny
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