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Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Innovations of the Last 25 Years

By: Marcus Sheridan on May 10th, 2010

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Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Innovations of the Last 25 Years

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When one looks back on the fiberglass pool industry over the last 25 years or so, it's truly amazing the amount of progress the industry has made as a whole. Upon reflection on these changes, I figured it would be a good thing to look at this time period and mention the innovations that have made their mark on the industry.

Top 5 Fiberglass Pool Innovations of the Last 25 Years

  1. Vinyl ester resins
  2. Cantilevered coping
  3. Good colored finishes
  4. Gravel base and backfill
  5. The use of tile


1. Vinyl Ester Resins

Without getting too technical here, there are many grades of resins that can be used in the construction of a fiberglass swimming pool.

Unfortunately, fiberglass pools a few decades ago were being constructed without vinyl ester resin, which is a tremendous barrier and prevents water wreaking havoc on a fiberglass pool over time.

When cheaper resins are used, such issues as cobalting and blisters rear their ugly heads, which was certainly the case with some of the first fiberglass pools.

But today, just about every manufacturer in the fiberglass pool industry is using at least a layer of VE resin in their pools, which is a great stride in the right direction.


2. Cantilevered Coping

Maybe the biggest knock on fiberglass pools from pool builders and consumers in the past was their ‘bathtub' and modular-looking appearance.

This stigma was mainly a result of concrete patios being poured up to the fiberglass lip versus on top of the fiberglass lip.

I've spoken heavily on this subject before (watch this how-to video), as it still is a subject of debate at times due to antiquated thought on behalf of certain builders and manufacturers.

The simple fact is that cantilevered concrete coping not only forms a powerful bond-beam around a fiberglass pool, but also allows it to rival a concrete/gunite pool in terms of aesthetics.


3. GOOD Color Finishes

Notice I did not write here "colored finishes."

This is because colored finishes on a fiberglass pool have had a tremendous benefit in terms of aesthetics to this industry, but in some regards these colors have hurt the industry as well.

I mention this because like everything else in the world, just because a manufacturer produces a shell with colored finishes doesn't mean it's a quality product.

Heck, warranties don't even mean it's a good finish, considering some of the semantic games I've seen certain manufacturers play in recent months.

Fact is, some companies out there are offering great colored finishes on their pools that will last a long time. This is a great thing for the consumer. I can only hope some other manufacturers that are not so "quality-oriented" will soon follow suit.


4. Gravel Base and Backfill

Another point of controversy here but I'm happy to say that just about every forward-thinking, quality-minded builder and manufacturer (Trilogy Pools was pushing gravel 6 years ago) in the industry has now moved to gravel as the base and backfill to their pools.

Having discussed this point in multiple other articles, I'm still at times saddened by the fact that some manufacturers have put up a fight against suggesting gravel as the base and backfill for their pools, which is a clear sign of delusion.

In fact, just as vinyl ester is now a standard part of the fiberglass pool experience, gravel will soon be as well, mark my words.

Simply put, there is just too much science, evidence, and common sense on the side of gravel.


5. The Use of Tile

These days, it's quite common to see the use of ceramic tile in fiberglass swimming pools.

Whether it's tile on the waterline, inlay tile in the steps and seats, or possibly a mosaic in the floor, ceramic tile has allowed fiberglass pools to take one more step in their customization abilities as well as their aesthetic rivaling of concrete pools.

Other than the great videos that are available on our site, I'd also suggest you learn from one of the premier tile experts in the industry, Robert Ault, to learn more about the subject.

So there are your top 5 fiberglass pool innovations over the last 25 years. Although I could certainly list many more, suffice it to say that these 5 have been critical to the growth of the industry.

Next: Fiberglass FAQ: 14 Most Common Questions about Fiberglass Pools

How to Buy a Fiberglass Pool in 2018 ebook

Editor's note: This blog article was updated on October 2, 2018.