An inground swimming pool of any scale is a significant investment. For many homeowners, the costs of installing and maintaining a pool are a considerable obstacle. But, many decide that the years of fun, exercise, and recreation a swimming pool can provide for them and their family outweighs the expense.
A well-designed and well-maintained pool can even become a destination for family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy together. And when you are enjoying holiday weekends, parties, and sunny afternoons by your swimming pool, you will be building memories that can last a lifetime.
If you’re considering adding an inground swimming pool to your property, you should consider a fiberglass pool. Fiberglass pools are relatively affordable, quick to install, and easy to maintain.
And if you have only a tiny plot available that limits the size of your project, a small fiberglass pool may be ideal for you. And even very small fiberglass pools are a big step up in terms of appearance from an above-ground pool.
Fiberglass pools come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You have many options to choose from, and most come at surprisingly low costs. Smaller-sized fiberglass pools can be the perfect addition to a small backyard, and they can often stick to a tight budget.
Since they are pre-cast in a manufacturing facility, there are considerable cost savings in fiberglass pools when compared to other construction methods. Concrete and vinyl pools require much more on-site labor. And some of that work needs to be done by skilled workers, and that means that costs rise dramatically.
A fiberglass pool’s configuration isn’t limited to a rectangle. You may be able to create a custom freeform design however you would like. Fiberglass pools can be very small, like a cocktail pool, or they can be much larger.
Typically you won’t find a fiberglass pool that’s much smaller than 8 ‘x 16 ‘long. But even at that small size, it will feel relatively spacious and can have multiple features integrated into it. When you’re talking about a very small design, you may be limited to rectangular shapes.
Fiberglass pool sizes move up in increments of a few feet in width and length. For each step up in size, expect to pay slightly more. Some manufacturers will build a completely custom pool to your exact dimension.
There are many designs and a variety of shapes, even among moderately small fiberglass pools.
Fiberglass pools start their life in a manufacturing facility. They are cast from a mold, so there are often some limitations to what you can build. And once its construction is in process, you can’t change it.
But you aren’t limited to a straight or rectangular design. Depending on your manufacturer, you may be able to customize a freeform pool with curves, optimized swimming space, integrated steps, shelves, and tanning decks.
Some smaller-sized fiberglass pools are limited to a straight design. But by going a little bit bigger, you open yourself up to a world of other design ideas.
Fiberglass pool designs can accommodate many features that you might only expect to see in a very high-end pool build.
Many fiberglass pool manufacturers have a series of available standard designs in incremental sizes. Some manufacturers may even allow you to purchase a preformed fiberglass pool with an integrated spa. This is ideal for a homeowner who has a limited amount of space but still wants to enjoy the luxuries of both a swimming pool and a spa.
It is pretty likely that you can choose from a list of available features that you can add to your design. From simple seats or benches to custom curves and tanning decks, the choices are only limited by your imagination and the ability of the manufacturer to mold your requests.
Fiberglass pools are manufactured off-site, shipped to your home, and installed into an excavated site on your property. Typically, the plumbing is attached on-site, attached to your filter, and pressure-tested before final installation.
If you don’t already have an outdoor electrical hook-up, you will also probably need an electrician to run power from your service panel to the pool for your filter equipment and lighting. That can all be done while your pool is being built at the factory.
This is sort of an assembly-line style of pool build. And when it is carefully coordinated, it can be completed very quickly.
Rectangular pools are the most simple. They lend themselves to easy integration with other systems. For instance, if you want to install a winter cover, a leaf catcher, a thermal cover, or an automatic cover system, you can’t do so easily on a freeform pool.
But a small rectangular fiberglass pool is simple to cover. And the materials are much less expensive than the custom designs needed to match a freeform layout.
A freeform pool will almost always cost more money than a similarly sized rectangle pool. But, if you want a lot of custom features, the cost may be something you can deal with.
If you’ve ever heard of a plunge pool, also known as a cocktail pool, you’ll know that they are very small. Some homeowners rule out the idea of installing a plunge pool because the expense of doing so doesn’t match the small end result.
But, with a fiberglass pool, costs are pretty low compared to high-end vinyl or concrete designs. For smaller applications, fiberglass pools are pretty much the ideal choice.
Typically, fiberglass pools in smaller dimensions are not very deep. Five feet is probably the standard approximate depth.
But fiberglass pool depth varies considerably by model size and manufacturer. By shopping across the offerings of many manufacturers, you may be able to find the exact dimensions and depth for your specifications.
Keep in mind that the deeper your pool is, the more it will cost to manufacture. And the ancillary costs of excavation, filtration, and filling it with water will increase as well.
A lot of factors go into determining the total cost of a swimming pool installation. Fiberglass pools are typically less expensive to build than concrete or vinyl pools.
A smaller inground fiberglass pool will typically cost between $30,000 and $60,000 depending on where you live, who’s building it, the layout of your yard, the installation, and other associated costs of building it.
If you know anything about installing and designing a swimming pool, you know that adding features can inflate the price. So, if you go with a minimal design in small dimensions, the costs may be even less.
Features you might add to a fiberglass pool design include coping, a simulated tile line, a patio, integrated benches, a tanning deck, curved steps, a spa, and even other ancillary structures like an outdoor kitchen or a bar.
The more features you have in your build, the more you should expect to pay.
There are many different manufacturers of fiberglass pools. The manufacturing process used to create them varies. So do the warranty coverages provided by different manufacturers.
You should carefully review all the information available from your fiberglass pool manufacturer before you purchase it. Your pool installer may be able to help you understand the limitations. But, don’t take anyone’s word as gospel.
Make sure the details are written into your contract and that you understand everything before you sign it.
You may even want to talk to your installer about ongoing maintenance. They are likely your best resource for finding a reputable and knowledgeable provider in your area. Failure to use a licensed contractor trained to work on fiberglass pools could even risk your warranty coverage, so the more you know in advance, the better.
If you have a small backyard, you may be tempted to shoehorn in a large pool. Keep in mind that you need room around the perimeter of your pool to walk, play, relax, and house any ancillary equipment or structures. Failing to consider that extra margin could leave you with a yard that is overwhelmed by your pool.
A good rule of thumb is that you’re going to need about a thousand square feet of total space around your pool. That space should be split roughly in half between pool equipment (like a filter, heater, and cleaning equipment) and the room for maintenance work, with the other half dedicated to patio and recreational space.
Before even shopping for a fiberglass pool, you need to understand the setback rules in the building code governing your location. For example, if your local building code requires that your pool is 25 feet away from the nearest property line, that will be a determining factor in the size of the pool you can install.
All pool designs have pluses and minuses. One of the biggest advantages of a fiberglass pool installation is its rapid pace. A fiberglass pool can be in the ground and full of water in as little as 48 hours.
There will be a lead time to build your pool and ship it to your home, but once it’s on-site, a skilled contractor can have you swimming in no time.
In comparison, vinyl liner pools of any size can take 6 to 8 weeks to install. Concrete pools may take as long as half of the year to be completely finished.
If you know of a reputable pool builder in your area, you may want to contact them about your options for sourcing a fiberglass pool locally and installing it on your property.
It is very easy to go online and do some research about fiberglass pools. You could even probably buy one today if you wanted to. But you may end up holding the bag if you don’t research a local installer. The best place to start is with someone nearby with some experience in fiberglass pools.
But, even though you may find a manufacturer with a contractor in your area that seems like the best choice, don’t jump in right away. Make sure to do some due diligence.
Consider asking around among your friends and neighbors. Perhaps you have a neighbor who has a fiberglass pool or whose pool builder can help you through the steps of installing one.
Just like when we go to a doctor for a second medical opinion, it often is advantageous in the long run to get multiple perspectives before beginning a small fiberglass pool installation.
By putting in the time and effort to research your options, discussing your plans with friends, and consulting a reputable pool builder for advice you can find a small fiberglass pool to meet your needs. And, by doing all that groundwork, you’re laying the future for years of fun in the water.