A Parade of Fiberglass Pools

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There was once a time when mention of fiberglass pools brought to mind plain shells and awkward installations. Customers liked the price, convenience and reduced maintenance requirements of fiberglass, but some shied away from purchasing what they considered a cookie-cutter pool that couldn't compete with gunite in terms of customization.

That reputation is an outdated cliche β€” these days, the possibilities with fiberglass are anything but basic and boring. A modern assortment of shapes and sizes offer special additions like tanning ledges, Baja shelves and even beach entries. Not to mention the potential to dazzle with water and fire features.

And in a time of record demand and tricky timelines, quick turnaround is priceless. Manufactured as one-piece units, fiberglass shells arrive ready for installation, no steel or wooden framework required. A pool can be lifted in and fitted in a matter of days, not weeks, and the smooth surface finishes are durable enough for generations.

We believe it's about time the fiberglass family got some time in the spotlight, and we're hoping to do just that. AQUA searched for the category's best and brightest, so without further ado, please enjoy this parade of fiberglass pools…



 Photos this listing courtesy Latham PoolsPhotos this listing courtesy Latham Pools

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"Backyard Resort" Latham Pools

Builder: Brent Handy | Paragon Pools in Jacksonville, Fla.

This pool-and-spa combination project was designed with large family gatherings in mind. "The wading area in the shallow end is perfect for smaller children to play in," says Builder Brent Handy, "while the centrally located spa allows adults to relax while keeping a close eye on them. And the bench in the deep end of the pool allows for pool swimmers to be included in conversation with folks in the spa."

The shape of the spa β€” Latham's Regal Spillover model β€” intentionally echoes the shape of the Fiji pool, both finished in G2 Sapphire. The browns and tans in the ceramic waterline tile tie the paver decking in with the blue of the pool, while the white grout lines maintain a clean look and feel.

Interlocking concrete coping and pavers were used both on the pool deck and over the existing back porch. "This allows for a seamless transition from the existing porch to the new pool deck, giving way to an open, spacious pool area," explains Handy. A split-face travertine was used to face the raised area around the spa.

Every jobsite poses challenges, but Handy says working with Latham relieved some of the stress. "Our jobsite exposure is limited to a couple of weeks, instead of the several months often required to build a comparable concrete pool and spa," he says. "Even the permitting process is smoother for us, with Latham supplying engineered plans that we submit for our country building permit."

The design is full of charming elements, but it's their cohesion that really makes it special. "The pool and spa make a truly beautiful centerpiece to this dream backyard, but it really takes the whole project working together to create this backyard resort," says Handy.



Photo this listing courtesy Tallman PoolsPhoto this listing courtesy Tallman Pools "Level Up" Tallman Pools

Cool Pools in Apex, N.C.

This curvy fiberglass selection is all about layers. A rocky waterfall feature on top cascades into the spa below, with a pebbly divide guiding the eye to the pool at ground level. Yet another layer, the multi-level, built-in tanning ledge, makes it easy for swimmers to find their zone and catch some rays while staying cool.

This particular model β€” Tallman's Abacos β€” features a 3-foot, 6-inch shallow end and a nearly 6-foot deep end, ensuring fun for swimmers of any size. Measuring 403 sq.ft. with 12,300 gallons of splash potential, the pool is spacious enough for everyone.



Photo this listing courtesy Thursday PoolsPhoto this listing courtesy Thursday Pools 

"The Beach Entry" Thursday Pools

Builder: Jonathan Hendrick | Hendrick Pool & Lawn in McCordsville, Ind.

Beach-entry fiberglass might seem daunting, but Thursday Pools' offerings make for quick and easy installation. This particular model β€” the Grace Beach Entry β€” comes as a one-piece fiberglass pool shell.

Builder Jonathan Hendrick says it's a matter of keeping the same angle of the pool all the way into the deck. "It's about a 10% grade, and you just need to run the concrete out to where the pool and deck meet," he explains. "With the coping, which adds about 2 inches of height, you only need to run the concrete out about 12 inches." In addition, Thursday's Backfill Eliminator provides support for a long, sloped tanning ledge.

A closer look reveals a glimmering special feature. "I tiled the entire beach entry with 1-by-1-inch glass tiles," says Hendrick. "It really makes the water sparkle and gives the pool a beautiful, elegant look."

Twin fountains adorn the pool floor, located on its underside. "It makes plumbing and fitting it properly a little trickier, but otherwise they function the same as any other return," says Hendrick.

An automatic pool cover was also part of this installation. During the early design stages, Thursday Pools worked directly with Automatic Pool Covers, Inc. to ensure it worked seamlessly with the beach-entry option.

"In our area, everyone has an automatic pool cover. This adds about 3 inches of height, so we had to come out a little further to make the two grades meet," says Hendrick. "The freeze-thaw here is an issue, so the concrete has to be thick enough to withstand these conditions." To allow concrete to meet decking at a true zero-entry point, Thursday Pools patented a special flange, eliminating the thick concrete that would create more of a "step-down" entry.

Ultimately, what the client loved most was what the pool could offer their four-legged friends. "It appears that 9 out of 10 dogs prefer beach-entry pools, from what I've seen on this installation," says Hendrick.



Photo this listing courtesy San Juan PoolsPhoto this listing courtesy San Juan Pools

"Feature-Focused" San Juan Pools

Builder: Robert Fergione | Poolscapes of Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.

The right combination of special features with fiberglass can really pack a punch. In this instance, a powerful lion flanked by fire steals the show.

"The water features were designed to be centered on the client's front door, which was all glass, with a direct view straight through the back glass sliders," says Builder Robert Fergione. "The first thing that catches your eye when you approach the front door is the fire and water bowls and the lion's head. We added the natural stone arch to soften the look and make the lion appear more prominent in the wall."

Fergione's design process always begins with an actual water's-edge template of the pool, laid out in the yard to help the client visualize the location. "For this design, the template was helpful because of the multiple terracing the yard required and the location of the water features," he says. Drainage was also a key factor: heavy rains took a toll on the installation process.

"Rectangle pools are in Vogue," Fergione adds. "Clients like clean lines and minimal decking on the back sides of the pool." The particular selection for this project was Belgard Eastwood paver coping in gray and Belgard Cambridge Cobble in Carolina Blend.

The pool β€” a San Juan Great Lakes model, in a granite gelcoat β€” features an array of shallow portions with tanning shelves and lounging areas in every corner. This is a hallmark of San Juan's offerings, all of which have built-in steps and benches, many with tanning ledges and Baja shelves as well.

The equipment room is cleverly hidden behind the garage, close and accessible, but not visible. It's all about keeping things away from the homeowner's line of sight and away from sleeping areas. "We use freeze protection in the Carolinas, so if the temperature drops at 3 a.m., you don't want the pump near your bedroom," explains Fergione.



2019 0522 Pla Mor Construction Pinnacle 40 Eb W Tl Poole M6 (1) Photos this listing courtesy Leisure PoolsPhotos this listing courtesy Leisure Pools

"The Life of Leisure" Leisure Pools USA

Builder: Pla-Mor Construction of Mechanicsville, Va.

In a setting like this, with a gorgeous lake and majestic pines as a backdrop, you want your pool project to complement and even enhance the view. That's just what builder Pla-Mor Construction of Mechanicsville, Va., did with this twin-level, hardscaped paradise set amid the luxurious countryside. The clean layout and the fiberglass shell's orthogonal lines form the perfect visual launch point and architectural complement to the bucolic background.

Steve and Nancy Clements of Pla-Mor Construction, expert providers of top-flight installations in the Richmond area since 1968, brought their many years of design expertise to this outdoor living project. There are so many charming elements in this design, from the classy triple spa spillover/waterfalls to the expertly hidden automatic cover track, to the dining area cleverly delineated by a tone change in the pavers, it's hard to pick a favorite. It might just be the stately matching stone walls.

This project features a composite fiberglass "Pinnacle 40" swimming pool from Leisure Pools in a contemporary Ebony Blue gelcoat. The design features a full-width splash pad and a gentle-stepped entry into the pool's interior where cooling waters await those enjoying their well-deserved "Life of Leisure."


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