The joys of Las Cruces living include oodles of Southwestern sun and those warm, healing temperatures. Complementing the sweet, dry heat and abundant sunshine is any chance to swim in cool water. With few natural bodies of water in our Sunbelt area, where can Las Crucens go for aqua refreshment? Right in your own backyard.
Written by Susie Ouderkirk
The addition of a swimming pool enriches everyday life and increases property values. There are three types of inground pools available to homeowners: poured concrete, vinyl-liner, and fiberglass—the latter of which is steadily growing in popularity, according to the Fiberglass Pool Manufacturers Council (FPMC) website. Fiberglass pools allow for unique and one-of-a-kind shapes and sizes that homeowners can design themselves.
Fiberglass pools, unlike the traditional concrete pools most of us remember from our childhood, are “more comfortable and more stable holding the water,” says Curt Trystup, chairman of the FPMC. “Each pool is built in a factory and is uniform with no seams or other problem areas. No more scraped knees!”
Fiberglass came onto the pool manufacturing market in the late 1950s and early 60s. Since then, fiberglass construction has grown in popularity and now makes up about 20 percent of the home pool market.
How It Works
“Fiberglass pools are factory built shells, like a bathtub, which are plumbed and installed with considerably less building,” Curt explains. Notable for their smooth walls and floors, fiberglass pools are molded in one piece in the exact size and shape specified by the owner.
Fiberglass is a material manufactured from extremely thin strands of glass (hence the name). After the size and shape of the pool are determined, a hole is dug in the ground to match and the pool is simply dropped in. Concrete swimming pools must be poured into the hole and created by hand, and vinyl-liner pools typically come in pieces and need to be assembled.
An inground concrete pool takes about six to eight weeks to install, “but fiberglass takes half of that time,” Curt says. What’s more, “Fiberglass pools don’t require as much maintenance as concrete or vinyl-liner pools. Concrete pools eventually require refinishing and vinyl pools can bunch up over time and may need to be replaced every few years.”
Because the pools are treated with a gelcoat finish —which is seven to eight times thicker than a normal coat of paint— scratches are not likely to be more than superficial. Hairline cracks, also called “crazing,” may develop over time but only penetrate the gelcoat surface.
But What’s the Maintenance?
Discount Pools and Spas, is a great place to get information about all kinds of pools and how to take care of them, including scheduling crews who come to your house and do the work for you. Just ask Certified Pool Operator Ryan Hammond who can be found bustling around the store at 111 S. Roadrunner Parkway.
Ryan estimates that about 25 percent of the pools the company maintains in the Las Cruces area are fiberglass. Correctly and safely maintaining the water chemistry in a pool is simply balancing the pH, the total alkalinity and the calcium hardness. “There’s not a lot of difference between the types of pools when it comes to cleaning, but the chemicals are different,” Ryan says. “Fiberglass tends to have a lower pH so you’ll use more soda ash or ‘Balance Pak’ as water additives. Cement pools have a higher pH so you use more muriatic acid to keep it level.”
So how do the fiberglass pools compare economically? Curt says, “Initially, when you look at a purchase, fiberglass may be a little bit more expensive, but when the customer looks at the overall maintenance costs over time —say a five year period— it will pay for itself in a few years.
Who can build and install your fiberglass pool?
Pools by Design
Who can take care of your fiberglass pool?
Discount Pools & Spas
111 S. Roadrunner Pkwy.