Fibreglass has been used as a pool coating for over 40 years and is considered to be a very cost effective coating. Fibreglassed pools look stunning with there vibrant range of colours but also offer more subdued calming white or pastel colours. The surface can be slippery if the water quality is poor but this is easily resolved by having a slip resistant coating on the steps. There are so many benefits to choosing Fiberglass; The surface is inert so it does not absorb or leach chemicals this ensures the chemical balance in your pool remains stable. Uses notably less chemicals. Water is noticeably warmer as the coating acts as a thermal layer between the water and the concrete. Fibreglass is smooth and no-abrasive and is stain resistant. It is waterproof therefore protects the existing surface and stops the development of rust. The colour choices range from your white, to greens, to blues and all shades in-between It has the longest expected life span than any other surface
The flexibility and tensile strength make it suitable for converting vinyl liner pools and coating shifting pools.
Expected life 20-30+ years
Marblesheen is a plaster type of product. Suitable for stable pools (pools that are not shifting) Newly installed Marblesheen can look very classy. Be aware that pools Marblesheened prior to 1980 will more than likely have asbestos in the plaster. This was added to give the product a extended life. This is why you see Marblesheen pools that are 30-40 years old that only now need resurfacing. If you are planing on doing any resurfacing other than painting, Fibreglassing, or installing a Vinyl liner (which goes over the existing surface) to an existing Marblesheen pool circa 1980, ask your contractor how they intend removing the old Asbestos Marblesheen. The modern Marblesheens do not have asbestos in them for obvious reasons and therefore do not last as long. Marblesheen is not water proof therefore does not protect against any rusting of reinforcement issues that are or are likely to occur in older pools. Marblesheen can be colored - using a pigment in the plaster for pastel shades. A new Marblesheen surface is a reactive surface therefore you will need to monitor the chemical balance more frequently to keep it correct. After a relatively short period of time, the chemicals will start to etch the surface and you will notice the surface becoming abrasive
Expected life 12-15 years
Pebblecrete has advanced from the Pebblecretes of old. They have smaller stones in them or glass beads. So they can look very nice. Colour can be from white to darker colours. This is achieved by adding more glass beads and/or pigment to the aggregate.
However they still have the old issues as many pebble pool owners will attest. The draw backs are as follows.
Pebblecretes are abrasive.
They are a reactive, porous no-water proof surface therefore it is very difficult to maintain the correct chemical balance which creates black alga issues.
After a period of time they start to leach calcium in the from of white drips down the surface of the pool
If you do let the pool go and you develop alga it is almost impossible to get rid of (even with an acid wash). The alga spores burrow into the porous surface and will keep coming back If the old surface is not removed due the installation the surface can become drummy and sections crack or fall out.
Expected life 10-15 years
Cost Moderate to High (depending on the amount of colour required)
Tiles are considered by many to be the premium surface. It is one of the most easily maintained surfaces. With the exception on the grout lines, algae cannot grip the surface therefore there is no need be paranoid about algae as it will not harm the surface and cannot penetrate the tiles. Tiles are also considered an inert surface so chemical cannot be passed between the surface and the water giving a more stable chemical balance. The surface can be slippery if the water quality is not good. This is normally resolved by have slip resistant tiles on the steps. Modern tiles come in Ceramic or Glass in various sizes from 20 X 20 Mosaics to Kitchen tile size.
Expected life 30-40 years
Vinyl liners were invented to line low cost above and in-ground modular pools. They have been installed into problem pools i.e pools that are cracked and alive (constantly shifting) If you install a Vinyl liner you need to be aware that any sharp objects can easily tear the liner and also be careful not to expose the liner to direct sunlight for any period of time as it will discolor and be come brittle. Be wary of the 10 year warranties as they are pro-rata, which means if there is a warranty issue the company will compensate you the difference between the use you have had and the balance of the warranty. e.g Your liner gives out after 6 years the company will give you 4 tenths of the price paid towards a new one. There is very few reasons to install a vinyl liner other than to replace and existing one (if you do not want to convert the pool to a Fibreglass lining) or a pool that is severely shifting. Pool chemicals stay relatively stable in Vinyl liner pools as they are considered an inert surface