While fiberglass pool installation may seem simple (dig a hole and drop it in… right?), there are many moving parts involved in this process that can make it an absolute challenge. In today’s blog, the team at Fujiwa Tiles is sharing six tricks of the trade to help you understand what goes into an excellent fiberglass pool installation. Let’s get started.
1. Find the right pool shape.
When it comes to choosing the right pool shape, consider how much swim space you need—or if you intend to “use” the pool more out of the water than in, or vice versa. Choose a curvy layout if you want more room for poolside activities. However, if you want the most open swim area, go for a more linear style, such as a rectangle.
The pool’s depth must also be considered if you want to make full use of your pool—whether for activities (e.g., volleyball) or simply lounging in the pool water. The optimal depth is approximately 3 ft or 4 ft in the pool’s shallow end and 5 ft or 6 ft in the deep end. Anything deeper will instantly kill the functionality of the pool. Furthermore, the depth should have a steady drop rather than a “hopper” or sharp slope. The latter can be unsafe for small children and are worthless for most pool activities.
2. Don’t overlook decking.
There is no other component that will have a more significant impact on the overall pool design and functionality than the pool deck. A patio space of anywhere between 600 sq ft and 900 sq ft around the pool is enough for most homeowners—600-900 sq ft is enough room for some outdoor chaise lounges and a comfortable stroll around the pool’s perimeter. Besides the size of the deck, you must also consider the materials. We have covered the topic in this blog: 8 MOST POPULAR MATERIALS FOR SWIMMING POOL DECKS.
Other pool options and accessories you want to consider include:
- Pool fence
- Pool color
- Pool lighting
- Water features
- Automatic vacuum cleaners
- Saltwater chlorinators
- Pool covers
3. Hire a professional installer.
One of the first questions many homeowners have while contemplating an inground fiberglass pool is whether they should install the pool shell themselves or hire an installer to do so. DIY installation may lead to significant cost savings, but it will also necessitate a significant time investment in studying the technical aspects of the excavation/construction process. It can also have an effect on the pool manufacturer’s warranty. Avoid all the headaches, hassle, and stress of installing your own pool by hiring an experienced professional.
Once you have hired a professional installer, they will take care of the following key considerations:
4. Ensure the pool rests on a solid foundation.
This may seem obvious, but a shaky foundation is the root cause of many fiberglass pool installation failures. Here are a few things to watch out for:
● Setting the pool shell on disturbed soil
When digging a hole, if the excavator inadvertently digs too deep, the area is likely to be backed up with the same soil. The area must be graded with a compactable base material. If this is not done the right way, the ground and pool will inevitably settle. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out what that means.
● Uncompacted base material
Following the hole’s excavation, a leveling material—sand or gravel—is poured into the hole and leveled to serve as a foundation for the pool shell to rest on. Again, the pool will settle over time if the base material is not properly compacted.
These problems are easily avoidable if the installer takes the time to ensure the pool is supported by a solid foundation.
5. Ensure the pool is perfectly level.
Since a fiberglass pool is a one-piece unit, expecting it to be perfectly level is unrealistic. Per the industry norms, the pool can be up to one inch out of level in forty feet. Experienced installers aim for a quarter-inch pool but will settle for a half-inch. A professional installer will lift the pool out of the hole and add or subtract the base material to bring the pool to the desired level. They also walk the pool floor after the shell has been laid to ensure that the pool is sitting on a solid foundation with no voids. These two methods can ensure that the pool is not only level but also in its natural state and free of undue stress at any time.
6. Ensure good backfill procedure.
Backfilling the pool shell is a procedure that, if performed incorrectly, can have dire implications. Here are some backfilling guidelines that professional installers use to ensure a successful fiberglass pool installation:
- Bring the backfill material on the outside of the pool up to the same level as the water on the inside—this maintains equal pressure on the pool’s walls.
- Ensure minimal settlement by compacting the backfill material. Sand backfill requires saturation with water at every 6-12 inches of lift.
- Backfill the steps and seats with as much material as possible to eliminate voids. This is accomplished by crawling under the pool and inserting backfill material into the area using a board or other instrument. To avoid lifting the entire pool from the ground, ensure there is at least 1 ft of water in the pool before beginning this process.
- To prevent sagging, brace large steps and benches with blocks.
Get in touch with Fujiwa Tiles today.
If you are looking for high-quality tiles for your fiberglass pool, Fujiwa Tiles is a name you can trust. We have over 30 years of technical knowledge and profound experience in the pool tile industry. Each series of our Fujiwa Collection is created for superior quality, distinction, and appealing all-purpose styles. Contact one of our three offices today to learn more.