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Considering A Fiberglass In The Pittsburgh, Pa Area


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#1 lanbe

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 04:18 AM

Hello, I would some advice. I am looking to put in an inground pool in Pittsburgh, PA area and I am strongly leaning toward a fiberglass unless somebody convinces otherwise. Everything I have read pretty much makes the fiberglass pools out to be easy to maintain, cheaper on chemicals and cheaper to heat. Little more pricey for the initial purchase.

Question #1. Do the walls ever need refinished? If so, approx. what might this job cost? (I see viking warranties the finish for 7 years. I didn't find anything on San Juan)

#2. I've narrowed down my fiberglass choices to either a Viking or San Juan, please share ur experience/knowledge on these two brands?

#3. Does anyone know how much mark up is on the fiberglass pools? (how much negotiation room is there)

#4. Heat Pump or Gas heater? Also, can I add the heater at a later date?

#5. How big of a heater is needed for a 12 x 24 or 12 1/2 x 27 pool?

#6 What type of Filter should I get?

#7 Can lighting be added at a later date after instalation?

#8 Should I buy an auto Chloriantor?

Thank You

#2 poolrookie

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Posted 22 August 2007 - 07:25 AM

I'm in the same boat as you and looking forward to hearing the responses to your questions...especially question #1. Because of the price of a fiberglass pool, I'm also exploring a vinyl pool but I can't see myself pulling the trigger on a vinyl knowing what I know on fiberglass.

I have been researching fiberglass and I am unable to come up with any negatives. Other than being limited on the size and shape (this does not bother me) and assuming your pool builder has a great reputation...are there any concerns that both "lanbe" and I should be aware of?

#3 dpz

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 07:08 AM

Hi poolrookie and lanbie,

We bought a Viking Laguna (14x30) pool earlier this year, and are very happy with it. I ldid a lot of web research and liked the information that I found on Viking, Trilogy, and Leisure Pools USA a little better than the San Juans and others. My research seemed to indicate that the dealer/installer was just as important as the pool builder. In our case (near San Francisco), only Viking and San Juan had local dealers. When I checked out the dealers with the various state boards and BBB, the Viking dealer had no issues, while the San Juan dealers weren't even listed as pool contractors...

Our builder puts in over 50 pools a year, used to sell both Viking and San Juan, but now only sells Viking (they thought the Viking pool has become higher quality). Even though they are across the Bay from us, they had 8 local references, each with pools of various ages.

We started May 1 and were swiming by June 6. It would have been done two weeks earlier, except that we chose to have a sandstone deck put in, instead of just the normal concrete deck, and that took the extra time.



Question #1. Do the walls ever need refinished? If so, approx. what might this job cost? (I see viking warranties the finish for 7 years. I didn't find anything on San Juan)
The walls should not need refinishing (unless you have an extreme chemical problem that damages the gelcoat)

#2. I've narrowed down my fiberglass choices to either a Viking or San Juan, please share ur experience/knowledge on these two brands?
We've had a good experience so far. The pool was delivered on time, and we've had no issues (nor had the references which included one customer with a 14 year old pool). The regional Viking Rep even stopped by the other day with the our dealer to see the install. I also felt that the design (number and types of layers and the bond beam at the top) of the Viking and the Leisure was stronger (at least it looked superior to my non engineering eyes)
#3. Does anyone know how much mark up is on the fiberglass pools? (how much negotiation room is there)
I'm sure its high and there is some room to negotiate. In our case the Viking deal had fixed package prices, and they were so much lower than the concrete option (labor is ridiculously high in the SF Bay Area), that there was not an option to negotiate. However, I also tend to think that, if you have found a good contractor, it's a good idea to give them a reasonable profit on the job. That way they are focused on working on your job and not trying to cut corners or delaying so the subs can work on better paying jobs. Now, if you have two different competing dealers in the area...I would let them know that you are shopping both so that you get a good price from them.
#4. Heat Pump or Gas heater? Also, can I add the heater at a later date?
can't help you here...energy is ridiculously expensive in California....so we only went with solar. However, you should know that Fiberglass pools do seem to run warmer than concrete. Our pool gets all day sun and has generally been at least at 85 all summer with out the solar and without the solar cover on. (And, this is Northern California - we havent had a day over 95 yet and most days have only been in the 80's, and most nights drop into the 50's)
#5. How big of a heater is needed for a 12 x 24 or 12 1/2 x 27 pool?
no idea but wouldn't expect it to need to be too large since those are smaller pools
#6 What type of Filter should I get?
I think cartridge filters are the easiest to deal with and seem to keep our pool crystal clear. Just make sure you get a big filter, as more filter area leads to more efficiency and less frequent cleaning
#7 Can lighting be added at a later date after instalation?
I don't think it would be easy. We have an LED light, and the fiber optic line had to be run under the decking and up through the concrete pad for the pool shed. We only got one light....its OK, but I would recommend two lights, either at opposite long ends of the pool, or on the long side of the pool and facing away from the place you are most likely to be looking at the pool. (they can be a bit bright if you are looking right into them
#8 Should I buy an auto Chloriantor?
Our builder was against a Salt Water Generator, but I think he's kind of an old school, keep it simple, type of guy. He also didn't like the idea of salt in the water, since he felt it added to the potential for corrosion of the metal parts of the pool equipment. I'm not sure it would be a problem, and a friend of mine who owns a pool maintenance company does have a problem with them. That said...we really only have to add a little bit of clorine every few days in the summer, so I think it would only help if you have a very high chlorine consumption requirement (lots of users) or travel for extended periods. I have considered a liquid chlorine chlorinator, but it just hasn't been worth the effort to bother yet.

Generally the chemical maintenance of fiberglass pools is pretty easy. We do a full check every week. Typically, I have very little to do. Our water has very high alkalinity and we have to add a couple of inches every week because of evaporation. so I have to add about a cup of acid every week to bring it down. That and a little chlorine every 2-3 days is it.

We're very happy with our pool and love the feel of the fiberglass vs concrete (not as smooth) or vinyl (not as solid). My friend's kids came over and said they liked our pool bether than theirs (concrete). Bottomline - make sure you have a good installer with a good rep and a lot of local references. Ask the references what they'd do differently if they did it again (I'd add a second light, get a bigger pool - the 16 x 35 version, and get more decking space (we had been worried about making our back yard just a pool, so were a little to conservative on the size of the pool and deck)

Good Luck and Enjoy!

#4 faithie

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 05:30 PM

Hello,
I live in Greensburg, Pa. Not far from pittsburgh. I would like to get rid of my fiberglass pool. It is a 16 X 32 ft. (8 ft. deep) Dolphin pool 12 years young. Nothing can go wrong with the pool itself actually I am just growing old and tired of it. It could be bought cheap enought but you would have to get it out and there. Just an idea. Fiberglass is really the way to go. Just open and your done pretty much. Pool also has new 2 hp filter that kicks butt. Also brand new never hooked up heat pump heater. Jacuzzi filters. Well think about it or contact me at faith5153@comcast.net




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