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Building A Fiberglass Side & Concrete Bottom Swimming Pool?

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Looking for advice/suggestions for a DIY in-ground pool install using fiberglass panels and a poured concrete bottom. Have an opportunity to purchase (CHEAP) a 20x24 fiberglass panel pool. All info online I can find about these suggest they where used years ago? Can find no new manufactures of these panels (any suggestions?). Some questions I have are: What are the steps of installation? How does the fiberglass panel meet the concrete bottom? What supports panels during back filling outside panel & water filling interior of pool? Pour bottom first and set panels on top or set panels and pour concrete inside up to fiberglass? Need expansion joint material? What caulk or sealer for all joints? I consider myself very capable to tackle DIY projects and have access to excavators and concrete professionals to complete/assist with work. Just really need instruction on how to proceed from start to finish. Anyone ever do one of these or have experience with type? Or would you not even recommend it? I sure would appreciate all your advice, support and suggestions.

Thanks,

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This is a hybrid pool. This style is darned near extinct. I strongly discourage this path.

If you must build your own, there are DIY kits for liner pools available that will give you a better pool as long as you don't try to cut corners.

Scott

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Thanks PoolGuyNJ, appreciate your response. Kind of what I thought but wanted to get some other opinions. Is very tempting to think I could replace my above ground pool with an in-ground for very little money. Wall's only costing a couple hundred bucks, all labor for excavation, plumbing, electrical and masonry would be free and all expense would entail is material. That's why the idea was enticing and why I was hoping to get some direction as to how these hybrids are installed in-case I would move forward with the idea. So, if anyone else has experience with this older type of build and would like to submit their thoughts, I'm open to all comments.

Thanks,

Troy

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That's interesting, PoolGuyNJ. A local builder in the StL area, Dugger, has been building pools w/ fiberglass sides and concrete bottoms for 40+ years and is still building them today. Are there structural problems with these sorts of pools. Just curious, and thanks.

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Just that he's like the only one still building hybrids. I seriously doubt the panels the OP mentioned were designed for this application.

Scott

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Jkusmier, do you have contact info for the guy in MO still building "Hybrid" type pools? Would like to pick his brain. I did purchase the wall sections in questions and plan to proceed with the project (couldn't pass up the good deal!). I can email pics if requested (is there a way to attach to a post?). If this helps others see what I am starting with, maybe there will be more input as to installation instructions. Am getting good info from a provider on another forum (who happens to be from MO, same guy maybe?).

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Just google Dugger Pools in Bethalto, IL. In agreement with PoolGuyNJ, I suspect the fiberglass panels they use differ from those you are looking at. I have personally seen hybrid pools built by Dugger 25+ years ago. They are industrial grade, lasting pools.

Scott: you're right, I don't think anyone in the StL area is still building these - but they remain in Dugger's stable.

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I did look up Dugger Pools and am in the process of contacting them via email for info. I also found the manufacturer of my pool panels (Swimcraft, Inc. from Angola Indiana), they are still in business and I am also reaching out to them for additional information. They do link to Dugger Pools on their website as a installer of their pool panels. So, thank you all for the great information and I am finally getting somewhere with all my search for specific installation details. Getting really excited for the build process and can't wait to get started. Will be tearing down my above ground pool after this season in preparation for this in-ground!

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Don't let some of these replies discourage you. I have a inground Fiberglass/concrete pool and have had it for 30 plus years. The sides are still in perfect condition and I have only had to have the bottom replastered twice. The last time was just 2 years ago. The bottom will outlast 10 liners and the liners are expensie. It only cost me a little over 2,000.00 to get the bottom re-plastered and that is about the cost of 1 liner for a 18 x 36 pool.

Here is how it is done: The form is dug for the bottom and of course the sides. The sides come in 10 foot panels and are bolted together with stainless steel bolts. There is a 4 inch piece of rubber that goes between the panel joint which makes it water tight. After the panels are all set up and botled then the bottom about 1 foot of it has concrete poured. There are rebarb pieces that are molded into the panels for support. Of course you have to plumb everything in before the bottom is shaped with concrete.

Then you backfill the sides and do not use anything BUT small pea gravel, nothing with sharp edges such as crushed stone as it may eventually punch through the fiberglass. The small smooth pea gravel will settle in very good and that is what the manufacturer reccommnended.

Then the deck is poured and the concrete also forms in around the rebarb that is in the top section of the walls for support.

The final thing is to have the bottom what they call plastered. Your pool supply place has the material and will be glad to tell you how to mix it. Very imporant that you slowly fill you pool as soon as you get it plastered as if it it allowed to dry out with no water it will have cracks in it. I would suggest that you have a professional do the plastering.

I still have my instruction booklet that came with my pool which tells you EXACTLY how to do it and will be glad to copy it and send you a copy of it if you like.

I absolutrely love my fiberglass wall and concrete pool and have had no maintenance problem with it at all.

Tom

If you want a Hayward Color Logic 12 volt light, I have one that I can't install because I have the wrong size niche in my pool and it will be too costly to have the pool excavated and the correct one to fit the light installed. It has never been installed but I have the Hayward 12 volt step down transformer and have hooked the pool light up and dropped it into the pool on 2 or 3 occasions and it works perfectly. I will make you a good deal on it which will include the transformer.

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Tom,

Thank you for your post and that gives me great confidence. I am going to proceed with the project and have been accumulating install advice from several sources. I would love to have the material you mentioned if you could scan as a .pdf and email to me (tbaker@mvctc.com)! I too feel this type of pool makes a lot of sense from a maintenance standpoint for years to come. Thank you for the light offer but I have found out my niches are designed to only accept the Pentair LED light (as they are one and the same as the American Standard Co. that made the niches in my wall panel). I am in communication with manufacture about gasket material for between joints. How did you support your wall panels within your over-dig area? The panels have the stainless flanges at top and bottom to attache some sort of support. Thanks again for all your help.

Troy

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The parents of one of my friends has a pool w/ fiberglass walls and concrete bottom - I've been there countless times. It's probably 30 or so years old, but I doubt it was built by Dugger. I don't think they've had to re-plaster the bottom for many years. The do power-wash and apply new epoxy paint to both the walls and bottom periodically (I'm thininking 5-7+ years), but it looks great. That's a thumbnail sketch of your long-term maintenance.

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The pools in our area with fiberglass walls, have deteriorated gaskets, and are full of blisters/bubbles in the panels; some as big as basket balls, in some cases the back fill has caused the panels to bulge into the pool. What causes this? poor chemistry, bad panels?

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Gaskets need to be replaced periodically. That isn't an unusual event.

Blisters and bulges are a different matter. Bulges can form with the movement of the earth. When this happened, the gel coat may have cracked slightly. That let water get to the fiberglass caused it to begin to break down.

Scott

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My Mom has had an inground pool with fiberglass walls that I'm thinking of replacing, because, of what I beleive are plumbing leaks. The walls have lasted 48 years, however, have a couple of bad bulges. The Pool is kidney shaped and is about 23' wide X 33' long with concrete bottom. There are only two sheets for the sides . Newbie did you find any that big?? And can I really do this repair myself?? other than being handy, I have worked concrete. Any Answers??

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I’m closing on a house that has this type of pool, and I’ve had two pool repair companies that aren’t familiar with these types of pools that have quoted me 20k for converting to concrete pool.  It’s an indoor pool that has been closed for 5 years, and was operational when closed.  I did have someone offer me a quote to tile and paint pool for $3500 but I don’t feel that is correct for this style pool. Can someone advise me what to do, and building a new pool is out of the question for us. I’ve included a photo. 

9912B5B4-7E6E-4F34-86CC-9CBC2709299B.jpeg

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Jan in Ms 

We have a 20x40 I ground pool. Gunfire bottom and fiberglass sides. At least 30 yrs old. Just had prep for reprinting epoxy on concrete. After emptying notices small bubbles all over fiberglass sides.  Yikes. Possible cause?  Repair options ?  Seams still good. The guy that built this pool was the best in the area (Ms). 

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On ‎4‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 7:31 PM, Jan and Bill Bushman said:

 

Jan in Ms 

We have a 20x40 I ground pool. Gunfire bottom and fiberglass sides. At least 30 yrs old. Just had prep for reprinting epoxy on concrete. After emptying notices small bubbles all over fiberglass sides.  Yikes. Possible cause?  Repair options ?  Seams still good. The guy that built this pool was the best in the area (Ms). 

We have a similar  problem.  The bubbles eventually seem to have a small hair line crack, but there is black marks along the crack.  Tried to get rid of black streaks to no avail.  Will be interested to see if any others have had this problem and if they find something to remove the black streaks.

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I had the pool professionally painted, but needed to patch a whole after where the pool guy attempted to put a light. Wondering if I need to repaint whole pool, or if I can paint patch spot. 

B95583B7-2067-4568-AABD-7853AF37105C.jpeg

812A39AE-B32F-4BB8-AC9B-8887D23FF606.jpeg

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I have a fiberglass pool with a concrete bottom.  I had the pool painted this summer but the pool company did not reseal between the fiberglass and concrete ledge.  Does anyone know anything about this problem.  When they filled the pool with water, the water leaked out to the concrete.  Please help if you can

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We have this same kind of pool.  Concrete bottom and fiberglass sides.  We have a leak also.  Water has leaked out down to the concrete area.  I can't seem to find anyone to help us.  Should we keep trying to find someone or try repairing ourselves?  My husband is very handy.  We are from Elkhart, IN

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Buying a house where they advertised a gunite pool but finding out the sides are fiberglass and the bottom is concrete. Is this still considered a gunite pool? The bottom needs refinishing for sure. Peeling paint. How much will that cost? But the sides are fiberglass so they will never need any work correct?

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