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Fiberglass pools are not new; in fact these types of pools have been around for nearly 50 years. Fiberglass pools are one piece, factory built shells made with fiberglass layers, resins, and finished with a gel coating, a non-porous surface similar to cars, boats and pool slides.
Fiberglass pools are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes with various tile patterns, fiber optic lighting, and in-floor cleaning systems, possible. Some forms of maintenance like acid washing, resurfacing, and liner replacements don't exist with fiberglass pools, but proper weekly chemical and cleaning maintenance are still needed to protect the gelcoat finish.
Do Not Drain Your Pool! A fiberglass pool is designed to remain full of water at all times. If the pool is drained without proper directions, water or ground pressure outside the pool could cause the structure to buckle or crack, or even pop out of the ground, partially or fully.
If it becomes necessary to drain the pool, for pool repairs or to replace the water, you can contact a builder or service company to take the risk, or take the risk on yourself. It’s not an absolute certainty that damage will occur when draining a fiberglass pool, especially for those with equipment and knowledge to get the job done safely and quickly.
For best operation, keep the water level in the center of the rectangular skimmer plate on the pool wall. Low water level may cause the circulating pump to lose prime resulting in pump damage; high water level reduces or eliminates the skimmer effectiveness.
The "bathtub" ring which forms on the pool wall or tile caused by body oils, suntan lotions and air borne contaminants can easily be removed with swimming pool tile cleaner or other non-abrasive commercial tile or vinyl cleaners. Do not use abrasive cleaners, steel wool, metal scrapers, brushes or tools as these may cause permanent damage to the gel coat finish.
The gel-coat finish of your fiberglass pool can be scratched like any other gloss surface. The gelcoat is seven to eight times thicker than a normal coat of paint so it is not likely that scratches will be more than superficial.
Dull and faded gel coat at the water line may be restored with a heavy cut automotive polishing compound either power or hand applied followed by a coat of wax. If that doesn’t help, you can install perimeter pool tile to a fiberglass pool, by using silicone adhesive and silicone grout.
Hair line cracks, also called crazing which may develop over a period of time are not uncommon. They only penetrate the gel coat and do not affect the pool's structure or result in leakage. Scratches and hair-line cracks are repairable. The surface can be prepped and re-gelcoated, or for very small or isolated cracks, an epoxy filler can be used for quick underwater repairs.
Most of the dirt and debris that sinks to the bottom of your pool can be brushed toward and into the main drain and will be trapped in the filter. Heavy amounts of dirt and debris should be vacuumed out manually or with a pool cleaner. Use a pool cleaner that is suitable for fiberglass pools.
With a fiberglass pool surface, you are best using cleaning tools that are softer, hose that are made for vinyl pools. You can use a wheeled vacuum head, but don’t use a steel bristled brush, only nylon or plastic bristles.
Acid washing a fiberglass pool is not recommended, nor is it very effective. Fiberglass pools are very stain resistant because of the ceramic like finish. If you experience berry stains or leaf stains, clean the pool, balance the water and shock the pool while filtering. Brush areas where the stain persists, and sprinkle some chlorine pool shock or Stain Free (ascorbic acid) over the stained area.
Most stain removal chemicals can be safely used on fiberglass pools, but be sure to read the label. Remember not to scrub hard with something that may scratch or rub off the gelcoat surface.
When tests show the pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness are in range, The pool is said to be in balance. Balanced water will be clean, clear, blue and sparkly. Eye and skin irritation will be reduced, and pool equipment and gel coat surface life will be extended. Balanced water improves sanitation effectiveness and reduces or eliminates the necessity of adding costly water chemistry supplements.
Prolonged improper water chemistry and high sanitizer levels can lead to pool equipment and gel coat damage which may not be covered by your fiberglass pool warranty. Test your water weekly and add adjustment chemicals to keep the water balanced and sanitized. This is the number one thing to protect the surface of a fiberglass pool.
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