What To Expect When Buying A DIY Fibreglass Pool
If you're like most DIY pool customers, you might be a little hesitant about investing in a pool that you haven't physically seen or purchasing it from people you haven't met in person. It's 100% ok to feel a little nervous and also wonder what to expect when purchasing a DIY fiberglass pool. Let's run through what you should look for with your DIY pool company so can relax and let your fingernails grow back.
1. Responsive Service and Support - Installing a DIY fibreglass pool isn't complicated. With the right support and service, it's relatively straightforward. You should expect your DIY pool company's Support Team to be available 7 days a week to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. This service should continue long after your pool has been delivered. Equipment warranty claims should be lodged by the Support Team and monitored for you so you are not having to deal directly with the manufacturer.
If you do need to call your Support team, it's only fair a real human should answer. You don't want a better relationship with someone's voicemail than you do with the person! Google and Facebook reviews are often a good barometer to gauge the experience of previous customers.
2. Quality of the Shell - You should not expect to sacrifice fibreglass pool shell quality as a DIY pool buyer. Your pool shell should be exactly the same high quality, Australian made shell that top end pool builders use. You should expect the shell to have a full 35-year lifetime structural warranty and a minimum 6 year gelcoat warranty. If you're considering a pool shell with a short 25 or 30 year warranty, you should expect the price to be considerably cheaper than DIY pool companies offering 35 year warranty.
You should expect your pool to arrive without any internal cosmetic blemishes with the exception of what is called blow-off marks. Every fiberglass pool has blow-off marks. They are small round marks about the size of a 10-cent piece as a result of air being injected to lift the pool off the mould. You will not see blow-off marks when your pool is filled with water, and they do not compromise the cosmetic or structural integrity of the pool in any way.
3. Quality of the Pool Equipment - You should expect Australian made (not Australian assembled with overseas components) pool equipment from a single supplier with national sales and service reach and at least 20 years of trading history. It is great to see so many newer and smaller Australian manufacturers popping up in the last 5 years. However, you should expect to not have to wonder if the company will still be trading in 5 years when you may need to replace some parts, add additional equipment, or make a warranty claim. Particularly if you are rural, small manufacturers tend not to have a national network of service technicians that can service, repair or replace your equipment anywhere across the country.
You should expect your DIY pool kit company to have the volume and the scale to be able to supply high-end Australian made equipment at affordable prices, so you do not need to sacrifice quality to save money.
4. Installation Support, Documentation and DIY Videos - If buying a pool is a new experience, you most likely don't know what you don't know. Your chosen company should provide you with stage-by-stage information that answers the majority of your questions before you think of them. Like a Jedi mind trick but you get to stay on Earth.
Your pool kit should include engineering details, Australian Standards skimmer box lid and filtration compliance documents and engineering supplements should you have H1, H2 or P-class soil conditions for your council application. You should receive an excavation dig sheet and the Australian Standards for Fiberglass Pool Installation. You should also expect to receive a detailed information pack that educates you about the equipment, materials and processes that you will encounter or require as part of your pool installation. You should also have access to a video library of videos showing you the various steps of installing a pool.
5. Standard DIY Pool Equipment Inclusions - The minimum equipment you should expect to be included with your DIY pool kit is:
- Skimmer box
- 2 x filtration return jets
- Hydrostatic valve (not required in W.Australia)
- Pump, digital self cleaning chlorinator and filter (choice of either sand or cartridge)
- Pool salt required when first filling the pool
- Handover kit - tele pole, suction hose, vacuum head, leaf rake and broom head
- Chemical starter pack
You should also be able to add, for an additional cost, fittings to your order such as:
- Hydro-therapy roto spa jets
- Heating fittings
- Air blowers and air manifolds
- In-floor cleaning
The same pool model (say a 8m x4m) sent to four different customers will be installed in different environmental conditions, levels of use, and distance the equipment from the pool itself. These factors have a significant impact on the equipment your pool project will need. You should expect these factors to be taken into account when being provided with a quote. When you are spending tens of thousands of dollars, hope is not a good strategy.
5. Gelcoat Range and Choice - Your pool can cost as much as a car so your DIY pool company should be like a car manufacturer and offer a big colour range (at least 15+) so you can choose a colour that is perfect for your backyard. Imagine choosing your car model and BMW saying you can only choose from 6 colours! The minimum cosmetic warranty should be the industry standard 6 years which is valid without having to maintain a record of weekly water quality test results.
6. Installation Options -There is more than one way to skin a DIY pool cat. You might be raring to go and want to install your fibreglass pool shell yourself as an Owner Builder. Or as an Owner Builder, you might like a bit of help from a pool installer at different stages of your project. Alternatively, you may prefer to have a licensed installer manage the entire job from start to finish for you. Your DIY pool company should be able to support your project installation with any approach you choose.
About The Author
My wife and I grew up playing in swimming pools. Our daughters learnt to swim in our backyard fibreglass swimming pool. There is nothing quite like hearing kids splashing about and giggling. As pools do, our pool became a social magnet for friends, family and neighbours which we loved. Helping customers to have their own pool and saving customers thousands on their pool and equipment is the best job in the world.