Can Fibreglass Pools Be Saltwater?

Can Fibreglass Pools Be Saltwater Feature

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and invest in a swimming pool there are so many things to take into consideration. One of them is which sanitising agent you will use to keep your pool safe and hygienic to swim in. Saltwater is highly popular and you may be wondering if fibreglass pools can be saltwater? In short, yes they can. Fibreglass is virtually impermeable and highly resistant to the abrasive nature of salt. A lot of people opt for saltwater over traditional chlorine as it is not as harsh on the skin, eyes or clothing and doesn’t come with the strong chlorine smell. The salt levels in a saltwater pool are barely detectable to some peoples dismay and are 10 times less salty than the ocean.

Saltwater vs Chlorine – What's the difference?

This is a good question and one we get asked often. Both use chlorine to sanitise the water, the major difference is that rather than using concentrated chlorine to maintain the water quality a salt-chlorine generator system uses salt instead. It works by converting the salt into chlorine via a process called electrolysis. It uses less chlorine to keep the water clean than traditional chlorine systems and because of this, you don’t get the unpleasant side effects such as burning eyes or green hair that can sometimes come spending time in a chlorinated pool. Both chlorine and saltwater systems are equally as good at producing safe and healthy swimming water.

Saltwater and concrete pools

A concrete pool can have a saltwater chlorinator, however, if the water quality is not maintained correctly, over time it may damage the interior finish and equipment. An unbalanced chlorine pool will do the same. The biggest problem concrete pools owners say they have with using salt is staining which can be troublesome to remove.

Saltwater and vinyl liner pools

As saltwater systems use lower doses of chlorine to clean the water, the inner vinyl liner may last for longer than if a traditional chlorine system was used. The downside is if the reinforced steel walls are exposed to saltwater for extended periods it can cause corrosion and compromise the structure of the pool which is unsafe and can cost thousands to repair.

Saltwater and fibreglass pools

Today, fibreglass pools are the most technologically advanced swimming pool option. They are designed and manufactured to withstand virtually any environmental conditions as well as extended exposure to chemicals, saltwater included. Salt has no ill effects on the shell and it will maintain its appearance and quality over its lifetime. 

Your pools environment

It’s important to consider your pools surroundings. Whether you choose chlorine or salt, the process of your pool area getting continuously wet and then dry again can harm plants if you choose to place them around your pool. It is unlikely that salt with erode metal finishings near the pool as the level of salt is so low, but to be safe, its best to wash down the surrounding area with a hose after using the pool.

The cost

For many, the cost of maintaining a pool is a big consideration. When comparing salt to chlorine there isn’t a huge difference overall. A salt chlorine generator is usually more expensive initially to install than a chlorine system, although the salt is cheaper than chlorine. On average, chlorine will cost around $200 a year whereas salt is approximately $50. Chlorine systems are known to last longer than salt systems.

A saltwater system comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some things to consider when weighing up which system is best for your pool:

Advantages
  • The level of salt found in a saltwater pool is similar to that found in the body. It is known to rejuvenate, detoxify and exfoliate the skin.
  • Saltwater is gentler on the skin, hair and clothing which makes for a much more pleasant swimming experience. The water is known to feel silkier and softer than chlorine.
  • The lower levels of chlorine mean that the water isn’t as detrimental to the environment.
  • Safe for asthmatics to swim in. Some studies show that heavily chlorinated pools can act as an airway irritant. 
  • As the chlorine levels of a saltwater pool are far lower than a traditional chlorine pool, it is much safer to swim in, especially for young children who like to open their eyes underwater. If they accidentally swallow it, it won’t make them sick.
  • Saltwater pools automatically generate chlorine while the pool pump is on. This maintains a consistent level of chlorine throughout the water without the risk of overdosing the pool. As a result, they are safer to swim in and usually require less maintenance. 
  • They are a safe swimming pool option for those who suffer from allergies. Swimming in saltwater does not trigger flare-ups and can relieve itchy and dry skin by locking in moisture.
  • Saltwater pools are cost-effective to run and the salt is safe to handle and store. 
Disadvantages
  • Salt residue can build up on the pool’s surrounds and whilst you can remove this by simply washing it off, overtime inferior grade salt can leave behind stains caused by trace elements such as iron, copper and manganese.
  • If you do not regularly maintain your saltwater chlorinator it can corrode parts of your pool equipment. 
  • It can be more challenging to balance saltwater pools water levels. Mineral deposits can accumulate in the salt cell and prevent the system from working properly. You will need to monitor this often to keep your equipment in optimal working order. Alternatively, you can hire a professional to take care of this for you.
  • Installing a saltwater system can be more expensive than a chlorine version which can be off-putting for those on a tight budget.

When deciding on a sanitising option for your pool, it comes down to the best value for money and which is your preferred choice.

Saltwater pools appeal to many

Traditional chlorinated pools have been around for more than 50 years and are an effective way to sanitise a pool. Saltwater systems on the other hand have only been around since the ’80s and in that time they have become extremely popular. More people are choosing saltwater over chlorine. Even though the initial set up cost is more, the amount of money you save in the long run on chlorine will quickly recoup your investment. Fibreglass pools are highly compatible with saltwater systems. The surface is smooth, glossy and virtually impermeable. They are resistant to heat, chemicals, water as well as algae and bacteria. Salt will not cause damage to the interior of a fibreglass pool over its lifetime.

If you are having trouble deciding which sanitising option is best for your pool and family, our team of pool professionals here at Barrier Reef Pools Queensland can help. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we know a thing or two about pools and can offer helpful advice to help you decide if saltwater or chlorine is better suited to you. For more information or if you have any questions regarding saltwater for your pool, get in touch and we’ll happily assist if we can.