Can Fibreglass Pools Be Salt Water?

A common question asked by homeowners looking to buy a pool is, can my fibreglass pool be saltwater? The short answer is, yes it sure can! Saltwater is a popular choice with pool owners as it avoids the “stinging eyes” and strong chlorine smell that chlorine pools are known for.

Some people think that having a saltwater pool means it will be “salty” like the sea, however this isn’t the case, a saltwater pool is about as salty as a teardrop!The difference between chlorine and salt water pools is that rather than using large doses of concentrated chlorine such as powders, tablets and liquid to keep your pool clean, salt is used instead, your salt chlorine generator system converts it into chlorine which is what ultimately kills bacteria and algae to keep your pool clean. Saltwater keeps your pool as crystal clear as chlorine without any of the unpleasant side effects. It is largely preferred by Aussies, with reportedly 80 % of all pools having a saltwater system.

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Saltwater and Concrete Pools

Saltwater may slowly wear away at the cement finish on concrete pools, it is abrasive on the interior surface, particularly more so with plaster than with aggregate which seems to withstand salt slightly better.

Saltwater and Vinyl Liner Pools

Vinyl-liner pools that are enforced with steel walls can be at risk of damage from galvanic corrosion if the liner was to be compromised. They are also known to have metal parts which the salt will eat through and corrode.

Saltwater and Fibreglass Pools

The good news is salt has no adverse effects on fibreglass pools and they are highly compatible! Fibreglass pools are smooth and virtually non-porous. they do not attract bacteria and algae like concrete pools which means less money spent on cleaning and maintenance.

One thing to keep in mind when considering saltwater for your pool is the areas that are going to around your pool, such as concrete, a deck or equipment. They will go through times of being wet from people getting in and out of the pool and splashing etc and then dry again. This creates high concentrations of salt and residue which may corrode any objects that have metal or aluminium fittings. Each time you use your pool its recommended to wash it down with some fresh water to avoid this from happening.

Cost of Saltwater vs Chlorine

Comparing which is cheaper, saltwater or chlorine, overall, it’s not a huge saving either way, the chlorine costs more, around $150 a year whereas the salt will only set you back approximately $20 annually. It is important to know that salt chlorine generators generally only have a lifespan of around 7 years and cost $700 plus to replace.There are both positives and negatives to having saltwater in your pool. Listed below are some things you might want to consider when deciding which pool water is right for you and your family.

Positives to Saltwater

  • Most pool owners agree that saltwater “feels” softer than chlorine water. 
  • Saltwater is much gentler on the skin. Processed chlorine is known to be much harsher on the body, it can make hair brittle and even change the colour. Traditional chlorine can also cause allergic reactions in some swimmers. Salt that is designed for use in swimming pools is chemically very like the salt that resides in our bodies. Salt is easy to handle and store.
  • Saltwater pools are not hazardous if you accidently swallow the water, and it does not “burn” or sting your eyes if you open them under water. Saltwater also doesn’t have a smell like processed chlorine does.
  • Saltwater pools require less maintenance than traditional processed chlorine pools. The units automatically make chlorine every time the pool pump comes on
  • Saltwater pools are less expensive to operate overall.

Negatives to Saltwater

  • Saltwater may be corrosive to the surface of concrete pools. This includes finishes made of plaster, and natural stone. However, it does not damage the surface of fibreglass pools. It can leave residue on decking or edging of the pool and rust any aluminium or steel finishes that are in close proximately to the pool.
  • Saltwater needs extra attention to the pool water balance. To avoid mineral deposits from building up in the salt cell and to support adequate PH levels, we recommend to our pool owners to get their water tested regularly by a professional pool cleaner. 
  • If your saltwater pool system isn’t maintained and used correctly, it may damage your equipment, especially outdated systems that have brass or aluminium on them.
  • Saltwater pools require the pump to be running everyday for approximately 8 hours a day, sometimes more for larger pools. 
  • The initial outlay that a saltwater system can cost might be a negative for some homeowners. There are many different salt chlorine generators on the market to choose from.There are various factors to consider when choosing which type of sanitising option, you want for your pool, ultimately it comes down to the homeowner and which one they prefer. 

Saltwater Pools Are Preferred By Many

Chlorine pools are generally more maintenance and the chlorine is more costly to purchase than salt, however, saltwater pools require more money upfront than chlorine. Saltwater pools haven’t been around for as long as chlorine, with them only making their debut around the 1980’s and their short time, they have become increasingly popular and the preferred choice by many. A lot of people are choosing saltwater or converting their chlorine pool to salt as it is less expensive to keep clean and is less harsh on the skin. It is more of an initial cost upfront however, customers are saving more money over the long term. If you have any questions regarding saltwater for your pool, feel free to call our experienced Barrier Reef Pools team today.