Options for Pool Resurfacing Rescue: Concrete, Pebblecrete, Vinyl and Fibreglass

November 10, 2021

Nothing is better on a hot summer day than coming home and cooling off with a swim and a cold stubby. You can’t beat it, unless the pool has fallen into disrepair, then the last thing you want to do is even look at it. Fortunately, it’s possible to give that pool a new lease on life!

This article will help you identify the options for resurfacing your pool, the time it’s going to take, and what it will cost.

Your pool may be old and tired. Perhaps you have an old fibreglass pool full of osmosis, a pebblecrete pool that has surface cracks and drummy areas, or a concrete pool that has been painted and is quite porous. You may think your pool is too far-gone, and the only option is to fill it in, and improve the landscape around it. Realistically, your pool has an entire life ahead that can be enjoyed for years to come. The bottom line is you have options:

Scenario 1: In-ground Concrete or Pebblecrete Pool

Older concrete pool before resurfacing
Older concrete pool before resurfacing
Concrete pool after resurfacing
Concrete pool after resurfacing

When renovating older concrete pools, resurfacing with fibreglass is often the best option because its structure provides flexibility and resistance to shifts in the ground. This means that even an older concrete pool with structural cracks can be sealed and resurfaced with fibreglass, providing a smooth surface that will last anywhere between 15 and 25 years. When resurfacing your pool with fibreglass you are essentially building a pool within your pool, using the original shape as a ‘reverse mould’.  No matter the condition of the pool it can be drained, sealed, and resurfaced with a fibreglass surface in a variety of colours.

An additional benefit you will find with a fibreglass surface over a concrete surface is the ease of maintenance. Its smooth surface prevents algae buildup, and what does build up can be removed easily with a smooth cloth or brush.

Average cost for fibreglass resurfacing of residential concrete pools: $6,000 – $10,000 (depending on size of pool)

Scenario 2: Vinyl-lined or Modular Pools

At times, vinyl-lined pools or modular pools can get water behind the lining, which can cause tearing or even major leaks. With vinyl-lined pools that need resurfacing, you have 3 options

  1. Resurface with fibreglass
  2. Resurface with vinyl
  3. Rebuild walls with reinforced concrete and surface with quartzon, pebblecrete or  other concrete finishes.

vin 1

Some may be surprised, but instead of ripping the pool out of the ground, you can resurface worn down vinyl – lined pools. We don’t recommend going back to a short term solution like vinyl, as even the slightest damage to the surface can compromise the entire pool.

Choosing a to resurface with fibreglass will provide a strong, flexible structure that will last. As long as the walls are not damaged structurally and we can control the water from behind the pool, it is a straightforward job. Similar to a vinyl finish, your new fibreglass surface will provide a smooth finish that is easy to maintain. Examples of vinyl-lined pools that have been resurfaced with fibreglass can be found here.

Average cost for resurfacing residential vinyl-lined pools: $6,000-$10,000 (Depending on the size of the pool and provided the walls are solid and don’t need major work)

Scenario 3: Fibreglass Pools

Fibreglass pool with osmosis
Fibreglass pool with osmosis

Removing osmosis at the source
Removing osmosis at the source

Fibreglass pool after resurfacing
Fibreglass pool after resurfacing

We often find that fibreglass pools over 20 years old often have similar issues. Generally when we receive requests from customers, there are 3 common problems that we come across:

1. Osmosis or ‘bubbles’ on the pool surface:

Osmosis is common in fibreglass pools over 20 years old. The cause is normally due to water or moisture that is behind the surface that has made its way through the different layers of fibreglass material in the pools structure. The appearance of osmosis can be described as small blisters or bubbles on the pools surface. They can be as small as 10 mm and even as large as 150 mm. When osmosis is present in fibreglass pools it acts as a cancer and spreads in multiple areas throughout the pool. Resurfacing is certainly the best solution, however in order to prevent this happening in the future, all ‘diseased’ sections of the pool are must be removed, filled in, and the fibreglass must completely dry before applying a seal or base resin coat. If the procedure is not completed diligently and thoroughly, you are increasing the risk of osmosis returning.

2. Faded pool surface or ‘chalky’ water

Complaints of faded pool surfaces is another common complaint we hear in older, manufactured fibreglass pools. Often times our customers notice that the surface is not only fading, but the water is ‘chalky’ or ‘murky’ and you see a white dusty effect when you move your hand over the surface. This is a good indication that the gel-coat is worn off and that you are down to the base levels of the surface. At this time, you can either just re-apply the “filler coat” and “gel coat” or you can fully resurface. It would be considered a cosmetic or band-aid solution to only apply the filler coat and gel coat so if you are looking for a long term solution, you are better off resurfacing. You really aren’t going to save much money in the long run if you don’t do it properly the first time.

3. Leaks in the pool’s plumbing

A leak in the plumbing is common, however it is normally not the plumbing. You may notice that water leaks only to a certain point and stops below the jets in the pool. Logically you are going to think the problem is in the plumbing, which can mean major work around the pool. Most often we find that it is related to the surface and the seal around the jets or skimmer box. In this case, it is best to reach out to a professional to come have a look. Most companies will come on-site and do an initial inspection at no cost, so it is well worth having someone take a look before making assumptions.

Average cost for resurfacing residential fibreglass pools $6,000-$8,500.

About the Author

Derek is the owner and manager of Fibrestyle Pool Resurfacing. Located in New South Wales, Fibrestyle has been proudly serving the Sydney area with an unwavering focus on quality for over 10 years. Derek is passionate about exceeding expectations, and this attitude has been the driver in Fibrestyle's success through the last decade.

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