Horizon Pools FAQ

Frequently asked questions

Whats the difference between a fibreglass swimming pool and a gunnite swimming pool?

A fibreglass swimming pool is manufactured in a factory using a mould. The fibreglass swimming pool is delivered to the site on a truck or trailer in one piece and put in the hole ready for the installation process to start. A gunnite swimming pool is made out of concrete and steel and is constructed on site, in the hole dug for the swimming pool to go into.

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What are the advantages of a fibreglass swimming pool vs a gunnite swimming pool?

A gunnite swimming pool can be built to any size, shape and depth. There are some building requirements that will only allow for a gunnite swimming pool to be constructed due to its structural strength i.e. large hotel pools, public pools and some engineered designed domestic pools.
Fibreglass swimming pools are quick, easy and neat to install. The water is approx 3-4 degrees warmer, the interior finish is smooth which prevents algae from adhering to the sides so is much easier to maintain. You use fewer chemicals in a fibreglass swimming pool which saves time and money. Cosmetically, fibreglass swimming pools look better for longer, they dont get the ugly black algae stains, hairline cracks and ceramic mosaics that keep falling off. Fibreglass swimming pools are also slightly cheaper.

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What are the dis-advantages of a gunnite swimming pool vs a fibreglass swimming pool?

A gunnite swimming pool gets very rough sides after a few years. This scratches the swimmers skin. Algae gets a good grip in the rough surface making maintenance a nightmare. The construction process is very messy and disruptive to the garden. The construction takes much longer than a fibreglass swimming pool. A gunnite swimming pool is more expensive than a fibreglass swimming pool to build. Because of the concrete the pool does not warm up as much as a fibreglass swimming pool.
The disadvantage of a fibreglass swimming pool is that you are restricted to the shapes and sizes the manufacturer can make. Horizon Pools has overcome this problem to a degree and can manufacture custom shapes up to 11.5m x 4,5m.

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How do you make a fibreglass swimming pool?

We have a mould the shape of the pool you want in our factory. It is up side down so the floor of the pool is now the roof of the mould. We work on the shiny outside of the mould. The mould is polished with wax which makes it easy to release the pool off the mould once it has been made. The wax separates the pool from the mould and prevents them sticking together. The mosaic pattern is the first thing that is applied to the mould with a clear resin called gelcoat by laminators (workers) using brushes. The pool colour (gelcoat) is then painted over the entire mould including over the recently applied mosaics. Once that dries a layer of fibreglass tissue is applied with resin over the entire mould on top of the colour. This is a resin rich layer that is very important and acts as a barrier between the structure (fibreglass layers) and the chemicals in the swimming pool water. Layers of fibreglass sheets called chop strand mat are put on top of the fibreglass tissue and wet out with resin. This is applied with a roller much like painting a wall. Once the correct amount of layers of chop strand mat are applied a reinforcing beam is attached to the top of the pool (bottom of the mould), this helps stiffen the pool. The pool is then left over night to harden. The next morning the pool is released off the mould and turned over so it is the right way up and Hey Presto, you have a fibreglass swimming pool.

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Where should I position my swimming pool in my garden?

The things to take into consideration are: privacy, getting maximum sun on the swimming pool so as to get the water as warm as possible, keeping your eyes on the kids from inside the house for safety reasons and wind protection. A balance of these factors will be taken into account. Making the swimming pool a part of the outside entertainment area which enhances the outdoor lifestyle, thus making your pool extremely popular and practical.

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How long does it take to install a fibreglass swimming pool?

Depending on the size of the fibreglass swimming pool you chose it will take between 5-12 working days to carry out a basic installation which involves the excavation and removal of soil, the installation of the fibreglass shell, the pump and filter installation, the electrical connection, 1m surround paving and the cleaning of the pool and site.

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What colour swimming pools are best?

Fibreglass swimming pools can come in any colour. There are basic chart colours that are given by the resin suppliers. Most fibreglass swimming pool companies will recommend pool blue as any colour darker than that can potentially dis-colour. There is a 30%-40% chance of dis-colouration in a fibreglass swimming pool if a dark colour is chosen.10%-15% of fibreglass pools are darker i.e. shades of grey/charcoal or the darker shades of blue. The discolouration is a milky white, mottled, patchy look.
All (100%) of darker gunnite swimming pools dis-colour in the same way.

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Which company should I chose to install my swimming pool?

Your safest route is to choose a pool builder who belongs to the NSPI (National Spa and Pool Institute) This way you are assured of a company who manufactures fibreglass swimming pools to the correct standards required by the institute. The company has to have been in business for a few years, a back ground check is carried out and their factory inspected before they are allowed to be members. Many companies apply to be part of the NSPI but are turned down if their product does not comply. Some members have been expelled due to the dropping of their standards. The NSPI has offices in every province and are easily contactable for information. They are there to help the customer if need be regarding standards, problems with installations and after sales service.
Do a thorough check before you commit to a swimming pool contractor. Take the time to visit their factory, see how thick the pool are, the neatness of the factory tells a storey about the attitude of the company and its staff, ask for at least 10 reverences ( you dont have to phone/visit them all) over a 2 year period. Ask if they manufacture their own fibreglass swimming pools or if they buy from a supplier (not recommended as the supplier and builder often blame each other when problems arise leaving the client in the middle with no recourse). Ask if the fibreglass swimming pool is manufactured in your city (some are transported long distances on trucks sometimes resulting in damage.)

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Why are some quotes for fibreglass swimming pools so cheap and others more expensive?

You will find that the NSPI member pools are likely to be at the higher end of the price scale due to the fact they have to manufacture and install their pools to certain standards set by the NSPI. These factors are; for instance fibreglass swimming pool wall thickness and materials used in manufacture and installation. Non NSPI members are free to manufacture thinner pools with cheaper materials from less credible suppliers, hence they can manufacture the pool for a lower cost, hence the price differences.

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Is it easy to maintain a fibreglass swimming pool?

It is extremely easy to maintain a fibreglass swimming pool these days. With salt water chlorinators and other products available these days the pool only needs to be worked on for 5-10 mins twice a month depending on leaves etc around the pool.

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Is it expensive to run a fibreglass swimming pool?

No, chemically if you have a salt water chlorinator, which most people do have these days; it will cost you approx R400 per year for salt and acid. Every two to three years you may need to spend approx R2000-R3000 replacing chlorinator cells, a broken pump or filter or an automatic pool cleaner that gets worn through wear and tear. A pool shop will charge you R250-R400 a month for a service that has them maintain your swimming pool twice a month. Regarding electricity costs to run your swimming pool pump it cost approx R200 R250 per month at the current rate depending on weather you have pool heating in which case the swimming pool pump runs for longer. A solar blanket will help bring the cost down so as to not have to have the swimming pool pump run for as long periods and the solar blanket stops the warmth dissipating into the cooler air above, plus there is less evaporation.
Many people these days switch their pumps off in winter completely to save money as fewer chemicals are needed due to less evaporation hence less topping up of the water levels which keeps diluting the chemical balance.

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What are the safety requirements around a swimming pool?

The law states that the property has to have a fence around it no lower than 1.2m and with no gaps wider that 100mm. The gate must have a spring that closes it behind you. A remote gate must have a timer that allows it to close after you have left the property. This is to prevent kids entering your property from the road when you are not home and accidentally drowning in your pool.
Internal pool fencing is up to the client. The safety companies talk about layers of safely. This means that one safety option i.e. fencing, safety net or swimming pool alarm, does not guarantee prevention of an accident happening. More than one safety option around a swimming pool where young children live is recommended.

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What types of paving are there?

These days, simulated clay paving is very popular as apposed to clay bricks as a surround around for a swimming pool. It looks very nice and blends in with most finishings around the rest of the house. The simulated clay is cost affective. The disadvantage of simulated clay paving is that it is a bit more slippery than brick pavers (sealing it makes it worse), tends to get hairline cracks in the wider grout joints due to different expansion rates between the paver and grout and if the quality is not good the salt in the swimming pool water can damage the product. Because the paver is porous,  salt in the swimming pool water soaks into the pours when splashing occurs and when it dries the salt crystallizes and expands. Over time this wears through the top layer of the paver exposing the stone. The stone is sharp and sore when walking on barefoot, which you tend to do around a pool. Brick seems to be out of fashion at the moment but is harder so is less affected by salt attack, it has more grip and has thinner grout joints so is not as affected with hair line cracks due to expansion.
We often use a combination of both products which gives the client the best of both worlds. There are many options regarding paving/tiling such as clay tiles, sand stone and ceramic tiles. Timber decking is also popular but is very expensive to install, which puts many people off that option.

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Are there any hidden costs when installing a fibreglass swimming pool?

Most company’s sales staff will point out the hidden costs involved with a fibreglass swimming pool installation up front and will make it clear on the quote and contract. The most common hidden costs are if hard ground is found during the excavation. All quotes are done assuming the ground conditions are standard (sand) that is what has been costed into the price of the job. The sales staff should know the different areas and the ground conditions to expect from previously installing fibreglass pools in the area close to your property. Anything other than clean sand/soil is classified as a hard dig. This includes clay, koffie klip, builders rubble, gravel, small stone/rock, old forgotten concrete foundations or pools etc( we have encountered many old building works and pools while excavating that clients were unaware existed on their own property that were not on the plans). The moment a pick or jack hammer is required the hole will take longer to dig and time is money. Make sure you get a flat rate and be aware of what the hard excavation will cost you up front. From time to time rock is struck. A blasting contractor will be called and will provide a quote which will be for the clients expense. Other hidden costs could be if underground sewer, drainage or irrigation pipes that are exposed during the excavation. These pipes will need to be diverted. Very often the client is unaware pipes are running through the area that the swimming pool is going; often it is not shown on the plans. Electrical and phone cables are often exposed and these too must be diverted at the clients expense as the swimming pool contractor was obviously unaware they existed. If the client is aware pipes and cables run through the swimming pool area most swimming pool companies will be able to give the client a quote or estimate regarding the costs involved up front.

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What are the guarantees and what do they cover?

At Horizon Pools we offer a two year guarantee on all the filtration equipment. This is a guarantee carried over from our suppliers. This is manufactures guarantee that covers replacing bearings, capacitors, chlorinator parts etc. We generally get excellent back up service from Speck Pumps and Zodiac. There is a 2 year installation guarantee that covers any hollow steps, bulges etc. that may occur in that time, especially over winter when there is a lot of ground water that could potentially cause problems.
The fibreglass swimming pool shell has a 10 year structural guarantee. This guarantee is for manufacturing default of the product.

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