Fiberglass reinforced polyester is increasingly being used as swimming pool lining; like tiles, liner, reinforced PVC, plaster, stone, and mosaic, it will cover the walls and bottom and ensure the pool’s finish.
The role of the swimming pool lining
Some, such as fiberglass-reinforced polyester or liner, have a dual role; they ensure the finish and water tightness of the pool. Others, such as tile or stone, are only decorative elements.
But the lining also plays an essential role in the color of the water in a swimming pool. The sun’s rays and the color of the sky combined with the color of the coating give a specific color to the water. The color of the water will change depending on the time of day, the weather, and the liner’s color. The lighter the color of the liner, the brighter the water looks.
Polyester swimming pool linings and other waterproof linings
The main advantage of these coverings is that they can be laid on any pool structure, even if it is not watertight: hollow blocks, reinforced concrete blocks. For example, on wood, aluminum, or polystyrene, there is usually a liner because it can be laid by the customer, so it fits in well with the logic of the kit. Here is, therefore, from the cheapest to the most expensive, a description of these various coatings.
It is undoubtedly the best known and most used in France: it is the coating for all kit pools and above-ground pools. It is a flexible PVC or Vinyl bag shaped to the exact dimensions of the pool. The liner is produced in the factory. Its thickness is from 0.75 to 0.85 mm; you will often see 75/100 or 85/100 mentioned. It is fixed at the top of the wall in a hanging profile under the coping. Its low price and ease of installation mean that it is now used in almost 40% of all pools. The choice of colors continues to grow, but the most popular colors are blue, beige, and light grey.
Pros and cons of the liner : Its cost is its first asset. It is between $30 and $50 per SQM, depending on the color and thickness. Easy to install, it can be set up by a careful handyman.
On the other hand, it is the most fragile covering. Its life span is about ten years but can be reduced in case of repeated over chlorination or too high water temperature.
The reinforced membrane
Also called “Renolit by Arkoplan,” it is placed directly in the pool. It consists of a polyester mesh sandwiched between 2 membranes of 0.75 mm, resulting in a total thickness of 1.50 mm. It is delivered in rolls, and the sheets are welded on site. The installation of this covering requires the intervention of a specialist.
Advantages and disadvantages of the reinforced membrane: Installed on-site, it can fit any pool shape, including free-form pools. Due to its thickness, it is more resistant than the classic liner. Its lifespan is about 20 years.
Its primary disadvantage is its price, between $60 and $100 per SQM depending on the color. For example, some people are put off by the plastic aspect of the finish and prefer to opt for a fiberglass reinforced polyester or a plaster.
The waterproofing plaster
It is used as the lining for a concrete swimming pool and can be left untreated or used as a base for the subsequent laying of tiles. One of the best known is the silico-marble plaster made up of cement, marble dust, and additives.
Advantages and disadvantages of this coating: Some people appreciate its rough side, but its slightly irregular finish disgusts others.
It is waterproof but adheres totally to the structure. This means that if the pool moves, it will crack and the pool will leak.
Its price is between $50 and $80 per SQM.
Polyester with fiberglass finishing
The technique used is a lamination of resin on a glass mat (fiberglass rolls). A finishing layer called Gel coat is finally applied, which will give the final color. This coating is reminiscent of boat hull coatings. The application is made on-site by professionals.
Advantages and disadvantages: It’s a custom-made coating that adapts to all shapes, even the most complex ones.
It ensures perfect waterproofing; moreover, its relative elasticity and semi-adherent nature offer resistance to micromovements of the structure.
The colors available are almost infinite, and their choice will depend on the atmosphere desired for the project. See below how the luminosity and the lining affect the color of the water.
Its major disadvantage is its price, which varies between $80 and $150 per SQM.
Non-waterproof pool linings
They must be installed on a solid structure that is already watertight or made watertight by applying a specific coating based on epoxy resin.
It is applied in several layers. A paint containing epoxy or polyurethane is used as a sealant coating on concrete construction.
Pool paint is easy to use but sells very little. Its lifespan is often limited to five years.
It is undoubtedly the most widely used surfacing globally, and in many countries, it is the only one. There are many shapes and colors.
The mosaics, also called glass pastes, are small tiles of 20×20 mm or 15×15 mm pre-assembled on paper or PVC supports of about 30 cm x 30 cm. They are easy to lay and are available in a multitude of colors. It is possible to add a matching frieze at the waterline for skimmer pools.
Ceramics are glazed tiles that are reasonably priced. Although the variety of colors is less, the sort of sizes is excellent.
Glazes are comparable to glass mosaics but covered with a layer of enamel. They have a remarkable satin effect, but their price is the highest. As with the glass mosaics, there are models with a mixture of colors.
The advantages and disadvantages of tiling: It is undoubtedly the most resistant material both to disinfectants and to high temperatures.
The same cannot be said of gaskets, which must be replaced at least every ten years, even of good quality. Water with a pH value that is too low is detrimental to their longevity.
Natural stone is used for decking and can also be laid in the pool after a waterproofing coating. Thanks to new processes, it is possible to find stones glued on a composite support thickness of ± 2mm. When covering the submerged beach or free-form walls, the effect is stunning.
For example, there are stones from exotic places, Bali, which completely transform even the most ordinary swimming pool.
Why choose stone?
When laid in a straight line, it will sublimate a rectangular pool. For a more rustic atmosphere, we prefer an opus incertum installation. In any case, it will not go unnoticed.
Its use is relatively recent, and its resistance to time, chemical treatment, or frost is unknown.
How to choose a pool lining
Several criteria are, of course, to be considered:
The budget: if we are talking about a tight budget, we will undoubtedly go for the liner, which is the most economical solution; in the case of a concrete structure, we can opt for tiling on waterproof coating, which allows us to achieve great things with a limited budget.
The pool structure: The liner, PVC membrane, or glass fiber reinforced polyester can be installed on any pool. For marble-silicate plaster, tiles, or stone, it is essential to make the structure of concrete. A swimming pool built in reinforced concrete or shotcrete will accept all types of coverings; however, a swimming pool made of hollow blocks requires a waterproofing coating.
The shape of the pool: The liner is preferred for rectangular shapes; it is often difficult to install it on other forms. The best option is fiberglass reinforced polyester or marble-silicate coating for free-form pools.
Aesthetics: This is typically a matter of preference, but it is safe to say that enamels, natural stone, and fiberglass-reinforced polyester are the most beautiful and durable.
Which coatings for the renovation or repair of a swimming pool
A polyester-based material can be painted on a shell pool. You have to replace the liner in a kit pool; there are many manufacturers.
A concrete pool can crack over time, in which case the best solution is a glass-fiber reinforced polyester pool coating.
It is worth noting that there are colored sealing pieces available to integrate them into a colored liner better; unfortunately, they were unavailable in Mauritania, where this renovation was carried out.
Asking for advice
Remember that the swimming pool lining choice depends on the construction system. A professional will be able to guide you to the most suitable liner.