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Epotec with fibre glass swimming pools

Supplier: Hitchins Technologies Pty Ltd
11 August, 2010

Fibre glass swimming pools provide for an easy care surface which usually requires minimal maintenance.

Maintaining a correct chemical balance in the pool water, and regular cleaning, are important for good gel coat performance.

There are many pools constructed with fibre glass. These come in a range of shapes and sizes. They have been available since the 1960's.

Fibreglass pools are constructed with layers of fibre glass strands (often called mating or chopped strand mat, which is white in colour and extremely thin) and a resin to form a composite material called GRP, (glass reinforced plastic to be correct).

The resin used is unsaturated polyester (or more recently vinyl ester) which is catalysed with MEK peroxide to form a hard, solid thermoset material that is a semi transparent structure about 5 – 15 mm thick, in the case of pools.

The inner surface usually has a blue coloured finish called a gel coat (usually vinyl ester resin with no fibreglass reinforcement) which provides the decorative surface we all see in pools. This is about 0.5 – 1 mm thick when new, however it slowly wears away over time.

After 10 – 25 years the gel coat may be looking tired, dirty, suffering algae attacks, may have osmosis, black spot and even worn through in some places.

It can be upgraded successfully by using Epotec Hi Build epoxy pool paint. However, there are some important issues to discuss before carrying out this work.

The first issue relates to the condition of the fibreglass. If it's just looking a little worn and tired and chalky, than relatively straightforward or does it have black spot, osmosis etc.? (Osmosis – the process starts with little blister-like pimples appearing on the surface of the gel coat).

These quickly grow to the size of a five cent piece in a matter of months and can cover the whole pool. Eventually, the gas-filled blisters rupture, water seeps in and the holes continue to enlarge, allowing unsightly black spot algae to make their home in them).

There is some evidence to suggest that osmosis is caused by the use of faulty techniques during the manufacture of the pool.

As a result many issues will not be easily understood until the pool is empty. Repair techniques may only be developed then. These may be quite straightforward or depending on surface condition, budget and pool life requirements, be quite involved and time consuming.