Fiberglass vs. Pebble Tec


 Pool Conditions  Fiberglass                   Pebble Tec
Materials Thirty year track record for severe steel and concrete industrial corrosion protection. High-performance resins used for continuous immersion service. Provides superior long-term performance. Resins provided by DOW CHEMICAL CO. world's largest provider of epoxy vinyl ester resins. Cementitious product-cement based with aggregate. When introduced to the pool industry, masked common problems found with traditional plaster. No track record for industrial corrosion protection.
Corrosion Resistance Composite surface very resistant to pool water/chemicals. Surface subject to degradation by pool water.
Structural Strength Superior tensile strength of composite material, ideal for pools with structural problems. Has no structural strength. Binders and aggregates are cosmetic only. Will crack through when structural conditions change. (Never used for crack pools)
Black Algae and
Rebar Stains
Black algae cannot adhere to fiberglass. Rebar stains cannot bleed through. Severe black algae infestation develops, when plaster matrix disintegrates, and aggregate detaches. Aggregate voids become very rough, and are a haven for black algae. Rebar stains can bleed through.
Life Expectancy Not subject to water/chemical corrosion. Longevity exceeds that of cement-based speciality/aggregate plasters. Plaster binder eventually compromised by pool water-surface deteriorates.
Long Term Aesthetics Excellent water clarity and sparkling appearance. Superior aesthetics over life of surface. As surface ages, aesthetic appeal is diminished. Common observations are aggregate loss, mottling, discoloration, scaling and etching.
Roughness Due to the inert nature of fiberglass, no leachable/extractable material is available to cause roughness. The surface remains smooth. The homogenized composite structure, has no material that can separate from the base substance. The aggregate/plaster composition is not inert, and is therefore, subject to corrosion by pool water. As the surface breaks down, roughness increases. Aggregate plasters are not monolithic structures. Therefore, its constituents are subject to separation.
Warranty The very nature of composite materials implies that a more comprehensive, realistic warranty is offered. The corrosion resistant properties of composite materials enable the applicator to provide a true warranty. In addition, the warranty describes that the material  addresses the technical issues, as previously described. The warranty embraces labor and material coverage, ensures that the pools surface itself remains constant, and that the work is performed to the guidelines provided by technical societies. Namely, NACE, SSPC, and composite industry standards. The nature of aggregate plasters signifies that no warranty is offered on the material itself. The material is subject to normal degradation over time, and therefore cannot be guaranteed. However, an application warranty is offered that simply states, that the new material will bond to the existing substrate. There is no warranty other than that. Surface deterioration and aesthetic issues are not covered by any warranty. Aggregate loss from the surface is explained away as normal wear. Contractor skill level varies widely, and therefore inconsistent outcomes are commonplace.

Peter Gibson
Specifying /Corrosion Engineer