fibreglass pool in suburban Canadian backyard

fibreglass pool in suburban Canadian backyard

Vinyl Liner & Fibreglass Pools for Ontario

May 17th, 2024 by

Ontario is known for its wide variety of cities and neighbourhoods. From the thriving metropolis of Toronto to quaint lakeside Thunder Bay to family-friendly London, ON, “The Loyalist Province” is bursting with charm and natural beauty. There’s no better way to soak it all in than poolside – from the comforts of home.

At Latham, we’re big believers that there’s a pool for every backyard. But a pool is just one part of a larger picture. A pool is an accent for your home and lifestyle, where family and friends gather to celebrate major milestones or everyday happenings. It’s where you unwind after a long day or start your morning off with a strong cup of coffee after squeezing in some laps.

Whether you’re considering installing a brand new pool or renovating an older one, we’ll walk you through the basics of pool ownership. Get tips for pool maintenance and landscaping to complement the pool of your dreams, as well as a glimpse into pool rules and regulations throughout Ontario. Let’s dive in!

fibreglass pool in suburban Canadian backyard
Fibreglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Services Prime

Inground Pool Design Considerations for Ontario

If you’re thinking about installing a new pool or remodelling an existing one, the first step on your journey is seeking out design inspiration. Beyond aesthetics, good pool design involves functionality – how you plan to use your pool! 

Various factors, including the size and shape of your backyard and personal aesthetics play a role in choosing a pool that suits your lifestyle. 

When planning your pool, think about how you plan to use it – and who will use it: 

  • Do you have young children or teens? 
  • Will they bring friends over to use the pool? 
  • Will seniors or individuals with compromised mobility use your pool?
  • What safety features might you need so that everyone can safely enjoy your pool? 
  • Do you want your pool to be the main attraction? Or do you want it to be part of a multi-use space or larger outdoor oasis? For instance, maybe you want to tuck your pool into a corner of your yard with plenty of leftover space reserved for a garden, a swing set for the kids, or an outdoor patio. 
  • Do you plan to use your pool for entertaining? If so, how many people typically attend your backyard get-togethers? Knowing how many people your pool may need to accommodate can help you make the right decision!
  • Do you plan to use your pool for exercise, relaxation or both?

Once you have an idea of how you plan to use your pool in a practical sense, the aesthetics can fall into place! Pool materials play a role in the look and feel of your pool, as well as its maintenance schedule. 

Fibreglass is one of the most popular pool materials today, with models available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Fibreglass pools come in an assortment of eye-catching colours and finishes that shimmer under sunlight. Fibreglass pools also have the benefit of longevity and ease of maintenance. 

In terms of shape, you’re spoiled for choice with fibreglass pools, too! From the crisp lines of rectangular pools to the winding curves of a freeform pool, there are a variety of sizes and shapes to fit your design desires. 

At the top of your list of considerations, pool safety should not be overlooked. Save room for features to make your pool compliant with regional laws, including fencing that meets any local regulations. An autocover is another option that can provide added safety, as well as potentially help you save on maintenance, energy costs and conserving resources. 

Working with a licensed professional pool builder can help you better explore your options to create the pool of your dreams. If you’re looking for some inspiration, this guide includes a few beautiful examples of pools we’ve helped build throughout Ontario. Speak with a local independent builder to see even more images and videos of pools that might not be available online just yet.

rectangular fibreglass pool with safety cover in suburban Ontario backyard
Fibreglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Scenic View Landscaping

Smaller Pools

Don’t overlook smaller pools when deciding on the right fit for your backyard. Compact pools can be ideal for urban areas – like Toronto and Canada’s capital city of Ottawa – where homes are closer together and have smaller yards. On the flipside, even if you live in a more suburban part of Ontario and are graced with a spacious yard, you may want a smaller pool because it allows you more space to play with – whether that’s an outdoor grilling station, a covered patio or vegetable garden. 

One smaller pool that packs big fun is the Axiom 12 Deluxe. This tidy 12’ x 26’ model incorporates a spillover spa, making it ideal for nighttime entertaining and enjoying a soothing soak under the stars on brisk autumn evenings. Its generous tanning ledge can double as a wading area for the kids, while swim-up seating makes it equally at home for enjoying lots of poolside conversations and cold beverages. 

For an even more compact model, the 9’ x 17’ Enchantment is a welcome addition to any size backyard. It has a spacious tanning ledge that can serve as a play area for kids, and also boasts slip-resistant steps. A great choice for all ages, the Enchantment can be outfitted with add-ons to further personalise your pool and make it a treat for the whole family. 

compact fibreglass pool in small Ontario backyard with creative landscaping
Fiberglass Pool | Photo courtesy of Scenic View Landscaping

Landscaping Considerations for Ontario Pools

A pool brings to mind a lot of different images: Lively pool parties with kids splashing around. Your friends and family kicked back with an ice-cold beverage on a hot day. Gazing out at the moonlight shimmering off your pool’s surface and unwinding after a hard day. While the pool is a big part of these daydreams, it’s just one part of your backyard. How your pool works with your landscaping and decor can bring those fantasies to life. 

When  weighing landscaping ideas, think of where you live and any natural features you want to incorporate into your design. If you’re a city-dweller with a smaller yard, you may want to embrace minimalism. Make the most of deck space to offset your pool. Cool, contrasting decking or patterned decking can be striking. Deck furniture with clever, built-in storage space is another option. 

If you live in more of a lakeside area, like Goderich near Lake Ontario or Thunder Bay – the sunniest city in eastern Canada – you may want to incorporate water features with your pool and decor, such as zen fountains or “rockscaping,” which requires less pruning and shaping than lush greenery. Rockscaping can also blend really well as a faux waterfall that works with any add-on water features to your pool. 

While plants and greenery are timeless, “rockscaping” has become popular in recent years. This no-fuss style uses natural or man-made rocks to provide a focal point around your pool. They can even be incorporated into the design of your pool, especially if you have a waterfall-style feature built-in. 

If you don’t mind a bit of extra upkeep, plants and greenery surrounding your pool can transform it into a tranquil oasis, and give you something beautiful to look at while enjoying your pool. 

Your options are endless and uniquely yours, making your vision of the perfect pool happen!

Inground Fibreglass vs. Vinyl Liner Pools: Finding the Best Pool Materials for Your Home

Choosing the right material for your pool makes a big difference in terms of enjoyment, longevity, and upkeep. Two of the most popular options are fibreglass pools and vinyl liner pools. Both offer durability and ease of maintenance alongside cost savings over time. Fibreglass pools, in particular, are a great choice for areas like Ottawa and southern parts of Ontario that receive a lot of snow. 

Concrete (or “gunite”) pools are still somewhat popular, but are more of a high-maintenance option compared to fibreglass and vinyl liner pools. Concrete pools require periodic resurfacing every 10 years, which can be an expensive proposition. Over time, a concrete pool can become rough and chalky. Their more porous properties foster algae growth, making it more difficult to maintain proper water chemistry. If you’re looking to replace an older concrete pool, upgrading to a new fibreglass or vinyl liner model can make it easier to maintain and less expensive in terms of upkeep through the lifetime of your pool. 

Compare fibreglass, vinyl liner and concrete pools to choose the best material for your pool lifestyle needs. 

Fiberglass Pool Benefits

Beyond a beautiful shimmering surface, fibreglass pools have a lot to offer. They’re a treat for multiple senses, including touch when wading in and feeling a gloriously smooth surface beneath your feet. 

This smooth surface also makes fibreglass pools easier to clean and less prone to algae growth on pool walls. And less algae translates to more stable water chemistry, reducing the need to add more chemicals to balance levels. You can just hop in and enjoy! 

As an added benefit, carefully engineered, high-quality fibreglass pool shells are pre-manufactured and ready to install in your backyard, speeding up installation times. This way, when summer hits, your pool is ready to enjoy! 

Learn more about the benefits of a fibreglass pool

Vinyl Liner Pool Benefits

Vinyl liner pools have their own unique benefits, including ease of maintenance, cost-savings, and endless potential for customization.

Vinyl liner pools come in all shapes and sizes, just like fibreglass pools. You can also choose from an assortment of liner colours and patterns to give your pool a beautiful hue. Best of all, vinyl liner pools open up a world of customization with splashy add-ons. You can add and subtract features as time passes. Today, you may want slides and water features to delight the kids. As your children grow up, you may want to transform your pool into an area to entertain your friends, decked out with colourful LED lights and tanning ledges to accommodate everyone. 

Vinyl liner pools aren’t as low maintenance as fibreglass models, but the extra bit of elbow grease makes them worth it in terms of up-front and long-term cost savings. Concrete pools require resurfacing once every ten years. Not only does this impact your pool’s cosmetic appearance, but a rough concrete pool can also be a breeding ground for algae, throwing off your water chemistry. By contrast, a well-maintained vinyl liner needs to be swapped out once every ten years – a far less expensive proposition than full-pool resurfacing. 

Because adding and removing pool features is an invasive process, plan ahead and make those upgrades alongside swapping out an older vinyl liner. This can help you save time and money overall. 

vinyl liner pool with custom water features in Ontario backyard
Vinyl Liner Pool | Photo courtesy of Betz Pools Limited

Installing an Inground Pool in Ontario

Once you have a vision for your pool and backyard, it’s time to prepare for installation! Many homeowners are curious about what’s involved. The path to installing a pool differs slightly, depending on the type of pool you choose. 

Installing a Fiberglass Pool

Installing your new fibreglass pool kicks off with your building team digging a space for it in your backyard. Your high-quality, pre-engineered fibreglass pool shell is then delivered straight from the factory to your backyard. Your team will set it in place and configure systems so that your pool runs beautifully, giving you years of enjoyment.

Learn more about the fibreglass pool installation process.  

Installing a Vinyl Liner Pool

The first step to installing a vinyl liner pool involves taking precise measurements for the area your new pool will occupy and digging the space. It all comes together, through a process that culminates with your building team sealing your liner in place and filling your pool. Before you know it, your vinyl liner pool is ready for you to splash away all summer long – and beyond! 

Learn more about the vinyl liner pool installation process. 

Ontario Inground Pool Maintenance

Both fibreglass and vinyl liner pools are known for their easy upkeep. However, your pool maintenance schedule and checklist may differ slightly, depending upon the material you choose. 

Fiberglass Pool Maintenance

Part of what makes fibreglass so beloved is their ease of maintenance. Set aside time each week to skim your pool, empty filter baskets and test your pool’s water chemistry. To keep your pool in tip-top shape, flush your filtration system once a month.

Learn more about maintaining your fibreglass pool.

Vinyl Liner Pool Maintenance

Although vinyl liner pools require a tad more maintenance than their fibreglass cousins, they’re still easy to maintain. And the added cost savings over time makes it well worth it. 

Once a week, test your water chemistry and pH to maintain balance. Give your liner a gentle scrub each week to keep stance and algae at bay. This is also a prime opportunity to check your liner for any small holes. Be sure to patch them up immediately and your liner will thank you with a longer lifecycle

You can also extend the lifetime of your liner by making sure only soft pool toys are used in the pool. Think foam pool noodles, inflatable rafts and beach balls to prevent any accidental tears in your liner. 

Get more tips for caring for your vinyl liner pool.

Pool Covers

One of the best investments you can make for your pool is an automatic pool cover. Not only can an autocover help you save on maintenance, natural resources and energy costs, it can provide you with an added safety barrier to help prevent accidents. 

An autocover can help you save up to 50% each year on heating and filtration, as well as cut back on chemical usage to balance your water chemistry. An autocover can also help reduce water evaporation. 

While Ontario has an abundance of natural beauty, changing seasons can mean some of that natural beauty can wind up in your pool. An autocover can also help reduce the amount of pollen and autumn leaves that land in your pool. Small pollen grains can clog your pool filters if not skimmed off, while wet leaves can contribute to algae growth. 

The most important benefit of an autocover is that it can save lives, preventing kids and pets from accidentally falling in when your pool is unattended. An automatic pool cover can also be a deterrent against people attempting to use your pool when you’re not home. 

Reasons to Install an Inground Pool in Ontario

Maybe you’re thinking about adding a new pool to your backyard or updating an existing pool. There are a number of reasons to take the plunge into pool ownership.

large fibreglass pool with safety fence in big Ontario backyard
Fibreglass Pool | Photo courtesy of DMJ Landscape Design & Build

Extend Your Summer With a Pool

From the thriving big city life of Toronto to the small-town beauty of Goderich, there’s a lot to love about Ontario – particularly in summer months. No matter what speaks to you, a pool can help you make your summers even more memorable. Take a load off your feet after exploring the vibrant streets of Toronto. Or enjoy a cool dip after working up a sweat on the scenic hiking trails of Algonquin Provincial Park. Even if you’re a homebody, a pool can help you make the most of warmer weather with a relaxing place to lounge with a good book, or to entertain your kids and friends with a summer celebration poolside! 

Increase Property Values

You might not be thinking of selling your home right now, but adding a pool to your backyard today can yield a higher resale value tomorrow. For many homebuyers, pools are an attractive feature. The work has already been done and they don’t have to think about the logistics of adding a pool when it’s already set up and ready to enjoy. Typically, homes that have a well-kept pool can boost the value of your home by roughly 7%. 

A Backyard Oasis

While Ontario offers a diverse range of cultural activities and natural splendour on hiking trails and lakes, sometimes you just want a quiet place of your own to unwind. A pool can provide you with a tranquil backyard oasis to get away from it all, without having to leave the comforts of home or brave throngs of tourists. 

Year-Round Enjoyment

Although Ontario sees an annual snowfall of roughly 50” blanketing the province and average winter temperatures ranging between -15 C and -30 C, adding a pool heater can help you extend pool season into fall before it’s time to close your pool before winter. Imagine gazing up at the stars from an inground or spillover spa on brisk fall evenings. Or kick off pool season in early spring, enjoying comfortable, shimmering waters in a heated pool. Although adding a pool heater is an added expense, it can be a worthwhile investment to help you maximise the fun. 

Ontario Pool FAQs

If you live in Ontario and are considering buying a new pool, your mind is probably swimming with questions. To help you make an informed decision, here are answers to some of the most common questions we hear. 

Is installing an inground pool in ON a good investment?

An inground pool can be a great investment that gives you and your loved ones years of enjoyment. A well-maintained pool can increase your home’s resale value by approximately 7% in Ontario, should you ever decide to sell your home. Not only does a pool add curb appeal, but some homeowners may find it an attractive prospect to know the work of having had a pool installed is already done. It’s just up to them to enjoy it once they purchase your home!

While a pool that’s been properly cared-for can add value to your home, the true return on your investment is the enjoyment it offers. Even if you’re in your “forever home” and do not plan to sell, your pool gives you a place to spend time with friends and family for decades to come. 

Do you need a permit to build a pool in ON?

Ontario requires a pool permit for any inground or above ground pool on a property that sits within a regulated area. Costs for a permit vary depending on where you live within the province, as do any additional permits and plans that must accompany your application. 

For instance, under the Conservation Authorities Act, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) mandates that you apply for a permit to ensure your pool does not interfere with any stream corridors, wetlands, or Lake Ontario waterfront. 

Neighbouring Niagara Falls requires a pool permit before any inspections occur. Additionally, an inground pool requires a lot grading plan and may also need clearance from other jurisdictions beyond the City of Niagara Falls. 

In Milton, ON, all pools and hot tubs or spas require a permit, as well as a site plan with detailed information on setback distances from adjoining properties, pool-related equipment and landscaping. As a caveat, pool permits in Milton expire six months after the date it was issued. If your permit expires before breaking ground on your new pool, you’ll have to reapply. 

Because laws can change over time and vary slightly depending on where you live in Ontario, it’s important to check with your local building office to better understand what permits and plans may be required before building a new pool. Working with a licensed pool builder can help you navigate the process and obtain the proper permits. 

Do you have to have a fence around your pool in Ontario?

Under the Swimming Pool Safety Act of 2006, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario requires that all swimming pool owners must “build and maintain a fence” around their pool, sufficient enough so that no children can enter the area without passing through a gate, “which must be kept locked unless there is an adult in the immediate area of the pool.”

While this law applies throughout the province, different cities and towns throughout Ontario have varying requirements around appropriate height and specifics. For instance, Ottawa requires that all pool enclosures be at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall and have chain link construction “with links no greater than 38mm (1.5 inches)” or vertical board construction. If a homeowner wants to construct a fence of other materials (such as wrought iron, aluminium vinyl), they need to meet additional requirements. 

Toronto pool fencing requirements vary in terms of height. Single residential properties only require fencing 1.2 metres high, while multiple residential properties must have fencing at least 1.8 metres high. 

Be sure to consult with your local building office to be sure your pool and all associated fencing is compliant. 

Ontario Pool Care Tips

While owning a pool is a lot of fun, you can get a lot more enjoyment out of your pool if you have a deeper understanding of how to take care of it. From environmental stewardship considerations to choosing the right type of pool to fit your lifestyle, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind! 

How can I reduce water usage and conserve resources with my inground pool?

One way pool owners can cut back on water usage is to invest in an autocover. Autocovers can help reduce water evaporation, using fewer natural resources while enjoying your pool. Beyond the conservation benefits, an autocover can help you save up to 50%  on heating and energy costs associated with maintaining your pool. 

What type of pool is best suited for Ontario’s climate?

Both inground fibreglass and vinyl liner pools can be great choices for Ontario homeowners. For pool owners in parts of Northern Ontario, such as White River and Thunder Bay, cold winters may make a fibreglass pool a more attractive option, given its abilities to hold up well under frosty temperatures and offer added longevity. However, vinyl liner pools can also hold considerable appeal in a more cost-conscious package. To better understand what type of pool may be the best fit for your needs, as well as geographic and property constraints speak with a builder to help make an informed decision. 

Ontario Inground Pool Installation Areas

Whether you live in major hubs of activity like Ottawa or Toronto, or in breathtaking small towns like Goderich or Paris, Ontario, we believe there’s a pool for every backyard. Latham has helped build dream pools for countless homeowners throughout the province, including those in:  

  • Ancaster, ON
  • Barrie, ON
  • Bowmanville, ON
  • Bradford, ON
  • Burlington, ON
  • Cambridge, ON
  • Carleton Place, ON
  • Collingwood, ON
  • Fort Erie, ON
  • Goderich, ON
  • Guelph, ON
  • Hawkesbury, ON
  • Kanata, ON
  • Kemptville, ON
  • Kingston, ON
  • Kitchener, ON
  • London, ON
  • Mt. Albert, ON
  • Nepean, ON
  • Niagara Falls, ON
  • North Bay, ON
  • Oakville, ON
  • Ottawa, ON
  • Orleans, ON
  • Orillia, ON
  • Pembroke, ON
  • Southampton, ON
  • St. Thomas, ON
  • Stratford, ON
  • Thunder Bay, ON
  • Toronto, ON
  • Vineland, ON
  • Walkerton, ON
  • Whitby, ON
  • Woodstock, ON

Start Building a Pool for Your ON Backyard Today

A new pool can be a welcome addition to your home that brings fun, relaxation, and so much more. Speak with a licensed professional builder to start making memories in your brand new Latham pool today. 

Contact us to learn more.

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A unique group of talented individuals with years of industry experience, the Latham Editorial Team brings together the best and the brightest in order to deliver diverse perspectives on how to make your backyard the center of your Latham lifestyle.

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