Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Viking Pools vs Leisure Pools

In this article, we will explore Viking Fiberglass Pools and Leisure Fiberglass Pools in three areas; Distribution or Logistics and  Marketing and Warranties. Of course, these are my views and opinions based on information provided to me.

Most views posted on the web site are anonymous and posted by some one that has an ax to grind or a competitor of the product. That is the blessing and the curse of the internet. We will go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of both manufacturers as well as warranties. We are a mega builder who specializes in fiberglass and have installed both Leisure and Viking as well as almost every fiberglass pool made. We are a Leisure Pool Foundation award winner in 2005 upon their introduction into the country from Australia. We are currently and have been a Viking Gold builder every year as well as a multiple Centennial award winner. Both pools are great pools. We love the owners and founders at Leisure. Since Viking was bought out by a large corporation and investment group, it has lost some of its intimacy. The founders of Viking and the current President are both amazing people of great integrity. 


This seems to be an area of confusion. It's confusing to me and I’m in the industry! Let's face it, most warranties are written by attorneys to protect the manufacturer, not the consumer. It's my opinion that a warranty covers what ever the manufacturer wants it to cover. It's extremely important to purchase any product from a large volume reputable dealer. A great dealer or builder will stand in the gap for their customer. A dealer or builder that does large volumes has almost unlimited clout with the manufacturer and wields a big hammer. Manufacturers do not want to lose top producers with little or no complaints because they are extremely rare. It appears that Leisure has two levels of pools offered, the standard and the composite armour. The standard looks to have a 20 year structural warranty or water loss due to defects. The standard pool does not cover against water loss due to osmosis. The composite armour seems to have a 35  year structural warranty or water loss due to defects, and a lifetime against osmosis. It looks like both levels of pool have a 10 year surface warranty.

This type of marketing seems to open the door to a lot of questions. Is the customer being told about the two different warranties and quality of pool? Does the dealer builder recite the composite armour warranty and order the standard pool? Im assuming the better pool costs more. If the customer pays for the better pool, how does he know he is receiving it? Is there some sort of big sticker on the pool that identifies the product? It's my opinion that this type of structure just opens the door to unscrupulous behavior. Let's face it, there are a lot of horror stories and bad builders in this country. Why provide opportunities for them to be unscrupulous. 

The Leisure warranty provided to me by Leisure has maybe one page of what's covered and three pages of what is not covered.  Here are some of the highlights of what is not covered in the Leisure warranty. Leisure does not cover normal wear and tear. What does that mean? Is normal wear and tear swimming in the pool? It does not cover tree roots. That's a big one in TX. You need to maintain a monthly written record of water levels in the pool, including the levels of chlorine,PH,Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness to be tested by a pool shop every six months. Who in the heck does or wants to do that? Another exclusion is failure to maintain pool in good order and condition. Who determines that? It does not cover changes in color, fading of color, stains of the internal gelcoat finish or the external finish of the pool. It does not cover surface cracking and surface imperfections on the internal and external surface finish of the pool. Does not cover problems or damages with a standard pool caused or contributed by osmosis. They recommend that only chemicals from Leisure pools be used. Who does that? Does Leisure have some special chemical recipe? The use of improper or incorrect chemicals voids the surface warranty. What does that mean? Who determines that? It also states if the Limited warranty is applicable. Purchaser must return a completed warranty card prior to any surface Limited warranty services and within six months of delivery of the pool. Who does that? I'm not even sure what it means. Both warranties cover the original purchaser only.

The Viking warranty is two pages and pretty cut and dry. Coverage of the structure: Manufacturer warrants the Pool against leaking due to structural failure caused by faulty workmanship or materials used in the manufacture of the shell as long as the original buyer owns the pool. The surface warranty is warrantied against osmotic blistering due to defects in materials or workmanship for as long as the original buyer owns the pool.

The Viking exclusions are very reasonable. They don’t cover the work of a bad installer. They don’t cover grass waterfalls or any damage created by the installer. They don’t cover loss of water or work if a repair is done. I have attached copies of both warranties provided to me by the manufacturer for you to read.

Freight is a huge part of the costs of a Fiberglass pool.  Here are some things to consider. Viking has factories in Odessa TX, Breau Bridge LA, Fayetteville TN, Rockingham NC, Williams CA, Zepherhills FL and Jane Lew, WV. Leisure has one Manufacturing facility in Knoxville, TN. Both manufacturers use distribution yards. The  close proximity of factories to the end user gives Viking a huge advantage in pricing and availability. Remember, most builders bring  these pools in one or two at a time. Even with distribution yards, the pools still incur costs of freight, labor and cranes to the distribution yard then again to the builder. Every movement requires labor, crane and shipping expenses. Builders that are close to factories and builders that can afford to ship large quantities at a time have extreme advantages. A low volume dealer that brings in one at a time with no volume has a huge disadvantage. Remember, the less movements and the more pools on a truck bring the cost per pool down dramatically. Small builders that are close to the factory can pick their own pools up at a substantial savings. With Viking, having seven factories and distribution yards compared to Leisure having one factory and distribution yard, there is no doubt Viking wins hands down on distribution costs to the end user. In closing, when it comes to fiberglass pools, the more expensive product does not necessarily mean the superior product. 


Leisure Pools has a great internet presence. They have developed web site templates for their builders. They can easily recruit new dealers and provide a web site that can almost be set up instantaneously. This makes it extremely easy for people with little or no business experience to have their web presence set up and running with minimal expense or experience. They also have a phone system set up at their factory for customers. You call the factory, follow the prompts, type in your zip code and it transfers you to the builders phone that services that zip code. That's a pretty nice feature if the builder actually answers the phone. Leisure also has a strong presence in paid internet ads or pay per click. Viking pools has recently changed their phone system at the factory to make it easier to find  a dealer. You follow the prompts to find a builder and you are transferred to a person. Again, a nice feature if they answer the phone. The Leisure brochure is a little tough to navigate through. They offer two models, a standard pool and then an upgraded pool that I think costs more. The Viking brochure is pretty easy to navigate through. The Leisure web site is nice, simple, and easy to navigate. In closing, my opinion is Leisures web presence is better. I think the Viking brochure is better.

Colors have advanced dramatically and have become striking and brilliant over the last decades. Leisure pools has six colors, Viking has nine. The Leisure colors are a tighter grained finish with sparkles. The Viking has three tighter grained finishes with sparkles similar to the Leisure colors, It has two solid colors, and four granite type finishes. The granite finishes do cost extra and are much more forgiving. Both pools have 100% textured bottoms which is important. When you compare the granite finish to the others, the textured bottom seems to dissapear in the granite or Crystite finish. Dirt, scum line and water spots are very difficult to see in the Granite or Crystite finishes. It's my opinion that the Crystite or Granite finish is superior.

Please follow or cut and paste these links to see the warranties.

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