In the 1960’s, pool makers began installing fibreglass spas in homes. This was after the invention of the hydrotherapy pump when more people wanted to have hot tubs in their gardens. The backyard soaker tubs were experiencing too many leaks and cleanliness issues, so the pool industry started utilising fibreglass gelcoat to build tubs in the ground.
The fibreglass pools started with a fibreglass gelcoat spa. These spas were made to be installed into the ground and required a handyman to do so. This was hard work, but many people wanted the private spa experience in their homes. As the industry grew and more people wanted to add hot tubs, there was more developments in the style of the tubs.
Rather than having tubs that were in the ground, the industry began to create standalone tubs that were easier to add to the home. This was a fully integrated tub and had filters and other requirements that made cleaning and safety easier. There was no emphasis on energy efficiency during this time and there was only a small number of manufacturers and suppliers in the North American region.
It was in the 1970’s that manufacturers discovered that acrylic was an even better option for making hot tubs than the fibreglass gelcoat. Some of the issues they found with the fibreglass were black stains that were difficult to remove and sun and humidity fading and blistering the tubs. When they found acrylic as a new option, manufacturers began creating fibreglass-reinforced hot tub shells. Over time, different technology allowed for the manufacturers to have different colours for their acrylic.
With these developments, more people wanted to have a hot tub in their home. It was seen as a health and wellness accessory and used it to reduce stress from the busyness of life. It meant that it was more important for companies to ensure that they were using high quality acrylic and fibreglass when making the tubs. There also needed to be more emphasis on energy efficiency by this point.
Moving from wooden tubs to fibreglass made the spas more reliable and safer for their users, as there was less leaking and more security in the tubs. This was important for manufacturers because it meant that more people would purchase tubs, and therefore allowed more money and research to be pumped into developing the tubs further. While the fibreglass had its issues with staining and discolouration, it was still an improvement on leaking, rotting wood.
The move to start using acrylic, which was reinforced with fibreglass, meant that more shapes and colours could be produced for the hot tubs. This also meant customers could personalise their tubs to their taste, and manufacturers had more freedom on how they could design their tubs. This was a major step in the development of hot tubs and hydrotherapy, and later led to the establishment of the Beachcomber Hot Tub brand.