A Comparison of Pool Types
Which do you choose: pool liner, concrete, or fiberglass?
This page contains information and a comparison between three types of in-ground pool: pool liner, concrete pool, and fiberglass pool, along with pros and cons for each type.
Let’s start with an outline:
Pools with vinyl liners have a low initial cost, and its easy to customize their shape, however, the liner is easily damage, and can wear, so you need to replace the liner fairly often. Fiberglass pools cost more initially, are molded so aren’t customizable, but are easy to maintain, quick to install, and durable. Concrete pools have the highest price, very slow installation times, and require lots of maintenance, but are extremely durable and customizable.
Pro’s and Con’s for each type
- Low maintenance
- Little or no lifetime cost
- Non-abrasive surface
- Built-in seats and steps
- Manufactured in a controlled environment
- Quick installation
- Limited shapes
- Limited designs
- 16′ maximum width
- Repairs on colored finishes do not always match
- Higher initial cost
Vinyl Liner Pools
- Low initial cost
- Customizable shape and size
- Nonabrasive surface
- Doesn’t foster algae
- Higher lifetime cost
- Liner warranties are pro-rated
- Use the pool with care as they’re easily damaged
- Low resale value
- Can be as big or as small as you like
- Flexibility with pool design and features
- Can be ornate and beautifully designed
- High lifetime cost
- High chemical use
- High maintenance
- Long installation time
Each of the these in-ground swimming pool types — fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl liner — have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Fiberglass pools – advantages and disadvantages:
Fiberglass swimming pools are very easy to maintain, quick to install, are extremely durable, and can be beautifully designed. The initial cost, however, can be substantially higher than a vinyl liner pool, and the shape and/or size is not as customizable.
Vinyl liners – advantages and disadvantages:
Vinyl liner swimming pools can have a much lower initial cost, and also have customizable shapes and sizes. However, the major disadvantage is that you have to frequently replace the liner as it can be easily damaged. There is also a high possibility of algae growth, and pool liner warranties can be contentious at best.
Concrete pools – advantages and disadvantages:
Concrete swimming pools are extremely durable and are highly customized in terms of size/shape. Disadvantages include a greater amount of work to maintain the pool, increased chemical usage, a rough surface finish, slow installation, and the highest cost of ownership of any pool type.