Fiberglass Pools vs. Vinyl Liner Pools vs. Concrete or Gunite Pools
Fiberglass Pools vs. Vinyl Liner Pools vs. Concrete or Gunite Pools: An Honest Comparison
Many people often ask us, “Is there an unbiased comparison of in ground fiberglass pools, vinyl liner pools, and concrete or gunite pools on the internet?”
This article is our effort to provide an objective source of information about the three types of in ground swimming pools. The approach is simple. We’ve listed the advantages and disadvantages of in ground fiberglass pools, vinyl liner pools, and concrete pools.
- Lowest maintenance. The solid surface of a fiberglass pool shell is nonporous. This reduces the potential for algae growth and the amount of sanitizing chemicals required to maintain the pool.
- Little or no lifetime cost. Fiberglass pools eliminate the need of a replacement liner.
- Non-abrasive surface. The solid surface of fiberglass pools is smooth to the touch.
- Built-in seats, tanning ledges, and steps. Most fiberglass pool designs have seating and all have steps incorporated into the shell of the pool.
- Quick installation. Because the shells of fiberglass pools are built off site, the installation occurs more rapidly. The average installation time is completed in 3-4 weeks on average.
- Reparable. In the event that scratches or surface cracks appear on your fiberglass pool they are easily repaired. This is often accomplished with very little visual evidence of the repair.
- Limited shapes and designs. Because fiberglass pools are built from a mold, the consumer is limited to the shapes and sizes offered by the various fiberglass pool manufacturers.
- No wider than 16′. Fiberglass Pools are shipped via the road. Shipping restrictions limit the width of the fiberglass pool shell to 16′.
- Pool Depth. Very few fiberglass pools are certified for diving.
- Higher initial cost. Fiberglass pools cost at least $5,000.00 – $10,000.00 more than a comparable sized vinyl liner pool.
Vinyl Liner Pools:
- Lower initial cost. Vinyl liner pools have the lowest initial cost of any of the three types of in-ground pools.
- Biggest “Bang for your buck”. In comparison, you get more swim space with a vinyl liner pool for the same investment.
- Customizable shape and size. There are no limitations to the length, width, and depth of vinyl liner pools.
- Non-abrasive surface. The surface of a vinyl liner pool is smooth to the touch.
- Lower maintenance. The surface of a vinyl liner pool is nonporous. This reduces the potential for algae growth and the amount of sanitizing chemicals required to maintain the pool.
- Reparable. The vinyl liner is easily repaired and replaced with very little or no down time.
- Liner replacement. On average a vinyl liner will last between 7 and 15 years with a replacement cost of $3,000.00 – $5,000.00.
- Liner warranties pro-rated. Many vinyl liner manufacturers have a 20 year pro-rated warranty. Be sure to read the fine print.
- Customization options. Built in seats, tanning ledges, and steps are limited.
Concrete or Gunite Pools
- Unlimited. Concrete or gunite pools can be any size, shape, or depth. Concrete or gunite pools allow for more flexibility with design features. Vanishing edges, beach entries, tanning ledges, etc. are all just a sketch away from reality with concrete or gunite pools.
- Works of art. Concrete or gunite pools can be integrated into landscape design as a literal work of art.
- Highest lifetime repair cost. Concrete or gunite pools will need to be renovated every 8-12 years. This involves resurfacing and re-tiling the pool at an expense of $8,000.00 -$15,000.00 or higher depending on the pool.
- Highest maintenance. Because the surface of concrete pools is porous, additional maintenance is required to prevent algae. The alkaline pH of the pool shell also constantly raises the pH of the water, requiring the frequent adding of acid to counteract this effect.
- Longest installation time. Concrete or gunite pools usually take 2 – 4 months to build.