What are the pros and cons of vinyl liner vs fiberglass vs concrete in-ground pools?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Each type of construction has both advantages and disadvantages to consider when you decide to make your backyard pool-party ready. Most contractors specialize in one type and are well-versed in the best features of their favored construction method. Here’s how they compare:

Vinyl Liner Pools

     Advantages

  • Lower Initial cost - Liner pools are usually, but not always, the least expensive in-ground pool.
  • Plenty of custom shapes available - Because the backing panels are manufactured in numerous shapes and lengths, they interlock into plenty of creative shapes. Photo above is a liner pool.
  • Smoothest surface - Less abrasive than other pools.
  • Less algae growth - Smooth surface makes it harder to algae to take hold.

     Disadvantages

  • Liners have a short life - Average of 7 to 10 years. Maintaining good pool chemistry is the key to longer life. The decorative “tile” imprint will fade noticeably above water line as it ages. 
  • Liner comparatively fragile - Dogs trying to climb out of the the pool, objects around the pool, or a tree branch falling into the pool can tear the 20 to 30 mil thick liner and start a leak.
  • Least prestigious - No matter how elegant the coping and surrounding deck, a liner pool is a liner pool.

Fiberglass Pools

     Advantages

  • Fast installation - Because the complete shell is manufactured off-site and craned into place, this is the fastest pool to install.
  • Built-in steps and seats - Incorporated into shell at factory.
  • Smoother surface than concrete - Less algae growth problems.

     Disadvantages

  • Limited size - Because the pool must be trucked to site there is a 16-foot width limitation.
  • Not as many shape choices - Each design requires a large custom mold, so selection is somewhat limited.
  • Refinishing  more difficult - Both liner and concrete pools are easier to repair/replace the surfacing. There are plenty of marcite pool resurfacing contractors, but not so many tradesmen for repairing fiberglas pools as they age, and the color can be difficult to match when repairing.

Concrete Pools (gunite or shotcrete)

     Advantages

  • No size limits - Any size, shape or depth you want. 
  • More design options - Vanishing edge, grotto, beach entry and waterfalls possible.
  • Most prestigious - Concrete pools look more substantial.
  • Longer lifespan - With regular maintenance.

     Disadvantages

  • Higher maintenance cost - Most expensive to resurface.
  • Needs more chemicals - The textured surface of the pool requires more chemicals and filtration to prevent algae.
  • Longest construction time - Usually several months.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about POOL AND SPA:

Does an above-ground pool require a building permit? 

Does an above-ground pool have to comply with code requirements for a swimming pool barrier?

• Can a pool with green, cloudy water be inspected?

• Should I refinish-resurface my pool with paint or plaster?

• Why are pool pumps now required to be variable speed? 

What are the clearance requirements for an overhead electric service drop that is directly over or near a swimming pool?

    Visit our POOL AND SPA page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

Wells

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests

Sinkholes

Stairs

When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes

Site

Shingle Roofs

Safety

Stucco

Remodeling

Wind Mitigation Form

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home

Inspector...?"

Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."

Radon

Brick

Plumbing

Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs

Foundations

Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants

Condominiums

Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile/Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil

Insurance

Floors

Insulation

Toilets

Exterior Walls & Structures

Generators

Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers

Electrical

Kitchens

Doors and Windows

(placeholder)

Cracks

Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps

Appliances

Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.

Bathrooms

Lighting

AFCI, CAFCI,

DFCI, & GFCI

Sinks

Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size

Attics

Electrical Switches

Siding

Search

This

Site

Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete

(placeholder)

Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

About Us