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Concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass? Pick the pool that's best for you

Updated: Mar 7

Many people are often unsure about which type of pool they want to install in their backyard. Do you want a concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass pool? The answer is not so easy. This article will help you decide what swimming option is best for your needs and budget.



custom shaped pool with brick pool decking and large trees in background


Concrete Pools


A concrete pool is the most popular type of pool and can last for many years with proper maintenance. However, it requires a lot of upkeep and can be expensive to install.


Appearance: Concrete pools usually come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can decorate them with various features such as rocks, waterfalls, or even built-in seating areas like benches and tables.


Maintenance: Concrete pool maintenance is extensive and includes having to re-plaster the entire surface every three years (and sometimes more often) to keep it intact, which requires draining all of the water from your swimming pool. It also requires regularly cleaning the filters, checking for cracks in the foundation, brushing tiles annually, and using chemicals that need to be periodically added when you are ready to swim.


Cost: A concrete pool will cost between $15-$25 per square foot depending upon location because it's labor-intensive compared with other options. They usually cost between $12,000 and $20,000 for a small pool and up to $70,000 for a larger one.


Pros


• Very durable and can last for many years with proper maintenance

• Many different shapes and sizes to choose from

• Can be decorated with many features


Cons


• Requires a lot of upkeep, including re-plastering every few years, which requires draining the pool

• Chemicals must be added when swimming to maintain water quality


Vinyl Pools


Vinyl liner is a custom-made sheet between the water and the pool structure. Vinyl liners are flexible, so they can be installed in any shape or size, making them a popular choice for many homeowners.


Appearance: Vinyl pools come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can have a variety of patterns and designs to choose from, or you can even get your pool custom-designed with different shapes. The vinyl liners usually last between five and seven years before they need to be replaced, which means the entire swimming pool needs to be drained for it to dry out completely. The latter is necessary so that the new liner can go back into place. Vinyl liner pools come in many shapes and sizes, but the rectangle or oval shape is the most popular. They are available in different colors, including blue, green, tan, and gray.


Maintenance: Maintaining a vinyl liner pool is relatively easy and does not require much cleaning. There are no filters to maintain, but some occasional brushing and vacuuming will need to be done. You will need to add chemicals every few days for the water to be clean and safe for swimming.


Cost: Vinyl liner pools will cost between $12,000-$20,000 on average, depending upon size and shape.


Pros


• Flexible, making it easy to install in any backyard space or design

• Easier maintenance than a concrete pool since there are no filters to maintain

• Vinyl liner typically lasts between five and seven years before needing replacement with a new liner which means you do not have to drain the entire swimming pool


Cons


• Cannot be installed in every location because of the need for a flat surface

• Vinyl liner can become brittle and tear over time if not correctly taken care of

• Can fade or discolor over time if not correctly taken care of


Fiberglass Pools


A fiberglass pool consists of several layers combined to form the top and sides. The inner layer is made of vinyl, but an additional protective coating on top and a membrane underneath prevents water from seeping into the ground below. This type of swimming pool was specifically designed for those who do not have enough flat space available in their backyard because it can be installed on hillsides or sloped surfaces with ease.


Appearance: Fiberglass pools come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, just like vinyl ones. They mimic natural bodies of water better than any other type. They usually feature smooth curves at every edge, making them aesthetically pleasing compared to other concrete or vinyl liner pools.


Maintenance: Fiberglass pools are low-maintenance and do not require a lot of upkeep. There is no need to vacuum or brush it, but you will need to add chemicals regularly to maintain water quality.


Cost: A fiberglass pool costs anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 on average, depending upon size and shape.


Pros


• Low-maintenance and easy to take care of - does not require vacuuming or brushing like vinyl liner pools

• Many different shapes, sizes, and colors available

• Can be installed on hillsides or sloped surfaces without difficulty


Cons


• More expensive than other types of swimming pools such as concrete or vinyl liner pools

• Can chip and crack over time if not correctly taken care of

• Some people find fiberglass pools less aesthetically pleasing than other types available on the market.



Which Type of Pool is Best for You?


You will need to consider a few different factors when deciding which type of pool is best for your needs. First, think about how much space you have in your backyard. If you do not have a lot of flat surface area, then a fiberglass pool would be a good option since you can install it on hillsides or sloped surfaces with ease. If you want a vinyl liner pool, make sure to measure the space carefully as they come in many different shapes and sizes. Finally, if you want a concrete pool, be sure to measure the space carefully and think about your neighborhood association regulations before making any final decisions.


The choice is ultimately up to you when it comes to which type of swimming pool best suits your needs, but consider that many factors such as size and shape will need to be considered no matter what option you go with. Concrete pools can also sometimes require additional maintenance depending upon how they were constructed during installation, so make sure this information is available beforehand if possible or ask questions whenever necessary.


Of course, both vinyl liner pools and fiberglass pools do not require much upkeep unless the regular chemical balance has been disrupted due to dirt buildup. All three options offer their benefits, including ease of installation and low maintenance, but it is up to you to decide which type will work best for your needs.


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