We, at Knapp’s Pools and Hot Tubs Inc. wanted to share the benefits and features of the fiberglass pools vs the concrete (gunite) and the vinyl lined pools. We believe that you, the customer, can then take this information and determine which pools suits your personal needs best. So let’s get into it.
Fiberglass Pools: Pros and Cons
- Low maintenance: The gel coat surface of the fiberglass pool shell is non-porous. This inhibits the growth of algae and reduces the amount of sanitizing chemicals required to maintain the pool. Whether you are using chlorine pucks or a salt system. Your need for sanitizer is lessened
Lifetime Maintenance: 99% of the time there will not be any money required to maintain the shell of fiberglass pools. No vinyl liner to replace and no resurfacing.
Non-abrasive surface: The gel coat surface of fiberglass pools is smooth to the touch. No scrapped knees, torn bathing suits etc.
- Built-in Seats and Steps: Most fiberglass pool designs have seating and all have steps incorporated into the shell of the pool.
- Manufactured in controlled environment: Fiberglass pools are built in a controlled climate
- Quick installation: Because the shells of fiberglass pools are built off site, the installation occurs more rapidly 1-2 weeks on average for the pool installation (not including decking or landscaping)
- Limited shapes and designs: Because fiberglass pools are built from a mold, the shapes and sizes offered by the various fiberglass pool manufacturers are what you see
- No wider than 16′: Fiberglass Pools are shipped by transport. Shipping regulations limit the width of the fiberglass pool shell to a maximum of 16′
- Higher initial cost: Fiberglass pools are more of an initial investment; usually $5k more or the cost of your first liner replacement however they are less than a concrete pool
Vinyl Liner Pools: Pros and Cons
- Low initial cost: Vinyl lined pools have the lowest initial cost of any of the three types of in ground pools
- Customizable shape and size: There are no limitations of the length, width, and depth of a vinyl lined pool
- Vinyl liner pools are non-abrasive: The vinyl liner material is smooth to the touch for the most part
- Doesn’t foster algae: The vinyl material used in vinyl liner pools is also relatively non-porous so it inhibits algae growth
- Higher lifetime cost: On average a vinyl liner will last between 7 and 15 years at a replacement expense of $3500 – $5500 plus the cost of water
- Liner warranties pro-rated: Many vinyl liner manufacturers have a pro-rated warranty….read the fine print.
- Maintenance Risks: Dogs, kids throwing stuff in the pool, tree limbs, etc. are all concerns. The liner is only 20-30 mil thick, which is the thickness of several sheets of paper. One tiny mistake could cost you a liner replacement
- Lower resale value: When you go to sell a home with a vinyl liner pool, one of the first questions asked is “how old is the liner?” If it’s more than 3-4 years old, there’s a significant chance a request will be made to replace the liner before the sale of the house, or the value of the pool will be depreciated
Concrete Pools: Pros and Cons
- As big as you want: Concrete pools can be any size, shape, or depth.
- Customizable: Vanishing edges, beach entries, tanning ledges, etc. are all just a sketch away from reality with concrete pools
- High lifetime cost: Concrete pools will need to be renovated every 10-20 years. This involves resurfacing and re-tiling the pool at a considerable expense
- More chemical required: Because the surface of concrete pools is very porous, more chemicals and filtration are required to prevent algae. The alkaline pH of the pool shell also constantly raises the pH of the water, requiring the regularly adding pH- to keep the pH in check. High pH in pools doesn’t feel great on the skin, and can be costly on equipment
- More maintenance: Concrete pools also need to be frequently brushed to remove algae from the pores of the plaster or aggregate surfaces
- Much longer install time: Concrete pools take way longer to install….usually 2-4 months