Concrete vs. Vinyl Liner vs. Fiberglass Pools

When choosing an inground pool, you have three choices: vinyl liner, fiberglass, or a concrete pool. There are pros and cons for each type of inground swimming pool and we are here to help you make the best choice in buying the perfect pool for you and your family. In the blog below, swimming pool service Raleigh, Rising Sun Pools and Spa has listed the pros and cons of fiberglass, vinyl, and concrete pools. Let’s get started!

Vinyl Liner

Pros of a Vinyl Liner Pool-

  • Low initial cost- Vinyl pools are the cheapest option in terms of initial price.
  • Customizable shape and size- Vinyl pools are created by making a frame for the pool within a suitably shaped hole in the ground and then placing wall panels and a vinyl liner. The vinyl liner is flexible and has seams to match the shape of the pool, making this the most customizable option for pools. Swimming pool service Raleigh company, Rising Sun Pools and Spa has a tool for you to build your own pool and decking, allowing for the ultimate customization process! 
  • Nonabrasive surface- The vinyl liner material is slick and smooth to the touch.

Cons of a Vinyl Liner Pool-

  • Replacement- Under normal circumstances, the average liner replacement is approximately 5-10 years, depending on pool maintenance Raleigh and the area of the country you live in.
  • Liner warranties- Most vinyl liner pools have very ambiguous warranty clauses. You have to read the fine print to make sure you know what you’re getting. 
  • Prone to punctures or tears- The liner is only 20-30 mils thick, which is the thickness of a few sheets of paper. One hole could cost you a lot of money. 
  • Most expensive option overtime- Vinyl will often be the most expensive option due to high maintenance and replacement costs. 


Pros of a Fiberglass pool- 

  • Low maintenance- The smooth, non-reactive surface of the fiberglass pool shell doesn’t have the big pores and cavities like concrete pools.  This hinders algae growth and reduces the amount of sanitizing chemicals required to maintain the pool. 
  • Longevity- Most fiberglass pools will last 25 years or more, making there be little to no lifetime cost, other than regular pool maintenance Raleigh
  • Quick installation- A fiberglass pool can take as little as a week to install. Promising a brand new swimming pool for your kid’s birthday party or first week of summer is acceptable with a fiberglass pool!
  • Pool warranty- Fiberglass pools have the best warranties in the industry. The reason the warranty is so good is that the pool is manufactured in a controlled environment. 
  • Compatibility with salt- Fiberglass pools are the best option for saltwater pools because they are impervious to the corrosion that saltwater can do overtime.
  • Customization- You can do amazing things with a fiberglass swimming pool, such as colored finishes, ceramic tile, tanning ledges, water features, pool lights, elevated spas, poolside walls, and more. Check out our blog on the most popular pool trends of 2021 to see what we’re talking about!

Cons of a Fiberglass pool- 

  • Shape and size- While fiberglass pools can be customized with additions, they are built from a mold, and must be able to be trucked to the site. This means that there is a limit to a certain width and length, making it not as customizable as vinyl. 
  • Higher initial cost- Fiberglass pools are more of an initial investment than vinyl pools. 


Pros of a Concrete pool- 

  • Durability- Similar to fiberglass, concrete pools are also very durable. Depending on your region, concrete pools are built to hold up against mountainous regions. 
  • Shape and size- Because the pool is formed from steel and then the concrete (gunite or shotcrete) is blown in, your ability to customize the shape and size is endless. 
  • Outdoor work of art- Because the pool is formed from steel and then the concrete (gunite or shotcrete) is blown in, your ability to customize is endless. Concrete pools can be designed as a literal work of art in your backyard. If you are looking for a unique shape, or multiple bodies of water that flow into one another, or maybe a lazy river pool, then concrete can provide a solution for you. 
  • Longevity- Concrete pools can last up to 20 years, although they may require refinishing or resurfacing from a swimming pool service Raleigh such as Rising Sun Pools and Spa.

Cons of a Concrete pool- 

  • Lifetime cost- Concrete pools will need to be renovated every 10–15 years. This involves resurfacing and re-tiling the pool at an expense of $10,000–$20,000 or more. 
  • More chemicals and maintenance- Due to the porosity of concrete, it requires more chemicals for maintenance than either vinyl liner or fiberglass pools. Concrete naturally increases alkalinity (pH), which requires continually adding acid to keep a stable pH balance. Using chemicals and balancing them properly is vital for correct water chemistry in concrete pools. If not done properly, it could damage the interior pool surface, resulting in a costly repair. Many leave pool maintenance Raleigh to a swimming pool service Raleigh, and this could get expensive. 
  • Abrasive interior- Concrete pools have an abrasive bottom and sides which are not as smooth as fiberglass or vinyl liner pools. The coarse surface is also tough on automatic and robotic pool cleaners, wearing out pool cleaner parts much sooner.
  • Longest installation time- Compared to fiberglass, installing a concrete pool could take up to three times as long as vinyl or fiberglass pools do. 

To sum it up, vinyl liner pools have the lowest initial cost and a customizable shape, but you have to frequently replace the liner leading to the highest lifetime cost. Fiberglass pools are easy to maintain, quick to install, and very durable, yet they cost more upfront and aren’t as customizable. Concrete pools are extremely durable and customizable but require heavy maintenance, the highest costs, and a slow installation. For more help, visit Rising Sun Pools and Spa’s Buyer’s Guide and contact us today to get your swimming pool started!