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Vinyl vs Fiberglass vs Concrete. Which pool is right for you?

Your complete guide to understanding the pros and cons of in ground pools


Imagine Pools Exquisite pictured below



Constructive Design Group Employees posing under a Fiberlgass Pool Shell at the Imagine Pools manufacturing plant in Knoxville Tennessee

Last year the CDG team made a decision to shift our focus to the pool installation market. We love dreaming up big designs and we have learned so much along the way. Now, we want to focus our creative energy into building the best pool patios in the Triangle area. After much research, we decided to align ourselves with Imagine Pools. Their superior fiberglass construction, rigorous installation requirements and creative designs made them a clear choice for us. If you are looking for a Plunge Pool or a Soake Pool, then we are also your company! Look for a separate blog post soon about the Soake Pool Installation process.


As a consumer, deciding what type of pool is best for you is a daunting task! In this post we will go over the up front and long term costs associated with all three types of pools. We will also review the pros and cons of the materials themselves.



First, let's consider pool construction budget


Vinyl pool installation in the Raleigh area hovers in the 60-80k+ with the size and features of your pool driving the price higher. Fiberglass pools in the Raleigh area will ranger from 80k+ dependent on size and accessories. Custom concrete pools in our market start at the 80k mark and are typically 25% more than a fiberglass pool of equivalent size. In addition to up front costs, you will have long term expenses that should also be considered:




Pros and Cons of Vinyl Liner Pools

Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Pools

Pros and Cons of Concrete Pools


 

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Liner Pools

Pros:

  1. Cost-Effective: Vinyl liner pools are generally more affordable upfront compared to other types of pools like fiberglass or concrete.

  2. Customization: They offer some design options and can be customized in terms of shape, size, and pattern.

  3. Smooth Surface: The vinyl material provides a smooth surface that is gentle on the skin and less prone to abrasions or scratches.

  4. Non-Porous Surface: Unlike concrete pools, vinyl liners have a non-porous surface, which makes it more resistant to algae growth and staining.

  5. Quick Installation: Vinyl liner pools can be installed relatively quickly compared to other types of pools, reducing the overall construction time.

Cons:

  1. Durability: Vinyl liners may need replacement every 10-15 years, and they can be punctured or torn, leading to additional maintenance costs.

  2. Limited Longevity: While they are cost-effective initially, the long-term costs may increase due to the need for liner replacements and repairs.

  3. Not as Durable as Concrete: Vinyl liners are not as durable as fiberglass or concrete pools and may be more susceptible to damage from sharp objects or pets.

  4. Chemical Sensitivity: Vinyl liners can be sensitive to certain pool chemicals, and the use of incorrect chemicals may lead to damage or deterioration.

  5. Aesthetics: Some people prefer the aesthetic of other pool types, like the smooth, high-end finish of a fiberglass pool or the customizable design of a concrete pool.



Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Pools

Pros:

  1. Low Maintenance: Fiberglass pools have a smooth, non-porous surface that resists algae growth and reduces the need for chemical usage. This makes them relatively low-maintenance compared to other pool types.

  2. Quick Installation: Fiberglass pools are faster to install than concrete pools because the shell is pre-manufactured off-site and then delivered for installation.

  3. Durability and Longevity: Fiberglass pools are known for their durability. We are an authorized installer for Imagine pools that feature performance vinyl ester resin woven into each of 5 structural layers (best in the industry). With proper care a Fiberglass Pool can be expected to last a lifetime.

  4. Smooth Surface: The smooth surface of fiberglass pools is comfortable on the skin and reduces the risk of abrasions or scratches.  Imagine Pools smooth gel coat finish comes with a 10 year surface warranty.

  5. Energy Efficiency: Fiberglass pools can be more energy-efficient because the smooth surface allows for easier circulation of water, and the material retains heat well. Imagine pools uses a 5 layer construction process that includes an insulation layer that reduces energy costs.

Cons:

  1. Initial Cost: Fiberglass pools can have a higher upfront cost compared to vinyl liner pools, though they are less expensive than concrete pools.

  2. Limited Shapes and Sizes: Fiberglass pools come in pre-manufactured shapes and sizes, limiting the level of customization compared to concrete pools.

  3. Installation Challenges: The size of the fiberglass shell can pose installation challenges, especially if access to the installation site access is limited. In some cases the use of a crane is required and this can impact the installation cost.

  4. Repair : While fiberglass is durable, buying from a quality manufacturer and using an expert installer will ensure you sidestep future repairs. Spider cracks can occur during transport and install. While these do not impact the use of your pool, we strive to install a perfect shell. Spider cracks can be buffed out if they pose an aesthetic challenge.Osmosis blistering was a problem with fiberglass pool when they first came on the market. Imagine pools uses a centurion core that was designed to never blister. As a result they can offer you a 10 year warranty!


Pros and Cons of Concrete Pools


Pros:

  1. Customization: Concrete pools offer the highest level of customization in terms of size, shape, and design. They can be tailored to fit any space or specific requirements.

  2. Sturdy and Durable: Concrete is a strong and durable material, making concrete pools resistant to damage from external factors and providing stability.

  3. Aesthetic Options: The interior finish of concrete pools can be customized with various materials, including tiles, aggregates, or colored plaster, providing a wide range of aesthetic options.

Cons:

  1. High Initial Cost: Concrete pools typically have a higher upfront cost compared to vinyl liner and fiberglass pools. The construction process is more labor-intensive and time-consuming.

  2. Longer Construction Time: The construction of a concrete pool takes a longer time due to the curing process, excavation, and other factors, leading to potential delays.

  3. Porosity: Concrete is a porous material, making the pool surface susceptible to algae growth and staining. Regular maintenance and proper chemical balance are crucial to prevent these issues.

  4. Surface Roughness: The surface of concrete pools can be rougher compared to other pool types, potentially leading to skin abrasions or discomfort.

  5. Maintenance Requirements: Concrete pools require more maintenance in terms of resurfacing over time, and the surface may need to be resealed periodically to maintain its integrity.


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