So you’ve made up your mind: We’re getting a pool! But if you’ve spent any serious time contemplating such a big step, you know that there’s a lot to think about in regard to pool construction. In-ground or above-ground? Vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete? Getting the truth about each of these materials from people in the industry can sometimes be tricky. Now, here’s a comprehensive, unbiased comparison between the three main types of pool construction:
VINYL: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Low Initial Cost: Vinyl is the cheapest of the three construction types.
Non-abrasive Material: Vinyl, being a smooth surface, will not injure anyone should they contact it while swimming.
Limitless Size and Shape: You can design your vinyl pool to be as long, wide, and as deep as you wish.
Relatively Non-porous: A vinyl pool is relatively non-porous. Therefore, it will not foster the growth of algae.
Higher Lifetime Cost: A vinyl liner will generally last between 8 and 15 years and can have a replacement cost ranging from $2,500 to $4,000, plus the cost of water.
Vulnerable Pool Liner: Vinyl liners are vulnerable to scratches and punctures from all sorts of things. Kids and dogs are especially hard on liners. One little “Oops” could cost you a lot of money.
Pro-rated Liner Warrantee: Many liner manufacturers utilize a 20-year pro-rated liner. Make sure you read your warrantee thoroughly.
Lower Resale Value: If a vinyl pool liner is more than a few years old, then the liner can actually lower the value of the pool and the property. Many buyers will insist that the liner be replaced before they purchase the home.
FIBERGLASS: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Zero Lifetime Cost: Seldom will you ever need to repair or replace the shell of your fiberglass pool. There’s no vinyl liner to replace or resurface.
Low Maintenance: The surface of your fiberglass pool will be non-porous, inhibiting the growth of algae and saving you on the cost of chemicals.
Non-abrasive Material: The gel-coat surface of your fiberglass pool will be smooth to the touch.
Built-in Stairs and Seats: Most pools of fiberglass construction have steps and seating molded directly into the shell of the pool.
Fast Installation: Fiberglass pools are constructed off-site. Because of this, installation occurs rapidly, usually within one month.
Higher Initial Cost: Fiberglass pools often cost $5,000 more than a vinyl-lined pool.
Limited Shape: Fiberglass pools are constructed in a mold, forcing the pool owner to select from a limited catalog of design options.
Limited Width: Because of shipping restrictions, fiberglass pools can be no wider than 16 feet.
Repair Issues: In the unlikely event that your fiberglass pool needs a repair, you may find that your manufacturer will not be able to match the color up properly during finishing. Ask your dealer about this before you buy.
CONCRETE: THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Size: Your concrete pool can be as big or as little as you desire.
Design: A beach entrance? No problem! Vanishing edges? Sure thing! In a nutshell, if you can draw it, you can do it! A well-designed concrete pool can add beauty and creativity to the landscape of your property.
Long Installation Time: Concrete pools usually require two to four months for installation.
High Lifetime Cost: Concrete pools need to be resurfaced and/or re-tiled every 10 to 20 years. This process can cost the pool owner anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000.
High Chemical Usage: Concrete is a porous substance that will encourage the growth of algae. You will need to spend more on chemicals to combat this process with a concrete pool than you would with a fiberglass or vinyl pool. Additionally, the alkaline pH of the pool shell will raise the pH of the water, requiring you to add acid to counteract the effect.
High Maintenance: You will find that you’re spending more time on brushing the algae off your pool surfaces with a concrete pool than you would with the other types of construction.