Installing a pool is something you're likely to do only once in your life. Accordingly, this decision requires careful thought. With three major types of in-ground pools available, a little research may be necessary to help you choose the material that works best for your lifestyle.
Concrete Pool Pros
Durability - Concrete pools can generally withstand contact with sharp objects, unlike vinyl liners. However, while the concrete structure of the pool is very solid, the interior finish, which is a plaster-type coating, is not as tough.
Custom Styles - With concrete pools, you determine the size and shape. Whether you want a small oval or a giant triangle, with concrete as the base, the choice is yours.
Appearance - Concrete offers the look of a traditional pool. Unlike a liner that may split and become unsightly, concrete maintains its appearance when proper cleaning is maintained to remove algae and stains.
Concrete Pool Cons
Wait Time - The time to complete a concrete pool can range from three to six months, due to the time it takes concrete to set.
Rough Lining - A coarse finish creates the possibility of scratches and scrapes when brushing up against the sides.
Significant Cost - The initial cost can be $50,000, or more, depending on the size, and any extras you have added. Expect to pay up to $1,000 a year for maintenance, including acid washes, seasonal cleaning, repairs, and chemical and electrical use.
Vinyl Liner Pool Pros
Cost - Vinyl liner pools are less expensive than concrete or fiberglass.
Interior Surface - The interior surface is smooth, unlike concrete, eliminating the potential for scratches.
Custom Options - The sky's the limit when it comes to the width, depth, and length of your vinyl-lined pool.
Low Maintenance - Due to its non-porous lining, algae growth is limited.
Vinyl Liner Pool Cons
Lifespan - A well-maintained vinyl liner can last from five to nine years before it needs to be replaced.
Pool Liner Safety - Because the liner is not as durable as concrete, it can be damaged by sharp items.
Warranty Limitations - The warranty may by pro-rated for only 20 years. Read the warranty carefully, and ask your dealer if you have any questions.
Decreased Resale Value - If you sell the home and the vinyl liner is past its prime, you may be asked to replace it by a potential buyer. If you choose not to replace it, this could depreciate the home's value.
Fiberglass Pool Pros
Factory Manufactured - Fiberglass pools are built in a controlled setting, improving consistency of quality.
Fast Installation - Because they're built in factories, they require much less wait time than concrete options. On average, the installation of a fiberglass pool takes three to six weeks.
Built-in Features - Fiberglass pools are often designed with seats and steps as part of the shell.
Minimal Maintenance - Fiberglass shells generally require little to no upkeep, with no resurfacing or replacement. The surface discourages algae growth, and thus requires less chemical protection.
Fiberglass Pool Cons
Cost - Fiberglass pools are more expensive than concrete or vinyl models.
Limited Designs - Compared to concrete and vinyl options, fiberglass pools offer fewer choices in shape and design.
Size Limitations - Due to shipping restrictions, fiberglass pool shells typically cannot exceed a width of 16-feet.
Good luck with your decision! The right pool will bring you joy for many years.