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Fiberglass Pools VS Vinyl Liner Pools: Which Is Better?

Fiberglass Pools VS Vinyl Liner Pools: Which Is Better?

Fiberglass-VS-Vinyl-1080x675                                                        Fiberglass Pools or Vinyl Liner Pools, which is better?

One of the most important questions that I do get just about every day in my professional life! As a matter of fact, I would be a little bit worried if a prospective customer didn’t inquire on both styles of pools. Just so you understand, fiberglass pools and vinyl liner pools are just two styles of in-ground pools. Gunite pools would be the third style of in-ground pool that I will not touch on in this post. Vinyl Liner Pools

What is a vinyl liner pool? To start, the vinyl liner it self is actually the surface of the entire pool. Made of colorized chlorinated PVC thermoplastic vinyl. The liner is set in the pool and hung in the “bead track” which is located at the top of the pools wall. Once the liner is in proper position, it is vacuumed against the walls and floor, then the pool if filled with water.



Vinyl Liner Advantages

2012-08-11-16.04.55Pool-Liner-Hanging                                                  2012-11-09-14.45.49

The biggest advantage that vinyl liner pools have versus fiberglass pools is the initial purchase price of the pool package. On average a vinyl liner pool can be about 25% – 35% less on the initial purchase price. It is important to understand the upfront savings come from the fact that the raw material is significantly less expensive to manufacture also shipping is nothing in comparison to a fiberglass pool.

One of the more exciting things that you can do with a liner pool makes it custom! We have a lot of fun designing custom interiors with a liner pool. By adding custom stairs, tanning ledges, corner benches, and even a custom floor if you would prefer we can almost create anything you can imagine!

Vinyl Liner Disadvantages

Liner replacements: It is a guarantee that a vinyl liner will need to be replaced. The life expectancy of a vinyl liner is only about 4 – 10 years. I have personally seen customers change multiple liners in 10 years it all is truly a big gamble. On average a liner is going to cost about $4,500.00 on up, depending on how large the pool is.

Warranties: Although a liner warranty is 20 – 25 years long, the truth lies in the fact that they are “pro-rated.” You might ask, “what does “pro-rated” mean?” Well, It is a fancy way of saying the warranty is portioned or chopped. Example: Manufacturer A has a 25-year warranty on their liner which is the best in the industry! While reading the fine print you find out that you will only receive 100% protection for the first 3 years. After 3 years the liner is “pro-rated” and begins to lose its value, this also usually means not covering labor or water loss as well. After the first three years, you will only be covered for 75% of the total cost, and then after 5 years, you will only be covered for 50% of the total cost, etc.

Wrinkles and fading: Unfortunately due to the fact that a liner is a completely separate product from the pool walls and floor underneath it, it will also eventually wrinkle. Wrinkling is something typically caused by too much chlorine in the water forcing the liner to shrink and expand while also fading. Wrinkles can also be created by water passing through the pool walls and vermiculite floor pushing up on the liner thus creating a wrinkle.


Coping: Most vinyl liner pools are installed with white aluminum coping channels. To be honest this look is not for everyone, in our opinion it tends to look tacky and cheap. Also over the years of sun and rain abuse, the white painted finish on the aluminum coping begins to fade and look dirty. It is something that is going to need to be repainted, at least when the liner gets changed in order to keep it looking new. We do recommend that you go with a nice concrete cantilever edge on your liner pool, but this sometimes can come with a price tag as well.

Fiberglass Pools Advantages


Maintenance savings: A fiberglass pool is the only pool in the industry where you don’t have to constantly stress about pool chemistry and long-term issues! Now I am not saying that you can slack on the water chemistry at all. But that fact is that gel coats are the best pool finish and can handle a good load of chemical abuse (by mistake that is) or lack thereof causing algae growth. All finishes are smooth and nonporous which means algae can not attach itself to the pool finish! The truth is once a fiberglass pool is installed and the water is balanced, it takes very little maintenance in comparison to a vinyl liner pool to maintain. Fewer problems equal fewer headaches which ultimately means more swim time!

Cost: An installer friend of mine once told me “a fiberglass pool is truly the only pool you can make a final payment on!” That is because there are no liner changes involved or even re-plastering if we talk about gunite. It is a fact that a fiberglass pool is the cheapest pool in the industry to own long-term.

Looks: Fiberglass pools are the most impressive-looking pools in the industry. They age beautifully in comparison to vinyl liner pools. Also, the fiberglass side of the industry is taking advantage of technological advancements, unlike the vinyl poolside. There have been tremendous advances with colored gel coat finishes adding depth and sparkle giving you the highest quality most luxurious-looking finish in the industry. All pools are finished with a concrete cantilever coping which is can have a smooth finish or a textured rock finish giving the pool more personality!

Fiberglass Pool Disadvantages

Initial Cost: There is no getting around it, fiberglass pools are a little bit more costly upfront. This is typically due to the fact that the raw materials are more expensive than vinyl and steel. Also, these pools are shipped to their final destination on a truck and trailer typically as a wide load causing prices to go up for delivery and road permits.

Shape and Design: What you see is what you get. Fiberglass pools cannot be made custom whatsoever. They can only be rotated.