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Fiberglass Vs. Concrete Vs. Vinyl Liner : Which Pool Should You Get?

You probably know that there are three types of inground swimming pools: fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl liner. And if you don’t—well, you do now!

One of the most common questions we get here at Royal Pools and More is this: “What type of inground swimming pool is the best?” Our answer? Well, that depends on what you are looking for. And although we only offer the installation of fiberglass and vinyl liner pools, we want you to be educated about all pool types, including concrete pools.

You see, each type of pool has its advantages and disadvantages. In a sense, it’s just like buying a car. There are different options you may be looking for that one car has but another car does not.

Fiberglass pools have advantages that concrete and vinyl liner do not. Concrete pools have advantages that fiberglass and vinyl liner pools do not, and so on and so on.

With the information we have outlined below, we hope to begin guiding you toward the choice that best caters to your wants and needs.

Fiberglass Pool Advantages


 Easy to Maintain 

One of the features that have made fiberglass swimming pools so popular in recent years is how little you must do to maintain them. This is all thanks to the surface of a fiberglass pool, known as the gel coat 

Compared to concrete pools, the gel coat is non-porous, meaning that it is smooth and has no pores where algae can grow. Therefore, the surface does not need to be cleaned as frequently per week as compared to a concrete pool to ensure that the growth of algae is prevented.  

Another advantage of fiberglass pools is that owners do not have to worry about balancing the pH level of the water as much as owners of concrete pools must do on a regular basis. Due to the alkaline base of concrete, it constantly increases the pH of water, requiring owners to add chemicals daily to make the water safe to swim in. The surface of fiberglass pools, on the other hand, does not affect the pH of the water directly since it is neutral. Therefore, it does not warrant the need for cleaning services whereas concrete pools do.  

Considering these advantages, fiberglass pool owners spend more time enjoying their pool than ensuring it is well-maintained. 


To those concerned about the period of time their yards will be under construction when installing a swimming pool: have no fear when it comes to fiberglass pools.  

Fiberglass pools are typically completed over the course of 3-4 weeks. While the shell is installed over 2 days, decking, landscaping, and other construction make up the additional installation time.  

When considering the additional weeks it takes to install a vinyl liner pool and the additional months it takes to install a concrete pool, fiberglass pools come out on top in the race to completion.  


Another great feature of a fiberglass pool is its strength and durability which allows it to last a lifetime.  

Unlike vinyl liner pools, a fiberglass pool does not have a liner that must be replaced every 4-9 years so the cost of $4,000-5,000 per liner is eliminated. 

With the smooth gel coat surface instead of a liner, it is much more difficult to puncture the surface of a fiberglass pool through daily use. Therefore, there is no need to worry as much about animals or other foreign objects damaging the pool. 

Low Lifetime Cost 

Several costs that need to be factored in during the lifetime of vinyl liner and concrete pools are eliminated with fiberglass pools. For example, replacement liners, cleaning services, and heavy chemical usage is not a factor when you own a fiberglass pool.  


For a breakdown of the costs in a 10-year period, please see the image below.   

Fiberglass Pool Disadvantages 

Initial Cost 

Although the initial cost of a fiberglass pool is higher than that of a vinyl liner ($60,000-$90,000), the costs to maintain the pool in the future are much less. 

By eliminating the need for replacement liners, or retiling and cleaning services in concrete pools, the lifetime cost in the years after you have a fiberglass pool installed is far less than that of vinyl liner and concrete pools.  

However, the initial cost is higher for such a strong and durable product.  


While we do offer a variety of fiberglass pool designs in different shapes and sizes, it is not possible to customize the design if you cannot find one that fits your wants and needs. And if you cannot find a perfect fiberglass pool for you, maybe a vinyl liner or concrete pool is a better option.  

However, 90% of people do find a fiberglass pool that does meet all of the criteria they are looking for.  

Concrete Pool Advantages 


The greatest advantage of concrete pools is the ability to customize them in any way that you wish. If you want steps in a specific place or something different than just a rectangular shape, a concrete pool or a vinyl liner may be a better fit for you.  



Much like fiberglass pools, concrete pools are extremely durable. Since concrete creates such a strong surface, there is no need to worry about animals or other foreign objects damaging the pool.  

However, natural wear and tear and eventual cracking will occur over the years, so repair will be needed down the road.  

Concrete Pool Disadvantages 


As previously mentioned, fiberglass pools are non-porous whereas concrete pools are porous. What does this mean? Well, ultimately it means that the pores on the surface of the pool are a perfect home for algae 

Therefore, the entire surface must be cleaned with a steel pool brush a minimum of once per week to keep algae at bay. If you want to ensure that you are doing the best you can to prevent its growth, you may want to do this more than once per week.  

So, the big disadvantage of this is that you will spend much more time cleaning the pool to make sure it is safe to swim in every week.  

Chemical Usage 

As a result of algae being able to grow on the surface, water chemistry is another important aspect that you will need to take care of if you choose to purchase a concrete pool. 

Since concrete is alkaline based, the pH level of the water is constantly increased. If the pH level is high, calcium deposits can build up on the walls of the pool. If the pH level is low, the water can become acidic, therefore making the pool unsafe to use. So, it is your responsibility to add chemicals regularly to keep the pH level balanced. 

Therefore, you add more time and money to maintaining the pool.  

Highest Cost of Ownership 

While customization is a great feature of concrete pools, it adds to the overall cost. 

Combining this with the cost needed to maintain the pool in the years you own it, concrete pools cost the most upfront and are the most expensive to maintain in the future.  

Rough Surface 

Have you ever gone over to a friend or relative’s house to enjoy their pool and come out of it wondering why your feet are so tender? 

Well, it is likely because they had a concrete swimming pool.  

  • Pebble Techsmall tumbled stones that get troweled over the surface  
  • Tiletypically in 1-2 inch format, which is smooth on the surface but due to imperfections on laying tile, the jagged edges and cause injury 
  • Epoxyrolled on like paint, like a coated garage floor; goes over concrete, which is rough itself 

The rough surface of a concrete pool takes a toll on feet and therefore adds to the disadvantages.  

If you have children, they may have to wear water shoes for protection from the rough surface so just keep this in mind when considering a concrete pool. 


While customization is a great feature, it does take some time to shape a concrete pool to your specificationsand more time than you may find with fiberglass and vinyl liner pools.  

It is entirely possible for concrete pools to take between three and six months to complete with the amount of construction needed.  

Therefore, a large toll is taken on your yard as the installation process is very extensive.  

Vinyl Liner Pool Advantages 

Low Initial Cost 

If you are looking for a pool that has a more affordable initial cost, a vinyl liner may be the right choice for you. 

With an initial cost between $60,000 and $85,000, vinyl liner pools are the least expensive of the three types of pools when it comes to initial cost.  


Like concrete pools, vinyl liner pools can be about 95% customized. So, if you want a certain shape with different features such as specific steps or depths, a vinyl liner can meet such criteria. 

Customization does cost more, but it does keep the cost slightly less than fiberglass but still significantly less than a concrete pool. 

Vinyl Liner Pool Disadvantages 


Liner Replacements 

As we’ve briefly discussed earlier, a big disadvantage of a vinyl liner pool is actually the liner itself.  

Through normal wear and tear, there will come a point where you will have to replace the liner. This usually occurs between 4-9 years of owning a vinyl liner pool.  

Therefore, you will have to factor in somewhere between $6,000-$6,500 each time you have to replace the liner which means the costs to maintain the pool could offset the costs in the years to follow.  

Liner Warranty 

Liner warranties usually run for about 20-25 years on manufacturer defects. However, they aren’t as straightforward as you may be led to believe. 

Warranties may include specific details such as: 

  • Only sections where the material is fused (seam and bead) together are covered 
  • Labor, water, and other expenses are not covered 

What you may not know are the hidden details, or what we all have come to call the “fine print.” And it goes a little something like this: 

  • You are given full coverage for the first 2-5 years on manufacturer defect 
  • At the end of this period, the warranty becomes prorated 
  • As you own the liner for a longer period of time, the warranty covers less and less of the cost to fix any defects  

Algae Growth 

While the surface of vinyl liner pools is not rough like that of a concrete pool, it is not completely non-porous.  

This means that the areas where steps are attached, lights are located, and seams may have small openings that harbor the growth of algae. Therefore, you may not be able to see these areas with the naked eye, making it difficult to clean and prevent algae from growing.  

Final Thoughts 

We understand that we just threw a ton of information at you, so here’s a short rundown of what we have found regarding each type of pool: 

Fiberglass pools: 

  • Are easy to maintain 
  • Have the quickest installation time 
  • Are extremely durable 
  • Have a high initial cost, but the lowest lifetime cost 
  • Are not customizable beyond the designs available 

Concrete pools: 

  • Are 100% customizable to your wants and needs 
  • Are almost as durable as fiberglass pools 
  • Are high maintenance  
  • Have the highest cost of ownership 
  • Have the slowest installation time 

Vinyl Liner pools 

  • Have the lowest initial cost 
  • Are customizable to your wants and needs, but cost increases 
  • Must have the liner replaced every 4-9 years 
  • Require some maintenance 

With this information in mind, we hope that we have helped you begin to think about which pool is best for you and your family. For more on pricing please visit the guide on inground swimming pool pricing!