Comparing Fiberglass Pools, Concrete Pools and Vinyl Liner Pools

There are three types of inground swimming poolsfiberglass pools, concrete pools, and vinyl liner pools. The most durable inground pools are fiberglass pools and concrete pools (also known as gunite pools).  This article is designed to provide you a quick comparison of the most commonly built pool types, including the pros and cons of each.  We also have included a pool comparison chart for a quick reference of each type of pool advantages.

The Basics of a Fiberglass Pool

Fiberglass is a type of sturdy, resin mix that is reinforced with composite glass fibers. It is an ideal material for swimming pools because it is smooth, non-porous, strong and flexible. Fiberglass Pools are precision-made by applying resin, fiberglass and other composite strengtheners in layers to a prefabricated mold. As an example, Viking Pools, one of the leading manufacturers of fiberglass swimming pools, creates its pools using a 10-stage process that layers fiberglass multiple times with Vinyl Ester Resin (for durability and strength), a sturdy core of ceramic, carbon fibers or more fiberglass (for added strength), and embedded vertical support beams (for structure, strength and ease in lifting). The finished pools are shipped in one piece to the installation site.


  • Low Maintenance
  • Time to Install
  • Durability
  • Lifetime Cost Low
  • Countless Design Options
  • Salt and Cleaning Systems


The Basics of a Concrete Pool

Concrete Pools, often referred to as gunite pool, as a pool building material has been a popular choice until recent years. Gunite is a mixture of sand and concrete that is sprayed onto surfaces at high velocity.  Unfortunately, with the design flexibility concrete provides comes with a heavy price.


  • Durability
  • Can Customize Shape and Size


The Basics of a Vinyl Liner Pool

A vinyl liner pool has a sheet of vinyl between the water and the pool framework (concrete or steel structure). Vinyl liners usually lock their top edge into a track located on the bottom of the coping, which is at deck level. Underneath the liner is a sand or cement-like floor, specified to the dimension of the liner that is to be used.  Vinyl Liners are inexpensive to build but come with a lifetime of maintenance concerns.


  • Low Initial Cost
  • Can Customize Shape


Pool Comparison Chart

Features Fiberglass Pools Concrete Pools Vinyl Liner Pools
Structural Guarantee Lifetime 100% 1 Year No Labor, Seams Only
Maintenance Hours Per Week 1 Hour 8 Hours 3 Hours
Surface Smooth Rough Slippery
Time to Install Shell 1-3 Days 6-8 Weeks 2-3 Weeks
Lifetime Cost of Ownership Very Low Very High High
Painting Never Yearly Never
Quality Control By Factory By Installer By Installer
Type of Coping Closed Beam Concrete Aluminum
Steps Built In, Textured Built In Optional
Relocation Possibilities Anytime Never Anytime
Drainage of Pool Never Yearly 7-10 Years
Objectionable Features None Expensive to build and maintain Liners stretch, easy to damage


Learn more about the common pool types with the e-Book: Fiberglass vs Concrete here!

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