Fiberglass Vs. Vinyl Pool

Posted in Building Swimming Pools, Pool Design on December 5 , 2015


If you’ve been considering installing an in ground swimming pool in your backyard, you know that decision is really just the tip of the iceberg. Today we  offer a number of choices when it comes to size, shape, and materials used. One of the tougher decisions may be whether to go with a fiberglass or a vinyl pool.

You can start by asking yourself how you’re going to use your pool, how much time you have to spend on preventative maintenance, and how much money you want to invest.


Fiberglass pools have been around se since the 1950s. If you have the money to spend upfront, they make a good option. Fiberglass pool shells are built in a factory from an existing mold. Once ordered, they are cast and delivered to your home. Because they can be built off-site and shipped, installation time is fairly quick. After they arrive at your home, the hole is dug, the shell is leveled, and you are pretty much ready to go.

Most fiberglass pools come with seats and steps molded into the shell. Also, the gel coat on the surface is largely non-porous, which means it resists the growth of algae, reducing the amount of time required to clean your pool. However, that same gel coat finish can sometimes require weekly cleaning and chemical treatment to protect it. Since fiberglass pool shell are built at the factory and shipped to your home over the road, you are also limited to a pool no wider than 16 feet.


If you’re starting with a lower initial investment, a vinyl pool liner may be the way to go. Vinyl liners are just that, a liner that is placed over a steel or polymer frame. That makes them easy to install and more customizable. Just like fiberglass, vinyl is a non-porous surface, which inhibits algae growth and is smooth to the touch.

A vinyl pool may cost you more over its lifetime however. It’s not a question of if you will need to eventually replace the vinyl liner in your pool; you most certainly will.  They generally last between 7 to 15 years before needing to be replaced. They do typically come with a warranty, but those warranties pro-rate over time. That means that even if your liner needs replacing after just four years, you’re only going to get back part of the initial cost. There’s also more maintenance involved, since vinyl liners are more sensitive to their environment.

Because of that shortened life-expectancy, you may not see a return on your investment if you decide to sell your home when vinyl or metal frame pools are close to needing replacement. You also have to exercise some caution when using your vinyl pools. While vinyl liners are 20 to 30 millimeters thick, vinyl is not as durable as fiberglass. If you don’t treat your liner with care and respect, you could be looking at a big repair for avoidable tears.

When choosing the right material for your in-ground pool, consider not only the price, but also how you choose to use your pool and how your design lends itself to the different materials. By making an informed decision, you can rest assured that your family will enjoy your new pool for years to come.

Please come in and see us if you have any other questions on a Vinyl or Fiberglass pool.

Cavanaugh Pool, Spa & Patio, Inc.