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Which Pool is Right for Me?

Inground Vinyl Pool Kits vs. Fiberglass Pools If you are considering building an inground pool yourself, or acting as the general contractor for

the project – your first question is:

Should I build a Vinyl Pool or Fiberglass Pool?

The answer to this question will affect your cost, maintenance and long term enjoyment of your

pool – so choose wisely! For most DIY pool projects, there is vinyl and there is fiberglass so, let’s

contrast and compare between Fiberglass pools and Vinyl lined pools, or Vinyl Pool Kits vs.

Fiberglass Pools


Fiberglass Pros and Cons


A fiberglass pool is manufactured off site as a giant fiberglass shell.

The shell is delivered to your home in one piece and dropped into a prepared hole.


A fiberglass pool comes prefabricated.

This means that installation is quick and easy.

The collection can be installed, leveled, and backfilled in just a couple of days, although it will

be a few weeks before you can take your first swim.

The prefabrication includes steps, seats, and ledges.

It may even include rails and ladders.

Think of a fiberglass pool as a mobile home.

It shows up from the manufacturer ready to go.

Fiberglass pools also have low maintenance costs.

Most fiberglass pools have a gel lining.

The lining is non-porous, so there’s not much of a place for algae to take hold.

That makes cleaning a fiberglass pool less labor-intensive than other types of pools.

The non-porous shell also doesn’t absorb chemicals or react with the pool water, minimizing the cost of added pool chemicals.

A fiberglass pool is more expensive to install than a vinyl liner pool but, over time, you can recoup some of the installation costs with the lower maintenance costs.

A fiberglass pool with a gel coating takes a long time to fade and rarely needs resurfacing or repairs.


The biggest drawback of a fiberglass pool is the limitations created by delivering the collection in one piece.

Fiberglass shells must be transported by a truck, so the maximum size is 16 feet wide and about 40 feet long.

Also, the design options are limited.

This is a prefab pool, not a custom pool, so you get exactly what the manufacturers are selling.

That being said, there are many manufacturers and styles to choose from, so beyond the size limitation, you have many options.

Fiberglass pools are made with a gel coating. The gel coating is sturdy, but if it cracks or needs repairs, it can be challenging to match the

color of the rest of the pool.

Regarding initial cost, a fiberglass pool is cheaper than concrete but still more expensive than a comparably-sized vinyl liner pool.


Vinyl Liner Pros and Cons


A vinyl liner pool is built by digging a giant hole, installing steel or polymer walls, then dropping in a paper-thin vinyl lining.

The lining is the inner wall of your pool and holds all the water.


Vinyl Liner Pros

A vinyl liner pool is the cheapest type of pool to install.

There are other lifetime costs, but the startup costs are the lowest of any collection.

Similar to the gel coat on a fiberglass pool, a non-porous vinyl liner doesn’t absorb chemicals.

That makes it less expensive to maintain than a concrete pool.

It also means less room for algae to grab hold, so you will spend less time brushing your walls than with a concrete pool.

Vinyl liners offer much more customization than fiberglass pools.

The liner is shipped folded up, so there are a few size limitations.

The shape and size of your vinyl lining pool are really up to you.

Vinyl liners have a soft, slick surface.

You can decide if that is a pro or a con.

It’s gentle on your toes but can be hard to grip.


Vinyl Liner Cons

A vinyl liner is fragile.

The liner is only 20 to 30 thousandths of an inch thick, literally paper-thin.

Vinyl is much stronger than paper, but you must still be careful.

Trim tree branches, pointy pool toys, or a pet’s claws can all puncture the lining.

If you have kids or pets, a vinyl lining is risky.

Vinyl liners may have a low initial cost, but lifetime costs can be higher than a fiberglass pool.

The lining will need to be replaced every 5-7 years.

Between the cost of the new liner and the water to refill your collection, you’re looking at a $4,000-$5,000 expense.

Also, a vinyl pool does not include steps, ladders, or other external parts.

Purchasing those add-ons will add to the initial cost.

Because vinyl liners are so fragile, they tend to have minimal warranties.

Even the best vinyl liner warranties are prorated since the liner has to be replaced every 5-7 years. A vinyl liner pool can also be a liability when you sell your home.

Vinyl liners have the lowest resale value of any collection.

In addition, the first question any potential buyer will ask is how old the liner is.

If it’s over a few years old, you may have to install a new liner before selling or reduce the total home value to pay the buyer to do it themselves.

Vinyl liners are non-porous, which helps with cleaning, but they also have seams and

sometimes even wrinkles.

Those seams and wrinkles can harbor hard-to-reach algae.


So Which One is Right for You?

Here are some questions to consider when narrowing down your choice:

1.What's your overall budget? When considering your total budget, consider the possible upgrades you're also interested in, such as pool heaters, water features, etc.

2.Would you rather pay more upfront with less cost over the pool's lifetime? Or pay less upfront knowing you'll have some heftier maintenance costs down the road?

3.Do you have pets that will use the pool?

4.How necessary is customization?

5.What’s your goal for the pool? Relaxation? Lounging? Sporty fun?

6.How long do you plan to stay at your current home where you’ll be installing the pool?


Call Max Pools and Spas and speak to one of our pool experts. We will help you build your dream pool.






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