Which Swimming Pool Material is Right for You?

Swimming Pool

Swimming pools add significantly to your family’s enjoyment of your home. Whether you’ve decided to install a new pool or it’s time to re-work an existing one, it’s hard to know what pool material will be the best choice for your specific location and use. There are 3 materials most commonly used for in-ground pools: fiberglass, vinyl-lined steel, and concrete. Here are some important factors to know about each material before you make a decision:

Fiberglass

When you order a fiberglass pool, you’re getting a solid piece, which is pre-formed at a factory. The hole for the pool is excavated to approximately the right dimensions, then the shell is set in place, and the hole is filled to match the shell’s shape and to give it proper support.

Advantages:

  • Fiberglass pool shells are gel-coated for protection and UV-resistance. This coating also prevents algae from growing in your pool, and reduces the number of times you’ll need to have the pool shock-treated with harsh chemicals, and it means less elbow grease to keep the sides looking great.
  • Fiberglass shells are smooth to the touch, so you and your family will never have roughed-up feet after a hard day’s play, and no scraped elbows from that game of Marco Polo that got out of hand.
  • Compared to other materials, fiberglass pools are relatively low maintenance.
  • Fiberglass pool shells are installed much more quickly than concrete or vinyl.

Disadvantages:

  • Because the shell will be transported on a truck, fiberglass pools shells are limited to a width of 16 feet, to comply with road shipping restrictions.
  • Fiberglass pools shells are built using molds, so your choices of shape and size are limited to what the manufacturers are offering. No custom shapes and sizes.
  • The color in a fiberglass pool shell is integral, so if your shell ever needs repair, the color may not match precisely.
  • Fiberglass pools have a significantly higher initial cost than vinyl, and similar initial cost to concrete.

Concrete

Concrete pools have been the primary choice of homeowners for decades. In many ways, they are still the gold standard, though they, too, have their drawbacks.

Advantages:

  • Concrete pools are completely customizable. Just about any shape, size, or configuration you can dream up can be built in concrete.
  • With the variety of shapes, textures, and colors available, your pool can be an original work of art, specially designed to complement your home and landscape.
  • Concrete is extremely resistant to damage from dogs, kids, and environmental damage like fallen trees.

Disadvantages:

  • Concrete pools have a rougher surface than either fiberglass or vinyl, and that surface is porous, so there is more maintenance, and more chemical use required.
  • Because the concrete is six to eight inches thick, the time to pour, cure, and finish the pool is significantly longer than the installation time for either fiberglass or vinyl.
  • Higher costs, both initially, and over the pool’s lifetime. Concrete pools need to be resurfaced and re-tiled every 10-20 years.

Learn the Facts, Ask Questions

Once you’ve learned the basics about materials, take advantage of the experience and practical knowledge of the experts at Crystal Pools & Spas to help make a final decision on which of these swimming pools is for you.