What pool is right for my family? Vinyl or Fiberglass?
When you begin your research for an in ground swimming pool, you will discover there are three pool types: Gunite, Fiberglass and Vinyl. Frequently we receive calls from clients asking us about the differences so here is some information comparing/contrasting fiberglass and vinyl.
To most people in New England, what is considered “traditional” is an in ground pool with a vinyl liner. The significant advantage of this type of pool is the low initial price. For around $20,000+ you can have a vinyl liner pool installed and in just a few short weeks, be swimming. It is the least expensive in ground pool and can be built in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and depths.
One drawback to fiberglass is the limited sizes and depths. Because a fiberglass pool must travel in one-piece to the site it has to conform to the rules of the road. So the largest fiberglass pool available is 16 x 40 x 8′ deep.
Other factors to consider:
Fiberglass vs Vinyl Pools – Long term maintenance
As mentioned above, the seams are warranted and most likely will not fail, but liner warranties are pro-rated. So every year your pool is in the ground, the value of your liner is less and less. And the warranty doesn’t cover “life’s little accidents” such as a child’s toy or a branch from a storm ripping a liner. The cost to replace a liner in New England is around $7,000. But a bigger concern is, “where is all that water going to go?” If your pool is near your house and the liner fails, where does 20,000 gallons of water go?
However, with a fiberglass pool, your vessel is warranted for life and with Dynasty, your plumbing is also warranted for life. The gel coat finish on a Leisure fiberglass pool also has a built in antimicrobial agent so not only does your pool look good, but it is actually working for you to help keep your pool clean and clear.
Appearance over time: Think about an outdoor tablecloth you bought at the beginning of the summer and how nice and bright it was at your Memorial Day cookout. How does that same tablecloth look by Labor Day? Bleached out and faded, right? The same thing happens to a vinyl liner over time. Between the sun and pool chemicals, what may be beautiful now, will be a bleached out mess in a just a few years.
Fiberglass pools on the other hand are available in wide variety of colored finishes. People trying to knock the fiberglass pool industry will talk about bathtub-white pools.That was 20 years ago. Leisure offers 6 gorgeous colors resulting in a variety of water colors.
Continuity of Design: We have all seen pools that have a nice pattern liner but then have white, non matching steps, seats or benches. It is difficult with a liner pool to create an overall aesthetic when you have a shock of white here and there.
One of the best features to a fiberglass pool is all the built-in seating, steps and benches. This results in not only a continuous “clean” look, but provides so much space to relax and play.
Fiberglass vs Vinyl Pools Value:
If you decide to sell your house, your realtor will suggest that you replace the liner regardless of how old the pool is. Why? In just a few short years, what’s left on the warranty is negligible and liners start showing their age almost immediately. Note too that a potential buyer will almost always stipulate as part of the sale that the liner be replaced. Some potential buyers may not want a liner pool and in some instances a liner pool has actually decreased the home’s value.
Fiberglass on the other hand has gained significantly in popularity over the last decade. With tens of thousand of fiberglass pools in the ground and standing the test of time, they are recognized as a permanent home improvement. And as their reputation for being the least maintenance pool on the market today, a potential buyer of a home with a pool may look more favorably on a home with a fiberglass pool vs a liner pool.
Personal Observation: My cousin lives in a subdivision that was a farm. There are no trees in sight, they don’t have children and don’t entertain. Their pool is small, more a glorified water feature and they chose to have a vinyl liner pool installed, despite the fact their cousin builds gunite and fiberglass pools for living. Why? They were looking for the least expensive place for two people to just get wet at the end of the day.
The point of that story is that both vinyl and fiberglass have their place. We strongly encourage you to do research on the pool types you are considering and make your decision based on what’s right for you in the long run. And while the initial purchase price of a fiberglass pool is more than vinyl, in the long run, it is a much better value.