Comparing Gunite vs Liner vs Fiberglass pools
By: EP

Different pool types – fiberglass vs. concrete vs. liner pools

Fiberglass pool advantages

 

Fiberglass SPA Rectangular rendering

Maintenance

The main advantage of inground fiberglass pools is how easy they are to maintain. This is due to the non-porous Gelcoat, which contrasts with a gunite swimming pool’s rough surface (very porous texture). 

 

Unfortunately, the rough cavities in concrete pools allow algae growth, making weekly brushing of the entire pool an absolute necessity. For the same reason, gunite pool owners use more chemicals for regular maintenance and cleaning.

 

The fact is that concrete is alkaline-based, requiring daily doses of muriatic acid to lower the water’s pH level. On the other hand, the fiberglass Gelcoat surface doesn’t affect the water pH level at all. 

 

In conclusion, fiberglass pool owners spend less time and money on pool maintenance.

Pool installation

Fiberglass pool shells are manufactured in a factory-controlled environment and brought to the project in one piece, all ready for install. 

It takes several days to install a fiberglass pool shell, three to six months for a concrete/gunite pool, or three to six weeks for a vinyl liner pool. 

 

In conclusion, the fiberglass pool installation process is the fastest and less hostile to the property and the homeowners.

Durability

Fiberglass pools can flex for up to three feet, sustaining the ground movement without significant damage. In addition, Gelcoat surface, unlike vinyl liners, doesn’t get ripped, or concrete plastered surface doesn’t get pilled and cracked. 

 

In conclusion, Gelcoat surface doesn’t require re-plastering or change of liners making fiberglass pool the best option in long-term use.

Design and size options

Currently available fiberglass pool sizes cover 90% of the new pool buyers’ wish list. They range from 45′ to 10′ in length and up to 8′-6″ in depth. In addition, a significant variety of available designs make the selection process very easy, quick, and painless. Also, the modularity of the fiberglass pools allows the pool buyer to add spas, splash decks, and tanning ledges in a very customized fashion.

Warranty

Fiberglass pools offer the most extensive warranty on the market. In addition, the most prominent pools manufacturers offer transferable warranties in case the pool owners decide to sell their homes. 

Fiberglass pool disadvantages

Inability to alter the shape or size of the prefabricated pool shell

Initial higher cost of construction.

Gunite/Concrete pool advantages

Gunite Pool

Customization

The most significant advantage of gunite/concrete pools is that they can be made in any shape, size, and depth. But, unfortunately, it comes with a very high price tag.

Durability

Concrete pools are, like fiberglass models, very durable, yet they cannot flex as fiberglass pools in reaction to the ground movement.

 

While the gunite/concrete pools still need to be re-plastered after a while, their pool surfaces can withstand impact from sharp objects much better than vinyl liner models.

Disadvantages of Gunite/Concrete pools

Maintenance

Because gunite/concrete plastered surface is very porous, algae have a playground to explore by embedding in the pool surface. Unfortunately, algae are tough to remove once it sets in. 

Water chemistry

Gunite/concrete is an alkaline-based product, requiring muriatic acid regularly to lower the water’s pH level and keep the water in balance. Combined with the chemicals needed to reach algae embedded in the porous concrete plastered surface, this adds a lot of time and money to the pool maintenance process.

Salt systems

As we all know, salt and concrete simply don’t work well together. By dissolving salt in the pool water, it shortens the lifespan of the concrete plastered surface. This will lead to sooner surface re-plastering, which also comes with a very high cost.

Surface

The most known and widely reported issue with the concrete plastered surface is a harsh interior texture that isn’t gentle to the touch. To avoid blistered feet and scrapes, kids have to wear water shoes if they plan to stay in a concrete pool for an extended period.

Installation

Gunite/Concrete pools may take three to six months or even longer be built. This process creates a harsh environment and puts a lot of pressure on the members of the household. 

Ownership cost

Gunite/Concrete pools are very expensive to maintain. Expect to pay tens of thousands over the years for refinishing/re-plastering, chemical costs, professional acid washing, and other maintenance expenses.

Vinyl liner pool advantages

Liner Pool

Initial cost

Vinyl liner pools are the most affordable and widely considered to be entry-level swimming pools. Even though the cost of vinyl liner pools is rapidly growing, they tend to cost less than fiberglass or concrete pools. 

Customization

Vinyl liner pools are highly customizable compared to fiberglass pools yet have limitations in comparison to concrete pools. But any customization outside of the norms always comes with a higher price, and sometimes those customizations will erase the cost difference between vinyl liner and fiberglass pools.

Vinyl liner pool disadvantages

Liners

Unfortunately, in today’s reality, the quality of the imported vinyl liners is not of high standards. Therefore, before buying a vinyl liner pool, the buyer must consider pets, very active kids, or any inside pool activity that can rip or damage the liner membrane. In some instances, rodents can damage the liner as well. Up until recently, the average cost of replacement was around $4,000 for an average size pool. Due to the rapid cost rise of the materials and labor, we can reasonably assume that the general cost of liner replacement is also rising.

Modular Pools

Fiberglass pools with spa and splash deck

Explore pool features in our inground fiberglass pool collection.

Sunset 30 Fiberglass Pools 3D Rendering

Sunrise 30

14' x 30' x 6'

View this pool model
Aurora 20 Fiberglass Pools 3D Rendering

Sunrise 25

12' x 26' x 4' 7"

View this pool model