Fiberglass pool advantages
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.
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.
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.
Fiberglass pool disadvantages
Inability to alter the shape or size of the prefabricated pool shell.
Initial higher cost of construction.
Gunite/Concrete pool advantages
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.