By: EP

The differences between the three inground pool types

If you have decided to start shopping for a swimming pool, you probably already know that there several options for building an inground pool. They are gunite, vinyl liner, and fiberglass. All three pool types serve the purpose, but they have a completely different construction base, longevity, long- and short-term maintenance, construction time, warranty, and of course, pricing. Pool buyers select one type over another for different reasons, or sometimes the salespersons are very pervasive in their offerings.

So what are the differences between the three types of an inground pool

What is a vinyl liner pool?

Vinyl line poos are constructed on-site with three optional wall materials: stainless steel, polymer/composite, or less common cement wall panels. Once construction is done, the final process is the installation of the vinyl membrane that is the layer that keeps the water in the pool.

Vinyl line poos are the most affordable inground pool, have relatively quick construction time, and allow limited customization in size and shape.


The pool of steel wall panels is only for groundwater-free soils due to corrosion and oxidation.


Polymer/composite wall panels pool is less structurally sound due to the pinning or locking system used to assemble the panels.


Cement wall panels pool is technically the marketing move for vinyl liner pool builders and usually costs more with extended construction time.


Vinyl Liner material used as a membrane is fragile and requires more caution to avoid damage. In addition, liners are not pet-friendly and should avoid scratching or ripping by sharp objects. Liners must be replaced every 5 – 7 years or possibly earlier.

What is a fiberglass pool?

Fiberglass pools are built in a controlled environment inside a factory and have higher production standards than other pool types. In addition, every pool undergoes quality control before getting the pool ready for transportation. Finally, fiberglass pools are delivered in one piece, ready to be installed, making the installation process quick.


Fiberglass pools are best for higher water tables due to their fast installation and shell flexibility.


Fiberglass pools are best for cold climates due to their natural insulation ratings.


The fiberglass pool’s surface layer is a gel-coat, durable, nonporous material that doesn’t require replacement or replastering, making it a maintenance-free surface.


In the past, the downside for fiberglass pools was the limitation of sizes, shapes, and colors. However, today it is no longer an issue since the fiberglass pool industry offers hundreds of shapes, sizes, and a modular concept, where you add spas, splash decks, and tanning ledges. Currently, 90% of all inground pool constructions use predefined shapes and sizes, whether the pool buyer chose liner, gunite, or fiberglass. Therefore, fiberglass pools quickly take over the market and gain more popularity every day.

What is a concrete pool?

Concrete pools have two application methods – monolithic pour commonly used in commercial applications and gunite or shotcrete. Concrete pools have no limitations in sizes or shapes.


The downsides are the high cost of construction, construction time (3-4 months), rough surface that will need replastering in about ten years, which by itself is a costly process.

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