Vinyl Vs Fiberglass Pools [Comparison]Kadison Hipel
Vinyl Vs Fiberglass Pools [Comparison]
Vinyl vs fiberglass pools, which is the best option for you and your family? If you live in Southern Ontario and your in the market for a new pool you’ll most likely be choosing between a vinyl liner pool or a fiberglass pool. Both types of pools have some great advantages but they also each have some disadvantages. In this article we will compare the two together and by the end you’ll be able to make the decision of what pool is best for you.
In this article we will discuss how the pools compare in the following areas;
- Installation Time
The construction of vinyl liner pools uses steel or resin panels that are assembled on-site in the shape of the pool and a concrete bottom is poured in the excavation prior to setting the liner in the pool. Vinyl liner pool projects typically take anywhere from 4-8 weeks to fully complete.
Fiberglass pools are manufactured in a factory in one large piece known as the “shell”. The shell is shipped to the installation site and lifted into the excavation using a crane or other lifting device. The pool shell being pre-made before the project even begins drastically increases the speed of which the pool can be installed. Fiberglass pool projects typically take anywhere from 2-5 weeks to complete
Vinyl liner pools utilize a liner to contain and hold the water in the pool. The liner is susceptible to rips, tears, punctures, chemical and sun fading, so keep an eye on any pets going for a dip as the claws can damage the liner. You can expect to replace the liner every 6-10 years depending on sun exposure, chemical, fading, and accidents causing damage to liner. Vinyl pools with steel walls should only use chlorine systems as salt systems are likely to corrode the walls but you can use a salt system if the pool uses polymer walls.
Fiberglass pools are incredibly durable which is why most manufactures warranty the structure of the pool shell for life. The multiple layers of fiberglass pools are engineered to provide the pool shell with more strength and long term durability. It is very unlikely you would ever need to refinish a fiberglass pools gelcoat surface and the pool is safe to use with chlorine and saltwater systems.
Most Liners in vinyl pools come with a manufacturers warranty. The liner will most likely come with a 20-30 year warranty depending on the manufacturer but we encourage you to dig deeper into these warranties as they aren’t what they are cracked up to be. Typically if the liner fails in the first 1-3 years due to poor workmanship the manufacturer will replace the liner free of charge after 4-10 years they will cover 50% of the cost and after 11-25 years they will cover 25% of the replacement cost. Now keep in mind when we say the manufacturer will cover 25% of the replacement cost that is strictly the cost of the liner that does not include any labour costs or anything else for that matter such as water for refilling the pool afterwards or the chemicals for re-balancing the water chemistry.
Fiberglass pools are typically backed by 35 year to lifetime structural warranties. So what does that mean? The structural warranty will cover the repair of the pool shell in the event the pool loses water due to a defect in the manufacturing process. It’s typically covers 100% of the repair cost excluding refilling the pool with water and the chemicals to rebalance the waters chemistry. Although we recommend that you dig into the fine print of every warranty regardless of if its a fiberglass or vinyl pool. Fiberglass pool warranties always cover more for a longer period of time.
Vinyl pools typically cost 10-20% less than a similar fiberglass pool for the initial installation. You can expect to spend $40,000 – $70,000 to have an inground vinyl liner pool installed in Southern Ontario. Although the initial installation cost is less for a vinyl liner pool it will require 3-6 liner replacements over the course of its life at a cost of $4,000 – $6000 each time.
You can expect to spend $45,000 – $85,000 to have a fiberglass pool installed in Southern Ontario. Fiberglass pools have a higher initial installation cost but require very little if any maintenance over the life of the pool. Over the life span of the pool fiberglass pools end up costing less than a vinyl liner pool and you don’t have to deal with headache of liner replacements.
Customization options for vinyl pools are almost endless, the size, shape, and depth can be virtually whatever you want it to be. Customized vinyl pools cost more than your typical rectangular pool but still generally cost less than a fiberglass pool. If your after unique design or size options vinyl liner pools are the way to go.
The customization options with fiberglass pools are restricted to the pre-made model designs. The maximum width of a fiberglass pool is typically 16 feet, the maximum length is 40 feet and the maximum depth is 8.5 feet. Most fiberglass pool manufacturers offer large varieties of pool models that include features such as ledges, benches, spas and more. At Atlantyc Pools we offer over 75 pool models from three manufacturers. Dolphin Fiberglass Pools, Latham, & Imagine Pools.
We’ve already discussed the need to replace the liner every 6-10 years but aside from that maintenance with vinyl pools is fairly comparable to that of a fiberglass pool. The smooth texture of the liner prevents algae build up but you may see some debris and algae build up in the seams of the liner.
If your trying to avoid maintenance and spend more time swimming a fiberglass pool is the best option. No liner replacements and the ultra smooth gel coat surface means debris and algae don’t settle and stick to the surface. We recommend purchasing a robotic pool vacuum with your pool to make maintenance even easier.
Our vinyl liner vs fiberglass pools article is intended to give you a general idea on what pool is best for you and your family. Your priorities will determine what pool is best for you. If initial cost or customization is your main priority a vinyl liner pool is the way to go but if your looking for a pool that installs faster, has a better warranty, is more durable, costs less over the long term than a fiberglass pool is the best option.