Concrete, vinyl or fibreglass? Pick the pool that's best for you.

The quick answer

Concrete: For a top-of-the-line custom designed pool with all the bells and whistles, you want concrete. With proper maintenance, including interior resurfacing every 20 to 25 years, a good quality concrete pool will have an unlimited lifespan.

Vinyl: Vinyl is an affordable alternative to concrete that can be partially customized to deliver a stunning upgrade to any property. Vinyl liners should be replaced every eight to 15 years. Vinyl pools have a 25 to 30 year lifespan.

Fibreglass: Fibreglass pools cost a little more than vinyl pools and are made from a mould, which means they cannot be customized. A fibreglass pool's lifespan, and the amount of resurfacing it requires, will be highly dependent on its quality.

Quality materials and installation, along with regular maintenance, will have a huge impact on the appearance and durability of any pool.
 

Still here? Great! Read on for more information on concrete, vinyl and fibreglass pools.
Concrete

What will it look like?
Picture a work-of-art showpiece of a swimming pool and add a vibrant complement of luxury options. Think grottos, waterfalls and integrated spas. Got it? Odds are you're picturing a concrete pool.

The beauty of a concrete pool lies in its ability to achieve any shape and size while at the same time accommodating a world of luxury options. Your own imagination is the limit.

If you're looking for custom design possibilities, concrete is hands down your best option. And if your property has restrictions that will dictate the size and shape of your pool, it may be your only option.

What about cost?
The initial cost of a concrete pool is higher than that of a vinyl or fibreglass pool. However, a good quality concrete pool has an unlimited lifespan, making it your most durable and long-lasting option. Given that there are no liners to replace and interior resurfacing is needed only once every 20 to 25 years, the overall lifetime cost of a concrete pool is reasonable if it is a long-term purchase.

What about maintenance?
Concrete pool maintenance starts with quality materials and workmanship. This is key.

Avoid concrete made from pre-mixed wet cement and hosed in from a truck. This method uses more water to make the concrete easier to pump, but it also produces a more porous concrete that can be vulnerable to cracking. Make sure whoever makes concrete for your pool mixes dry cement and water on site. This method is more time consuming and requires more skill but it produces a superior concrete.

You'll also need to make sure your concrete pool gets a quality grade finish to seal out moisture and ensure a smooth surface that can be easily brushed and cleaned.

Regular maintenance for all pools includes clearing out the skimmer basket once every day or so and weekly brushing, vacuuming, chemical balancing and backwashing.

With proper maintenance and interior resurfacing every 20 to 25 years your concrete pool will look beautiful for life.

 

Vinyl

What will it look like?
A vinyl pool does not have the same versatility as a concrete pool, but it can be partially customized to beautifully complement any property.

Vinyl pools can be configured into a wide selection of shapes and can accommodate options like grottos, waterfalls and integrated spas. Unlike a concrete pool though, a vinyl pool does not have the structural integrity to provide a foundation, making it trickier, and more expensive, to incorporate some options.

What about cost?
A vinyl pool is an affordable alternative to a concrete pool and will cost a little less than fibreglass.

It is important to take into account that a vinyl pool's liner should be replaced every eight to 15 years, which will factor in to its overall cost. The pool itself will have a 25 to 30 year lifespan.

What about maintenance?
Regular maintenance for all pools includes clearing out the skimmer basket once every day or so and weekly brushing, vacuuming, chemical balancing and backwashing.

Proper maintenance and replacing the liner when needed (every eight to 15 years) will keep your vinyl pool looking fresh and fantastic.

 

Fibreglass

What will it look like?
Fibreglass pools are built from a mould and come in a predetermined selection of shapes and sizes.

Although fibreglass is coming along with features like vanishing edges and tanning shelves, the lack of ability to customize means you won't be able to determine where those features will go. Also, there is no way to control the placement of fittings like skimmers, which ideally should be oriented to accommodate local wind patterns.

What about cost?
A fibreglass pool will cost a little more than a vinyl pool and its lifespan will be highly dependent on its quality. A good quality fibreglass pool may last 25 to 30 years before the gel coat interior needs resurfacing and the shell may last much longer. Poorer quality fibreglass may need resurfacing after 10 years.

What about maintenance?
There is some argument that because their smooth gel-coat surfaces inhibit algae growth, fibreglass pools are easier to care for. However, with proper maintenance, a concrete or vinyl pool should not support any more algae than a fibreglass pool.

Regular maintenance for all pools includes clearing out the skimmer basket once every day or so and weekly brushing, vacuuming, chemical balancing and backwashing.

Proper maintenance for a fibreglass pool will include resurfacing the gel coat interior. Resurfacing intervals will depend on the quality of the fibreglass.
 

Want even more information on concrete, vinyl and fibreglass pools? Feel free to get in touch.

Remember, you're not just buying a pool: you're buying a lifestyle.

Surfing the Internet for information is a good start. But your single most important step is to contact a certified pool professional. Make sure you get the custom advice you need to pick the pool that's best for you.

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Marc Luff
Betz Pools

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