The Durability of 3 Popular Inground Pool Types
Table of Contents:
- Vinyl Inground Pools
- Fiberglass Inground Pools
- Gunite Inground Pools
Below, we’ll compare each of them and help you figure out which inground pool is best for your backyard. Let’s get our feet wet!
Vinyl Inground Pools
Vinyl’s texture is very smooth and non-porous, so you don’t have to worry about algae build-up or similar maintenance issues. However, the vinyl liners can puncture if you’re too rough with them.
We install the vinyl liner over a metal or concrete perimeter wall, and we can customize the shape to an extent. While most vinyl pools are rectangular, it is possible to customize their shape, size, and depth.
While a vinyl pool is significantly cheaper than fiberglass or concrete, they deteriorate quickly and are easier to damage. For instance, a severe storm could toss a table umbrella into your pool and pop goes the liner.
Barring any projectile-inducing storms, you’ll need to replace your vinyl liner every five to nine years, which will run you about $4K or more.
Durability Factor 5/10
- A well-maintained liner needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
- Easy to keep clean, but pool chemicals do wear out liner faster.
- Longevity lessens with increased roughness.
Fiberglass Inground Pools
Fiberglass pools require the least maintenance. Similar to vinyl, fiberglass is non-porous so you won’t have to deal with algae blooms. Plus, you’ll never need to resurface them or replace the liner.
That’s because fiberglass pools are single-piece shells made in a factory. However, many shell designs come with built-in features like raised spas and tanning shelves. They’re delivered to your house at the time of installation, so installation time depends on the factory.
Fiberglass pools are constructed from glass threads woven into fabric then hardened with a special polyester resin and smoothed out with weather-resistant gel. Boats and planes are also made from this, so you know fiberglass can party.
A well-maintained fiberglass pool will last you over 25 years. In fact, some fiberglass pools installed in the 60s and 70s are still holding up today.
Durability Factor 8/10
- A properly kept fiberglass shell lasts for 20 to 30 years
- Easy to keep clean
- Prefabricated—makes it hard to add features down the road
If you’ve ever swum in a pool, chances are it was concrete—what we call gunite or shotcrete. Gunite is a type of concrete we spray through an industrial-strength mega-hose with a high-pressure nozzle.
Many yards out there can’t fit a pre-made fiberglass pool, or they aren’t suitable for a vinyl pool. If you’re familiar with our work on the hit DIY show Pool Kings and you want your own masterpiece in your backyard, then we’re talking gunite, pal.
You want an infinity waterfall? Done. How about a tanning shelf with a built-in spa above your rock waterfall? No problem. What’s that? You want a water slide, a lazy river, and your own private island in the middle of your pool? BAM!
Concrete will get you all of that. Plus, it will last you the rest of your life and beyond. When humans perish, gunite pools shall inherit the earth.
There are a couple of downsides compared to fiberglass. A plaster finish will last 7 to 15 years until it needs to be refinished, depending on how well you maintain it. However, a pebble-based finish can last a lifetime. Both interior finishes can be rough on your feet if you spend a lot of time in your pool.
Durability Factor 10/10
- Lasts forever
- Easy to add on features in the future
- Vinyl is the cheapest at first, but eventually, the costs will surpass fiberglass.
- Fiberglass is slightly more expensive but lasts for decades.
- For max customization and longest lifespan, go with gunite.
Either of these pools will look beautiful, especially when you have the best pool builder in the nation doing the install. Premier will work with you to ensure you have the perfect pool for your backyard and your budget.