Fiberglass, vinyl and gunite are three of the main materials used in inground pools today. Each of these materials has unique benefits and disadvantages. Learning more about the differences of each of these materials can help you decide which option is right for your personal needs.

Fiberglass Vs. Vinyl Liner Pools

When comparing fiberglass and vinyl pool liners, the biggest difference between these two pool types is that fiberglass is longer lasting than vinyl.  Fiberglass never needs to be replaced, while vinyl liners will need to be replaced every five to 10 years. The need for frequent replacement also makes vinyl pool liners more costly than fiberglass. Each liner replacement can cost $3,000 dollars and up.

One advantage of choosing a vinyl pool liner over a fiberglass shell is that you often have more options for pool sizing and shape when compared to fiberglass because of the shipping limitations on fiberglass pools. On the other hand, fiberglass pools have built in steps and other customizable features that simply aren’t available when choosing vinyl liners. Most people can find a fiberglass pool in a size and shape that works for their property.

Fiberglass Vs. Gunite Pools

Gunite is a material that is sprayed into a framework of steel rebar, or steel rods, that becomes a permanent fixture. The gunite needs to be coated with a smoothing agent before being used as a pool. When comparing gunite pools to fiberglass pools, one factor to consider is the initial cost of the pool. Fiberglass is more affordable than gunite and is often much more durable and needs fewer repairs over time than pools made from gunite. The low maintenance of fiberglass is one reason that many homeowners opt for this material rather than vinyl liners or gunite.

Gunite does offer homeowners the option of customizing the appearance of their pool. For instance, you can finish a gunite pool with tile that matches the theme of your home or property. You should know that gunite does have the tendency to chip over time, and will need regular maintenance to maintain the appearance of the pool.

The Bottom Line

When deciding which type of pool to choose, most homeowners want to know the bottom line on costs and upkeep. The lifetime costs of the three different types of pools is an important consideration. Fiberglass requires no lifetime cost after the initial purchase, while gunite pools are the most expensive to maintain over time. The time needed to maintain your pool is also important. Fiberglass requires the least amount of chemicals to maintain water cleanliness, while the porous materials of a gunite pool require the most water sanitizing chemicals.

The cost of a fiberglass pool is initially more than a vinyl liner, but over time you will save on the costs of pool chemicals and pool repairs or replacements when compared to other options. When choosing the materials used in your pool, there are benefits to consider for each pool type. Fiberglass does have some distinct advantages over other types of materials, including the ability to help you save time and money on upkeep through the years. Especially in Massachusetts, where the temperature varies from below freezing to upper 80’s, homeowners will find that fiberglass pools are ideal.

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