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Concrete Pools VS Fiberglass Pools

Updated on May 4, 2010

Selecting the Right Pool Material

This year, many of you will be investing in a swimming pool, but you'll want to ensure you spend your money wisely. Each year, thousands of Americans invest in a pool, but end up regretting their decision simply because they didn't properly think through which material could be the best suited to their financial and family needs. It's surprising how many people don't even realize that there are more options available to them than just concrete, or even just vinyl. This page aims to show you the different advantages and disadvantages of concrete pools and fiberglass pools so that you always make the correct decision.

All About Concrete Pools

Many years ago, Concrete was the pool material of celebrities. Swimming pools were very much seen as a luxury reserved only for the likes of the rich and famous, however, over the years it has become widely recognized that this is no longer true, and almost anybody could own a pool nowadays in almost any material. Although it is true that concrete has been surpassed by fiberglass in recent years, they still hold their own advantages, however it is important to bear in mind that concrete also has its disadvantages. So before you make your choice, it’s important you consider your requirements, and if concrete meets them.

- Advantages
On main advantage of concrete pools has to be their size capabilities. Whereas some other pool materials may be slightly restricted in size, with concrete, generally anything goes. Concrete pools are perfect for people looking for a pool to be specifically used for high diving or perhaps if you were looking for a particularly large pool, then concrete would probably be the way to go.

Another advantage has to be concrete has to be its ability to be custom designed. With concrete there tends to be no limit, so if you have a very specific design in mind, more often than not, it can be executed. Concrete Pools are capable of taking on a wide variety of geometric shapes, allowing them to be hand crafted to create a unique pool in whatever shape you have in mind, from animal shapes to a guitar shapes, the choices are endless.

Concrete pools are also good as they can be a permanent addition to your home, therefore boosting value. Once they are added they are not easily removed, and repairs often don’t mean replacements, simply just re-plastering and acid washing. However, this can also be a disadvantage, see below to find out how.

- Disadvantages
Unfortunately, concrete pools do actually come with quite a lot of disadvantages that most pool contractors will neglect to tell you, all of which are very much worth baring in mind if you’re investing this year, as there may be a better option out there for you. Firstly, concrete pools require a lot of maintenance to function efficiently and safely. They require monthly, professional cleaning to ensure that no algae can form along the walls. This is a cost that does build up quite significantly, meaning that after just 10 years of owning your concrete pool, you will have spent over $16,000 purely on maintaining your pool properly.

Because concrete is porous, it makes it a perfect breeding ground for germs, bacteria and algae, polluting your swimming pool quickly, making it unpleasant to be in. If you don’t keep on track of your maintenance, it will become a difficult problem to fund.

Another disadvantage has to be the roughness that comes with concrete. Concrete is very rough and abrasive, so if you have children, you may have to prepare for some tears, as it is likely an inevitable fact that at some point your children will knock or graze themselves on the walls of the pool.

And finally, the advantage that can also be a disadvantage – due to their permanence, concrete pools can be incredibly difficult and costly to remove, especially if they are large. So if you ever wanted to trade it in for a fresh design or a different material, it’s likely you’ll be in for a costly ride.

It is true that concrete pools have their advantages, but they have equal disadvantages, unlike fiberglass.

All About Fiberglass Pools

As a pool material, fiberglass is truly revolutionary, what was originally used within the boating industry is now regularly being utilizing within swimming pool manufacturing. It soon proved itself to be one of the most versatile and flexible pool materials available. Fiberglass is actually the perfect pool material; it’s strong and requires very little maintenance, plus recent technological advancements have meant that fiberglass pools can be now be customized, with more options becoming available each day. Fiberglass has many different advantages, so it’s important that you assess them to ensure you spend your money wisely.

- Advantages
First of all, fiberglass pools are one of the easiest types of pool to install, some taking as little as 3 days to be fitted. The shape of your pool will be completely molded at the manufacturers, and then delivered to your home once a hole has been dug out for it to be placed in. Once delivered, it will be carefully lowered into the ground, and your pool is halfway to completion, saving weeks of work.

Molded Fiberglass pools are also smooth to the touch, and completely non-abrasive as opposed to concrete pools. This is down to the unique technology employed by fiberglass manufacturers. Most of us will have, at some point or another, suffered a graze, knock or bump at the hands of abrasive concrete pools. With fiberglass pools, this issue is no more, the finish feels luxurious next to your hands and legs as you get in and out, plus your children will thank you later as they will no longer have to worry about hurting themselves along the walls of the pool.

Fiberglass pools are also the easiest pools to maintain as the surface on the pools have a specially adapted non-porous coating, as well as a special gel coating, protecting from cracks and leaks. The coating combined with the non-porous materials means that algae and mold cannot grow as easily as it can in concrete pools, which will save you a lot of time and a lot of money when it comes to cleaning and taking care of your swimming pool.

And finally, Fiberglass Pools are also incredibly durable. They are perfectly suited for climates that jump from hot to cold, as they are incredibly durable and somewhat flexible. Temperature swings can often damage typical pool materials, but because fiberglass is quite flexible, it can move appropriately to suit the weather, meaning that they are less likely to be damaged, crack or leak, costing you extra repairs expenses.

- Disadvantages
Fiberglass pools really have very few disadvantages. The only notable disadvantage would have to be that fiberglass pools are limited when it comes to size and depth, however, most pool owners are amazed at how large fiberglass pools actually do go, and larger models are only required for specialized swimmers, such as divers. Apart from this, fiberglass pools are perfect for any home.

Investing in a Pool This Year?

After Reading this Page, Which Pool Material Do You Think Is Best for You?

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A fiberglass pool designed to the clients specification with a Royal Blue Sapphire Spa built in.
A fiberglass pool designed to the clients specification with a Royal Blue Sapphire Spa built in.

Who Wins?? Fiberglass vs Concrete

It’s become a well known fact that in recent years, swimming pools have become a lot more affordable for the modern family, not only the rich and famous, so if you have made the decision to invest in a swimming pool for the upcoming hot summer months, it’s important that you invest your money wisely, especially in these unpredictable and unstable economic times. Nowadays, you may think that by spending your money on cheaper options will save you the most money; however, this is not true, so it’s important you explore the different factors of each material to ensure you spend your money wisely.

First of all – Concrete. Concrete is one of the most well known pool materials used within the swimming pool industry and is widely available. It has been used since pools first started to become popular many years ago, and is relatively versatile when it comes to style and size – this fact has to be their main advantage. Their unlimited design capabilities make them perfectly suited to people who are looking for an incredibly customized and unique swimming pool. They are also ideal if you’re interested in going quite deep, e.g. for diving use. Unfortunately, this is where the main advantages of concrete pools end, as concrete pools have a lot of hidden issues that a lot of concrete pool contractors may neglect to mention.

Concrete pools have a long installation time; typically they can take months to complete fully, depending on which design you have gone for. This sort of time scale is often a lot longer than many investors are prepared to wait. They are also very rough on your hands and feet, especially when you, or even your children, clamber in and our, causing painful grazes and bumps. Many second time pool owners have neglected to choose concrete the second time around mainly because they were so tired of getting their feet torn up by the abrasive concrete coating that is an unavoidable add on that comes with concrete swimming pools.

Concrete pools also require a lot of maintenance, the average pool owner tends to spend a staggering $16,950.00 every ten years on the maintenance of their swimming pool, this is mainly down to the monthly, professional maintenance required to keep concrete pools sanitary and running efficiently, plus any repairs that may be needed should you live in a freeze-thaw area, or an area prone to earthquakes. They are also not very eco-friendly, emitting fumes into the atmosphere whenever acid baths become a necessity.

Fiberglass is one of the most popular pool choices available, especially with pool owners who have had a concrete pool in the past. Ever since it’s initial discovery as a pool material, it has improved annually to be the flexible and unique material that it is today. Whereas Fiberglass may not have quite the size and shape versatility as its concrete counterpart, it outperforms in every other area comparable to concrete. Fiberglass pools are perfect for those seeking a fast installation time, as they only tend to take no more than a week to fully install ready for use.

Fiberglass is also 17 times stronger than concrete, another advantage as it means you won’t be out of pocket the next time the temperature changes drastically, or you suffer from an unexpected earthquake. Its smooth finish makes for absolutely no skin abrasions, and the non-porous surface resists the problems associated with imbalanced water chemistry, which in turn requires less chemical maintenance, labor, and electric expenses. Plus, thanks to technological advancements of recent years, you now have the option to choose from a wide variety of options for your pool, including lighting, water features, tiling, vanishing edges and even an in-floor cleaning system. But on top of all of this, fiberglass pools only cost you $4,200.00 in maintenance every 10 years, making them a lot more cost effective than concrete.

So there you have it, the winner is pretty clear. Never get sucked in by cheap initial fees, it is important to decide upon the investment as a whole. Consider costs and expenses down the line, and you will immediately see that a fiberglass swimming pool is the best solution to your swimming pool needs.


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    • profile image

      BlakeWilson 5 years ago

      We are providing at Fiberglass Pools and In Ground Pool has Inground Pool which if you believe the salesman is a much better quality fibreglass pool. Does anyone have any experience with this type of pool and is it worth the extra $$$? With the swimming Pool, you can get a self-cleaning system. Are these any good and are they worth the money?

      We are providing our Services in these locations

      New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, new york, maryland, virgina, west virgina


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      Price Start at $ 13,950.00

    • swimfan profile image

      swimfan 4 years ago from United States

      Fiberglass pools seem to be really hot these days. In the past, they were pretty basic. Now you can get all sorts of shapes and sizes.

    • profile image

      Zofia Gainey 4 years ago

      This is a good review between the types of pool.

    • profile image

      AM Pools OBX 3 years ago

      I'm a builder in the outerbanks of North Carolina & instal all three types of pools and will honestly say that concrete can be as smooth as glass. The maintence comments are completely false, I maintain commercial & residential pools in the harshest of use and never have the issues mentioned above. When it comes to renovation a concrete pool can be brought back to original state or better, fiberglass repair can never be 100 percent ever again.

    • profile image

      Renee 3 years ago

      This article is written by Aquapools who install Fibreglass pools. Biased towards fibreglass - surprise surprise!

    • profile image

      Randy Crick 2 years ago

      Its pretty clear to me that you sell fiberglass pools My concrete pool is stronger and very smooth when painted with epoxy.Fiberglass does absorb moisture and with water being in your pool 24 7 it will infiltrate.I am sorry but i do believe that you are not doing your research and if a person plans to build a cement pool you will not regret it.Longevity My pool is 45 years old and has been resurfaced once

    • profile image

      Mark Naras 2 years ago

      The Viking pool has a patented ceramic core that acts as a vapor barrier, and the warranty speaks for it self, Viking is Life time structural and twenty year finish. The Trilogy pool is life time on structure and life time finish. Both pools have vinyl ester reins and epoxy

    • robhampton profile image

      Rob Hampton 2 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      A BIG disadvantage to fiberglass pools is that the fiberglass resin and coating are very alkaline, meaning that the pH runs quite high. I am a pool industry service and repair tech and know that pH is difficult to maintain in fiberglass pools. Also, the "roughness" of concrete pools is usually a "Pebble Tech" surface. It lasts longer and looks nicer but you get the rough surface with it. Diamand brite is normally pretty smooth. They don't use "Marcite" anymore because in the early days it contained asbestos.

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