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Thread: Fiberglass vs. Vinyl vs. Concrete IGP

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    Fiberglass vs. Vinyl vs. Concrete IGP

    Hi,
    I'm trying to find out what's the difference between a fiberglass, vinyl, and concrete inground pool. Which do people prefer and for what reasons? I did a search but couldn't come up with anything, if this has been debated before, can someone send me a link. Searching on the internet, depending on the site, one company will make fiberglass to be the best and the other will make vinyl or concrete be the best.

    Thanks
    Rob

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    whoozer's Avatar
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    Ultimately it is preference but you need to ask yourself a lot of questions.

    Where do you live? Depending on your climate, that will vary which one I would choose. What are you looking to get out of your pool? Purpose of use. How much do you want to spend?

    Let me give an example. I originally lived in Maine. My first 2 pools were AG because it is all I could afford. Then I got a new house and splurged on my first IG. But in Maine the climate was to harsh IMO for gunite and there were very few people (1) that did it where I lived.

    So my next 2 options were vinyl or fiberglass. I went with fiberglass in the end because we did a DIY as my husband owned an excavator at the time. The fiberglass was really nice for loads of reasons, ease of use, my dogs got in without worrying about breaking a liner, but it came with down sides. It was nondiving and somewhat small because of the freeform. Also it had more leveling issues than I care to think about even when done right so....now I'm in SC and building a new pool.

    The new one is vinyl because I didn't want fiberglass again so I could maximize my swimming area. I couldn't however afford gunite so that was my choice. You need to weigh whats more important and go with that. Hope this helps.

    [jjparrish: edited for eye breaks]
    14x33 fiberglass freeform
    Variable speed Pentair intelliflo superpump
    420 Clean and Clear Plus cartridge filter.
    pool-school/pool_calculator , http://www.tftestkits.net/

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    There's also some water chemistry advantages to vinyl and fiberglass.

    Do a search here and you find more information about the pros and cons of each.
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

    Pool I built in my old house: my-new-pool-build-t4534.html

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    Above ground Pros: Inexpensive and quick & easy (relative) to install. You can take it down and plant grass if you get tired of having a pool.
    Above ground Cons: Shorter life span, fewer size/shape options, depth limitation, aesthetics.

    IG Vinyl Pros: Half the cost of IG gunite, fairly quick installation, reasonable selection of shapes/sizes.
    IG Vinyl Cons: Durability/lifespan of liner, good but not unlimited selection of shapes/sizes.

    IG fiberglass Pros: Quick installation, more durable than vinyl liners
    IG fiberglass Cons: 90% as expensive as IG gunite, limited shapes/sizes

    IG gunite Pros: Unlimited shapes/size/depths configurations, most durable, nice aesthetics.
    IG gunite Cons: Most expensive, longest installation time.

    There are also some water chemistry issues that vary between plaster/gunite to fiberglass to vinyl pools. Plaster/gunite having a little more to keep track of.

    I'm sure a few more folks will chime in too...
    Fortune favors the well prepared

    The build...
    viewtopic.php?t=3974
    Freeform 24' x 38' IG gunite. 3 1/2' to 8' deep. 28,500 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWCG. Pentair Intelliflo VF. Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter. Colorlogic LED lights. Tahoe Blue Diamond Brite. 1200 sq ft stamped concrete deck.
    More details as they happen...

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    In the Industry

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    I have a fiberglass pool, which came with the house (I didn't choose it). One of the drawbacks of a fiberglass pool, IMO, is that the surface is slippery. I understand you can add things to the surface for traction, but my pool doesn't have those. Vinyl liners are slippery too (although there may be some that have a different surface? That is outside my experience.)

    If I were building a pool now, I would likely go with pebblesheen on gunite. Offers traction without being uncomfortably rough.

    Regarding the durability of the surface, any pool surface can be ruined in a matter of months by bad pool chemistry, and any pool surface can be made to last for years with careful maintenance.

    Beyond cost and ease of installation, it's very much a matter of personal preference, as others have said. The size and shape of the pool you want is a big factor; gunite allows the most flexibility.
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

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    I would add to the fiberglass cons that there has been reports of them "popping out" of the ground...I was told you had to be VERY careful about letting any water out of them, as they may pop out of the ground, one reason I went with vinyl. Now that I've seen a vinyl pool installation, I'm very happy with it...concrete footers, steel walls, vermiculite (sp?) to let ground water in/out and relieve pressure as necessary...pretty cool.
    Todd
    --------------
    Pool: 16x36, 16,800 gal., vinyl, sand filter, SWG & AquaCal Heat Pump
    Spa: Hot Springs Sovereign, 355 gal., ozone/ion
    The most helpful tool you'll ever have for your pool:
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/

  7. Back To Top    #7
    I had a fiberglass pool and liked it. I would have gotten another one for this house I just bought but the downside..limited designs... left me no choice but to go gunite with pebble sheen. The "popping out of the ground" thing really shouldn't be a consideration as all pools have potential issues if empty.
    24,000 gal SWG pool
    Bunch of stuff
    Aqua Blue Pebblesheen
    2 Colorlogic LED lights
    Huge Hayward D.E. filter
    more stuff

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    whoozer's Avatar
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    It seems everyone talks about "popping" out with fiberglass but you have the same chance with a vinyl pool if the conditions are right. I did like my fiberglass but was too limited to design and wanted a deeper pool. Thats why I'm going with the vinyl this time. Only time can tell if I'll like it. Hubby says we move every time we build a pool...who knows maybe gunite next time
    14x33 fiberglass freeform
    Variable speed Pentair intelliflo superpump
    420 Clean and Clear Plus cartridge filter.
    pool-school/pool_calculator , http://www.tftestkits.net/

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Fiberglass pools are somewhat more likely to pop out, but every pool has some issue in the conditions that would cause that. With vinyl, the liner separates from the wall and gets wrinkled but usually nothing really dramatic happens. Occasionally the vinyl rips when it tries to go back into place. Gunite pools can pop also, but they are heavier and more firmly connected to the ground so it takes a slightly higher water table to pop a gunite pool than a fiberglass pool. But when a gunite pool pops it is much more expensive to fix than a fiberglass pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    I recently had a fiberglass pool installed (23K gallon, viking "poseidon" model) and am very happy with the results thus far. Had done alot of research in terms of total ownership costs, chemical maintenance, and my specific location and fiberglass turned out to be the best choice for me. As far as slippery surfaces, my finish is anything but, perhaps the industry has been listening to customer feedback and improving on their designs. My pool surfaces (steps, bottom, and sides) are not perfectly smooth nor are they rough, I guess I'd have to say they are somewhere in between. The SWG, solar panels on the roof, and ozone generator were all upgrades that I am happy that I made. I did experience some algea bloom two weeks ago but I super chlorinated the pool and ran the circulation pump 24 hours a day for three days and it was all cleared up. Pool is sparkling clear now. My youngest daughter is hosting a pool party today and I think I have it ready for all the swimmers anticipated.

    I thank all the local experts here who freely give their knowledge and advise to help those in need. This site is a "must have" for all pool owners.

    Bill

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    I have a fiberglass, but my pool started life as a gunite/plaster pool. About 8 years ago, I had to refinish it, and I decided to do it in fiberglass, instead of plaster. I am happy with my decision.

    It was a little slippery for the first year or so, now it is fine. Probably a little slicker then plaster, but no problem with slipping on it.

    As far as chemistry is concerned, plaster leaches calcium into the water, which raises the PH. That is the main reason people add acid, to lower the PH to counteract this. With fiberglass or vinyl, you wont have this, and would just add enough acid to counteract the PH of bleach.

    I also think fiberglass is tougher than either plaster or vinyl, so you don't need to worry about hurting the finish as much.

    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

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    reindeerboy's Avatar
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    I have a vinyl liner. Bought the house with the pool and am fairly new to this forum. So far, I really like the liner. Its about 5 years old. Installed in 2003, and is very durable and strong. I have pets and once in while they just in. You just have to be a bit careful with them is all. The look and durability of the vinly liner has surprised me and in North Dakota, I would definitely stay with a vinly liner due to the climate and weather conditions. No way would I install a fiberglass or genuite pool due to the freezing conditions out here. Some other pool owners I know who have these pools always are complaining about the repairs of having to fix them in the spring due to the -40 winters that we have out here.

    With a vinly liner, it freezes and thaws perfectly or at least it has for me. Pretty inexpensive and fairly simple to maintain.

    Thats my 2 cents.
    Chad R.

    POOL SIZE: 16 x 32' Vinyl lined pool. 22,000 gallons. 8' deep. 2009 Hayward 1.5 HP Super Pump. Hayward S310S 30" 500 lb Sand filter. 1 skimmer and 2 returns. Solar Blanket.

    Pics of my pool: http://s307.photobucket.com/albums/nn312/reindeerboy/

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