Vinyl vs concrete (or fiberglass)?

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
128
Hayward CA
I know this is probably a very old, debated, "abused" discussion. However, I am back to my house after a long time where I had to work in another area. I now plan to take several months off work and do projects around the house. My wife *demands* a swimming pool :D and asks about it every day. My house is very close to a very rich area (Silicon Valley) and it's VERY hard to even get a call back from builders, that are busy with huge developments of hundreds of units or with billionaires demands. I even didn't like too much the pool builders I've met so far or their quotes were REALLY high, almost like they did not want the job. I'm sure they have a lot of business and cannot meet the demand.

However my wife found sites that sell vinyl pool kits that a homeowner could conceivably put together. Electrical and plumbing seem trivial, digging takes some skill but I've operated excavators before, there is some concrete work and I can easily hire some concrete guys for that part which is beyond my skill level. Some math suggests I could save a lot AND have a proper pool, done really how I like it. Having what seem like very detailed instructions will help tremendously.

So far I hadn't considered anything but concrete pools, but now this vinyl option starts to sound interesting. Even considering the mandatory auto-cover (that is an essential part of our design) it really looks like a very nice design and most everything is provided in the kit.

Chemistry of a vinyl pool seems to be easier than concrete.

Any reason I should NOT go this route? Should I consider fiberglass at this point, considering my design would be a rectangular pool anyway? Are vinyl or fiberglass a much "inferior" build method, will I regret it in the future?
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
...
However my wife found sites that sell vinyl pool kits that a homeowner could conceivably put together. Electrical and plumbing seem trivial, digging takes some skill but I've operated excavators before, there is some concrete work and I can easily hire some concrete guys for that part which is beyond my skill level. Some math suggests I could save a lot AND have a proper pool, done really how I like it. Having what seem like very detailed instructions will help tremendously.

So far I hadn't considered anything but concrete pools, but now this vinyl option starts to sound interesting. Even considering the mandatory auto-cover (that is an essential part of our design) it really looks like a very nice design and most everything is provided in the kit.

Chemistry of a vinyl pool seems to be easier than concrete.

Any reason I should NOT go this route? Should I consider fiberglass at this point, considering my design would be a rectangular pool anyway? Are vinyl or fiberglass a much "inferior" build method, will I regret it in the future?
I think vinyl in CA would be great :) You can pick any color (or "no color") that your heart desires!
I would compare the costs of fiberglass vs vinyl, for repairs & long term maintenance.

The Vinyl itself, is virtually maintenance free... until it isn't. Although a small leak could be patched ("neatly" depending on where it's at), there is that consideration.
Concrete requires good chemical balance and is not "maintenance" free, especially when new.
I have zip advice on fiberglass, lol

I still vote vinyl, but it's personal preference, including budget!
 

jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
484
Houston, TX
Google Leisure Pools, longest warranty in Fiberglass Pools, they may or may not be for you. We just finished up ours, pool was never an issue. Construction crew that a different story...

John
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
128
Hayward CA
I see. Thank you for your reply. Just one detail - you say "vinyl in CA would be great". Why specifically vinyl would be great in CA, what is the reason behind it, and where it would NOT be considered a good choice?
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
I see. Thank you for your reply. Just one detail - you say "vinyl in CA would be great". Why specifically vinyl would be great in CA, what is the reason behind it, and where it would NOT be considered a good choice?
Mostly because I do prefer vinyl (personal preference, most experience)
I don't think (for example, Az) states with "hard" water are the best places for vinyl, due to the lack of need of calcium (excess calcium leads to scale or cloudiness when it's not being "used" up), not that it won't work, just it would be more work ;)
 

lazygirl1978

Gold Supporter
Oct 20, 2018
232
Missouri
I went through this decision recently. I thought seriously about Fiberglass, but ultimately I wanted something wider than I could get with Fiberglass (seems like max width is about 16' -- possible I was wrong about that), and Fiberglass diving pools were few and far between, too.
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
128
Hayward CA
I see. I am deciding between 18 and 20ft wide, so I see how a fiberglass pool might not be available in that size.
About vinyl, how delicate is that really? I have kids which will definitely invite over their friends and I must assume that people are, in general, careless to some extent. I do not have pets that would enjoy the swimming pool.

Lazygirl yeah I was reading your thread! Wow a 18x40 pool :D I still have several pages to go
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
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May 3, 2014
31,292
Laughlin, NV
There should be no reason a vinyl pool would not work in your area. But oddly we rarely hear of one on the west coast.

Keep researching. Good luck.
 
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splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
My city has extremely "soft" water. between 10 and 30 ppm most of the year, so I should be fine from that point of view
:thumleft:
There should be no reason a vinyl pool would not work in your area. But oddly we rarely hear of one on the west coast.

Keep researching. Good luck.
I wonder if it's because they do tile? (over concrete/plaster/etc)

Is the water table high?
 

splashpad

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Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,764
Chapel Hill, NC
You aren't going to get a pool built by anyone for the summer. Anyone that tells you they can......................

You're right, no one wants to take on more work right now unless you are prepared to pay a hefty premium. Wait until the fall and these guys will be begging for your business. I'd strongly recommend a gunite pool in California if nothing else for resale value.
 

ckwinters

Well-known member
May 29, 2018
63
Carlisle, PA
Well, we are coming down the home stretch on our diy vinyl pool and I call it Legos for grown ups. We had the same issue with no concrete skills and chose to do pavers. We got much more pool for our dollar doing it ourselves. My husband and I are rather handy but the internet and YouTube were life savers for so much of it. Hopefully a couple of the other diy people on here who gave us pointers will chime in. Our original plan was a rectangular but once we saw an L shape we loved it and went that route.
 
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Chi Town

Member
Feb 19, 2019
12
Chicago
I see. I am deciding between 18 and 20ft wide, so I see how a fiberglass pool might not be available in that size.
About vinyl, how delicate is that really? I have kids which will definitely invite over their friends and I must assume that people are, in general, careless to some extent. .....
While working on my third, I've had two pools in the past, above ground, with lots of kids and neighbors over the years. The vinyl held up just fine. And considering that it would freeze due to the cold and expand due to the ice, both pools held up very well. It can also be patched which I never had to do and it wasn't like I was frisking everyone for knives and rocks on their shoes before they went up on the deck. Fiberglass is limited on what they are allowed to transport down the highway/street so your choice on size may simply rule that out. I cannot however comment on the longevity of the vinyl as I haven't had the pools move then 4 years.

I am also looking to do one by myself or project manage all the vendors. I often get time off between projects I land, so now just doing the research and gathering costs to have someone do it, contracting out each vendor, or get a shovel and start digging. Just my two cents

Good luck.
 
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PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
3,077
Connecticut
There should be no reason a vinyl pool would not work in your area. But oddly we rarely hear of one on the west coast.

Keep researching. Good luck.
That’s because the exposed liner above the water line, doesn’t hide from UV for six to seven months..

Liner pools will never capture the west coast & southern market share..

signed,
New England Yankee
 
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bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
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However, specific to the OP, he will be using an autocover so may have minimal UV depending on amount of cover usage and if they can handle a HOT pool if the cover is used in the summer. Maybe also consider a chiller?

But in reality, no reason you can’t do it from what's been discussed. If it’s the pool you want (can get/afford) and you have the ability, go for it. On resale, yes lower. But offset by much lower initial cost. Maybe more time to sell? Oh well. Get what you want/makes sense for you.
 
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