Best type of swimming pool: above ground pool vs vinyl liner pools vs concrete pools vs fiberglass pools

What is the Best Type of Swimming Pool for My Home?

So you’re thinking about getting a swimming pool for your backyard that will provide years of enjoyment, laughter, and fun for your family. No doubt, owning a swimming pool will have a wonderful and lasting effect on your life. Notwithstanding, in order to make the most out of this experience, it’s important you understand what your options are and which type of pool will best suit your needs.

Even though we are one of the world’s largest manufacturers of inground fiberglass swimming pools here at Leisure Pools, we’ve decided to give you the honest and unbiased answers you need to answer this very important question. Here goes…

Option #1: Above Ground Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of above ground pools

There is one definitive advantage of an above ground swimming pool – cost. Without question, an above ground pool is going to cost less than any type of inground pool (assuming you don’t build a large deck around it, at which point, you could have just as easily bought an inground pool).

Disadvantages of above ground pools

For most folks, the biggest disadvantage of above ground pools is their aesthetics. Some can view an above ground pool as an eyesore.  Often subdivisions do not allow for their construction within their covenants. Even with a deck built entirely around them, an above ground pool will generally never add to the appearance of your home and yard. In fact, it will likely be a deterrent.

Another disadvantage of an above ground pool is their depth and design limitation.  Generally speaking, most above ground pools come in one of 3 shapes—circle, oval, or rectangle.

Above ground pools simply are not built to last a long time. Their metals walls can oxidize and rust easily, and the majority of structures will generally fail in the 8-15 year mark.  As a result of this, an above ground pool generally is not factored in as an improvement when a house is being valued and can be a deterrent when trying to sell a house.

above ground pool - circle shape

Above ground pool – circle shape

Option #2: Vinyl Liner Inground Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of vinyl liner pools

If you’re looking to get an inground pool and have a very limited budget, vinyl liner may be the best choice for you.  Their material costs are low and as a result a vinyl liner pool will in most cases cost $5,000 to $10,000 less initially than their concrete or fiberglass counterparts.

With a vinyl liner pool, you have very few limits when it comes to shape and size.  With today’s technology, you can make the pool as deep and as curvy/straight/large as you’d like.

Disadvantages of vinyl liner pools

The biggest disadvantage of a vinyl liner inground pool is the liner itself.  The material is a polymer and it will break down over time and need to be replaced.  Also, the liner can tear easily or become undone from the sides, causing it slowly to fall into the water.

On average (and regardless of what “warranties” say), you can expect your inground vinyl liner to last between 7-12 years, with the average cost of replacement (labor, liner, and water) in the $3,000 to $7,000 range, depending on the size/shape of the pool.

Another disadvantage of a liner pool is the aesthetic look.  Generally speaking, a standard liner pool installation will look much “cheaper” and “temporary” than a fiberglass or concrete pool.  As a result a vinyl liner inground pools typically don’t add value to your home like a fiberglass or concrete pool would do of the same size.

In many countries now, vinyl liner pools are no longer sold and fiberglass pools and concrete pools are the swimming pools of choice.

Option #3: Concrete (Gunite) Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of concrete (gunite) pools

The main advantage of a concrete pool is the fact that it can be designed and customized to fit any size, shape, or depth you’d like. From a visual standpoint, a concrete pool can look very nice because of these customizable features.

Concrete pools add value to the property and are an asset when the owner looks to sell the home.

Disadvantages of concrete (gunite) pools

Far and away, the biggest drawback to a concrete pool is the high maintenance required to keep these pool pretty, clear, and clean.  Not only does a concrete pool require more chemicals and brushing during the season, but it also goes through an expensive resurface on average every 8-15 years.

Another disadvantage of a concrete pool is its roughness of surface.  Not only does this roughness lead to acid washing and easy algae growth, but also it can be very hard on children’s feet, and cause them to bleed after a few hours of playing in the pool.

Concrete pools also traditionally take a long time to build.  This can be frustrating for homeowners as they have a constant construction zone in their yard for on average 3 months.

Concrete pools are not ideally suited for salt chlorination.  Although salt chlorinators can be installed on concrete pools a concrete pool with require more maintenance and will require resurfacing earlier than if traditional water sanitizing was in place.  Given the many amazing benefits of salt chlorination this is a disadvantage for concrete pools.

Option #4 Fiberglass Swimming Pools pros and cons

Advantages of fiberglass pools

Generally speaking, it’s now an accepted fact that fiberglass pools require the least amount of maintenance of any swimming pool on the market today. With their smooth, non-porous surfaces, it’s hard for algae to grow on fiberglass and when used with a salt chlorinator, the minimal maintenance is astounding for many pool owners.

Fiberglass swimming pools can be installed in a very short period of time. The main reason being is that the swimming pool structure is fabricated off site meaning that once the hole for the swimming pool is excavated the finished swimming pool structure can be lowered into the hole and all that is then required is for the decking and landscaping to be completed around the swimming pool. Fiberglass swimming pools can be fully installed an operational in as little as 5 days.

Leisure Pools have made tremendous advancements in the colour technology of fiberglass swimming pools.  Leisure Pools offers each of its swimming pool designs in the Leisure Pools SMART colour range.  This new colour range is available in 7 distinct colours and each has a spectacular sparkle finish.  The surface is smooth and as a result children and adults skin is not damaged by the pool surface.

Leisure Pools have made advancements in manufacturing technology with the release of the Leisure Pools Composite Armour™ swimming pool. This swimming pool has improved flexural and tensile strength enabling Leisure Pools to offer a Lifetime Structural Warranty and Lifetime Osmosis Warranty (see warranty for terms).  Lifetime warranty means not less than 35 years. These warranties are far superior to anything offered by above ground, vinyl liner and concrete pools.

As a fiberglass swimming pool is built off a mold the benefit is that the design schematic is exactly what the swimming pool is going to look like.  We hear so many customers complain about concrete pools after they have been built because the design is formed on site and in so many cases the design envisaged by the customer is not what is finally built by the concrete pool builder. With fiberglass swimming pools you know exactly the design and sizing enabling you to plan your backyard landscaping around that exact design.

One of the great advantages of a fiberglass swimming pool is the range of designs that are available. Leisure Pools offers a wide spectrum of designs to suit a variety of home architecture. Our designs are based off substantial market research to ascertain the various features and benefits customers are wanting from a swimming pool.

The Limitless™ – fiberglass swimming pool with built-in spa

Disadvantages of fiberglass pools

The first disadvantage of a fiberglass swimming pool is that the swimming pool needs to be transported via road to the home site so we are limited as to the dimensions of the swimming pool.  Our largest fiberglass swimming pool is 40’ (12 meters) and 16’ wide (4.8 meters).  If you want a swimming pool larger than this size then a concrete swimming pool is going to be your best option.  In truth however, 95% of swimming pools are less than 40’ (12 meters) in length.

The second disadvantage of fiberglass pools is if you are looking for a design that is not available from our range. Fiberglass swimming pools are built off a mold that is an expensive item to build.  Therefore, we are limited to the number of mold designs.   Leisure Pools undertakes extensive market research to ensure that we can offer a range of designs to suit 95% of customer requirements however if you are wanting a design that is a little out of the ordinary then you may need to consider concrete swimming pools.

In conclusion: what is the best type of swimming pool?

We firmly believe that the Leisure Pools composite fiberglass swimming pool is the best available swimming pool structure for 95% of customer requirements. We urge people on a budget to look at fiberglass before above ground and vinyl liner pools. Even if you need to wait a year to save up the difference in the long term both in terms of maintenance and increased value in your home it will be the best decision for you in the long run.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!