Which Type of Pool Should You Choose – Concrete or Vinyl Liner?

Are you making decisions about putting an inground pool in your yard? If so, you’re looking at all of the options. The two that are probably at the top of your list, because of their popularity and great reviews, are concrete and vinyl. Both have advantages as well as disadvantages, and you’ll want to carefully consider everything before making a decision. In this article, we wanted to give you a quick guide with the pros and cons of each so you can have all the facts in order to choose  the right option for you.

Concrete Pools

First, let’s find out what a concrete pool is actually made of. There’s a lot to it, but we’re going to boil it down for you.

How are Concrete Pools Made?

A concrete pool shell is actually created by spraying either gunite or shotcrete. Gunite is a dry mix with water in the sprayer, whereas shotcrete is already wet. The two methods produce the same result and have no significant difference in quality if done correctly. After the concrete is sprayed on, it needs time to harden and strengthen. This process is called curing and takes up to 28 days in some instances.

Pool builders frame the concrete in a web of steel to prevent cracking. The steel and concrete together create a solid structure that can bend and flex to withstand forces of water, earth, and gravity.

Pros of a Concrete Pool

The main advantages of a concrete pool are in appearance because it is customizable. You can be very creative in the design of a concrete pool by incorporating many different features and it can be any size or shape. 

  • Concrete pools can be any size, shape, or depth
  • Lots of latitude in design with vanishing edges, beach entries, tanning ledges
  • Durability
  • Classic appearance
  • No worries about a liner bubbling or separating
  • With routine maintenance, no staining or algae

Cons of a Concrete Pool

As you have probably guessed, there are some disadvantages to a concrete pool, primarily in the upfront cost, but also in requiring more effort to maintain, more chemical usage, a rough interior surface, and a longer installation process.

High lifetime costs

Concrete pools need to be renovated every 10 – 20 years. This involves resurfacing and re-tiling at costs of up to and over $5,000. This is a wide price range but it depends on the size of the pool, and the contractor.

Maintenance and chemical use

Concrete pools require more chemicals and routine maintenance because the concrete is permeable. The plaster reacts to the water increasing the pH levels. Therefore, more chemical is needed to keep it balanced and to stop algae. Over the lifetime of the pool, this is costly. More time spent in regular maintenance like brooming or sweeping and scrubbing is also required. Typically, the average maintenance time per week is 4-5 hours.

Longer installation time

Because of the build process, unpredictable weather, concrete swimming pools usually take 6 to 8 weeks. 

Electrical use

Water needs to circulate for multiple hours per day to prevent buildup and algae growth, which requires more electrical use than a vinyl liner.

Vinyl Liner Pool

You may know that vinyl liner pools have a lower initial cost than concrete, but did you also know that vinyl pools also can be made with a customizable shape.

How are Vinyl Pools Made?

Vinyl liner pools have a custom-made sheet of vinyl between the water and pool walls and floor. Vinyl liners typically lock their top edge, called a bead, into a track located on the bottom of the coping at the deck level. 

Pros of a Vinyl Liner Pool

There are several advantages to a vinyl liner pool, the biggest is in the upfront costs.

Low initial cost

Vinyl liner pools have the lowest initial cost of any type of inground pool.

Non-abrasive surface

The vinyl liner material is smooth to the touch.

Algae growth

The vinyl material is relatively non-porous, so it inhibits algae growth on the main wall surfaces.

Regular maintenance

Maintenance is less than a concrete pool, usually taking about 2-3 hours a week.

Cons of a Vinyl Liner Pool

One of the main disadvantages of a vinyl liner pool is that, even though the initial costs are lower than a concrete pool, the ongoing costs over time are more.

Greater lifetime expense

On average, a vinyl liner can last about 10 years at a replacement expense of at least $2,500-$3,500 and the cost of water.

Can be damaged with misuse or abuse

Liners, if not properly taken care of, can punctured by pets and sharp objects. A liner is  about 20-30 mil thick, which is the width of a few sheets of paper. A severe hole or tear could pose a big expense.

Warranties are minimal

Many vinyl liner manufacturers have limited warranties. Always inquire about the warranty prior to considering installing a liner pool.

Algae

You can get an algae buildup in vinyl liner pool seams, requiring more maintenance and chemicals. 

Built-in features

Built-in features such as steps and seating are optional and cost extra. 

Resale of home

A vinyl liner may hinder you when selling your home if the liner is more than 4 years old. Potential buyers could consider that it may need replacing sooner than later. So, the premium you want for your pool may not be as high as you would like.

What Pool is the Best Decision for You?

Prestige Pools hopes this information is helpful to you as you make a decision between a concrete and vinyl liner swimming pool. As you can see each type has its advantages and disadvantages. 

To summarize, if you want a truly customized pool and don’t mind the upfront cost and time required for installation, choose the concrete pool. Just realize you will need several months for the project to be completed. Additionally, there is a bit more expense in the chemicals and electricity needed with this pool.

If you want a pool with less upfront cost, a shorter time for installation, a smoother surface, and less time spent on weekly maintenance, go with the vinyl liner pool. Though not fully customizable, there are plenty of options available for sizes and shapes. Over time, you will need to replace the liner, so you will incur additional expense there.

Contact Us for Custom Pool Options!

At Prestige Pools, we provide custom concrete and vinyl pools that can fulfill your vision of that beautiful backyard place of fun and respite. Call us today to learn more about our selections and how we can help you create the pool of your dreams!