If your house has a considerable outdoor space and your region experiences an extended summer season, you may already be thinking about building a pool. Having a pool in your house is nothing short of a blessing. It lets you beat the heat every day and without going anywhere and breaking your bank.
Also, a poolside area becomes an excellent instant venue for outdoor get-togethers of family and friends, and a well-made and well-maintained pool adds up to the curb appeal of your house as well.
In short, a pool is an excellent addition to any house. However, the question is, which one? We have above-ground as well as inground types. For all those who are not planning to move soon and want a usable poolside area in their outdoors, an inground pool is an uncontested winner.
Inground pools also give a cleaner, free-flowing, and spacious look to the given space since they are grounded within the surface and don’t obstruct the line of sight.
But knowing that you need an inground pool in your house alone doesn’t cut it. You also need to choose between the different types of inground pool options that are available out there.
In this piece, we are going to have a comparative discussion about vinyl liner, fiberglass, and concrete inground pools. We will discuss their benefits as well as downsides and leave it you to decide which is the best inground pool for your residence.
Fiberglass Inground Pools
Fiberglass is one of the most significant material inventions of the last century. It is a combination of plastic that is reinforced by glass fiber to offer better and more beneficial features than regular plastic. Due to its strength, lightweight, and corrosion/stain resistance, it has become a popular construction material.
This popularity is also the reason why fiberglass has become of the leading material for the construction of inground pools. Let’s have a look at the benefits and downsides of a fiberglass inground pool.
Benefits of Fiberglass Inground Pools
There are several benefits of opting for a fiberglass pool for your home.
Ease of Installation
Fiberglass construction pieces are readymade. This means the fiberglass shell for your inground pool will come in one piece, and it won’t take more than two days to install the fiberglass pool through and through. No extensive masonry work is required for the installation of a fiberglass pool. However, you need to ascertain that a ditch for the exact shell dimensions has been prepared beforehand.
Minimum Maintenance Requirements
This is perhaps the one area where fiberglass inground pools remain unmatched and offer better value than traditional (concrete/gunite) inground pools. The main reason why fiberglass makes for low-maintenance pools is the material’s non-porosity. Fiberglass pools feating a coating of gel coat, which is a composite resin of thermosetting polymers and polyesters.
Gel coat finishing gives fiberglass pools a lustrous and non-porous finishing. How this non-porous characteristic makes them low-maintenance? Let’s find out.
Less Algae Buildup
For starters, fiberglass pools experience lighter algae infestation due to their non-porosity. This means you don’t need to run chemicals in your pool every other day to get rid of the slimy green unwanted guests occupying the walls of your pool.
Also, the algae that develop on fiberglass pools have a shallow presence because the pool surface doesn’t provide it the micropores for penetrating deep into the pool walls. This means you can deal with algae with less use of chemicals and manual cleaning.
No pH Consequences
Top-quality fiberglass is an inert material that doesn’t react to the things it comes in contact with. This means you don’t have to empty the bottles and bottles of muriatic acid to lower the pH of your pool water. It is usually a regular maintenance requirement in concrete pools because gunite is an overall alkaline substance and thus keeps on increasing the pH of the pool water.
Higher Compatibility with Salt Systems
Salt system has emerged as a convenient, harmless, and effective alternative of traditional chlorination of the pool. Instead of using the harsh chlorine-containing chemicals, you use a salt system with a cell that only breaks down the salt into chlorine and sodium when your pool requires it. This minimizes your skin exposure to the excess of chlorine and results in minimal irritation, redness, and rashes.
However, the salt system doesn’t go well will all types of inground pools. For instance, the constant exposure of salt can set off erosion on the concrete surfaces. Similarly, salt is an enemy of metal that is abundantly used in vinyl pools in the forms of coping sticks and wall panels. In contrast, the non-reactive (inert) nature of fiberglass makes its pools an automatic choice for salt systems.
A fiberglass pool can take many shapes, colors, and forms. You can have your inground pool in many unusual geometric shapes and with exotic finishes by using fiberglass. Also, working on the visual details of fiberglass doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money.
Resale Option Is Always Open
If you want to sell your existing pool for any reason, you can only do that if you have a fiberglass pool. Concrete pools don’t give you this option in any way. Meanwhile, vinyl liner pools require liner replacements after a couple of years of use. As a buyer, you would prefer to buy a brand new vinyl liner pool instead of saving some bucks on a second-hand item that needs a liner replacement.
Downsides of Fiberglass Pool
While offering so many benefits, fiberglass inground pools also come with some downsides. Let’s look at them, as well.
Poor Installation Can Mess Up Your Pool for Good
Fiberglass pools come as a readymade shell. Therefore, you need to make sure that the hole you are digging for the pool to sit in is accurate. We would recommend you not to consider it a DIY project. Hire a professional contractor that has enough experience in making foundations of inground pools.
Otherwise, you may end up with a pool that may not look like what you want.
You can only go to a certain extent with fiberglass inground pools when it comes to size. If you are looking to build a large pool in a particular size, you may not find a fiberglass shell that fulfills your dimensional requirements.
Cost of Having a Fiberglass Inground Pool
The cost of having a fiberglass pool in your front lawn or backyard can vary from $5,000 to $40,000. It depends on the size and quality of the material you are investing in. This includes the cost of excavation, backfill, fiberglass shell, and its installation.
Concrete Inground Pools
For many people, inground pools and concrete pools are the same. Concrete has been used to make pools since the beginning of modern construction practices. It continues to be the most used material for inground pool construction due to its various benefits.
Advantages of Concrete Inground Pool
Durability like None Other
Concrete pools exhibit a level of durability that you can’t find anywhere else. When you construct a concrete pool, you have it for the lifetime. Without needing any major touchups, a concrete pool can keep on offering you utility for decades.
Unlimited Design Options
With concrete pools, you can let your creativity run wild. A good concrete construction contractor can incorporate every imaginable design detail to your pool. Whether it is the floor or the walls or the steps, you have a maximum room of customization with a concrete pool.
A Solid Value Addition to Your House
A concrete pool increases the value of your property in tangible terms. This means you can ask and eventually get a higher price of your house if it features a concrete pool. It has been estimated that a 14×28 pool can add up to 8% to the estate value of your home.
Downsides of a Concrete Inground Pool
The longevity, customization, and value addition of a concrete inground also have a flipside.
Concrete pools are high-maintenance. They develop algae fast and deep, and therefore, you need to be more hands-on with your maintenance routine. Also, you have to use a higher amount of algae exterminating and cleaning chemicals due to the porous nature of the concrete surface that soaks up a lot of those chemicals.
Higher Upfront Cost
Concrete pools require you to spend a big chunk of your savings. It is a full-fledged construction project and hence consumes expenses in equal terms. The cost of a concrete pool looks even higher when one compares them with a fiberglass pool. Even for a standard size concrete pool with not too many customized features, you may have to spend north of $50,000.
Not for Salt Water
If you want to use a saltwater or a salt system in your pool, then concrete might not be a good bargain. Salt and cement are not a good match in the long run. You may not notice it in the beginning, but the use of saltwater in a concrete pool will shorten its operating life and will increase your maintenance cost.
A Time-Consuming Project
Unlike other pool options, a concrete pool has to be constructed rather than installed, and hence it takes time to get into its final and finished form. Any good construction contractor won’t give you less than six weeks’ estimate to build a top-quality concrete pool.
Cost of Having a Concrete Inground Pool
The bare construction of a concrete pool can linger anywhere between $40,000 to $75,000, depending on the pool size, material selection, and the name of the contractor. Then you also need to factor in the cost of the landscaping and fencing required around a concrete pool. It might cost you 20-30% of the pool construction expenses.
Vinyl Liner Inground Pools
Vinyl liner pools, as the name suggests, are made of the vinyl lining. However, it is not the only component of those pools. You have to work with wall panels, coping beams, and a vermiculate or grout base to set up a vinyl liner pool.
Advantages of a Vinyl Liner Inground Pool
There are a couple of benefits you can look forward to with a vinyl liner pool.
A Cost-Saving Option
Among all the inground pool options we have discussed, a vinyl liner pool will cost you the least.
For All Spaces
Even if you don’t have a large outdoors, you can still have a vinyl liner pool. Since it doesn’t come in a prefabricated shell, you can easily set the size of your pool in line with the available space.
A Good Temporary Option
If you are looking for a small pool for your kids for a couple of years, vinyl liner pools offer the best value.
Downsides of a Vinyl Liner Inground Pool
The cost-effectiveness of a vinyl liner pool comes at a cost.
The major downside of a vinyl liner pool is its high maintenance cost over a long period. You have to spend thousands of dollars on vinyl replacement every 5 to 6 years. In the long run, this recurrent expense will balance anything that you have saved with its upfront cost.
Too Many Things to Take Care of
As mentioned earlier, a vinyl lining pool is made of a lot of components, which makes maintenance difficult. It takes a lot of effort to keep a regularly used vinyl liner pool in a pristine condition: protecting the vinyl from getting punctured, saving the wall panel from corrosion, and making sure the vermiculate base doesn’t come off.
Cost of Having a Vinyl Liner Inground Pool
You can have a vinyl liner pool of any size with top-quality material and components within $60,000.
After reading the comparative reviews above, you may have come to your own conclusion regarding the best inground pool for your home. Nonetheless, we will wrap up this article by giving you a quick summary of the best uses for all the inground pools that we have discussed here.
Fiberglass inground pools are the best: if you are working with a moderate budget and looking for long-lasting use and don’t want a pool that eats into your free time with its maintenance requirements.
Concrete inground pools are the best: if you have a good amount of money to spare (somewhere around $75,000) and also want to add value to the estate with a customized pool construction
Vinyl lining inground pools is the best: if you are tight on budget or want a temporary home pool for a couple of years.
Related – The Best Above Ground Pools This Year