Whether used for relaxation, entertainment, or exercise, a swimming pool is a long-term investment that is sure to provide years of enjoyment for the owner. Because a pool can last as long as a house if it is properly installed and cared for, choosing the material is an important part of the process, and the first decision that must be made. While concrete is perhaps the most traditional option, pool owners looking to go another direction can choose between fiberglass and vinyl.
In regard to the building process, both materials are significantly simpler than going the concrete route, since neither involve any building on-site. Fiberglass pools are delivered in a pre-designed shell, and as such are simply dropped in one piece via crane once the appropriate space is created in the yard. Vinyl liner pools, on the other hand, arrive as packages; after the wall is built, the vinyl liners are installed. Overall, the process for each material could be done in anywhere from one to three weeks.
Without a doubt, vinyl liner pools will almost invariably be the cheapest material when it comes to installation costs alone. A standard vinyl pool could range anywhere from $7,000 to $16,000 depending on the size and contractor, while a comparable fiberglass pool is likely to be at least $15,000 and as much as $25,000 for the higher end models. Because of the added maintenance with a vinyl pool, however, over the life of the pool, users will spend less money with fiberglass.
Fiberglass pools have a big edge on vinyl liner pools when it comes to aesthetic appeal. Whereas a fiberglass pool can be virtually any color imaginable, a vinyl liner pool usually has a basic, uniform appearance. On the other hand, vinyl liner pools are easier to build in any shape or style, while most fiberglass pools only come in a few standard shapes, such as round or rectangular. However, some fiberglass contractors now offer more flexibility in customizing the shape of a fiberglass shell.
The biggest reason fiberglass pools came into popularity in the first place was due to the lack of maintenance required, especially when compared to the porous nature of concrete. Fiberglass is strong and durable, and due to the nature of the material, inhibits the growth of algae very effectively. As it also has the ability to expand and contract during temperature changes, it is less susceptible to cracking. Vinyl liner pools are noted for their stain resistant surface, but owners will need to replace the liners once every 10 years at the very least.
Because vinyl liner pools require more care and maintenance over the long term, fiberglass pools typically are thought to have better resell value since they hold up better over time. While a fiberglass pool is almost always likely to add value to a home, a vinyl pool that has liners in need of replacing or is otherwise in disrepair could be a problem for a potential buyer, who may request the pool be repaired before any agreement is reached.
- Photo Credit in pool image by Svetlana Kashkina from Fotolia.com
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