Split image of a fiberglass pool next to a concrete pool

Expert Guide to Fiberglass vs Concrete Pools

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When it comes to selecting a pool for your backyard haven, the range of different options are primarily centered around fiberglass and concrete pools.

Fiberglass pools, known for their smooth surface courtesy of the gel coating, and lower maintenance costs, are a popular choice. Their pre-molded structure allows for a relatively quick installation time and presents fewer challenges concerning algae growth due to their nonporous surfaces.

Concrete pools, on the other hand, offer unique design flexibility, allowing for an exclusive, customized site-built pool. They provide more extensive design options but usually come with higher maintenance requirements and installation costs.

Let’s discuss what it’s like to own a fiberglass and concrete pool in terms of installation, cost, maintenance, durability, design options, and more.

Swimming pool under construction. Installation plastic fiberglass pool in the ground at house backyard

Deep Dive on Fiberglass Pools

When contemplating an in-ground pool for your backyard, fiberglass pools are certainly an option worth considering.

Fiberglass Benefits

  • Pre-Fabricated Design: Molded from fiberglass-reinforced plastic into a basin shape, the pool shell arrives at your home as a single, pre-fabricated unit, ready for installation.
  • Smooth Gel Coat Surface: The nonporous gel coat surface is smooth to the touch, making it less likely for algae to infiltrate and resistant to stains, ensuring it retains its charm over time.
  • Low Pool Maintenance: Due to the smooth surface and resistance to stains and algae, fiberglass pools have lower maintenance costs and are easier to clean.
  • Quick Installation: The pre-built pool shell only needs to be set into the ground and connected to the plumbing and filtration system, significantly reducing installation time compared to concrete pools.
  • Durability: Fiberglass pools are highly durable and resistant to cracks and damage, ensuring long-lasting enjoyment.
  • Cost-Effective: The combination of low maintenance, durability, and quick installation makes fiberglass pools a cost-effective choice for pool owners.
  • Stable Water Chemistry: The gel coating on fiberglass pools is non-reactive, leading to steadier pH levels and saving on chemicals and time spent balancing pool water.


Fiberglass Limitations

  • Limited Customization Options: The pre-made nature of fiberglass pools limits customization options, restricting the sizes, shapes, and depths available. Essentially, you have to choose among the designs and sizes offered by the fiberglass pool manufacturers, which can be particularly limiting for homeowners with specific design ideas. 
  • Upfront Cost: Fiberglass pools require a substantial upfront investment due to the single hefty purchase of the pool shell. However, this initial cost can be offset by the lower maintenance costs and fewer repairs needed over time.
  • Design Constraints: Homeowners with unique or specific design preferences might find the standardized options of fiberglass pools less appealing.
  • Installation Limitations: The pre-fabricated shell must fit into your available space, which can be a constraint if your yard has irregular dimensions or limited access.

To sum up, fiberglass pools shine in many areas, notably quick installation, lesser maintenance efforts, and a friendlier equilibrium with water chemistry. However, they can be limiting if you have distinct, unique design plans for your pool.

Pool and Spa with a decorative spillover surrounded by beautiful landscaping

Concrete Pools: A Solid Choice

Concrete pools, also known as gunite pools, are time-honored favorites in the pool world, owing to their design flexibility and durability.

Concrete Benefits

  • Design Flexibility: Concrete pools offer unmatched design options, allowing for custom sizes, unique shapes, and water features that cater to your unique vision.
  • Variety of Finishes: Once the concrete is cured, you can choose from various finishing options such as plaster, paint, tiles, or exposed aggregate, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your swimming pool.
  • Durability: Concrete pools are highly durable and can withstand the test of time, providing a long-lasting centerpiece for your backyard.
  • Customization Options: The ability to incorporate unique design elements and custom features makes concrete pools an attractive choice for homeowners seeking a personalized pool experience.
  • Long-Term Investment: Despite the higher initial investment and longer installation time, concrete pools offer enduring value and can significantly enhance your property’s overall appeal and functionality.


Concrete Limitations

  • Higher Initial Cost: Concrete pools generally require a substantial upfront investment compared to fiberglass pools.
  • Longer Installation Time: The concrete pool construction process, including erecting a steel framework, spraying the concrete mixture, and applying finishes, takes significantly longer than fiberglass pool installation.
  • Labor-Intensive Process: Building a concrete pool involves considerable time and labor, adding to the overall cost and complexity.
  • Higher Maintenance Costs: The porous nature of concrete surfaces can lead to higher maintenance costs due to the need for frequent algae-busting chemicals and rigorous brushing. Over time, the concrete may require resurfacing, introducing an additional cost for the long haul.
  • Energy Consumption: Concrete pools demand more energy to keep clean and warm, resulting in higher utility bills.
  • Algae and Bacteria Growth: The porous surface of concrete pools provides an environment where algae and bacteria can thrive, necessitating more frequent and intensive cleaning to maintain a healthy swimming environment.

Concrete pools offer unmatched design flexibility, allowing you to create a truly custom pool experience. While they do necessitate a substantial initial investment and regular maintenance, for many homeowners, the opportunity to manifest their unique vision weighs heavier than these potential downsides.

Infographic for Net Positive Pools about the differences between concrete and fiberglass pools.

Head-to-Head Fiberglass vs Concrete Pools

Overall Costs

Fiberglass pools typically have lower installation costs due to their pre-fabricated nature, quicker installation, and reduced labor requirements throughout their lifetime.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintenance costs for a fiberglass pool are typically lower as the gel-coat finish is durable, algae-resistant, and doesn’t affect the water chemistry. However, concrete pools require more chemicals, more cleaning, and possibly acid washing or even resurfacing down the line, making it a costlier option in the long run.

Longevity and Warranty

While both pool types offer longevity, with a concrete pool, you might face some renovation work after 10-15 years. Fiberglass pools, in contrast, offer excellent warranties and are known for their longevity, with the gel coating lasting 20-30 years.

Material Durability

Concrete pools are more durable than fiberglass pools due to their robust construction, which can withstand extensive use and environmental factors over many decades. However, fiberglass pools still offer substantial durability with less maintenance, making them a reliable option for those seeking a balance between durability and ease of upkeep.

Flexibility in Design and Customization

Concrete pools get a win here. While you select a model with fiberglass pools, for a concrete pool, the design possibilities are limitless.

Pool Surface

A fiberglass pool has a smooth surface that is gentle on the feet while concrete pools might feel abrasive to touch, so this one really depends on personal preference.

While the fiberglass pool does take up the lead in several areas like easier maintenance, quicker installation, and cost-effectiveness over time, the aesthetics and creative freedom provided by a concrete pool is what many homeowners value.

Luxury exterior design in living room of pool villas. Airy and bright space with high raised ceiling and wooden dining table

Making an Informed Decision with Net Positive Pools

Now that we’ve explored both fiberglass and concrete pools, understand that the decision largely depends on your preference. Whether it’s design flexibility, lower maintenance, or durability that you prioritize, the right choice between a fiberglass and concrete pool will hinge on what you value most for your backyard oasis.

At Net Positive Pool Services, our pool builders are here to assist you in your pool journey from conception to construction and beyond.

As experts in the field, we understand that maintaining the pool can be a daunting task for many homeowners. Our range of services, from acid wash, filter cleaning, and equipment repairs, to our weekly maintenance program, serves to alleviate the burden of pool care. We offer full-service and chemical-only options to cater to different needs.

Servicing various locations such as Huntersville, NC, Greenville, SC, Statesville, NC, York County, SC, and Charleston, SC, Net Positive Pools is truly your one-stop shop for all your pool needs. We’re more than ready to assist you in purchasing, installing, and maintaining an inground pool according to your preference and lifestyle.

We understand that deciding between different types of pools is a big decision. Both have unique advantages and considerations. Whatever your choice, trust Net Positive Pool Services to be there every step of the way to ensure you and your family can enjoy your new pool, stress-free. Contact us today for any pool service needs.