Concrete vs. Vinyl vs. Fiberglass: Comparing the Most Popular Swimming Pool Materials on 7 Specific Points

Having a swimming pool in your yard can bring a lot of additional enjoyment to your property. But swimming pools are a big investment not only in terms of money, but also time, and maintenance. So, it’s important to review the options on the market so you can choose the right type of swimming pool for you.

One of those choices involves the material the swimming pool is made from. There are three basic types of swimming pools today: concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. Each has its positive and negative attributes that you’ll need to weigh in order to make the best decision about which one is right for your family.

We’ve broken down those materials based on information taken from our swimming pool cost guides, and have compiled that info into an easy to read graphic that can help you more easily compare the three.

Each of the three materials was ranked on a scale of 1 - 5, with a score of 5 being the most desirable for a category and a score of 1 being the least. Each material was ranked on 7 different attributes - durability, maintenance (ease of), installation (speed and ease), cost, available depths, available shapes, and available sizes.

Each material was then given a total score made up of the scores given to the separate factors. The higher than a swimming pool material ranked, the better that material rates overall. As you can see, concrete scores the highest at 27, with vinyl following at 22, and fiberglass bringing up the rear at 20. And while a high score like that of concrete definitely tells you that this is a highly rated material for pools, you need to see the full picture to really determine which one will be right for you.

Interesting Items of Note in the Visualization

While some findings from the visualization are fairly straight forward - concrete is easily the most costly, coming in at $60,000 on average, while vinyl is the least expensive at $37,000 and vinyl is the easiest to install while concrete is the most difficult - there are some other interesting things to take away from this graphic as well.

First, is that while fiberglass seems middle of the road in terms of installation, cost ($50,000), and durability, it outranks both other materials in terms of maintenance. Furthermore, it’s easy to see that in terms of customizability - the ability to have a pool in your choice of shape, size, and depth, concrete is truly the best option, while fiberglass provides you with the fewest options. This is due to the way the material is made; concrete can be poured into any mold, while fiberglass shells have to be within a certain size for transport. In this case, vinyl appears to be the middle option, with a few more variables for depth, shape, and size than fiberglass, but without the endless ability to customize that concrete offers. Again, this is partly due to construction, as a vinyl liner can conform to more shapes than a fiberglass shell.

What you can take away from this, is the choice of what’s most important to you in a pool. If it’s maintenance, than choosing fiberglass may be the better choice. If, however, you need a specific shape and size of pool, concrete is the answer, and if costs and speed of getting the pool into the ground are utmost for you, then vinyl is the clear choice.

Weigh the Options

Graphics like this one can help you better understand and compare the different attributes of many materials at one time. For items like swimming pools, which all have a lot of different factors to consider, graphics can help you make better sense of each one. You can now identify what attributes matter the most to you, and where each one ranks in relation to the others. Take the time to understand the different materials on offer, and choose the right one for your home and family every time.