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Choosing the Best Pool Type: Fiberglass vs. Vinyl vs. Concrete Pools

When it comes to choosing the ideal type of pool for your home, you have three main options: fiberglass pools, vinyl pools and concrete pools. Each of these pool types has its pros and cons, which you should carefully consider before making a decision. By weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each type, you can make an informed choice that best suits your needs and budget.

Main Takeaways

When choosing between a concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl pool, there are several factors to consider. The initial cost of the pool including installation, the maintenance and refinishing costs, how difficult it is to take care of, what shape and style you like and how big it should be.

  • Concrete pools offer a highly customizable option but are costly and difficult to maintain.

  • Fiberglass pools offer the easiest to maintain and are good if you want a pool that’s strong and will last a long time. Fiberglass can have limited design options.

  • Vinyl pools are good budget option. The upfront cost is lower and the designs are customizable. Ongoing costs are high with the need to replace the liners periodically.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pool

When deciding on a swimming pool in Canada, keep these factors in mind:

  • Initial Cost: How much can you spend on getting the pool installed?

  • Long-Term Cost: Think about durability and expenses over time when comparing pool options.

  • Maintenance: Consider how much upkeep different pool types need.

  • Shape and Style: Do you have a specific design or features in mind for your pool?

  • Size: Ensure the pool’s dimensions fit well in your backyard.

Concrete Pools Explained

Concrete pools are constructed using a mixture of cement and sand called shotcrete, which is sprayed onto a steel frame to create the desired pool shape.


Once set, a cement plaster is applied for a decorative finish. These pools typically start at a budget of $55,000 or more.

Pros of Concrete Pools

  • Durability: Concrete pools are sturdy and resistant to damage from sharp objects, ensuring long-lasting use.


  • Flexibility: You have the creative freedom to design concrete pools in various shapes and sizes to fit your preferences.


  • Longevity: Concrete pools can endure for up to 20 years, although refinishing or resurfacing is needed periodically.

Cons of Concrete Pools

  • Initial Cost: Installing concrete pools is typically the most expensive option, involving concrete pouring.


  • Long-Term Cost: Maintenance cost are high involving resurfacing every 4-7 years.


  • Chemical Use: Concrete pools require the most chemicals to maintain the pool. Salt water systems are not optimal for concrete pools.

Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools are manufactured by crafting a finished fiberglass shell, which is then placed in a professionally excavated site.

These pools are created off-site and transported to the residence.

To prevent the fiberglass shell from bending, the surrounding area is filled with sand while water is added to the pool.

The cost of fiberglass pools in Toronto generally differs depending on the size and shape.

Pros of Fiberglass Pools

  • Longevity: Fiberglass pools boast an impressive lifespan of 25 years or more, requiring minimal maintenance over the decades.


  • Smooth Surface: The naturally smooth surface of fiberglass provides a sleek look and feel in contrast to the more textured appearance of concrete pools.


  • Chemical Use: Maintaining the chemical balance of a fiberglass pool is cost-effective and less time-consuming. These pools are non-reactive and typically demand fewer chemicals compared to other pool types.


  • Cost: Due to their low maintenance requirements, fiberglass pools are often the most cost-effective option in the long run.


  • Rapid Installation: Installing a fiberglass pool can be completed in under one week. These pools arrive pre-made in their designated shapes and can be placed directly into the prepared hole in your yard, typically requiring heavy machinery for positioning.

Cons of Fiberglass Pools

  • Limited Shape Options: Since fiberglass shells are constructed off-site, customization options for shape and design are limited.

If you prioritize customization, fiberglass pools may not be the ideal choice, as they come in a predetermined range of shapes and styles.

  • Smaller Size: Fiberglass pools are generally smaller  on average compared to concrete and vinyl pools, as they need to be pre-constructed and transported to the site.

Vinyl Pools Explained

Vinyl pools are constructed by creating a frame within a suitably shaped hole in the ground and then adding wall panels and a flexible vinyl liner.


The vinyl liner has seams that align with the pool’s shape. Vinyl pools are the most economical option, with prices typically ranging from $25,000 to $35,000.

Advantages of Vinyl Pools

  • Cost-Efficiency: Vinyl pools are the most budget-friendly pool choice. The affordability of vinyl material, coupled with relatively straightforward installation, makes them the most cost-effective option in terms of initial expenses.


  • Size and Shape Flexibility: Vinyl pools are assembled on-site, offering virtually limitless possibilities for customizing the pool’s size and shape according to your preferences.


  • Smooth Surface: Unlike concrete pools, which can have a rough surface unless smoothed, vinyl pools provide a non-abrasive surface. If you prefer a smoother and less natural feel, vinyl pools are an excellent choice.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Pools

  • Limited Lifespan: Vinyl pool liners are relatively thin, resulting in reduced durability. They typically require replacement every 5 to 9 years.


  • Susceptibility to Damage: Vinyl liners are prone to punctures and tears, making them vulnerable to damage from even minor objects or debris. Vinyl liner pools are not good for pets.


The pressure of the pool water can also cause liners to tear.


  • Long-Term Costs: Over the lifetime of the pool, vinyl can become the most expensive option due to ongoing maintenance and replacement expenses.


Frequent repairs are often necessary, and repairing liner sections may require partial pool drainage.


Additionally, the liner must be completely replaced every 5-9 years, which is relatively short compared to fiberglass and concrete pools.


Selecting the ideal pool type among fiberglass, vinyl, and concrete pools ultimately depends on your individual preferences.


Each pool type offers its advantages and disadvantages, catering to different requirements.


Ultimately, your choice should align with your budget, long-term considerations, maintenance expectations, and the desire for personalization.

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