Ultimate Pool Type Showdown: Fiberglass or Concrete Pools [Featured Image]

Ultimate Pool Type Showdown: Fiberglass or Concrete Pools 

Poolie Team: May 20, 2024

Picture this: Backyard barbecues turn into pool parties, and pool floats become your new best friends.

But before the splashtastic fun begins, a key decision awaits: what kind of pool will transform your backyard into a staycation central?

Most homeowners choose between two popular pool options: fiberglass and concrete.

Fiberglass boasts a smooth, prefabricated shell for speedy installation, while concrete lets you design your dream pool from the ground up with all the bells and whistles.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of each to help you pick the perfect pool that best suits your backyard vision and budget.

All About Fiberglass Pools: An Overview

Fiberglass pools are one-piece or sectional shells constructed from strong, interwoven fiberglass strands and resin. This mix of materials creates a smooth, nonporous surface that’s easy to maintain.

Exploring the Benefits of Fiberglass Pools

Let’s explore the advantages of fiberglass pools.

Installation & Design

Forget waiting months for concrete to cure – fiberglass pools are pre-made beauties that can be installed in just weeks.

You don’t have to worry about construction delays, either. You wait for the manufacturer to ship the prefabricated fiberglass shells, watch the experts install them on-site, and dive right in. You could be hosting pool parties before your neighbors even break ground.

Fiberglass pools also come in all sorts of stylish options, so you won’t have to sacrifice looks for speed.

Durability & Longevity

Fiberglass pools boast sun-resistant strength. They can last 25-30 years with minimal cracking.

Maintenance & Hygiene

If you’re not fond of scrubbing and skimming, pick fiberglass. Its nonporous gel coat surface doesn’t give algae a fighting chance, making cleaning a breeze.

Fiberglass pools also require fewer chemicals during cleanup, so you can feel confident you’re swimming in healthier water—a win for you and the environment.

Cost Effectiveness

Don’t let the upfront cost fool you; fiberglass pools are budget-friendly in the long run.

Lower maintenance (thanks to the algae-resistant surface) and superior energy efficiency (they retain heat better) mean you’ll save on chemicals, cleaning, and heating costs over time.

Compatibility & Value

Fiberglass shines in saltwater systems. Its smooth surface means less chlorine, creating a gentler swim for eyes and skin. Fiberglass is also naturally compatible with salt chlorine generators.

The attractive fiberglass finish enhances a property’s curb appeal. It helps your house sell faster and contributes to a higher resale value.

Weighing the Drawbacks of Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools come with their own set of drawbacks, such as:

Size and Shape Limitations

Fiberglass pools have a variety of pre-formed shapes and designs, but they can’t be customized to fit your heart’s desires.

You can only select from pre-made pool models available from your installer.

Initial Costs

According to Forbes.com, fiberglass pools cost between $20,000 and $85,000, with an average of $52,500. If you decide to self-install the fiberglass shell, this amount goes down by about half since installing fiberglass pools is more labor-intensive.

Prices of fiberglass pools depend on the size, model, and add-on features you choose.

Aesthetic and Structural Concerns

Fiberglass shines in durability, but for those wanting a one-of-a-kind design, the prefabricated mold options might feel limiting.

Plus, flawless installation is crucial for fiberglass pools, as poor work or shifting ground can cause cracks and leaks.

Repair and Replacement Issues

If you need to fix up a fiberglass pool, DIY isn’t recommended. Repairs are complex and require specialized knowledge and materials, so you’d likely seek a professional.

Installation and Site Requirements

Prefabricated fiberglass pools demand meticulous planning beforehand.

Imagine a giant, pre-made shell arriving at your doorstep—it needs a clear path for delivery. Ensure your chosen installer can access your backyard easily, so you might have to remove fences or gates and even trim trees.

Underground utilities also need careful consideration to avoid disruptions during installation.

Consult a professional installer and ensure your yard can accommodate the prefabricated shell.

Everything You Need to Know About Concrete Pools

Did you know that most neighborhood pools and outdoor waterparks are made of concrete? It’s because this pool material is super strong and can take a beating year after year.

Enjoy the Perks of Concrete Pools

Take a quick look at the advantages of concrete pools.

Tailor-Made for Your Backyard

Concrete pools are the chameleons of the pool world, remarkable for their ability to fit perfectly into any backyard puzzle piece.

Dreaming of a lagoon-like escape, a classic rectangle, or a fabulous multi-level lagoon? Concrete can be shaped and molded to any design, transforming your backyard into a bespoke paradise.

Built to Last: The Strength of Concrete

Concrete is extremely durable. It withstands harsh weather conditions, from scorching summers to freezing winters.

If maintained properly, your concrete pool will become a cherished family legacy, lasting 50 years or more.

Designing Your Dream Pool Aesthetic

Concrete lets you customize your pool’s shape, size, depth, and finish.

Imagine any form – a geometric masterpiece with a Grecian or Roman design, a natural wonderland with a freeform shape and a beach entry, or even a modern statement piece like a plunge pool or rooftop retreat.

With colored finishes, mosaics, and custom features, your concrete pool can be made precisely how you envisioned it to be.

Adding Lasting Value to Your Home

Concrete pools are a good investment for your home. They make your house look nicer and increase its value. Their timeless design complements any architectural style, so the pool won’t look outdated if you decide to upgrade your garden, backyard features, or your house years later.

Concrete pools’ incredible durability minimizes major repairs for decades, lowering overall costs and potentially fetching a higher price tag when selling your home.

Fitting Any Landscape to Perfection

Does your property have uneven ground, a sloped landscape, or an oddly shaped space?

Concrete can be sculpted to fit seamlessly into any environment. This flexibility makes concrete pools perfect for cascading waterfalls, infinity edges that blend with the horizon, or multi-level designs.

Concrete pools turn challenging backyards into functional spaces, complementing the unique topography of your property.

Consider the Cons of Concrete Pools

Concrete pools are stunning and customizable but require more construction time and ongoing maintenance.

Longer Installation Period

Concrete pools take time to build. They require a multi-step construction process – involving excavation, plumbing installation, concrete pouring, curing time, and finishing touches – that can take several weeks.

While the anticipation builds, expect some disruption to your outdoor space.

Higher Maintenance Requirements

Concrete pools are stunning but are pretty high-maintenance. Their textured surface attracts algae, requiring frequent brushing (especially during peak use) to maintain a sparkling appearance.

Leaves can stain and harbor bacteria, so prompt skimming is essential.

Be prepared to invest time or hire a service to keep your concrete pool looking and feeling fresh.

Cost of Maintenance and Repairs

Concrete’s strength comes with a higher long-term cost.

Beyond initial materials, expect more frequent cleanings, chemical adjustments, and potential resurfacing (every 10-15 years) to maintain its beauty.

Repairs for cracks, though less common, can also be expensive.

Chemical Usage

Concrete’s porous surface acts like a sponge, constantly absorbing and releasing pool water. This can disrupt the delicate chemical balance needed for healthy, clear water.

Concrete also alters the water’s pH level (acidity/alkalinity) and calcium hardness.

Expect frequent water testing and adjustments to maintain proper chemistry in concrete pools. This might involve specialized test kits, professional consultations, and additional balancing chemicals.

Comfort and Safety

Concrete pool surfaces have excellent grip, which avoids slip-and-slide accidents. The trade-off, however, is that they can feel a bit rough on bare feet, especially for kiddos with delicate toes or adults with sensitive skin.

To keep everyone comfy, you might need to smooth out the surface occasionally with advanced cleaning techniques, like acid washing and bead blasting.

Just be aware that this smooth feeling might not last forever, so touch-ups could become part of your pool care routine.

Cost Comparison: Fiberglass vs. Concrete

Fiberglass and concrete pools differ in price. Understanding these costs will help you budget for your dream oasis.

Initial Costs and Long-Term Expenses

When computing pool build expenses, consider other factors beyond initial costs.


According to Fixr.com, fiberglass pools cost around $60,000. This is for a basic pre-finished 12×24-foot shell (with a price range of $10,000 to $19,000) and variable labor costs of $10,000 to $20,000.


On the other hand, expect to pay between $50,000 and $60,000 for a custom concrete 12×24-foot pool. This amount still varies based on the material chosen, such as cast-in-place concrete vs. gunite.

Fiberglass vs. Concrete: Cost Crossroads 

Fiberglass has a pre-finished surface and requires less labor, potentially offsetting a higher initial shell cost.

The concrete upfront cost might be slightly lower, but custom features can significantly increase the total build price.

Ultimately, choose the pool that best fits your budget now and in the future.

Maintenance and Upkeep: Fiberglass or Concrete

Fiberglass and concrete pools are both beautiful but require different maintenance.

Keeping Your Fiberglass Pool Sparkling

Fiberglass is somewhat low-maintenance.

Routine Cleaning

Fiberglass wins for easy cleaning. Their smooth, algae-resistant surface means less scrubbing and fewer chemicals.

Keeping your water crystal clear requires just a quick brush and skim.

Chemical Treatment

Fiberglass is consistent—it doesn’t react with pool chemicals the way other materials can, meaning your pool water’s pH and chemical levels stay more stable.

This translates to fewer chemical top-ups and a more straightforward maintenance routine.

General Upkeep

The gel coat provides a long-lasting shine, but watch for minor cracks or fading—a sign that it’s time for a professional touch-up.

The Nitty-Gritty of Concrete Pool Care

Concrete pools demand more attention.

Routine Cleaning

The porous surface of concrete pools means weekly brushing is essential to keep algae at bay and the water sparkling clean.

Chemical Treatment

Maintaining the delicate chemical balance of a concrete pool is an art form.

Regular water testing and balancing should be on your regular to-do’s because these tasks keep everyone’s swimming environment safe.

General Upkeep

Regular cleaning methods, such as resurfacing and acid washing, keep your concrete pool beautiful and functional for years.

Touch and Texture: Comparing Fiberglass and Concrete Pools

From safety and comfort to aesthetics, pool surface texture plays a big role. Let’s explore how fiberglass and concrete feel underfoot.

Fiberglass Pool Surfaces: Smooth Sailing or Slippery When Wet?

Fiberglass boasts a smooth, non-abrasive gel-coated surface, perfect for all ages.

It minimizes scrapes while providing sufficient grip for safe swimming – a winning combo for worry-free fun.

Concrete Pool Surfaces: Rough Around the Edges or Steady Footing?

In contrast, concrete pool surfaces lend themselves to a more textured feel.

Its superior grip is ideal for slip prevention. However, the textured surface can be rough on bare feet, and wear and tear can exacerbate this coarseness. When this happens, resurfacing brings back the pool’s beauty.

The Climate Factor: Which Pool Stands Up to Your Weather?

Each material performs differently in various climates. Understanding these factors will help you choose the pool that thrives with your local weather.

Assessing Fiberglass Pools in Various Climates

Fiberglass pools can withstand most climates. Their nonporous surface resists freeze-thaw cracks in cold weather, while the gel coat reflects UV rays in hot climates, preventing fading.

Weighing Concrete Pools Against the Elements

Concrete pools withstand most weather, but they need special attention. They’re more prone to cracking in cold climates and require frequent cleaning in hot weather due to algae growth and potential UV damage.

Ultimately, the choice between a fiberglass or concrete pool in terms of weather resistance will depend on the specific conditions of your region.

The Best Splash for Your Cash: Fiberglass and Concrete Pool Costs Compared

Building a pool feels like navigating uncharted waters, especially for first-timers.

But now that you’ve explored the pros and cons of fiberglass and concrete pools, let’s review these decision points to help you choose the best option for your backyard.

Fiberglass Pools: Quick, Clean, and Cost-Efficient

Fiberglass wins for fast installation and gets you swimming sooner.

The smooth, nonporous surface fights algae, reducing cleaning and chemical use. While they are pricier upfront, long-term maintenance savings make them financially attractive.

Fiberglass pools are durable, work with most systems, and can boost property value despite the limited size and design options.

Concrete Pools: Customized, Classic, and Climate Resilient

Concrete lets you design your dream pool in any shape or size. These classic beauties offer a variety of finishes and weather resistance.

While the upfront cost is lower, expect more maintenance and potential resurfacing or repair needs down the line. However, concrete’s design flexibility and ability to fit uneven spaces make it a strong contender for many homeowners.

Fiberglass vs. Concrete: Choose Your Splash Wisely

Budget, maintenance, and climate all play a role.

Fiberglass offers faster installation, lower long-term costs, and a smooth surface, but with limited design options.

Concrete allows you to customize your dream pool. This material is very durable but requires more pool maintenance and might crack in cold climates. Consider how the pool will fit your lifestyle and local weather.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Whether you prefer a low-maintenance fiberglass oasis or a fully customized concrete creation, pick the pool that brings you years of worry-free enjoyment.

Ready for a Splash of Excellence? 

Poolie has maintained numerous fiberglass and concrete pools for years, so we understand why you’re having trouble choosing between them.

But once you’ve decided on the material for your dream pool, call Poolie about our dedicated maintenance plans.

At Poolie, it’s not just about taking care of your pools. We focus on building relationships and creating delightful poolside experiences.

Fill out the form below to discuss your vision. Share your past experiences (good or bad).

Our Poolie team listens attentively and creates a unique routine just for your fiberglass or concrete pool. We understand your needs – no pressure or pushy sales, just genuine care and a commitment to excellence.

Let’s create your perfect pool experience. Submit the form and dive into your dream pool with Poolie.

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