Vinyl Pools Vs. Fiberglass Pools: The Truth, Not The Sales Pitch
Fiberglass pool manufacturers and salespeople have been trying to compete with vinyl pools for decades. The superior value of vinyl pools has made this an uphill battle. Over the years several myths have made their way around the internet and into the sales pitches of some fiberglass pool companies. Here we would like to address some of those sales pitches and tactics with a few facts.
“You need to replace your liner about every 5 to 8 years.” - FALSE.
Since 1960 we have sold over 15,000 vinyl liner pools and the true statistics are this: our average customer purchases a new liner after approximately 18 to 20 years. Even with that great statistic, they are NOT getting a new liner because it is no longer any good – they are getting a new liner because they want their pool to look brand new. We have seen every type of pool since 1960 and we have seen every pool surface fade or discolor over time and that includes fiberglass pools. With a liner pool, in 20 years you put a new liner in and it looks brand new - in 20 years your fiberglass pool will look 20 years old. It is not unusual for a customer to come in and purchase a new liner and their existing liner is over 30 years old.
“In the long run fiberglass pools are less expensive to own.” – FALSE
A - On average, fiberglass pools cost $50,000 or more when compared to a vinyl pool with the same options. The same vinyl pool will cost on average $20,000. That’s a $30,000 savings with a vinyl pool.
B – The old myth about liner replacements we just went over. The average liner replacement cost is approximately $3,000 - so let’s look at some examples. With the $30,000 savings you would have had by buying a vinyl pool you can replace your liner 10 times. If you replace your liner every 18 to 20 years (as discussed above), you could replace your liner every 19 years for the next 190 years (10 liner changes times 19 years). Let’s just say you go by what some dealers say on how often you have to replace a liner (even though it is not true). If you used the savings you would have if you bought a vinyl pool you could change the liner every 5 years for the next 50 years. Please don’t forget that $30,000 would have been sitting in your bank account and not the pool dealer’s account and your pool would always look brand new. The bottom line is this – it will take 50 years of changing your liner every 5 years before you reach the difference of what a fiberglass pool cost you versus buying a vinyl pool. We don’t know of any customer that has had to change their liner every five years. As a matter of fact the first pool Medallion manufactured and built was in 1960 and that pool is still going strong. As of 2017 that pool has only had 2 liners. That is one liner every 28 1/2 years.
C – The old myth that you only need to run your pump on a fiberglass pool 5 to 6 hours a day. The amount of time you run your pump is based on the gallons of water you have in your pool and the gallons per minute that your filtration system will process, not the structure of the pool. The Association Of Pool And Spa Professionals (APSP) in their Standards For Residential Inground Swimming Pools (ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011) states that the minimum turnover rate (the time it takes for the entire volume of the pool to pass through the filter system) should be a minimum of once every 12 hours. The APSP makes no distinction between fiberglass, vinyl, concrete, or any other type of pool structure. Basically what that means is if you have a 20,000 gallon pool you should run 20,000 gallons through your filter within 12 hours regardless of the type of pool you have. How long you filter the water each day depends on many factors, but none of them is what your pool surface is made of.
“If you get a cut in your liner you have to get a new liner.” – FALSE.
With a vinyl liner pool you can reseal it underwater in less than 5 minutes. Not if, but when your gel coat on your fiberglass pool chips, blisters, or gets damaged you can’t do that underwater. As a matter of fact you are looking at a very expense repair.
“Fiberglass pools are less maintenance than a vinyl pool.” - FALSE
Vinyl pools and fiberglass pools both resist algae and other items sticking to the walls and floor. With a vinyl pool or a fiberglass pool if you keep your chemicals correct nothing should stick to the walls or floor. Vacuuming the pool, water testing, and running the filtration system should all be the same with both pools.
“Vinyl liner pools are sometime seen as a negative when selling your home” – FALSE
If your liner or fiberglass is 18 years old they will look 18 years old. If you have a vinyl pool you can put a new liner in for an average price of $3000 and your pool will look brand new. Your fiberglass pool is still going to look 18 years old. As a comparison let’s say your home needs the interior painted. You hire a contractor to paint the inside of your home and it adds to the resale value to your home. The same holds true with putting a new liner in an 18 year old vinyl pool, it adds value. However, we know of nothing that will make an 18 year old fiberglass pool look new.
“A fiberglass pool will always look new.” – FALSE
Everything fades and deteriorates over time – everything. Take a fiberglass boat and leave it in the water for 18 years – you know it will not look new. Put a new liner in a vinyl pool and your pool looks like the day it was built.
“Fiberglass pools require no maintenance to the pool shell for at least the first 20 years” – FALSE
Fiberglass pools can blister, delaminate, scratch, chip, discolor and/or crack at any point during their life span. Regardless of the quality of the manufacturer these things can and do happen.
I think this fact sheet explains why the largest number of pools sold in the United States are vinyl liner pools. A vinyl pool shape and size is only limited to your imagination. Fiberglass pools are limited by what shape molds the manufacturer has. Regardless of whether they have 10 molds or 50 molds your pool will be what they have not what you have dreamed of owning. Can you imagine wanting a certain type and size of home to only be told you can’t have it because you can only have what shape the manufacturer has.