Vinyl Pool Liners

Fiberglass vs Vinyl Pool: Uncovering the Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing a swimming pool, homeowners often find themselves weighing fiberglass vs vinyl pool options. Both types have unique features, and understanding these differences is key to making an informed decision on a major purchase that will be a significant part of a home for the next 20 to 40+ years, depending on the type of pool chosen.

In this article, we offer a comparison of both types of pools, focusing on the vinyl pool and fiberglass pool pros and cons. By exploring these dynamics, we hope to help homeowners determine which pool best suits their needs.

First, let's briefly review the main types of pools and what makes them unique.

Understanding Pool Types: Vinyl Pool vs. Fiberglass vs. Concrete

In the realm of inground swimming pools, three primary types dominate the landscape: vinyl liner pools, fiberglass pools, and concrete pools. Each offers distinct advantages and challenges, influencing homeowner preferences and suitability for various environments.

  • Vinyl liner pools are celebrated for their customization potential. They are made with a flexible liner fitting over a structural frame, offering limitless color and pattern possibilities. From unique shapes to personalized depths, vinyl pools can be tailored to fit any backyard aesthetic. Additionally, vinyl pools are known for their performance and durability, many structures lasting over 40 years, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners.
  • Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, are pre-formed and delivered in one piece. This manufacturing process limits their size and shape but typically allows for quick installation. They are known for their durable hard shell, however, their rigidity in design can be a drawback for those seeking a more customized pool.
  • Concrete or gunite pools are the most durable and permanent solution but come with significantly higher installation and maintenance costs. They require a longer construction period because of their more in-depth process and will require acid washing about every 5 years and resurfacing every 10 years. Due to the cost and complexity of concrete, this blog will focus only on comparing the pros and cons of fiberglass pools with those of vinyl pools, as they represent more accessible and popular options for the average homeowner.

Vinyl Pool Liners Pros and Cons

Vinyl pools have become a popular choice for many homeowners who want the freedom of total customization. Known for their versatility and practicality, vinyl liner pools offer a range of benefits that cater to diverse preferences and requirements.


  • Unlimited Shapes, Sizes, and Depths: With vinyl, homeowners can enjoy virtually any custom shape, size, and depth of pool, offering the most creativity. This customization extends beyond aesthetics, allowing for unique pool shapes and sizes to fit any yard. Plus, with vinyl, homeowners can explore endless feature options like sun decks, barstools, ledges, and so much more!
  • Limitless Design Options: Vinyl pool liners come in hundreds of patterns and colors, offering homeowners the freedom to choose a design that complements their outdoor space.
  • Flexible Future: Vinyl is the only pool type that allows homeowners to change their pool's interior design easily. That means that as a homeowner's personal styles change, so can the colors and patterns of their pool!
  • Adaptability: Vinyl pools can be designed to any depth and shape, making them ideal for small urban backyards, expansive rural properties, and everything in between.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Typically, vinyl pools are more budget-friendly in terms of both installation and maintenance. They offer a lower initial cost and require less expensive upkeep over time, with regular liner replacements every 8-12 years.
  • Durability: The framing of vinyl pools can outlast all other pool types by up to 20 years. Plus, CFFA-certified vinyl meets strict performance standards, including resistance to wear and tear, punctures, and fading with proper chemical balance and care. This durability makes vinyl liner pools a cost-effective option that will withstand the test of time.
  • Smooth & Comfortable: Vinyl liners are soft and non-abrasive, making them smoother and more comfortable for swimmers, especially children who may benefit from the softer touch of vinyl.
  • Eco-Friendliness: Vinyl liner pools are constructed from recyclable materials such as steel and plastic and then subsequently lined with recyclable vinyl, contributing to the preservation of natural resources and allowing for eco-friendly summers.
  • Quick Installation: Vinyl pools can be installed relatively quickly, typically allowing homeowners to enjoy their new pool in the same season.
  • Compatible Saltwater Systems: Vinyl liners work well with saltwater systems, which can be gentler on the skin and eyes.


  • Liner Replacement: Over time, vinyl liners may need replacement due to wear or damage, adding to long-term costs. But with proper care, liners can last many years!
    • It's worth noting here that this may not be a con. Just as homeowners update their kitchen or living room, they will likely want to update their pool liner during the time they own their home. Having a vinyl liner pool means having the flexibility to do that when personal styles or needs change.
  • Sensitivity to Chemical Damage: Unbalanced chemicals and improper maintenance may cause damage to vinyl liners. If not balanced properly, chemicals can damage all pool types, including fiberglass and vinyl.

Fiberglass Pools Pros and Cons

Fiberglass pools, distinct in their manufacturing and installation process, present a set of characteristics that appeal to homeowners who may prefer a more basic pool. Let's examine the strengths and limitations of fiberglass pools to provide a clearer picture of what they offer when comparing vinyl pools vs fiberglass.


  • Quick Installation: The pre-formed nature of fiberglass pools allows for the quickest installation of all pool types and a minimally disruptive installation process.
  • Durability: Fiberglass is a resilient material that can withstand wear and tear, offering a structural lifespan of around 25 years with proper care.
  • Lower Maintenance: Similar to vinyl, the smooth finish of fiberglass pools is less prone to algae growth and requires fewer chemicals, reducing upkeep efforts.
  • Smooth Surface: The gel-coat surface of fiberglass pools is comfortable and reduces the risk of skin abrasions, similar to the smoothness of vinyl liners.
  • Energy Efficiency: Fiberglass pools may retain heat better, potentially lowering heating costs.
  • Compatible Saltwater Systems: Just like vinyl, fiberglass pools work well with saltwater systems, which can help reduce skin irritation.


  • Limited Design Options: The pre-manufactured nature of fiberglass pools restricts customization in terms of shape, size, depth, and creativity of pattern options. Typically, fiberglass pools only come in about 20 standard shapes, cannot be more than 16 feet wide by about 40 feet long, and can have a max depth of about 8 feet. The options for vinyl pools greatly exceed these dimensions!
  • Higher Initial Cost: Fiberglass pools can be quite a bit more expensive upfront compared to vinyl options for comparable shape, size, and depth.
  • Repair Difficulty: Damages to the fiberglass surface can be challenging to repair and much more costly to replace.
  • Size and Transport Limitations: Because a fiberglass pool is manufactured and delivered as a whole unit, it must be able to fit on a delivery truck. That means the size of fiberglass pools is limited by transportation logistics.
  • Potential for Fading and Discoloration: Over time, the gel-coat finish may fade or discolor, particularly if the water is unbalanced or the pool is not properly cared for.

Why We Recommend Vinyl Pool Liners

After comparing both pool types, we believe vinyl pool liners emerge as a flexible, durable, affordable, and easy-to-maintain choice for homeowners. The freedom they offer in terms of design is simply unparalleled.

Whether homeowners are looking to match a pool with their home's aesthetic or seeking a unique shape that reflects their personal style, vinyl provides the flexibility to make it happen.

Additionally, nearly one-third of consumers say they consider the environmental impact of purchase all or most of the time. The eco-friendly production and maintenance of vinyl pools align with these values, as vinyl liners outshine the competition when looking for a more eco-friendly choice. Between recyclable construction materials, upcycling of vinyl, reduced transportation impact, and structure longevity, vinyl liner pools are kinder to the planet.

Because of the flexibility and renewability, the world of vinyl pool liners is not static. It's constantly evolving, adapting to new trends, and embracing innovations that cater to the modern homeowner's needs and environmental concerns.

Take a look at some trending topics that showcase the additional benefits of owning a vinyl pool vs fiberglass.

  • Eco-Friendly Innovations: Vinyl liner pools already stand out as a more eco-friendly option in the pool industry, but homeowners are increasingly adding features like solar lighting and heating systems, pushing the envelope of sustainability. These innovations don't just reduce the environmental impact. They also offer energy savings, making vinyl pools even more appealing to the eco-conscious consumer.
  • Smart Pool Technology: The advancement of pool technology has been a game-changer for vinyl pools. Automated cleaning systems, energy-efficient heating, and smart lighting are just a few of the additions enhancing the convenience and appeal of vinyl pools. These technologies not only ease the maintenance process but also align with the growing trend of smart homes, integrating seamlessly into the lifestyle of the technologically savvy homeowner.
  • Design Trends: Vinyl pools are not left behind in embracing the latest design trends. Homeowners now have options like infinity edges, beach entries, lazy rivers, and integrated spa features in vinyl pool designs. These trends, once thought exclusive to more expensive pool types, are now being creatively incorporated into vinyl pools, offering luxury and style at a more accessible price point. Plus, new liner patterns are introduced every year based on consumer feedback, so the designs always stay fresh and appealing.

Looking ahead, the future of pool design and construction is set to align closely with evolving homeowner preferences and technological advancements. Vinyl pools, with their inherent adaptability and potential for innovation, are well-positioned to meet these future demands.

Whether it's adapting to new eco-friendly technologies or incorporating the latest design trends, vinyl pools are poised to offer solutions that are both practical and in tune with future needs, outpacing fiberglass pools in versatility and responsiveness.

Fiberglass vs Vinyl Pools: Which to Choose?

In the comparison of fiberglass vs vinyl pool options, it's evident that each has its merits. However, when it comes to overall customization, sustainability, and value, vinyl pools hold a distinct advantage.

Their ability to adapt to various tastes, budgets, and spaces makes vinyl pool liners a go-to choice for homeowners. By choosing a vinyl liner pool, homeowners are not just installing a swimming area; they're creating a personalized retreat that enhances their lifestyle and property.

Explore more about vinyl pools today!

About CFFA

The Chemical Fabrics & Film Association Inc. (CFFA) is an international trade association representing manufacturers of polymer-based fabric and film products used in industries like building and construction, contract upholstery, automotive, healthcare, and many others.

The CFFA is organized by end-use markets, and the members of CFFA who belong to the Performance Products Division manufacture chemical fabrics and film used in numerous applications-just one of which is vinyl pool liners. Industries across the globe rely on these certified polymer-based products for their durability, versatility, and lasting value to make an array of products better.

This content was produced by the Vinyl Pool Liner Subcommittee of the CFFA to educate consumers on vinyl liner pools, inform industry standards, and distribute credible and accurate information regarding certified vinyl products. Click here to learn more about CFFA-certified vinyl pool liners.

*These materials are provided by Chemical Fabrics and Film Association, Inc. ("CFFA") for informational purposes only. Any inaccuracy or omission is not the responsibility of CFFA. Determination of whether and/or how to use all or any portion of these materials is to be made in your sole and absolute discretion. Prior to using or relying on these materials, you should review them with your own legal counsel and experts. No part of these materials constitute legal advice. Use of these materials is voluntary. CFFA does not make any representations or warranties with respect to these materials. CFFA hereby disclaims all warranties of any nature, express, implied or otherwise, or arising from trade or custom, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability, noninfringement, quality, title, fitness for a particular purpose, completeness or accuracy. You are responsible for determining whether the product is a fit for a particular purpose and suitable for user's method of use or application. Although certain results are described, CFFA cannot and does not guarantee that these are the only outcomes that exist. Compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations remains the responsibility of the user. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable laws, CFFA shall not be liable for any losses, expenses or damages of any nature, including, without limitation, special, incidental, punitive, direct, indirect or consequential damages or lost income or profits, resulting from or arising out of a company's or individual's use of these materials, whether arising in tort, contract, statute, or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.