Fiberglass vs. Concrete Pools

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated February 1, 2022
Father and son playing in the swimming pool
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Highlights

  • The cost to build a fiberglass pool is between $20,500 and $38,200.

  • It costs between $39,000 and $70,000 to build an in-ground concrete.

  • Concrete pools are customizable and durable.

  • Concrete pools have the edge in terms of appearance, customization, durability, repairability, and lifespan.

  • Fiberglass pools have the edge in maintenance, ease of installation, and price.

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So you’re ready to buy a pool. That’s exciting for any homeowner. But then you wonder what pool you should get. Your first thought may have been of a classic concrete pool, but then you start hearing about fiberglass. Which one is best for you? It’s not always easy to tell.

This guide will help you out by breaking down the pros and cons of each option, as well as how they match up in specific categories.

Fiberglass Pool Pros and Cons

A swimming pool in the backyard
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Before deciding whether to get a fiberglass pool, it’s important to consider its pros and cons.

Fiberglass Pool Pros

One of the biggest advantages of fiberglass pools is that they have low maintenance costs. They are resistant to algae growth, and they don't require resurfacing as much as concrete pools. The pool's gel coating not only protects the pool, but it also gives it a smooth look and feel. It also makes these pools a lot easier to clean.

Another advantage is that pros can construct fiberglass pools very quickly and, once installed, they can handle just about anything. It is a durable material, and even if it does take some damage, a pro can repair it relatively easily compared to concrete.

Fiberglass Pool Cons

If you're buying a fiberglass pool, you don't really know its quality until long after installation. That's because, with fiberglass, there are many options for resins and gel coatings, and some are higher quality. If you choose a contractor that uses a lower quality resin or gel coating, the fiberglass may wear down more quickly, and you may not discover this until years after installation. That's why you'll need to choose your builder carefully if you go this route.

Fiberglass pools, which manufacturers must form in a mold ahead of time, are often expensive to ship because they’re so large. Manufacturers pour on site, but a fiberglass pool sometimes must ship across the country, costing thousands of dollars.

Also, if you have a design in mind for a pool, you may be out of luck. Fiberglass pools require a mold for creation, and if a mold doesn't exist in the design you want, you're out of luck.

Concrete Pool Pros and Cons

Renovated house with huge backyard and swimming pool
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Concrete pools have their own pros and cons, and understanding them will help you make an informed decision between the two.

Concrete Pool Pros

One huge advantage of concrete pools is that you can customize them however you want. Unlike fiberglass pools, which must pour into an existing mold, you can design a concrete pool to be shaped however you want.

Another attribute of concrete pools that makes them so popular is their durability. Concrete can take quite a beating without being damaged. They can also last a lot longer than swimming pools made from other materials.

Another part of its durability is that it can handle the elements without showing much wear and tear. Concrete does a good job of handling both the cold and the heat without having issues.

Concrete Pool Cons

The length of installation might be the biggest drawback of concrete pools. It is a long and involved process and can take up to six months in some situations.

Partially, as a result of this, concrete pools are typically more expensive than other types of pools. And the more you customize it, the pricier it will get.

Concrete pools also require a lot of maintenance to prevent issues such as algae build-up. You'll need to have it cleaned weekly, meaning you'll have to pony up for regular maintenance that can add a lot to the overall price of your pool.

Fiberglass vs. Concrete Pools

A swimming pool and pavilion with green garden
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So what do you choose, fiberglass or concrete? As you can see, they have advantages in some areas and disadvantages in others. As a result, it’s helpful to go through a checklist and see which one comes out on top in each category

Appearance​

Because of the endless customization options for concrete compared to fiberglass, it gets the edge here. If customization isn't important and you like the gel coating finish better, you might prefer fiberglass, but everyone else will likely go with concrete here.

Best choice: Concrete

Options and Customizations​

Concrete is the easy choice here because there is very limited customization available in fiberglass since they must be pre-poured in a mold. Concrete pours work for any pool you want, however.

Best choice: Concrete

Durability​

Concrete again is the best choice here because it is resistant to damage and can handle the elements better than fiberglass. It will also last a lot longer than fiberglass.

Best choice: Concrete

Price​

The cost to build a fiberglass pool is between $20,500 and $38,200, whereas the cost to build an in-ground concrete pool is between $39,000 and $70,000. Concrete pools tend to cost much more than fiberglass, largely because they take longer to install and because you can customize them more versus the cost-cutting measure of pouring into a mold. 

Best choice: Fiberglass

Ease of Installation

Fiberglass gets the checkmark here. They come pre-poured and shipped to your door. Neither project really lends itself to DIYing it because of the size of the project, but fiberglass is undoubtedly easier to install than concrete.

Best choice: Fiberglass

Ease of Repair

Fiberglass is easy to repair in most cases, but concrete is hard to damage, to begin with, so it has the advantage in this category.

Best choice: Concrete

Maintenance​

Fiberglass earns the checkmark when it comes to pool maintenance. Concrete requires weekly scrubbing to keep it free of algae. Fiberglass is easy to clean and won't require nearly as much maintenance.

Best choice: Fiberglass

Length of Life​

Both pools last a long time, but concrete still has fiberglass beat. While fiberglass can last 25 to 30 years, concrete pools can last 50 years or more (although you may need to resurface them every decade or so).

Best choice: Concrete

Contact a Professional

The truth is that the right choice of pool will depend on your preferences, budget, location, and other factors. One great way to decide is to contact a swimming pool installation company near you and ask for a consultation and a quote. They can explain your options, whether fiberglass or concrete works better for your property, what you can get on your budget, and answer any questions that you may have. Then you can make your choice and have peace of mind.

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