Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Pool: Which One Is Right for You?

A crystal-clear turquoise pool in a beautifully landscaped backyard

Installing a custom pool in your backyard is an investment in how much you enjoy your home. It will quickly become a place of tranquility, a social hub, and the new centre of family life when the sun is out and the temperatures are rising. If you feel like you aren’t getting the most out of your summers, a pool is exactly what you need to lure the family out of the air conditioning and into the outdoors.

At Green Side Up Contracting, we’re all about making sure our clients get the best possible outcomes when they come to us with their projects. We do custom swimming pool design, construction, and installation with an eye on your whole backyard. We want to make sure your custom pool turns out exactly the way you want it, and that it interacts with the rest of your backyard space precisely the way you imagined.

An important part of making your vision come to life is choosing the right materials. When you’re constructing a pool, one decision you’re going to have to make is deciding between materials for your pool liner. Your pool liner is the material that covers the base and walls of your pool. It protects the structure of your pool, and it determines the level of comfort swimmers have in the pool. Some liners are smoother than others so that you don’t get bumps or scrapes when you lean up against the wall or walk along the pool floor. The pool liner can prevent algae growth, keep swimmers safe, and prevent leaks. It also defines the look and aesthetics of your pool. It’s the material that gives your pool its colour and sets the atmosphere.

There are three main options for a pool liner: vinyl, fiberglass, and gunite. Gunite is a type of dry mix concrete known for making a strong, long-lasting pool, but it’s also a liner that isn’t the most comfortable, and it can be higher maintenance. It can be tougher on swimmers when they rest against the pool walls or accidentally graze the material.

Today, we’re going to set gunite aside and focus on vinyl vs. fiberglass pools.

Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Pools

Both vinyl and fiberglass have pros and cons, but on the whole, fiberglass tends to be a better material than vinyl. When you hire us, we’ll do a detailed walkthrough of your material options and which choice will help you complete your vision. Here, let’s get into the details of what makes fiberglass superior, and the exceptions to that rule.


Fiberglass is the clear winner when it comes to durability. Vinyl pool liners need to be replaced every six to nine years, though this can vary depending on how well you maintain your pool, whether you close it up for the winter, and what the climate is like. The durability of vinyl can also be impacted by water chemistry. If the chemicals in the water get out of balance, the vinyl can become brittle and more susceptible to breaking. If the chlorine levels are too high, your vinyl can fade faster.

Fiberglass is effectively a permanent liner. There are no seams in fiberglass, and it won’t tear. Leaks are still possible, but it’s easy to identify where they’re coming from and fix them.

A handle by the poolside on a hot summer day

Initial Costs

Vinyl has a lower initial cost, and that can make a big difference when you’re budgeting the size of your pool. Often, you can wind up paying less for a bigger pool than someone who’s using fiberglass.

However, keep in mind that the vinyl liner will have to be replaced, and you will find yourself essentially paying the full cost of your original liner all over again in ten years or even less. Fiberglass is a more substantial initial investment, but it looks great, it’s more durable, and it’s a better investment.

Yearly Costs

When it comes to yearly costs, fiberglass is going to be the more affordable material. You’re more likely to have to repair vinyl lining year-to-year. Vinyl pool liner repair can patch up minor tears and wrinkles, saving you the cost of a full replacement, but it’s still something you’ll have to look for every year before filling the pool back up. Ask us about residential landscaping maintenance to find out more about annual maintenance costs in your backyard.

Speed of Installation

As a pool building company, we have to warn homeowners that building a pool can take time. We understand that you want the process to go as quickly as possible so that you can get your backyard back and enjoy your pool once it’s ready.

Your material choices can affect how long installation takes, and fiberglass is by far the faster material. The difference can be substantial. Some estimates for vinyl liner installation can be as long as 5 to 8 weeks, while fiberglass can be done in 2 to 3 weeks. Fiberglass is pre-engineered, which considerably reduces construction time.


Maintenance for a fiberglass pool typically involves scrubbing and brushing it down to avoid discoloration. Fiberglass is a non-porous material, so it minimizes algae growth and reduces the need for chemicals. Fiberglass requires less maintenance than vinyl liners, as vinyl demands the heavier use of chemicals and a careful balance to prevent algae growth and avoid discoloration.

Lifetime Costs

Despite a higher initial cost, fiberglass has lower maintenance requirements and lower yearly ownership costs, plus it’s easier on automatic pool cleaners. For many homeowners, the lifetime cost of a fiberglass pool is a better deal than vinyl.

Return on Investment

The durability and low maintenance requirements are part of what makes fiberglass a better investment. As a general rule, pools can deliver about a 7% boost to your home value, though in some cases it will also change the types of buyers interested in your home. It’s typically something you do for your own personal enjoyment and family. That said, fiberglass gives you a bit of a boost over vinyl.


One of fiberglass’s biggest disadvantages is customizability. Fiberglass being pre-engineered is what makes it much faster to install, but that also means it’s best suited for standardized pool shapes and sizes. If you have your heart set on a custom shape or size, vinyl or gunite can make a lot more sense.

Energy Efficiency

Fiberglass pools are better at retaining heat than vinyl and gunite, which means you spend less money regulating the temperature of the water.

A backyard pool at night with an outdoor fireplace

Around the Pool: Decking and Interlocking

Don’t forget about the materials you choose around your pool, either. When we work on a custom pool installation, we make sure we keep your entire backyard in mind, even if you’re doing your home renovations in phases.

One important question to consider is decking vs. interlocking when it comes to the hard surfaces in your backyard. If you’re going to install a pool, you want to think about the transition between your deck or patio and the pool space. Some homeowners like the look of a wood deck leading right to their pool, although composite is a more durable material that won’t soak up as much water when you pop in and out of the pool. Others prefer the stone look of interlocking pavers.

Check out our decking calculator and get a quote for different material options. Planning your deck alongside your pool can make sure your backyard looks cohesive.

Why You Should Install a Backyard Pool This Year

If you’ve been thinking about installing a custom backyard pool, these reasons can nudge you toward making a decision. Installing a backyard pool is a great investment in your home, your family, and the enjoyment you get out of summer.

#1 Beat the Heat

When the dog days of summer roll around, it can be tempting to hide in the cool shelter of your air-conditioned home. It’s a decision you might regret when that first cool autumn wind blows in. Make sure you get the most out of your summer.

#2 Stress Relief

If you find yourself stressed, there’s no better way to let those feelings flow off your back than taking a dip in the water, followed by a long lounge in the summer sun to dry off. Swimming is a great way to relieve stress. It can leave you feeling mentally refreshed and recharged.

#3 Endless Entertainment

When you’ve got the house with the pool, you’re always going to be the social hub. Whether it’s the kids bringing over their friends or you having company over, a pool is the perfect way to turn your backyard into the place to be.

Installing a pool in your backyard is a big decision. Check out our qualifications to find out more about what we do and how we can look after your backyard, from the pool to the deck to essential maintenance. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of fiberglass vs. vinyl pools, and give you accurately costed estimates based on the materials you want. A pool should help transform your backyard into a private paradise. We’ll make it happen, from the design to the materials to the construction and installation itself. At Green Side Up Contracting, we make pool installation easy.