Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Inground Pool Cost of Ownership: Fiberglass vs Concrete vs Vinyl

If you are considering purchasing an inground pool, you’re probably wondering what maintenance costs you can expect to encounter as the years pass on.  As you’ll see, the answer to that question largely depends on the type of pool you choose:  concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass.

Cost of Owning a Concrete Pool

Concrete Pools have the highest cost of ownership.  This is due to several factors.  First, because the surface of a concrete pool is extremely porous, it harbors algae and this means two things to concrete pool owners:  more chemical usage and running the pump and filter for longer periods of time.  Of course, consuming both more chemicals and electricity equals more money spent.  Also, because concrete pools require more maintenance, many concrete pool owners chose to have a pool company service their pool on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Secondly, concrete pools require acid washing every three to six years at a cost of around $500 a pop depending on the location.  This is another consequence of algae embedding into the pool surface.  Acid washing is a treatment that requires draining the pool and cleaning the surface with a mild acid solution to kill spores and therefore prevent what’s known as an algae bloom.

Finally, most concrete pools require resurfacing and re-tiling about every 10-15 years at a cost of $10,000 or more. 

Cost of Owning a Vinyl Liner Pool

Vinyl Liner Pools are unlike concrete pools in that they do not require the time or money investment to battle algae.  However, despite their low initial cost, vinyl pool owners should be prepared to fork out $4,000 or more every five to twelve years when it’s time to replace the liner.

What about the 20 year liner warranty you ask?  Read the fine print my friend.  It only covers where the liner is seamed together and then on an extremely pro-rated schedule…and then the warranty does not cover labor to replace the liner or the cost of water to re-fill the pool. 

Cost of Owning a Fiberglass Pool    

Fiberglass Pools have the lowest cost of ownership of any inground pool for several reasons.  First, fiberglass pools require less chemicals and filter run time because the surface of the pool is non-porous therefore inhibiting the growth of algae.  This equates to about 70% less chemical usage than concrete pools.  Furthermore, because fiberglass pools are so easy to maintain, fiberglass pool owners typically opt to maintain their own pool instead of hiring a pool service company. 

Second, the majority of fiberglass pools that are properly built and maintained require no significant maintenance to the pool shell for at least the first 20 or 30 years.  With no liner to replace or need to acid wash, this leaves the pool owner with only the year to year costs of electricity and chemicals. 

Without question, each type of inground pool has its advantages.  But when it comes to lifetime cost of ownership, fiberglass pools take the cake….hands down!

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