Concrete pools are the best, but the most expensive.
For me, without a doubt, concrete is the way to go when you're talking about high quality, durable pool installations. Of course, I was a concrete pool builder, so I guess I'm biased. What's interesting is that I've also built vinyl pools. So why would I do that if I think concrete pools are the best? The answer is simply that not every home (or property) can afford a concrete pool, and in some situations a vinyl (or fiberglass) pool, or even a above ground pool might be a better fit.
I consider concrete pool construction to be the highest quality and most durable possible. The only downside as far as I'm concerned is that concrete pools are also the most expensive and they also require specialized tools, equipment and skills to build and work with. Concrete pools are the most versatile in terms of shape, depth or unique variations in structure, as concrete is the most versatile and widely available building medium on the planet.
Vinyl Lined Pools
Vinyl liner pools are inexpensive to build and require little prior pool installation experience to create one with a reasonable degree of success. Vinyl pools are constructed using tiered components and almost all parts are individually repairable or replaceable to some degree. Vinyl liners work well in cold climate areas, and also are not likely to come out of the ground in the same way that fiberglass pools and concrete pool shells do in high water table areas. In recent years, there have been many design improvements with vinyl pools, including more infinity edge options, tanning shelves, vinyl-on-steel steps, textured vinyl as well as welding of custom vinyl on site is becoming increasingly popular for even more personalized pool landscapes. From Vinyl. Vinyl pools offer great value for money and, when installed properly, can look and feel almost as high .
I have a chip on my shoulder about fiberglass pools, but it's less about the pool itself, and more about how fiberglass pools are often sold to customers as never needing maintenance and installed by people with minimal experience. A high quality fiberglass pool installed by an experienced pool builder and installer, who simply prefers the fiberglass pool process, I have no problem with. My problem is that many home builders and general contractors install fiberglass pools themselves with little or no real experience installing pools of any type. Since a fiberglass pool is so easy to install, many custom home builders push fiberglass pools in the design, not because it is the best option, but because it puts the most money back in their own pocket. Also, a fiberglass pool and a concrete pool should not cost the same to install. This is another problem I have with fiberglass pools. They should cost less than a concrete pool installation, and when they do, I am much more likely to recommend that route for a homeowner.
In summary, the type of pool you should purchase will depend on your unique budget, your priorities, your expectations for longevity and ease of maintenance, and of course, your property value. Concrete pools are suitable for high-end residential installations and highly customized designs. Indoor pools are typically made of concrete. Commercial pools are usually made of concrete. Vinyl-lined pools are ideal for economical installations, cold weather applications and areas with seasonal fluctuations in the water table. Vinyl pools are fairly easy to assemble, but still require people with experience in trades such as concrete finishers. Fiberglass pools require the least skilled trades to install, but are also the least usable if there are problems with the shell or installation.
If you plan to build the pool yourself, fiberglass becomes a much better option, as you won't need to hire a dozen specialized trade crews to do the specific job as with a concrete pool, nor will you need to build the basic pool components as with a vinyl kit. If you have access to machinery and can find a fiberglass pool manufacturer willing to work with you, you can probably install your own fiberglass pool and save a little in the process. If you are still unsure which type would be best for your situation, feel free to contact Steve for a second opinion on your situation.