As a company we repair vinyl and concrete pools, but we only install Leisure Pools USA Fiberglass pools. Fixing pools is a great business for me, but I like building them even more.
First the Pros of vinyl liner pools:
1. Size and shape are basically whatever you can dream up.
2. Cheap installation cost.
Now the cons:
- Vinyl liners are a wear item, such as brakes on your car – they wear out.
- Vinyl liner pools are especially susceptible to tearing near the top.
- These liners can puncture easily and repair methods are generally unsightly.
- Staining of the liner is common, as well as fading.
- If water gets under the liner it creates an area where the liner is able to float between the water inside and under the pool. Once this water under the pool is no longer there the liner has to stretch back down. This will can cause a crease in the liner. Furthermore if the liner has a crease in it that means that there is a surplus of material in that area. This in turn means that there is not enough material somewhere else, creating stress on the liner. This stress will eventually cause the liner to tear.
- A vinyl liner may only be stretched once. If you drain the pool you need a new liner. You may get away with it, but you shortened the life of the liner.
- Vinyl liner replacements – are ALL done by measuring the pool for a new liner. There is no such thing as “picking one out of a catalog by model number”. This creates a greater chance of the liner not fitting due to human error in measuring. Don’t believe me, every vinyl liner measurement form has a no refund policy there for a reason.
- Once the liner has a crease in the floor it is generally better to just leave it alone, same goes for liners with bumps under them.
- When they say something like the average vinyl liner will need to be replaced in 7-10 years. That’s what they mean – average. The problem with that is I know a customer that has had 3 liners in 6 years. The first one was as soon as he moved in the house and then another 5 years later. Five years is respectable, not quite 7 but will do. Then he had to do it again the next year. Each time I was called to quote him a new fiberglass pool and he figured he would just save money and go with a liner. At an average replacement cost of $5,000.-$7,000 I’m not so sure how much he saved, never mind all the down time he had with the pool.
- A pool liner that is old but still holds water, do you really want that? We've all seen the old liner bleached out and stained all over. This does not make you think of the back yard oasis that you had envisioned?
- The warranty. It’s just a feel good thing that really doesn’t cover much besides a new liner (no labor, no water, no chemicals or down time) if the seams fail. That’s why the guy from the example above bought a liner 2 years in a row. The last liner was from his pet dog scratching it.
- The steps and benches look ugly. They are usually white or grey (better) but they just don’t look nice. It is getting more commonplace to incorporate the steps in the liner but it does add an additional cost.
- Shape and size are basically whatever you can dream up. This was a pro a few minutes ago but there are problems to this. If you build a custom pool chances are that the water flow will have “dead spots” these are areas that weren’t planned out quite right and water kind of sits there. What this means is an area that you have to clean more often.
- Old technology that has been abandoned in Australia, which happens to have the highest pool per home ratio in the world. With so many pools they had to get it figured out.
- Liners allow the heat to escape into the ground more easily than fiberglass. You are paying to heat the ground not the pool. That is why so many people say heating a pool is so expensive.
- I could go on but you get the point.
Below is the same house as above after we replaced their Vinyl Liner pool With a Fiberglass pool manufactured by Leisure Pools USA.