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Vinyl, Fiberglass, or Concrete: Can You Tell The Difference?

  Aug 7, 2018 / by Will Cappiello

vinyl vs fiberglass vs concrete swimming pools

Many people recall their initial memories of a pool being in a hotel on vacation. What do you remember about those first experiences that help guide you when considering a backyard pool project?

Consumers should start their research by considering some of the questions below:

What am I going to use the pool for?  Deep End Swimming, Shallow end activities, pool basketball/volleyball, Sun tanning ledges, warm water spa options

Who is going to use the pool?  Children, Teenagers, Adults, Retirees

What features will I look for to enhance the above?  Large shallow ledge play areas for toddlers, Sport bottoms for basketball and volleyball, Tanning Ledges for deck chair relaxing/children monitoring or lounge chair sun bathing, attached spillover spas or nearby stand alone spas

Surface texture for swimming and maintenance.  Gunite (concrete) Pools, Vinyl Liner Pools with dozens of beautiful patterns or Fiberglass Pools that resist algae growth, offering easy maintenance

When do I plan on building?  Depending on where you live, all four seasons are great times to build


In the past gunite or concrete pools might have been considered as the only option for a true “custom built” pool to meet all personal customization requirements. Today’s Fiberglass pools and vinyl pools stack up beautifully against even the most customized gunite pool. We encourage owners to think again. Can you tell the difference between vinyl, fiberglass and gunite?

Play a Little Game with Us

  1. Take a look at the images below
  2. See if you can guess whether these gorgeous pools are: Gunite, Fiberglass, or Vinyl
  3. Read on and check your answers

different types of swimming pools

The History of Pools

Before we reveal the answers, a little background on old school concrete pools. While they were the apex of innovation in their day. Little about gunite pools has changed since the first one was placed in the ground decades ago. Innovation has been the name of the game for Fiberglass and Vinyl pools from the start.

Pool Innovation Leads to Nearly Limitless Options

What’s more, the customization options available with fiberglass and vinyl pools are virtually limitless. From tanning ledges to custom steps to water features and tilework, they’re all much easier to implement with anything other than concrete.

Plus… Gunite pools very quickly begin to show their age, ultimately requiring expensive resurfacing. Fiberglass pools are engineered with modern composites offering lifetime warranties on structures and finish. Vinyl pool liners can easily be replaced after many years of use, which also presents the opportunity to make an exciting change to the liner color or pattern.

And, the advanced materials used in fiberglass and vinyl pools naturally resist microorganisms, making it significantly easier to keep them clean. Not only does that save you time, it saves you money on pool chemicals as well.

The Big Reveal

Alright… we’ve kept you waiting long enough. Click here for the answers to our quiz.

How did you do? If you struggled to determine what types of pools were in the photos, you’re surely not alone. In addition to all the benefits noted above, fiberglass and vinyl pools clearly have an aesthetic appeal that matches that of gunite any day, plus the ability to add more custom features with greater ease.

We hope this simple exercise opened your eyes to the possibilities of fiberglass and vinyl, and we’re happy to provide more information on the many options available. Contact your Latham dealer today or download one of our many ebooks to learn more.


Latham Ultraseam Vinyl Liner Ebook

Topics: Fiberglass Pools, Polymer Pools, Vinyl Liners, Pool Features, Pool Liners, In-Ground Pools

Will Cappiello

Written by Will Cappiello

Will Cappiello is the Product Director at Latham Pool Products. He loves working for Latham, the Largest Swimming Pool Manufacturer in North America.