Vinyl vs. Concrete Swimming Pool Shell Costs
Are you dreaming of a backyard oasis but can’t decide between a vinyl pool or a concrete pool?
Do you find yourself wondering about the costs, durability, and maintenance of each pool type?
This blog post is your one-stop guide to understanding the ins and outs of vinyl and concrete pools.
We promise you’ll walk away with a clear idea of which pool structure is the best fit for your Raleigh, NC, home.
Let’s dive in!
Vinyl Pool vs. Concrete Pool: How Much Does Each Cost To Install?
When it comes to pool installation in North Carolina, the cost is a significant factor for homeowners.
Let’s break down the starting and lifetime costs of both vinyl and concrete shells.
Vinyl Pool Installation Cost
The initial cost of installing a vinyl liner pool in Raleigh, NC, can range from $55,000 to $75,000.
This price includes the pool liner, installation, and basic features such as a pool pump, filter, and electrical controls.
Note: Although we don’t dive into fiberglass pool cost details in this blog post, fiberglass pool shells typically cost $10,000 to $15,000 more than vinyl pools of the same size.
Over time, the vinyl liner will need to be replaced.
Fortunately, the durability and resiliency of vinyl pool liners continue to improve, thanks to technological advances.
Today, most vinyl liner manufacturers provide a 20-year pro-rated warranty!
That being said, in our experience, most vinyl pool owners tend to get a vinyl pool liner replacement after 10-12 years to maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance and keep it operating at peak efficiency.
For example, some pool owners will replace a pool liner if the original vibrant color starts to fade (which is usually due to chlorine levels being too high).
Other reasons to replace a vinyl liner may be due to significant cuts or gashes in the liner.
Smaller damaged areas can be easily repaired with virtually invisible patches made of extra vinyl material.
The cost of a full vinyl pool liner replacement will depend on your pool size and its specific configuration.
On average, most vinyl pool owners spend about $7,500 for a vinyl liner replacement.
Vinyl pools also require fewer chemicals than concrete pools for maintenance, which can save you money in the long run (more on this in a little bit).
While the exact cost of maintaining your pool will depend on the pool size, the type of equipment you have, and where you live, most vinyl pool owners spend approximately $1,000 per year for both chemicals and electricity for their vinyl pool.
However, you can potentially reduce these costs even further by following our tips to make your pool more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
Assuming you replace your vinyl pool liner after 10 years and spend the average amount for chemical and electricity costs each year, this means that you can expect to pay about $17,500 for 10 years of vinyl pool maintenance.
Now let’s take a look at the starting and lifetime costs for a concrete pool.
Concrete Pool Installation Cost
Concrete pools have a higher starting cost than vinyl pools.
Most people spend between $60,000 to $100,000+ for a concrete pool installation.
This cost includes the pool shell, installation, and basic features.
While concrete pools don’t require liner replacements, they do need more frequent resurfacing and use more chemicals, adding to the lifetime cost.
Most concrete pool owners spend an average of $3,200 per year on pool maintenance costs, including chemicals, electricity, replastering, retiling (for concrete pools with waterline tile), and acid washing of the pool shell.
Concrete pools typically have to be acid washed every 3-5 years, while replastering is usually done every 10-15 years.
Acid washing costs between $500-$1,000, while replastering costs between $10,000-$20,000.
Chemical and electricity usage for concrete pools is approximately $1,500 per year.
Assuming you get your concrete pool acid washed every 5 years and get it replastered after 10 years, this means that you can expect to spend between $27,000 and $37,000 for 10 years of concrete pool maintenance.
Durability And Longevity
The latest generation of vinyl liners is more resilient than ever.
Vinyl pools are durable and well-suited to withstand North Carolina’s climate conditions, including our sometimes harsh winters.
As noted above, most vinyl pools come with a pro-rated 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.
That being said, in our experience, most vinyl pool owners replace their vinyl liner at the 10 or 12-year mark.
Concrete pools are extremely durable and can last for decades.
On the other hand, they require more expensive maintenance tasks to keep them in useable shape, such as periodic acid washing and replastering (or resurfacing) every 10 years.
There are also many different vinyl liner pattern options available for you to choose from.
While the best in-ground pool shape for your property will depend on factors such as your backyard’s layout, the style of your home, your pool budget, and how you want to use your pool, the various customization options available means there is a vinyl pool shape and size for almost every situation imaginable.
While vinyl pools provide virtually endless options for shapes and sizes, concrete pools offer the most customization of any pool type.
Since concrete can be molded into any shape when it is poured on-site, you can customize the design of your pool to fit your backyard perfectly.
However, the unlimited customization options for concrete pools also come with a higher price tag! They also require more planning, groundwork, and a longer installation time.
One of the most appealing advantages of vinyl pools is the quick installation time.
Although there are many factors that can impact the installation timeline, in most cases, vinyl pools can be installed in 4-5 weeks.*
*This timeline starts from the moment we begin excavation to the final step of adding water. It does not include the time needed to get permits or the final inspection. You can view more details about the vinyl liner pool building and the installation process here.
Concrete pools take longer to install, typically 3-6 months.
This is due to the time needed for the concrete to cure, as well as the more difficult and complex installation process.
While all pool types require testing and maintaining the correct water chemistry, vinyl pools have fewer maintenance requirements than concrete.
Since vinyl is a nonporous surface, it doesn’t absorb chemicals the way concrete does, so it is less costly to maintain.
The smooth surface also prevents algae growth, making it super easy to clean.
Concrete pools require more maintenance than vinyl pools.
The porous surface of concrete pools can promote algae growth, requiring more frequent cleaning and chemical usage.
Most concrete pools are finished with alkaline-based plaster, which reacts with the pool water and raises the pH level, which requires you to add more acid and more closely monitor your pool’s pH levels.
As previously noted, concrete also requires acid washing every 3-5 years.
Interior Surface Texture
The non-porous texture of vinyl pools ensures a smooth surface that’s more comfortable for swimmers (especially small children!) and is also resistant to algae growth.
On the other hand, the pliability of vinyl also means that wrinkles will occasionally develop.
However, there are multiple ways to remove wrinkles from a vinyl liner, and most of them can be easily done by a homeowner.
Concrete pools have a rougher surface, which can be uncomfortable on swimmers’ feet.
Children who play in concrete pools are especially vulnerable to scrapes or blisters on their feet from the rough texture of concrete pools.
Although there are surface upgrades you can get to mitigate the rough texture of concrete, nothing compares to the smooth and yielding surface of a vinyl pool liner.
Vinyl pools require fewer chemicals, making them more eco-friendly and cost-effective.
Since vinyl is non-porous and doesn’t react with the pool water the way concrete does, vinyl pools require fewer chemicals than concrete pools.
The smooth surface of vinyl also inhibits algae growth, which allows you to run your pool pump and filtration system less often than you would for a concrete pool.
Concrete pools require more chemicals to prevent algae growth and maintain a balanced pH.
Since alkaline-based concrete reacts with the pool water, concrete pools require more chemicals to keep the water chemistry in balance.
Vinyl pools require less energy usage than concrete pools.
Vinyl pools save you energy costs by requiring less time to run the pool pump and filtration system than concrete pools.
Concrete pools require more energy to operate since the pump and filtration system must run more often in order to keep the pool clean.
Resistance To Algae
The smooth surface of vinyl pools makes it difficult for algae to adhere, reducing the risk of algae growth.
Of course, vinyl pools still require routine cleaning and proper maintenance, but the smooth texture of vinyl helps prevent algae from building up.
There are multiple kinds of algae that can grow in swimming pools, including black algae.
The best way to prevent algae growth is to keep a proper chemical balance, but you can also eliminate algae by shocking your vinyl liner pool.
Concrete pools, with their porous surface, provide the perfect environment for algae to grow, requiring more diligent maintenance.
In fact, most concrete pool contractors recommend you vigorously scrub the surface of your concrete pool once a week to prevent algae buildup!
Which Pool Type Should You Choose: Vinyl Or Concrete?
Vinyl Pool Pros
- Lower initial cost
- Quick installation
- Low maintenance
- Smooth surface
- Less chemical usage
Vinyl Pool Cons
- Liner replacement required after 10-15 years
- Less customizable
Concrete Pool Pros
- Highly customizable
- Durable and long-lasting
Concrete Pool Cons
- Higher initial cost
- Longer installation time
- More maintenance required
- More chemical usage
- Acid washing every 5 years
- Replastering/refinishing every 10-15 years
Contact Prestige Pools Of NC To Get The Pool Of Your Dreams!
Dive Into Your Dream Pool Today!
If you’re leaning towards the smooth surface and quick installation of a vinyl liner pool in Raleigh, Prestige Pools of NC is here to make your dream pool a reality.
We understand the unique soil types and climate conditions of Raleigh, NC, and we’re committed to providing top-notch service and quality pool liners.
Don’t let another summer pass without the backyard oasis you’ve been dreaming of.