Choosing the Right Surface for Your Pool

Choosing the Right Surface for Your Pool
3/11/2015 9:22:20 AM
Pool Water

Today, luxury pools are growing more common, and there are many options for customization. If you don’t have a swimming pool and are thinking about getting one, it pays to know what your options are.

Before you make that call, let’s go over the "big three” construction methods, as well as the best surface finishes for each.

1. Concrete & Plaster (ceramic tile, stone, aggregate)

Concrete and Plaster Pool
Image courtesy Artistic Stamped Concrete of Rhode Island

Concrete pools are a mainstay of American homes, and for good reason. Concrete is durable, weather-resistant and you can mold it into any shape you want. Unfortunately, concrete has to be waterproofed with plaster, which has to be replaced every decade or so.

Concrete pools are the oldest type of American pool, and their "natural”, stony look makes them perfect for ceramic tile, stone or aggregate finishes.


  • cheaper than fiberglass
  • highly customizable shape and size
  • great for pools deeper than 8 feet
  • a natural feel, perfect for waterline tile, stone or aggregate finishes
  • great for "beach entries”


  • more expensive than vinyl liner
  • plaster finishes have to be replaced every 8-12 years
  • repairs are expensive (in the thousands)
  • susceptible to algae growth
  • rough on the feet

2. Steel or Polymer (vinyl liner)

Steel or Polymer Pool with Vinyl Liner
Image courtesy Penguin Pools

Vinyl-lined pools have been a popular choice for American homes since Cascade introduced them to the New Jersey market in 1948. With sturdier walls (steel or polymer) than concrete pools, vinyl pools are more durable and also cheaper.

Vinyl lining itself is very affordable and only needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. It also comes in a variety of catalogue colors and patterns depending on the seller.


  • cheaper than concrete or fiberglass
  • highly customizable shape and size
  • lots of options for vinyl liner finish
  • smooth and gentle on the feet
  • algae-resistant


  • susceptible to pool chemical degradation
  • vinyl liner has to be replaced every 10-15 years
  • repairs can be expensive (in the thousands)

3. Fiberglass (ceramic tile)

Fiberglass Pool with Ceramic Tile
Image courtesy Gappsi

The most expensive of the three construction methods, fiberglass pools are essentially one large piece of molded fiberglass, which makes them completely algae-free. They’re the most durable pool, but they aren’t very customizable.

Fiberglass pools can come as is (without finishing), but most homeowners will opt for a built-in ceramic tile finish to make their pool fit their backyard.


  • highly contaminant and algae-resistant
  • never needs repairs or replacements
  • earthquake-resistant
  • smooth and gentle on the feet
  • best investment over time


  • more expensive up-front
  • limited selection of sizes and shapes (L-shapes are not offered)
  • limited selection of colors

As you can see, each option has its own pros and cons. Fiberglass is the best choice for homeowners looking for smaller, "normal”-shaped pools, but concrete and vinyl liner are both better for customized pools, especially L-shaped ones.

No matter what type of pool you have, Fibre Tech has the right resurfacing process for you. We’ve resurfaced thousands of pools and want every family to enjoy their swimming pool for as long as they can.

We encourage you to compare Fibre Tech products versus other options over at our Comparison Page.

Posted by: Scott Morris | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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