Are Vinyl Liner Pools Good?

By November 6, 2020Pool Safety

Written by Jeremy Miller and published on

You might be considering a vinyl liner swimming pool but you are unsure whether these pools are a good investment or not. Are vinyl liner pools any good or are they just a cheap and entry level version of a better quality pool? If you live in an area where vinyl pools are not popular you might not be familiar with how they work, how they look, and most importantly, how long they can last. When you imagine having a liner pool instead of a concrete pool or fiberglass pool it is common for people to imagine that the liners are fragile, rip easily and do not look as good as permanent interior surfaces like concrete pools or fiberglass pools. In reality vinyl liners and vinyl liner pools have the ability to last a very long time and require very little in terms of maintenance and service…and they can look better than you think.

When some people think of a vinyl liner pool they picture a round, above ground pool with a solid light blue liner. Above ground pools are the entry level price point into owning a swimming pool. In a local market where inground pool packages start at $50,000 and go to $150,000 very quickly with a few upgrade options you can probably still get an installed and minimally landscaped above ground pool for $5000 to $10,000. It is a little confusing when comparing above ground pools as there are some above ground pools which are more like a toy / throw away pool rather than a quality above ground pool kit that has the potential to last a few decades when installed and cared for well. If you want to start at the very beginning with this you can pause now and read this article about cheap swimming pools which shows examples of the throw away, portable and more permanent above ground pools and the differences between them.

Vinyl Liner Pool Benefits: Pros & Cons

Vinyl-lined pools are the most common type of swimming pool, and for good reason. While fiberglass pools have their benefits, vinyl liners offer a number of advantages for the discerning pool buyer. If you’re considering installing an inground pool in your backyard, here are a few reasons a vinyl pool liner should be at the top of your list, including some common pros and cons of vinyl pools.

  • Cost Effective
  • Low Maintenance
  • Endless Design Options
  • Smooth to The Touch
  • Fast Installation Time

Vinyl Liner Pools Are the Most Cost-Effective Choice

First, the cost of vinyl liners is less than others, making them are the most economical choice of all the different types of pools. Sure, any which way you go, a new swimming pool is going to be a substantial investment, but vinyl is less costly than fiberglass or concrete, making this one huge advantage over other pools. Concrete is costly expensive both in installation and maintenance. Fiberglass is more cost-effective than concrete, but shipping them is costly and repairing a damaged fiberglass pool can get expensive. Vinyl pools, on the other hand, are a little bit cheaper than fiberglass on the onset, and if you do need to repair a vinyl liner, it’s generally much less expensive than concrete or fiberglass. You will need to replace your vinyl liner at some point, but compared to the cost of resurfacing a gunite pool, that’s not terribly expensive either.

The total cost of a vinyl pool depends on factors like the size and shape of the pool; whether it is an inground or above-ground pool; the type of shell, pumps, and filtration equipment; long-term pool care and maintenance needs; whether it is a traditional or saltwater pool; the types of permits that are needed for construction; whether or not the pool will be heated for winter; and whether or not the pool will include any special or custom features, such as rock waterfalls, automatic covers, or tanning ledges.

Vinyl Means Lower Maintenance

All pools require maintenance, let’s be clear about that, but the benefit of vinyl pools is that they don’t need quite as much as their concrete or fiberglass counterparts. Modern vinyl liners are extremely durable. Vinyl is a nonporous surface which means it won’t require as many chemicals as a concrete pool. Vinyl’s smooth surface also makes it harder for contaminants like algae to take hold and wreak havoc on your pool. A well-maintained liner will last many years, but it will need to be replaced at some point. However, compare the cost of a new liner to the cost of refinishing a concrete pool (it can climb into the 5 figure neighborhood) and you’ll see that a vinyl liner is also a very cost-effective choice in the long run. Vinyl (along with the steel or polymer shell) are less vulnerable than concrete pools to the freeze/thaw cycles that affect colder climates. This is especially important if you’re installing your pool in the Midwest or any area where temperatures routinely drop below freezing during the wintertime.


How Long do Vinyl Liners Last?

One of the questions we hear most often is “How long do vinyl pool liners last?” The answer depends on various factors like the amount of sunlight the pool is exposed to; how much wear-and-tear the pool sustains; and of course, the level of care and maintenance you put into the pool’s upkeep over the years. With regular maintenance, vinyl pool liners can last for up to 10 years before they need to be replaced, though some may have slightly shorter or longer lifespans.

Lots of Options to Design Your Dream Pool

The vinyl pools of yesteryear were pretty limited when it came to design options. If you wanted something other than a rectangle with an aqua blue hue, you were out of luck. These days, the possibilities are almost limitless. Modern manufacturing techniques can produce a vinyl liner for virtually any shape of pool. You can now get vinyl pools with any number of features like spill-over spas or tanning ledges, and liners come in a myriad of colors, patterns, and thicknesses. Vinyl pools can be designed with a much deeper deep end than fiberglass can offer. Furthermore, should your tastes change, a completely different look is just a replacement liner away. That’s something you can’t do with a concrete or fiberglass pool. Latham Pool liners also feature UltraSeam technology which will give your pool a seamless look that other manufacturers cannot offer.

Smooth to The Touch

Before I wrap this up, I’d be remiss not to touch on the most appealing aspect of a vinyl liner: its smooth feel. Anybody who’s ever skinned a heel or elbow on a concrete pool knows what I’m talking about. There’s something satisfying about sliding over the smooth surface of a vinyl pool liner. And, again, that smooth surface also helps cut down on the maintenance.

Fast Installation Time

No one likes waiting for a construction project to end — especially not when you’re eagerly awaiting a brand-new swimming pool! Fortunately, fast installation is one of the many advantages of a vinyl pool. While a gunite or concrete pool might take as long as six to eight weeks for excavation and construction, a vinyl-liner pool can typically be built in as little as two to four weeks, depending on the pool’s length, depth, and other factors. The sooner construction finishes, the sooner work crews can get out of your yard — and the sooner you and your family can enjoy your new vinyl pool! We often recommend building a pool in fall where possible, so that your pool is ready to use by the time hot summer weather arrives.

Vinyl Liners: Some Final Pros & Cons

Before you commit to a new vinyl-liner swimming pool, think carefully about these vinyl pool pros and cons, so that you can make a decision that’s right for your lifestyle.

Vinyl Pool Pros

  • Huge range of gorgeous, highly customizable styles and designs to choose from
  • The lowest upfront costs of all pool types
  • Rapid timeline for construction and installation

Vinyl Pool Cons


  • Liners must be replaced every 5 to 10 years on average
  • Slightly higher lifetime costs than fiberglass swimming pools
  • More susceptible to algae growth than fiberglass, though algae can be removed or prevented with proper pool care

Learn More About Vinyl Pool Advantages

Think a vinyl-liner pool might be the right option for you? Take a look at the Vinyl Liner Pool Page on our website. You can also talk to the trusted experts at Latham Pool Products. We’re here to answer your questions and help you compare the options in detail. Contact us online to learn more, or speak to a pool dealer near you today.

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