Prefab Pools 101 – All You Need to Know

By August 5, 2022Pool Safety

There’s no denying that pools are a great addition to any home. They provide a place to cool off on hot summer days, and they can be a great gathering place for friends and family. However, pools can also be a lot of work to maintain. They require regular cleaning and testing of the water, and they can be expensive to operate. As a result, many homeowners are opting for prefab pools. Prefab pools are factory-built pools that are then installed at the home site. There are several advantages to prefab pools. They are typically less expensive than traditional in-ground pools, and they can be installed much more quickly. In addition, prefab pools tend to have fewer maintenance issues than in-ground pools.

However, there are some drawbacks to prefab pools as well. They are not as customizable as in-ground pools, and they may not last as long. As you weigh your options, it’s important to consider all of the pros and cons of prefab pools before making a decision.

Prefab Pools 101: Types, Cost, Pros & Cons

So you’re thinking of installing a pool, and came across the topic of “prefab pools”.  And now you probably have a few questions, like:

  • What are they?
  • How much do they cost?
  • What shapes do they come in?

Well, first things first. Prefab swimming pools are pools that are premade in a facility and arrive at your home fully built. Yes, you can get an entire swimming pool shipped to your home, already made, ready to be dropped into the ground.

So if that catches your interest, then keep reading. Because in this post, we answer all the common questions and cover everything you need to know about prefab pools.

Understanding Prefab Pools: Types, Cost, Pros & Cons

What is a prefab pool?

Prefab swimming pools are pools that are premanufactured in a factory and sent to your home,  fully built, and ready to install. They can be installed inground, above ground, and partially above ground (as infinity pools).

Since they come pre-built, the installation process for prefab pools is much shorter than traditional gunite and vinyl liner swimming pools. With prefab pools, most installations take no longer than 1-3 months at most.

The two main types of prefab pools are precast concrete pools and fiberglass pools. In the next few sections, we’ll go over the differences between the two, and help you decide which one is best for you.

What are Precast Concrete Pools

precast concrete pools prefab pools
Precast concrete pools get prebuilt, or “cast” in a factory using a mold. Think of it as the large-scale version of making a clay bowl.

That said, it’s important to know that most precast concrete pools are smaller than traditional gunite pools, and for a good reason.

Why are precast concrete pools smaller?

Prefab pools need to be transported, often over very long distances, so they need to be small enough to maneuver through the streets. And as you know, concrete gets really heavy. Because of this, most precast concrete pools are no larger than 35 by 15 feet.

Precast Concrete Pool Installation Process

The installation process for precast concrete pools is fairly straightforward.

Pool builders form the pool’s shape using a pre-made mold, then fill it with concrete. Once the concrete fully cures, builders remove the pool from the mold, pack it, and ship it off.

Precast Concrete Pool Shapes

The majority of precast concrete pools come in traditional square, circular, and rectangular shapes. However, some pool builders may offer a few freeform designs, but choices will be limited since prefab pools have shipping constraints.

Precast Concrete Pool Cost

Believe it or not, most precast concrete pools actually cost less than building a pool from scratch. And this is mostly thanks to their smaller size, and reduced labor cost (since the pool comes pre-built).

So not only are they more convenient to install, but they also cost you less upfront as well. Plus, the installation time only takes a few days to a few weeks at most — much faster than the 3-6 month process of traditional pools.

With that said, you still have the choice of making your pool inground, above ground, or partially above ground (if you’re going for an infinity pool with a vanishing edge). It all depends on how you want to bring your backyard oasis to life.

Prefab Pools: Pros & Cons of Precast Concrete Pools

Precast concrete pools come with some very clear advantages over traditional pools, but let’s take a moment to look at both sides of the coin.


  • Faster install times: 2-3 weeks VS 3-6 months
  • Simpler installation: pool comes prebuilt, so no loud, messy machinery and equipment
  • Often cheaper: a compact size, lower shipping costs, and less labor means less money spent for you


  • Restricted size: precast pools can’t exceed 35 feet in length
  • More maintenance: concrete pools demand the most maintenance because of their porous, highly absorbent surfaces. This makes them more prone to grime buildup and algae infestations
  • Higher lifetime costs: Concrete pools need replastering every few years, and they’re notorious for soaking up pool chemicals (because they’re porous) and driving up pool bills

What are Fiberglass Pools

fiberglass pool prefab pools
Both precast concrete pools and fiberglass pools are great options for a lot of the same reasons. But since we’ve already covered fiberglass pools in another post (which you can read here), this section will provide a quick summary of everything you need to know.

Fiberglass pools are prefab pools manufactured in a factory using a combination of molds, fiberglass, and special resins. Since they feature highly flexible materials, fiberglass pools offer a more durable, long-lasting, and crack-resistant pool shell. Especially since a special non-porous gel coating protects the surfaces —  which also extends the life of the pool, making cleaning easier, and preventing algae infestations.

The installation process for fiberglass pools is similar to precast concrete pools, where the pool is manufactured in a factory, packed, and shipped out to your residence. Because of this, fiberglass pools usually take no longer than 2-3 weeks to install.

As far as cost is concerned, fiberglass pools typically range from $40,000 to $90,000, depending on the size and features you choose. Out of all the pools, fiberglass pools can often cost the most upfront, but they pay for themselves with low maintenance costs and extra-long lifespans.

To learn more about fiberglass pools, read: 10 Facts About Fiberglass Pools You Should Know

Prefab pools: Precast Concrete Pools vs. Fiberglass Pools | Which is better?

Prefab swimming pools are all about convenience and value. And while both fiberglass pools and precast concrete pools offer affordable, modern options, it’s important to decide which is best for you.

If a smaller budget is the main factor, precast concrete pools could be the better choice.

But if longevity and low maintenance costs are what matter most to you, then fiberglass pools would suit you better.

It all depends on your situation. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Fiberglass is more flexible, and won’t crack like concrete
  • Concrete pools offer more pool surface options (tiles, pebble, etc.)
  • Fiberglass is easier to maintain (and highly resistant to algae)
  • Concrete pools have a lower upfront purchase cost
  • Fiberglass pools come in more shapes and styles
  • Concrete pools install faster than traditional gunite and vinyl liner pools


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