I started working at Perma Pools in 2005. I was specifically tasked with developing a first class vinyl liner pool program that would put Perma Pools on the map in this important market segment.
You see, I grew up in the vinyl liner/steel walled pool industry and have devoted more than 30 years of my life to building and designing these pools. I know the strengths and weakness of these pools and I had one for 15 years in my last house.
Sure, there are ugly vinyl liner pools but we don't build them that way. There is no need for ugly plastic stairs or white coping as there are seemless options.
Vinyl liner / steel walled in ground pools are great pools and here are the Top 6 Reason why.
1. Aesthetics of Vinyl Liner Pools. Sometimes vinyl liner pools are criticised because most end up being rectangles. The reality, however, is that I can build a pool in most any shape with most any features, including benches, ledges, sun ledges etc. I can build the pool in any size too--I have no meaningful limitations here so designs are unlimited. It is true that it costs money to bend steel and therefore some of the more exotic vinyl liner pools can get pricey; however, there is an awful lot you can do within the "standard" category that will satisfy most tastes.
But let's look at why most vinyl liner pools are rectangle. First, a majority of designers prefer a rectangle as it fits in well, and compliments, most complex backyard designs. Second, with a rectangle you can do a perfect undertrack automatic cover so no tracks show. Third, the rectangle is the least expensive option in vinyl liner pool and who does not want to save a little money?
2. Cost. Vinyl liner pools are the least costly legitimate building system for residential pools. They are $3-10,000 less than similar sized fiberglass pools. There are even greater savings when compared to concrete pools.
3. Durability. A vinyl liner pool has a sturdy structure. It has steel walls that are anchored by a footer around the walls. It has a poured bottom, hopefully, made out of vermiculite. These pools are built to last the test of time. A vinyl liner is then placed over this structure to make the pool water tight and to provide a look. These liners should last 8-10 years or more. While some people have had problems with the vinyl deteriorating, simple precautions will avoid this situation. And then when you do change the liner, you get a whole new pool!
4. Size. People have big yards and big familys and often want a big pool. Fiberglass pools only get so large and tend to get pricey the larger they get. Concrete or gunite pools can be any size, but wow, do they ever get pricey on the large size! In contrast, vinyl liner pools do not tend to jump up big in price. For example, the difference in cost between a 16 x 32 vinyl pool and a 18 x 36 vinyl pool is only about $2,300. Fiberglass pools do not even get that big and that $2,300 is chump change to a concrete pool.
5. Variety of Pool Surfaces. There are many, many choices of liners. It is like picking out drapes. The patterns and colors seem endless. There is certainly something for everyone.
6. Factory Controlled Quality and Direction. This advantage is over concrete pools. Obviously, fiberglass pools are even more factory controlled. But a concrete pool structure is almost entirely dependant on the builder. There is no factory telling him how to do his rebar or how thick to pour his concrete. You are dependant on the guy in your yard. In contrast, vinyl pool are still what is known as "packaged pools". In the yard, we are executing on a cad drawing prepared by the manufacturer with specific directions so that we all understand the manufacturer's engineered standards. Yes, a lot still rests on the builder but it is nothing like the lack of identifiable standards in concrete pools.
I think every pool building system has its pros and cons and I have focused on the top buying features of vinyl liner pool here. The number 1 con of vinyl pools has to do with the liner itself in that it has to be replaced and it is more suseptable to damage than concrete or fiberglass surfaces. However, I believe this con is over blown as discussed here.