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Gunite vs Fiberglass Pools: Which Inground Pool Is The Best?

Last Updated on February 7, 2021

What Pool Type Is Best For You and Your Family – Gunite vs Fiberglass Pools?

When it comes to planning for your new pool, you have several options to choose from, and one of the difficult choices you have to make is selecting the primary material you should use for your swimming pool. Now, if you’re still picking between fiberglass pools and concrete (or gunite) pools, then we’re here to help you decide once and for all.

Gunite which is also known as shotcrete, cast, tile, or plaster can be categorized under concrete pools. These pools can be custom-built to meet your design preferences. This makes concrete pools one of the most popular types of swimming pools built today.

Whether you’d want an Olympic-size infinity pool, a pool shaped like your favorite number, or a 12-foot deep pool, you can build it using gunite or concrete.

For fiberglass pools, the design options may a bit limited compared to gunite pools. However, this does not stop it from becoming a popular choice for people who want to install a long-term pool in their backyard.

The main selling point of fiberglass pools is they are very easy to install compared to other in-ground pool types. They are faster to build and you may even install them yourself without the need to hire a pool professional.

But overall, how do gunite pools compare to fiberglass pools?

Let’s compare these two pools, and find out which is the better swimming pool for you and your family.

Fiberglass and Concrete Inground Pools: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Features

gunite vs fiberglass pools

Fiberglass Pools

gunite vs fiberglass pools

Concrete Pools

Initial Cost

$12,000 to $80,000

$40,000 to $100,000

Maintenance

Low Maintenance

High Maintenance

Customization

Limited

Limitless

Durability

Debatable (see below)

Very Durable

Feel

Smooth

Depends on Finish

Initial Cost of Concrete Pools

Pool construction for concrete/gunite pools usually costs between $40,000 to $100,000, depending on several factors like your pool’s size and shape. You also have to consider if you need any additional pool features like heaters, slides, and lights, and these will certainly increase the initial cost needed to build your inground pool.

The time you have to wait before you can use your new pool may range from several weeks to a few months. The faster you want your pool to be constructed, the more money you have to spend to build it.

Initial Cost of Fiberglass Pools

Unlike concrete swimming pools, you have the option to DIY installing a fiberglass pool but only do it if you’re confident enough that you can do a good job. For those installing their fiberglass pool themselves, the initial cost may be between $12,000 and $30,000.

However, if you’ll let pool builders do it for you, you will spend about $45,000 to $80,000 depending on your pool’s size, shape, and added features.

Fiberglass pools are easier to install so you don’t have to wait that long for you to see and use your new pool.

Tip: If you haven’t install fiberglass swimming pools before, it’ll be better if you’ll let trained and experienced pool contractors do it for you.

More Affordable: Fiberglass

Maintenance Costs for Concrete Pools

Concrete pools need resurfacing every 10 to 20 years and this will cost you anywhere around $5,000 to $10,000. Those living in regions with colder climates may have to avail of pool resurfacing more often than those living in warmer regions.

Concrete pools are also prone to algae growth than any other pool type. For this reason, you have to regularly clean and maintain your pool’s interior and closely monitor your pool water’s pH balance.

Maintenance Costs for Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools are easier to maintain than gunite pools since they never require resurfacing and the gel coat of your pool is algae-resistant.

Owners of fiberglass pools are still advised to monitor their water chemistry from time to time, but they won’t have to do much cleaning to keep their pool clean. This means less time spent on pool maintenance and less money spent on pool chemicals.

Less Maintenance Costs: Fiberglass

Customization of Concrete Pools

For people who’d like their pool to be as unique as possible, concrete pools offer almost limitless design options. You have more freedom to design your pool based on your preference when you use gunite than any other pool material.

Customization of Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass pools are created from pre-designed molds, and pools made of this material have a maximum length of 40 feet, a maximum width of 16 feet, and a maximum depth of 8.5 feet.

Your choice for your pool size and shape will be limited but you can still customize your pool by adding tanning ledges, lights, and other pool finishes you can think of.

More Customizable: Concrete

Durability of Concrete Pools

Concrete swimming pools are famous for their durability, some pool owners report that they’ve had their concrete pool for generations already. The structure of the gunite pool is made of concrete as well as all the interior finishes so you don’t have to worry about it being damaged by your pets, toys, or tree branches.

The only thing you have to do to ensure your concrete pool stays in good condition is to have it resurfaced or plastered once every 10 to 20 years.

Durability of Fiberglass Pools

Fiberglass is new to the pool industry so we don’t have much data yet about its durability. Pools made of fiberglass are practically unaffected by normal wear and tear.

However, pool owners are reporting that their fiberglass pools popped out of the ground. The good news is most fiberglass pool manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty to their pool shells, but that may not be able to cover everything.

Tip: Do not drain all the water in your fiberglass pool to avoid damaging it.

Most Durable: Concrete

Feel of Concrete Pools

Much like any other concrete structures, pools made of concrete or gunite, especially those with plaster finish, can be rough on your skin.

If you’d like a smooth surface to swim on, you can choose a tile finish for your concrete pool, but be reminded that tile finish is the most expensive concrete pool finish out there.

Feel of Fiberglass Pools

The interior of fiberglass swimming pools are smooth because of its gel coat. Steps of fiberglass pools can be made to be anti-slip but those aren’t rough either.

For people who like would like a smooth pool surface, fiberglass pools are the best option and you don’t have to spend extra just to make it like that.

Better Feel: Fiberglass

Summary: Gunite vs Fiberglass Pools

gunite vs fiberglass pools

Fiberglass Pools

gunite vs fiberglass pools

Concrete Pools

PROS

Quick and easy to set up

Lots of sizes and designs to choose from

Low maintenance, resurfacing is not required

Long-lasting and can last for generations if maintained properly

Smooth surface that's impervious to wear and tear with algae-resistant feature

Can be designed to perfectly fit your current property's landscape

CONS

Limited designs

Can be expensive to maintain and repair

There are some damages to the pool may become irreparable

Gunite can be rough and making it smooth will cost money

Pool's max depth is set at 8.5 feet

Complicated and long installation process

When it comes to choosing between fiberglass and gunite pools, it may all come down to these things:

  • Your pool size preference
  • The amount of money you’re willing to spend on your new pool
  • The amount of time you’re willing to wait before your pool construction is finished

Both pools are great options that have their own advantages and disadvantages, hopefully, this post of ours was able to help you determine which is the best pool for you and your family.

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