If you have been researching what types of pool to install, you know there are lots of decisions to make — designs like infinity edge pools, features like sun shelves and waterfalls, and materials including tile and the pool surround.
But the first choice to consider is whether a gunite, fiberglass or vinyl pool is best for you.
What type of pool lasts the longest? Which type of pool is fastest to install? If you want custom pool features or a specific shape, what pool is better for your property?
There are pros and cons to every pool type. Understanding the difference between gunite, vinyl liner and fiberglass pools will help you determine which material best suits your needs.
Gunite Pools – Pros and Cons
Luxury gunite swimming pools allow for the most customization – shape, size, depth, pool features, and designs like incorporating a vanishing or infinity edge, rock grotto or zero entry. If you want a resort-like pool in your backyard, gunite is the way to go.
Gunite vs. Shotcrete
Gunite, shotcrete and concrete are sometimes used interchangeably but they are not the same material. In fact, there’s a big difference. Gunite and shotcrete are alternative forms of concrete. Shotcrete can be a wet or dry mix and is shot out of a hose. Gunite is also shot out of a hose, yet the mix is dry and mixes with water in the nozzle and is sprayed to create the pool shell. Gunite is longer-lasting than shotcrete and allows for more accurate, even application. Overall, you get a higher-quality pool surface with gunite. At Neave Pools, we only build pools with gunite.
Gunite Pool Installation
Gunite pool design and installation can take several months, depending on the complexity and variables on your property. It requires expertise from construction professionals and craftspeople who bring your vision to life. Gunite pools are designed to blend with existing architecture and your surroundings, and they are considered a more valuable, permanent landscape feature. If you choose gunite, you will pay more than fiberglass and vinyl and installation takes longer, but you also will get the level of customization and high-end result you desire.
Gunite Pros and Cons
- Gunite pools are highly customizable with luxury features and materials.
- You can select from endless tile options.
- Gunite pools are long-lasting and durable.
- It takes much longer to install a gunite pool than vinyl or fiberglass.
- Gunite requires curing, which can take up to 30 days (the pool can be filled and in use).
- Acid washing and resurfacing is necessary about every 10 years to maintain a gunite pool’s integrity.
Fiberglass Pools – Pros and Cons
If durability, construction timeline and maintenance are priorities for your pool, then fiberglass checks all of these boxes. Fiberglass pools are pre-engineered and manufactured, then delivered to your site. This does present some limitations. Because fiberglass pools are pre-formed and not built or assembled, they can be no larger than an oversized truck load allows. The standard size for fiberglass pools is 20 by 10 feet.
You can request some pool features like a sun shelf or add a slide, but you will not be able to customize a fiberglass pool like you can concrete. A real benefit of fiberglass pools is they require minimal maintenance and the surface is easy to clean. The surface will not corrode if you choose a salt water system.
- Fiberglass pools are faster to install than gunite.
- Factory-made fiberglass pools are durable and longer-lasting than gunite or vinyl.
- There is less disruption to your yard with fiberglass pool installation.
- You can choose some custom features like a tanning ledge, but not the level of personalization you get with concrete pools.
- Shapes are pre-engineered so fiberglass pool design can be limited.
- There are size limits since fiberglass pools are transported on a truck from the factory.
Vinyl Liner Pools – Pros and Cons
Vinyl liner pools are a cost-effective alternative because they are usually priced by square foot. The shape and size is customizable. If you are deciding between a vinyl liner vs. fiberglass pool, you can get a larger pool with vinyl because pre-engineered parts are assembled on your property. This is advantageous if entry points to your backyard are narrow. A fiberglass pool might be difficult to maneuver into the designated location. Gunite pools are constructed on site so “fitting in” a pool through gates or tight spaces is not a concern.
Similar to fiberglass pools, there is no curing involved with vinyl liner construction. You should plan on replacing the vinyl liner every 10 years and be careful to remove debris that can cause staining.
- Pre-engineered vinyl pools are faster to install than gunite pools
- Vinyl does not require curing
- Long-lasting vinyl pools are relatively low-maintenance
- The vinyl pool liner has to be replaced about every 10 years
- Design options are limited
- The vinyl liner can be slippery
Answering Your Questions About the Best Pool for Your Property
Building any type of pool is an investment that will increase your property value and provide years of enjoyment. We are here to help. Check out our FAQs page and set up a free consultation to discuss your ideas. Just fill out this simple contact form and we will get in touch with you.