Gunite pools, or concrete pools, are one of three major types of in-ground pools in the United States. The others are vinyl-lined and fiberglass pools. A gunite pool gets its name because the frame of the pool is sprayed with a sand and concrete mixture called gunite. Gunite pools offer both advantages and disadvantages to homeowners.
Advantages of Gunite Pools
Add more value to your home. Many experts agree that a substantial concrete pool is still a greater selling point for homes, even though fiberglass pools are sold in greater numbers in the country. The reason for this may be that gunite pools were more commonly seen in the 1970s through 1990s, and as a result, most recent home sales that included a value for swimming pools had gunite pools.
Design flexibility. Gunite pools are designed and built on site, and as a result, the design possibilities are nearly endless. Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, are prefabricated to a specific shape and then brought to the site in a single piece to be dropped into the hole for the pool. Additionally, gunite pools are very sturdy and because of the steel framework, retain their shape over a long period of time.
Disadvantages of Gunite Pools
Installation time. Because all the work is done on site and time must pass for the concrete to cure, it takes as much as 2 months or more to build gunite pools from scratch. With a fiberglass pool, the excavation can begin at the same time that fabrication of the shape is taking place. The pool arrives in a single piece and is lowered into the hole. The installation time for a fiberglass pool can be as short as 2 weeks.
Maintenance costs. While many fiberglass pools initially cost more than concrete pools, that’s not always the case. What is more certain is that maintenance costs are greater with gunite pools. There is additional maintenance needed because the pools surface interacts with the water and can be a breeding grounds for algae and require the use of other chemicals to clean and stabilize the quality of the water. Additionally, a plaster finish that is applied to concrete pools must be reapplied about every 10 to 12 years. Fiberglass pools never require resurfacing. Also, frost in colder climates can affect concrete pools, requiring acid washes that can eventually wear down the color of the pool.
Operational costs. Fiberglass pools win this battle as well. Concrete pools require maximum use of the pool’s filter because of metals and alkaloids that leech into the water through the plaster finish. Gunite pools also do not require as many chemicals over time because the surface of fiberglass is nonporous, which concrete pools can create chemical imbalances in the pool and promote the growth of algae.