Fiberglass vs Gunite Swimming Pools: Key Advantages to Know

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Choosing to build a pool is both the best and greatest decision you will make as well as the most confusing and stressful time of being a homeowner. Choosing the right materials, the right finishing, the best layout, or even just the color can be tough. Then you will have to choose what material the pool is made out of, wondering if fiberglass or gunite is the best.

Gunite and fiberglass pools all have their advantages, with fiberglass being quicker to install, lower maintenance, and more durability while gunite pools are longer lived, custom, and more flexible in design. Each type of pool also has its disadvantages, with gunite being expensive, requiring longer installations, and requiring more maintenance, while fiberglass pools are prone to warping, limited designs, and getting sun-damaged.

Each of these pools has a long list of advantages and disadvantages, knowing what they are and how they will affect your eventual planning will be the difference between having a pool that makes you happy.

Each type of pool has their unique personalities, getting to know what they are and how they’ll affect owning the pool is important.

Here are all the advantages and disadvantages of owning both types of pools!

Free Form Gunite Pool with Brick Patio

What are the key advantages of a Fiberglass Pool

Fiberglass pools are the pools everyone thinks of when they heard the word, this is because the many advantages of these pools heavily outweigh their disadvantages.

Not only does the material not affect the pool water as much as other pools, but the list of benefits of also using these pools can be almost innumerable.

There are three advantages of these pools that should always be considered when thinking of getting a pool and they are the speed of installation, durability, and maintenance.

Installing Speed

All pools can take a while to install or even be ready to be installed, which is part of what makes it so expensive. When a pool is installed there are people that need to be paid to dig the hole and equipment that needs to be rented. The longer you need people to do this the more expensive it will be to install the pool.

This is why it is so amazing that most fiberglass pools can be fully installed in only two to three days. The shell of the pool is built in a factory where a set amount of designs are constantly being made when you purchase the pool they simply deliver the pool to you and install it.

Similar to pools you purchase and install yourself, all that is needed is to install the pipes and pumps. This has meant that most pools installed anywhere in the world for the private sector have been fiberglass pools.

Their speed and functionality have meant that a lot of people can easily afford to install them rather than going with more expensive pools that will last only slightly longer than fiberglass pools.

Durability

Fiberglass pools are some of the most durable pools out there, like everything made out of fiberglass they are hardy and very impact resistant.

Further, their ability to hold their structure means that they will retain their shape even as the ground around them shifts and settles.

There are stories of fiberglass pools surviving through floods and earthquakes that broke most of the other structures in their immediate vicinities.

This durability has meant that fiberglass pools are an investment to your house that will most likely last a lot longer than you will live in the house you are installing it in.

If a fiberglass pool has been taken care of properly and proper maintenance has been done the pool will easily have a lifetime of over 40 years.

However, this means that you will have to do everything perfectly and that no outside influences have damaged the pool surface and that it was installed correctly by the contractors that were hired.

Lower Maintenance

No pool requires almost no maintenance to be done to them, however, fiberglass pools require a lot less maintenance to be done to them. Unlike Marble pools or other coated pools, fiberglass requires extraordinarily little in the way of maintenance if taken care of properly.

This is because the lining used to make the pool smooth does not easily react with chemicals and will almost always be chemically neutral.

As your pool ages, this may change, however, in the first ten years of you owning the pool it will require only a bit of scrubbing and cleaning to keep it looking brand new.

Because the fiberglass does not easily react to chemicals it means that the pool will not easily get stained, allowing you to have more ease of mind if you need to leave it unattended over the winter.

This is because not even a large growth of algae can stain the lining of most fiberglass pools.

What are the key advantages of a Gunite Pool

Gunite pools are unique in that the pool is made by blasting a special mixture of cement out of a hose, that quickly and smoothly build up around a rebar frame that has been built into the ground.

It is with this that the unique and advantageous aspect of a gunite pool is made, making it a pool type that has quickly become loved by those that can afford them.

There are three main advantages to gunite pools that you should consider when you are planning what type of pool you are getting, namely customization, longevity, and flexibility.

Customization

Most, if not all pools, follow a set design made by the manufacturers of those pools, with many pools becoming similarly shaped as communities grow.

This is why the normal kidney shape or just square pool has become a common thing to find in most suburban homes that own pools, with fiberglass manufacturers all preferring to have a few shapes they can build extremely fast.

This is where gunite shines, each gunite pool on earth is a unique shape that has been made to fit in the area that was made available.

Some are square while others are triangular or round, this is why gunite pools are usually built in larger areas as well.

Gunite pools do not have a maximum size limitation in the same way that premanufactured pools have and can be as deep as required by the owner of the pool.

This customization has become one of the main reasons that people love using gunite pools when they can.

Longevity

Unlike most other pools gunite will last a long time, this is because the cement mixture does not react almost at all with the elements of nature, and the only danger is large tree roots breaking the cement.

However, if the pool is taken care of, or only seasonally cleaned the pool will last for an almost impossible amount of time.

This is because the cement is extremely hard and does not wear away from sunlight, or chemical reactions with the chlorine thrown in. As the pool continues to be used the most likely damage that it will receive can be from earthquakes or floods, other than that there is almost nothing that will damage a gunite pool.

Flexibility

More than any other pool type gunite pools are capable of being adapted to what you need, this is more than just a custom shape to fit into the space that you have.

Many gunite pools will have water features, heated hot tubs built into them, with other custom areas as well.

Some gunite pools have lounge areas where you can comfortably sit with chairs and umbrellas, while others have large Olympic sized areas that allow you to do full laps if needed.

This flexibility in design and function is a big part of what has made the material so loved in pool design with many pool owners creating unique features that no other pool has.

What are the key disadvantages to Fiberglass Pools

For all the advantages that fiberglass pools offer they have a few flaws that have made other pools the much more loved go to pools to use. This is because everything has their limitations and because fiberglass has been used for such a long time their flaws have become a lot more known.

There are three things to know about fiberglass pools that may make you want to go with gunite.

Limited Design

All fiberglass pools are prebuilt pools, they are always built in a factory somewhere to designs that have been planned and reused for a long time.

This means that you are limited to what is available for you and will have to choose a pool that you know can be found almost anywhere else on earth.

What this means for size is also bad, the pools must fit on most trucks and be transportable on the roads, which means they are never large.

There are ways to go around this advantage by getting a custom pool made, however, this is extremely costly and will mean that the entire process takes a lot longer while the mold for the pool is made, and then the pool itself is made.

Warping

A properly set fiberglass pool will never warp, however, few fiberglass pools are perfectly set in place. This is because many things influence the placing of the pool, including the hole that had been dug not being properly done or the sand not compacted properly.

This means that the fiberglass will eventually give in and warp, this can cause the pool to crack and undergo heavy damage as the warping increases.

Once a pool has started to warp it can be extremely costly to repair as at times it can mean lifting out the entire pool to redo all the sand and setting that hold it in place.

Sun Damage

Fiberglass is relatively resistant to chemical or elemental damage, however, the lining that makes the pool smooth and blue is not always the same. This is usually painted on as the last step of the pool and will have to be redone every few years to ensure the pool is maintained properly.

This lining is the most easily damaged by the sun, usually causing it to bubble and requiring that the pool be emptied and then repainted.

If the coating is done properly from the start and no other damage is done to the pool these coatings can easily last several years, but throughout the life of the pool, it will have to be reapplied several times.

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What are the key disadvantages to Gunite Pools

Gunite pools are new and amazing but like all new things on the market, there are many disadvantages to the technology.

This is because for all the good things gunite has brought to the market there are a few things that it is not entirely capable of overcoming. These challenges have meant that gunite is only used in the upper-middle class of the world or above.

Usually, most people will encounter gunite pools for the first time when they visit vacation resorts, as these are the locations that require gunite pools to be installed.

Long Installation

Gunite pools, unlike fiberglass pools, need almost one full month to be installed if it is a basic pool. If a pool is a bit more complex it can take even longer, this is because the concrete needs to harden properly before any changes can be made.

This is why many owners need to wait until just the right time to start their installation as any changes in the weather can make the already long process a lot longer.

Some of the largest gunite pools have taken several months to install as each part needs to be dried properly before the next layer or adjustments can be made.

Maintenance Costs

Gunite pools may not need a lot of maintenance in the beginning but as the cement ages and the lining gets older the maintenance costs can drastically increase.

This is because the lining can be cracked and scratched off by a long list of things, as you slowly use your pool more and more it becomes damaged.

This will require that you then redo the entire lining of the pool, which usually requires that you must first remove the old one. This process can also take a whole month and can reveal other hidden damage to the pool.

This is why it costs so much to maintain a gunite pool and why you should seriously consider the long-term costs of the pool before making the purchase.

Expensive

The initial and long terms costs of a gunite pool are always a lot and many people fail to take this into account when they first plan a gunite pool.

Not only are the material costs of the pool a lot, but the number of man-hours and work required to build a proper gunite pool can be overwhelming.

When you plan to build a pool, it will always be an expensive experience, but most pools only have an initial high cost.

However, gunite pools can be costly for their entire duration, especially if heavy rain or earthquakes damage the shell of the ship.

Final Thoughts on Fiberglass vs Gunite Swimming Pools

There are many types of pools out there, but most people will be familiar with fiberglass pools as their standard pool in the backyard.

However, if you need something that is both bigger and more custom, then you may want to get a custom gunite pool installed.

The advantages and disadvantages of both can be what you need and finding the perfect pool for you may very well be specific to where you live.

Just be sure whatever type of pool you choose to install, it has everything you need to become the vacation location for all your loved ones!