What is the Difference between Concrete and Gunite Pools?

When deciding between a gunite and concrete pool, there are pros and cons to both, depending on the desired look. Generally speaking, concrete pools offer more structural integrity than do gunite pools. When choosing between the two options, homeowners should also determine which material will offer the most aesthetic appeal for their backyard space.

in ground gunite pool with fire accents and pool lighting

What are Concrete Pools?

Concrete pools are popular properties because they offer homeowners various design options and colors. Concrete pools need to be professionally installed, leading to high labor costs during installation. However, concrete pools tend to last longer than gunite pools if proper maintenance measures are followed. Homeowners need to note that adding chemical treatments to a concrete pool can lead to discoloration.

Concrete pools are particularly more susceptible to staining because the stains show up on the pool surface itself rather than just on the sides of the pool. Some homeowners choose to have their entire backyard resurfaced with concrete when it is time for a new pool installation, which leads to an updated look for their entire backyard space.

What are Gunite Pools?

Gunite pools are a good option for homeowners who want to install their pool quickly and inexpensively without sacrificing structural integrity. This type of pool is made by pouring the gunite mixture over steel forms, allowing the material to harden for structural support. As with concrete, gunite pools also have a limited life span, and homeowners should expect to replace the pool materials after approximately 12-15 years.

Gunite pools are a popular choice because they are uncomplicated to install, and can be finished in a short amount of time. The material is usually ready for water within 24 hours of application.

If you’re considering having a pool installed in your backyard, you may be wondering whether concrete or gunite pools are best for you. Each type of pool has its advantages and disadvantages, and it’s not an easy choice to make.

While the two types of pool construction share some similarities, they also have many differences.

After reading this article about concrete and gunite pools, you should be able to determine which one is the right choice for your family.

pool with natural plants and brick inlays

Concrete Pool Features:

Once you have poured the concrete, you can begin to add the ornamental features to your pool. Concrete pools are made to mimic other materials so you can get a feel of what it would look like with tile or stone around the edges. In addition, there are no limits on the number of steps you can add or how much cement cover you want in your pool.

For those who like to swim against the current, many options can be added with concrete. Concrete pools can include waterfalls and slide walls if you want them; however, the more features there are in a pool, the higher the price will rise.

Concrete Pool Pros and Cons:

Concrete pools are by far the most popular type of pool on the market today, and there’s a good reason for that – it’s because they offer a lot of advantages. These can include

1. Concrete is extremely durable:

Since concrete hardens over time, it maintains its strength and doesn’t require as much maintenance as other options like vinyl liners.

2. Concrete won’t crack:

Due to the chemical nature of gunite pool construction, there’s always a risk that a pool made this way could develop cracks or other problems. Concrete pools, on the other hand, don’t have this issue.

3. They’re easy to clean:

Many people complain about having to vacuum vinyl liner pools, and with good reason, because it takes a lot of time and effort. You’ll never have that problem with a concrete pool because they’re just a simple sweep of the debris into a filter, and that’s it.

There are some disadvantages of concrete pools, however. They can include:

1. Concrete is heavy:

While some people may consider the extra weight a benefit because it makes them more stable, others may find this to be a negative trait because it makes them harder to empty, if necessary.

2. Concrete can be cold:

If you’re used to relaxing in a nice warm pool during the winter months, concrete may not be the best option for you because it often feels colder than other materials. You can opt for an additional heater or try building one of your own with geothermal energy, but that can be expensive.

Gunite Pool Features:

There are many benefits to creating gunite pools, but there is no limit on the design you can create with them. Gunite pools come in any number of shapes and sizes, allowing you to create a pool that is perfect for your backyard. However, gunite pools often do not come with the extra features that make concrete pools unique such as waterfalls or slide walls, so you need to consider what is important to you before settling on a design.

Gunite Pool Pros and Cons:

In addition to concrete, there are also gunite pools which are a type of construction that falls in between the two previously mentioned types.

  1. The most significant advantage of gunite pools is that they can be customized more easily than a vinyl liner pool since you aren’t limited by the shape of the mold.
  2. They also don’t have the problem associated with cracks that you find in concrete pools.

On the other hand, gunite pools can be more expensive to install, and they require a lot more maintenance than vinyl liner or even above-ground pools. They can include:

1. Gunite requires skilled workers:

Since gunite pools are more difficult to install, they require a lot of expertise from those who do it. This can drive up the price so that it’s not as affordable as many other pool types.

2. Gunite can be cold:

Even though gunite is a better insulator than concrete, it still doesn’t compare to vinyl liners, and it can still feel colder than you expect.

3. Gunite requires a lot of maintenance:

The more complicated the swimming pool, the more difficult it is going to be maintained, and gunite falls into this category. You’ll have to make sure that your pool regularly gets the right balance of chemicals, or it may start to develop problems like algae.

What Are the Costs?

The costs of gunite and concrete pools are very similar; however, the cost of labor plays a major role in this. Since concrete is poured into molds, you will need less manpower to construct your pool. However, due to the larger size of gunite pools, more people are required to build them. This generally translates into higher costs for building gunite pools.


When choosing between a gunite or concrete pool, there are many factors to take into consideration. The most important of these factors will be the budget you have set aside for your pool because it can make or break any options you choose. Once you know what you want in your pool, the decision becomes much easier.

Concrete pools are known for their versatility, while gunite pools are great for those who want a strong, sturdy pool with little maintenance. For these reasons, concrete is usually the more popular choice; however, many factors can play into your decision to make either work for you.

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