Gunite vs Concrete Pool: Which Is Better?

pool construction image with man layering concreteWhen building a commercial or residential pool, there are lots of aesthetic decisions to make, but the choice between materials is just as important. It’s exciting to choose the shape, color, and landscape of your pool and backyard, but you want to make sure the pool material supports your vision. 

There are so many different material choices today, and gunite and concrete are considered similar and popular options. Gunite and concrete are both reliable substances, each with their own advantages and drawbacks. We’ll discuss what they are and their pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision.

Gunite vs Concrete Materials

Gunite is made up of exclusively small aggregates, whereas concrete is made up of both coarse and fine particles. Gunite comes as a dry mix and is combined only with water during the construction process, and concrete comes already mixed with water, ready for construction.

Gunite vs Concrete Construction Process

The construction of gunite pools is similar to that of concrete. Builders first dig out the area for the pool, install plumbing, and then create a steel frame. The gunite is applied through a hose and shot at high speeds onto the frame, where it adheres and hardens over two weeks. Concrete pools also use a frame, but instead of being sprayed on, concrete is poured into the frame to fill out the shape. 

Once you begin filling in a concrete pool, you cannot stop and start the process. However, with gunite, you have more flexibility to stop and start as needed. Once complete, your pool contractors apply a smooth finish from plaster, aggregate, pebbles, paint, or fiberglass–it’s up to you! 

Pros and Cons of Gunite and Concrete Pools

Ultimately, the decision between gunite and concrete comes down to budget and desired design. However, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons, so you know exactly what you’re in for.

Gunite Pools Pros:

  • Can be applied in layers, allowing for more design flexibility
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Can withstand pressure and damage
  • Can be manipulated during drying process 
  • More prestigious material in public opinion

Concrete Pools Pros:

  • Cheaper initial cost
  • Can be constructed in any shape or size
  • Durable and long-lasting

Gunite Cons:

  • More expensive initial cost
  • Can be difficult to repair
  • Needs a lot of maintenance

Concrete Cons:

  • More prone to cracking and weather damage
  • Takes longer to set and dry
  • Porous material of concrete attracts algae
  • Requires a lot of chemicals and maintenance 

How to Make the Decision

If budget is a main concern, concrete may be the way to go. However, if you prioritize durability and design flexibility, gunite is worth the initial investment. Both materials require maintenance and upkeep, but it’s important to consider long-term costs and how it will hold up in the future.

Consult Pool Professionals

No one can explain gunite vs concrete pools better than your local pool construction company. Hilltop Pools and Spas has constructed both concrete and gunite pools for homes and businesses alike for years. We’re happy to discuss your options and help you make the best decision for your specific needs. Contact us today to learn more about gunite and concrete pools, and get started on building your dream oasis!

We have had the privilege of being awarded more than 60 Design Awards in every award category, including custom residential concrete pools, commercial concrete pools, in-ground vinyl liner pools, and major renovations. Hilltop was named one of the “Top 50 Pool Builders in the USA” by Pool and Spa News in 2013-2017. Pool builders across the United States were evaluated in several areas, including the total number of pools built, customer service, certifications, industry involvement, employee retention, as well as advertising and social media presence. Our company was also nationally recognized for customer service and social media. We were the only Georgia company on the list in 2016 and 2017!

We would consider it a privilege to design and construct your project and have you as a member of our “Hilltop Family.”