Should You Choose a Vinyl or Gunite Pool?

If you’re looking at adding a beautiful new swimming pool to your property, you may be interested in several different styles of pool. Do you want to go classic and rectangular, or oblong, for a natural pondlike look? Or, do you have something more unique in mind?

Whatever type of pool you choose to install, you’ll need to select something very important: the material. All pools need a liner to create and hold the pool’s shape and prevent water leakage. Not all pools are made alike, even the in-ground ones. Most are made with either vinyl or gunite. Pool builders may recommend one depending on your budget, pool design, and several other factors.

While both types of pools have their unique benefits, and swimming pool builders would gladly vouch for either material, each has its pros and cons.

The following is a breakdown of vinyl and gunite pool liners, and some tips on how to decide which is right for your brand-new pool design in Atlanta.

Vinyl Basics

Vinyl pool liners are preassembled into modular panels, which can then be used to line the walls and floor of a swimming pool. They can be attached in a variety of designs and configurations without length, width, or depth limits. Vinyl pools can technically be built into virtually any shape, although it may take very skilled and experienced swimming pool builders to pull off particularly complex designs, including features like sun decks and swim-up bars. This can add up to higher installation costs because of the time it takes and complexity. However, simple pool designs can be installed very quickly.

Gunite Basics

Gunite is a type of concrete. It’s installed with the use of rebar, or metal bars, which form a rough frame for the pool. Then, a mixture of concrete and sand is applied over the form to hold it in place.

Gunite is completely flexible and can easily be molded into virtually any shape you can imagine. It offers more design freedom without the complexity. After the gunite dries, you can add a plaster finish, tile, or other decorative layer to the pool.

While most pool companies offer vinyl liner pools, not all install gunite pools.

Breaking Down the Differences

Vinyl can be less expensive to install than gunite unless you have a more intricate design in mind. Gunite pools tend to run on the more expensive end, especially when you compare two simple pools in vinyl and gunite construction. This is because modular vinyl is quick to attach on-site.

Also, gunite can require more time for installation. First, the pool construction company must install a precise rebar frame. Then, they can apply the gunite. However, you must wait a while for it to dry completely before you can move on in the installation process.

Vinyl pools can be installed in a shorter amount of time. Also, vinyl can feel a little smoother on your feet. Gunite can have a more rough or uneven finish, which can lead to scratched feet. If you have little swimmers, you may want to choose vinyl over gunite for this reason. If damaged, gunite can have very rough exposed edges.

In terms of design, vinyl liners come in a range of colors and styles. Gunite also can be installed in many ways for total freedom in customization.

Maintaining a gunite pool can be more expensive, especially because of its complexity. Vinyl also may be more resistant to pool chemicals, and it is less likely to get damaged.

The Consensus

Overall, experts in swimming pool construction in Atlanta recommend either type of pool. However, vinyl tends to be cheaper and easier to maintain. Gunite, meanwhile, offers total design freedom, for more unique and intricate pools that deserve time and attention.

For more advice or to schedule a pool design consultation, contact Hilltop Pools and Spas, Inc. today. Call 770-471-3889 for a free quote or visit

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.”