What is a Gunite Pool?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A gunite pool is a description of the material used to make the floor and walls of the pool. It is a type of sprayed-on concrete using a dry mix method rather than a wet mix method. As far as swimming pools go, the gunite pool is one of the most popular options on the market.

There are many reasons why a homeowner, or commercial establishment, may choose a gunite swimming pool. For those who want a free-form pool, it is one of the best materials for that purpose. A gunite pool can be molded to fit any pool basin. Thus, the pool offers one of the best options when it comes to customizing a job. Also, the can be customized for many different features, such as waterfalls. For all these reasons, the gunite inground pool is a very popular choice.

Still, despite the material's popularity, it may not be the best option in all cases. A gunite pool is particularly susceptible to stress during the freeze and thaw process in northern climates. In order to have a gunite pool in this situation, it is often necessary to reinforce the pool with additional concrete and support. This can substantially add to the costs of the project. Thus, many may find it is much more economical to choose a different material, such as fiberglass, for pool construction in some areas.

Gunite pool construction begins with the excavation of the property in question. Once that is done, the metal support bars can be laid and the concrete sprayed. However, before the concrete is sprayed, the plumbing must be put into place. The entire process takes approximately six to eight weeks to complete, if starting from scratch.

Those interested in a gunite pool should make sure there is easy access to the back yard, or the area where the pool will be placed. In nearly every case, it is recommended to hire a professional pool installer. The expertise required for such an installation is considerable. In addition to the excavation and concrete work, there is also the plumbing to consider. Very few individuals have enough expertise in all three areas to perform a do-it-yourself installation.

Some people or pool installers who do not deal with gunite are very critical of the material. There are those who say staining and cracking can be a considerable problem. While that is true, good workmanship can often overcome these deficiencies.

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Discussion Comments


@Kat919 - Gunite pools can run as high as $50,000. Fiberglass pools are much cheaper at around $15,000 and often come with a lifetime warranty.

Gunite pools are porous, and algae penetrates the material easily, increasing the cost of maintenance. Also, maintaining the proper chemical balance of gunite pools is critical due to this porosity. Construction of a gunite pool can take 2-3 months, whereas fiberglass pool construction can take as little as 2-3 weeks.


I think vinyl liner is the least expensive and goes up the fastest, but then the liners have to be replaced, meaning higher ongoing maintenance. You don't say what part of the country you live in, but local pool companies should be able to tell you more. Of course, they want you to buy a pool, so you also need to talk to pool owners; they can tell you what owning a pool is really like so you can decide if it's for you or not.

And when you're estimating the cost, don't forget to call your homeowner's insurance company to see how much your rates will go up. Pool = liability!


Is fiberglass pricier than gunite pools? What's the least expensive option? My kids are begging for a pool and I'm in the very early stages of researching what would be involved. The appeal from my end is that if we have a pool, they'll want to have their friends over. Then I get to meet their friends and I know where everyone is!

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