Fiberglass vs. Gunite Pools: Understanding the Differences

When embarking on the journey of pool ownership, the array of choices available can be overwhelming, particularly when it comes to the materials from which to construct your backyard centerpiece. Two of the most popular options on the market are fiberglass and gunite pools, each with a unique set of features that cater to different needs and preferences. In this blog, we’ll explore how these pools differ in terms of installation, maintenance, durability, cost, and customization potential.

1. Installation: Speed vs. Flexibility

Fiberglass pools boast an advantage regarding installation speed. As these pools are factory-manufactured and arrive pre-formed, they can be installed in a matter of days once the site is prepared. This quick turnaround is a major plus for families eager to dive into their new pool.

Gunite pools, on the other hand, offer unparalleled design flexibility. They are not your “out of the box design” like fiberglass, but rather it gives you the upmost in flexibility and creativity in designing your backyard oasis. The construction of a gunite pool is an on-site project that involves creating a steel framework which is then sprayed with a concrete mixture. This labor-intensive process takes time to cure and to add finishing touches.

2. Maintenance: Ease vs. Commitment

Maintenance is a consideration for any pool owner. Fiberglass pools have a gel-coated surface that is non-porous and smooth, making it resistant to algae and easier to clean. This translates to fewer chemicals and less elbow grease to keep the pool clean.

Gunite pools demand a little more attention due to their porous nature, which creates a more susceptible surfaces for algae and bacteria to adhere. As such, they can require additional brushing and chemical treatments to stay clean.

3. Durability: Longevity in Different Coats

Durability is where gunite pools shine. They are known for their robustness and longevity, often lasting decades with proper care. The strength of gunite pools also allows for more intricate and dramatic designs with overhanging and vanishing edges, custom steps, waterfalls and integrated and elevated spas.

While fiberglass pools might not match the lifespan of their gunite counterparts, advances in manufacturing have enhanced their durability. Subject to less wear and tear, fiberglass pools can last for many years, although they may eventually need a new gel coat after a number of years.

4. Cost: Initial vs. Long-Term Investment

The upfront cost of a gunite pool is often higher than a basic fiberglass pool due to the extensive pool construction processes. However, the reduced long-term maintenance costs and durability can counter balance the initial investment over the pool’s lifetime.

In contrast, a fiberglass pool typically has a lower initial price point, but owners should be prepared for the long-term costs of regular maintenance, repairs, and eventual resurfacing all of which adding to the cost of ownership over the years.

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If you have questions about a commercial or residential project or would like to schedule a no-obligation, one-on-one consultation with one of our designers, please call us at 210-494-0800. If you prefer, you can e-mail us at info@keithzarspools.com, or fill out the form right here on this page.

5. Customization: Pre-set vs. Personalized

Customization is another area where gunite pools really stand out. If you have a specific vision for your pool, gunite allows for a high degree of personalization. Shape, size, depth, and an array of finishes like plaster, tile, or coping can be uniquely tailored to suit any design preference.

Fiberglass pool designs are limited by pre-determined shapes and sizes. While there is a variety to choose from, the customization is not an option as it is with gunite. That said, modern fiberglass pools come in many stylish designs that cater to a range of tastes.

Aligning Choices with Priorities

Both fiberglass and gunite pools have their merits and limitations. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your priorities and preferences, whether it be the quick installation and lower maintenance of fiberglass or the customizable durability that gunite offers. Potential pool owners should weigh these differences against their budgets, desired commitment level for maintenance, and how they envision their ideal pool to look and function.

In summary, fiberglass pools are for those who value ease and speed of installation, along with less intensive maintenance, while gunite pools appeal to those desiring a durable, customizable pool built to last for many years. Whatever material you choose, careful consideration will ensure that your pool is a place of enjoyment and relaxation for years to come.

As each backyard dream becomes a reality, whether molded in fiberglass or sprayed in gunite, the splash of fond memories and laughter will sound remarkably the same. Now, dive into the decision fully informed, and let your perfect pool adventure begin.

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What Happy Customers Are Saying About Us

We had a cocktail pool installed by KZP and the pool turned out fantastic. We received quotes from two other pool companies, and while KZP was the higher, they were also the only ones willing to work with our custom design. They use top-quality materials and offered a huge selection of pool fittings/finishes. Kent Ely in sales was easy to work with and was pressure-free at making the sale. Bill Sturgis was our site supervisor (we didn't see him very often but was very responsive to email, phone calls, or text messages). Elizabeth, in the design department, was fun to work with while we picked color scheme and tiles. They had a very small space to work with and they did what they had to do to make it work. I would recommend KZP to anyone.

- Roberto Garcia | Google Review

We are very excited to start using our Kieth Zar's pool this summer. They turned our backyard into our dream. Tony came out and answered all our questions on the initial visit, and measured everything in our backyard, including trees. He returned the next week with an outstanding design on paper and a 3-D model on the computer that made it come to life. We had some delays and struggles with HOA, but knowing that Zar's was in our corner and doing all the work to get everything approved, we had no worries. Work was completed on schedule, even with weather delays. John and Toby walked us through and answered all our questions along the whole build process. We also know we can still call with any more questions we have along the way, even though the job is complete.

- Guardian Angel Vacations | Google Review

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Winner Of Multiple PSN Top 50 Awards & Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Awards

Keith Zars Pools is dedicated to designing and constructing breathtaking custom pools and spas that transform each customer’s backyard into their own personal retreat. We are committed to total customer satisfaction, not only with the end result but with every step of the design and construction process. Our attention to detail is second to none.

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