by | Jun 4, 2024

How Long Do Gunite Pools Last? Top Secrets Revealed



How long do gunite pools last? The simple answer is that with proper care, gunite pools can last for 100 years or more. This durability makes gunite a smart investment for homeowners looking to create a lasting backyard oasis.

  • Durability: Up to 100+ years with proper maintenance.
  • Comparative Lifespan: Far exceeds the ~25 years for fiberglass pools and 6-12 years for vinyl liners.

Choosing to build a gunite pool can significantly enhance your outdoor living space. Not only are these pools renowned for their strength and longevity, but they also offer unparalleled customization options. Whether you envision a classic rectangular pool or a winding, lagoon-style design, a gunite pool can be tailored to match your dream.

Comparison chart showing the lifespan of gunite, fiberglass, and vinyl pools - how long do gunite pools last infographic comparison-2-items-formal

What is Gunite and How Does It Compare to Other Pool Materials?

Gunite is a type of concrete that is commonly used to construct inground swimming pools. It’s created by spraying a mixture of sand, cement, and water onto a reinforced steel framework using a high-velocity hose. This method allows for a highly durable and customizable pool structure, capable of withstanding a variety of environmental stresses.

How Gunite Stands Out

Durability and Strength: Gunite pools are celebrated for their tensile strength. This means they can flex slightly with the earth’s movements without cracking, making them ideal for areas with extreme weather conditions. In fact, when properly built and maintained, gunite pools can last for 100 years or more.

Customization: Gunite pools are hand-built on-site, offering virtually unlimited design possibilities. Whether you want a unique shape, specific depth, or custom features like waterfalls and built-in lighting, a gunite pool can be tailored to your exact specifications.

Comparing Gunite to Other Pool Materials

Concrete Pools:
While gunite is a type of concrete, it’s applied differently than traditional poured concrete. Poured concrete pools are less common and typically more expensive due to the labor-intensive process. Both types offer similar durability, but gunite’s flexibility in design and installation makes it more popular.

Fiberglass Pools:
Fiberglass pools are pre-formed shells made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic. They can be installed quickly, often within a few days, and require less maintenance due to their smooth, non-porous surface. However, they come in limited shapes and sizes, and their lifespan, while decent at 20-30 years, doesn’t match that of gunite pools.

Vinyl Pools:
Vinyl liner pools are the most budget-friendly option. They consist of a vinyl liner installed over a steel or polymer frame. While they can be customized to some extent, their liners need to be replaced every 6-12 years, making them less durable over the long term. Additionally, vinyl liners can tear or puncture more easily compared to gunite or fiberglass.

Summary of Comparisons

Feature Gunite Fiberglass Vinyl
Lifespan 100+ years 20-30 years 6-12 years (liner)
Customization Highly customizable Limited shapes/sizes Some customization
Installation Time Several weeks to months Few days Few weeks
Maintenance Moderate Low Moderate to high
Cost $50,000 – $100,000 $20,000 – $40,000 $20,000 – $50,000

Choosing the right pool material depends on your budget, design preferences, and long-term maintenance considerations. Gunite pools, while more expensive upfront, offer unmatched durability and customization options, making them a preferred choice for many homeowners.

The Construction Process of Gunite Pools

Creating a gunite pool involves a series of meticulous steps, each crucial for ensuring the pool’s durability and longevity. Let’s walk through the process:


The journey begins with excavation. A detailed plan is laid out, and the ground is carefully dug to the desired shape and depth of the pool. This step sets the foundation for everything that follows. Precision is key to avoid future structural issues.

Steel Grid

Next, a steel rebar grid is constructed within the excavated area. This grid acts as the skeleton of your pool, providing essential structural support. The steel bars are strategically placed and tied together, creating a robust framework that will reinforce the gunite shell.


Proper plumbing is vital for the functionality of your pool. Pipes are installed to ensure efficient water circulation, filtration, and heating. This step involves laying out the main drains, skimmers, and return lines, which are all integrated into the steel grid.

Spraying Gunite

Now comes the heart of the process: spraying the gunite. A mixture of sand, cement, and water is sprayed at high velocity onto the steel grid using a specialized hose. This creates a dense, solid shell that can withstand environmental stresses. The gunite is shaped and smoothed to form the pool’s walls and floor.

Gunite spraying - how long do gunite pools last

Tile and Coping

Once the gunite has cured, tiles and coping are added. Tiles are typically placed along the waterline for aesthetic appeal and easy cleaning. Coping, the material that caps the pool edge, provides a finished look and can be made from various materials like stone or concrete.

Electrical and Plaster

Finally, electrical components are installed, including lighting and any additional features like automated systems. The interior of the pool is then plastered, giving it a smooth, waterproof finish. This plaster can be customized with different colors and textures to match your design preferences.

Each of these steps is crucial for building a gunite pool that not only looks great but also stands the test of time. Proper construction ensures that your investment will provide enjoyment for many years to come.

How Long Do Gunite Pools Last?

When considering how long do gunite pools last, look at the durability and longevity that make them a top choice for many homeowners.


Gunite pools are known for their exceptional strength and durability. The construction process involves spraying a mixture of sand, cement, and water onto a rebar framework. This creates a highly durable structure that can withstand various environmental factors. Engineers describe this as having “tensile strength,” meaning it can flex with the earth’s movement without cracking. This is crucial for areas with extreme temperatures and shifting soil conditions.

Lifespan Comparison

A well-built gunite pool can last 100 years or more if properly maintained. This significantly outlasts other types of pools:

  • Fiberglass pools: About 25 years
  • Vinyl liner pools: Liners need replacing every 6 to 12 years

While gunite pools require more upfront investment, their long-lasting nature means fewer major repairs over time, saving you money in the long run.

Environmental Factors

The environment plays a big role in the lifespan of a gunite pool. For example, gunite pools are particularly resilient against harsh conditions like icy winters. They can handle freeze-thaw cycles without cracking, which is a significant advantage in colder climates.

However, even in milder climates, regular maintenance is key. Proper water chemistry and cleaning routines can extend the life of the pool surface, delaying the need for resurfacing. On average, a gunite pool needs resurfacing every 7 to 10 years, but this can vary based on factors like:

  • Water chemistry: Imbalanced chemicals can wear down the pool surface faster.
  • Usage: More frequent use can lead to quicker wear and tear.
  • Maintenance: Regular cleaning and chemical balancing can extend the life of the pool surface.

By understanding these factors, you can ensure your gunite pool remains a long-lasting and beautiful feature in your backyard.

Next, we’ll dive into the maintenance and care required to keep your gunite pool in top condition.

Maintenance and Care for Longevity of Gunite Pools

Maintaining a gunite pool is crucial to extending its lifespan and ensuring it remains a beautiful feature in your backyard. Here’s how you can keep your pool in top shape:

Regular Maintenance

Routine maintenance is key to a long-lasting gunite pool. This includes:

  • Using a pool net to clear out debris like leaves and twigs.
  • Checking and balancing water chemicals regularly to maintain safe and clean water.
  • Using an automatic cleaner or pool vacuum to clean the interior surfaces.
  • Inspecting and cleaning the filter to ensure proper water circulation.
  • Maintaining the water level to prevent strain on the pool structure and equipment.

Chemical Treatment

Proper chemical treatment is essential to prevent issues like algae growth and water imbalance. Regularly test your pool water and adjust chemicals as needed. Remember to:

  • Treat the water before use to avoid problems down the road.
  • Use an occasional dose of algicide to keep algae at bay.

Acid Washing

Acid washing is an effective way to remove stains and buildup on the pool surface. This should be done every few years or as needed based on the condition of your pool. It helps keep the surface looking fresh and clean.

Resurfacing Necessity

Resurfacing is a critical part of gunite pool maintenance. While gunite pools can last up to a century, resurfacing is typically needed every 7 to 10 years. This process involves applying a new finish to the pool surface to address wear and tear.

When to Resurface Your Gunite Pool

Knowing when to resurface your pool can save you from more significant issues down the line. Look for these signs of wear:

  • Cracks and rough spots on the surface.
  • Staining that cannot be removed with regular cleaning.
  • Fading or delaminating of the pool surface.

Resurfacing Frequency and Cost Implications

While the general recommendation is every 7 to 10 years, the exact resurfacing frequency can vary. Factors such as the quality of the original construction, maintenance practices, and water chemistry play a role. Resurfacing costs can vary, but it’s generally much less expensive than a complete pool replacement.

Custom Features and Their Impact on Gunite Pool Lifespan

Adding custom features to your gunite pool can enhance its beauty and functionality. However, these features also require proper maintenance to ensure they last as long as the pool itself. Here are some popular options:

  • Customized steps: Make entering and exiting the pool easier and safer.
  • In-pool waterfalls: Add a touch of elegance and relaxation.
  • Bubblers: Create a spa-like experience with water jets.
  • In-pool lighting and heating: Extend your swimming hours and seasons.
  • Security covers: Protect your pool and ensure safety.

Each of these features can impact the longevity of your pool in different ways. Regularly inspect and maintain these elements to keep them functioning properly.

By following these maintenance tips and keeping an eye on your pool’s condition, you can ensure your gunite pool remains a beautiful and enjoyable feature in your backyard for many years to come.

Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about gunite pools.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gunite Pools

What is the life expectancy of a gunite pool?

The life expectancy of a gunite pool generally ranges from 30 to 50 years. This wide range depends on several factors, including the quality of the initial construction and the level of maintenance. Proper care, such as regular cleaning, chemical balance, and resurfacing, can significantly extend the lifespan of your pool.

What are the cons of a gunite pool?

While gunite pools are durable and aesthetically pleasing, they do come with some downsides:

  • Maintenance: Gunite pools are more porous than fiberglass, which means they can harbor algae if not properly maintained. They require more chemicals and regular cleaning.
  • Surface Roughness: The surface of a gunite pool can be rough, which might be uncomfortable for some swimmers.
  • Salt System Incompatibility: Gunite pools are less compatible with saltwater systems, which can cause the surface to degrade faster.

How often do gunite pools need to be resurfaced?

Resurfacing a gunite pool is typically needed every 10 to 15 years, depending on various factors such as water chemistry, usage, and climate. Signs that your pool needs resurfacing include:

  • Peeling or flaking plaster
  • Stains that can’t be cleaned
  • Rough texture
  • Leaks

The cost for resurfacing can range from $5,000 to $10,000. Regular inspections and maintenance can help delay the need for resurfacing and extend the life of your pool.


Investing in a gunite pool is a long-term commitment that offers unmatched durability and aesthetic appeal. Unlike fiberglass or vinyl pools, which have a lifespan of 25 years and 6-12 years respectively, a well-maintained gunite pool can last for 100 years or more. This makes them an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a pool that will stand the test of time.

However, longevity doesn’t come without effort. Regular maintenance, including chemical treatments, skimming, and occasional resurfacing, is crucial to keep your pool in top condition. Proper care can significantly extend the lifespan of your pool, making it a worthwhile investment.

At Creative Edge Pools, we specialize in designing and building custom gunite pools that not only last but also enhance the beauty of your backyard. With over a hundred years of combined experience, we ensure that every pool we build meets the highest standards of quality and durability.

If you’re considering a gunite pool, or if your existing pool needs resurfacing, contact us today for a consultation. Let’s transform your backyard into a lasting paradise!


Durability Uncovered: How Long Can You Expect Your Gunite Pool to Last?

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