by | Jun 11, 2024

How Long Does a Gunite Pool Last? Top Insights for 2024



If you’ve ever wondered how long does a gunite pool last, you’re not alone. Homeowners who invest in a gunite swimming pool expect their backyard oasis to be a long-lasting centerpiece. Let’s get straight to the point: a well-designed and properly constructed gunite pool can last 100 years or more.

Quick Facts:
Gunite Pool Lifespan: 100+ years
Fiberglass Pool Lifespan: Approximately 25 years
Vinyl Pool Liner Lifespan: 6 to 12 years

Now, let’s dive deeper into why gunite pools are celebrated for their durability. The lasting strength of a gunite pool stems from its unique construction process. Building one involves a steel rebar foundation sprayed with a mixture of sand, cement, and gravel. This robust structure ensures the pool has “tensile” strength, capable of flexing with ground movements and extreme weather conditions without cracking.

On top of their physical durability, gunite pools offer a naturally beautiful appearance and can be customized to fit any shape or style, making them a favorite choice for both homeowners and luxurious commercial properties alike.

I’m David Brabant, owner of Creative Edge Pools. With over thirty years in the swimming pool and site development business, I’m here to share what makes gunite pools a wise investment for your home.

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Understanding Gunite and Its Durability

Gunite Definition

Gunite is a type of concrete that is sprayed onto surfaces at high velocity. This method involves a dry mix of sand and cement, which is combined with water at the nozzle of a high-pressure hose. The result is a dense, highly durable surface that can be molded into any shape.

Concrete Comparison

While traditional concrete is mixed and then poured into forms, gunite is pneumatically applied. This means it is sprayed onto a steel rebar framework, allowing for greater flexibility in design and enhanced structural integrity. Unlike standard concrete, gunite has “tensile” strength, which means it can flex with ground movements and extreme weather conditions without cracking.

Pneumatic Application

The application process is what sets gunite apart. The high-velocity hose used in spraying the gunite mix ensures that the material bonds tightly to the rebar framework. This creates a monolithic structure that is incredibly robust. Engineers often refer to this as having “tensile” strength, meaning the pool can endure shifts in the earth and extreme temperatures without damage.

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In summary, the unique properties of gunite and its method of application make it an ideal choice for long-lasting, custom-designed pools. This durability is why gunite pools can last for 100 years or more when properly maintained.

Next, we’ll compare the lifespans of gunite pools with other popular types like fiberglass and vinyl.

Factors Influencing the Lifespan of a Gunite Pool

Maintenance Requirements

Proper maintenance is the key to extending the lifespan of your gunite pool. Regular upkeep can prevent minor issues from becoming major problems. This includes:

  • Skimming the Pool: Use a skimmer to remove leaves and debris daily.
  • Circulating the Water: Ensure your pump runs long enough to circulate all the water. A 1 hp pump can circulate about 3,000 gallons per hour.
  • Balancing Chemicals: Keep the water chemistry balanced to avoid corrosion or scaling.
  • Algaecide: Occasionally add algaecide to prevent algae growth.

Chemical Treatment

Maintaining the right chemical balance is crucial. Imbalanced water can lead to corrosion, scaling, and other issues. Pay attention to:

  • pH Levels: Aim for a pH between 7.2 and 7.8.
  • Chlorine Levels: Keep chlorine levels between 1 and 3 ppm.
  • Calcium Hardness: Maintain calcium hardness between 200 and 400 ppm to prevent scaling.

Acid Washing

Acid washing can help remove stubborn stains and algae that regular cleaning can’t. However, it’s an intensive process that removes a thin layer of plaster, so it should be done sparingly—typically every 5-7 years. Overdoing it can shorten the lifespan of your pool’s surface.

Resurfacing Needs

Gunite pools generally need resurfacing every 10 to 15 years. This can vary based on the interior finish:

  • Plaster: 8-10 years
  • Pebble: 10-15 years
  • Hydrazzo: 15-20 years
  • Tile: 20-25+ years

Signs that it’s time to resurface include cracks, rough spots, and stains that won’t come out. Regular inspections by a professional can help you determine the right time for resurfacing.

Next, we’ll compare the lifespans of gunite pools with other popular types like fiberglass and vinyl.

How Long Does a Gunite Pool Last?

Comparing Lifespans: Gunite vs. Other Pool Types

When it comes to pool longevity, gunite pools are the clear frontrunners. Properly constructed gunite pools can last over 100 years. This exceptional durability is due to their steel rebar foundation and the high-velocity application of sand, cement, and gravel. This combination provides tensile strength, allowing the pool to flex with earth movements without cracking.

Fiberglass pools, on the other hand, have a lifespan of about 25 years. While they are easier to install and maintain, they simply don’t offer the same long-term resilience as gunite.

Vinyl pools come with the lowest lifespan, generally lasting 6 to 12 years before the liner needs replacement. Although they are more affordable upfront, the frequent need for liner replacements can add up over time.

Maintenance and Care for Extending Pool Life

To maximize the lifespan of a gunite pool, proper maintenance is crucial. Here are some key practices:

  • Regular Cleaning: Use a skimmer to remove leaves and debris from the water. This helps keep the pool clean and reduces strain on the filtration system.
  • Chemical Balance: Regularly test and balance the water chemistry. Proper pH levels, alkalinity, and chlorine levels prevent damage to the pool surface and equipment.
  • Seasonal Care: Depending on your climate, you may need to winterize your pool to protect it from freezing temperatures. This involves draining water from the pipes and using a pool cover.

Environmental factors like extreme temperatures and soil conditions can also impact the pool’s lifespan. However, gunite’s tensile strength allows it to withstand these challenges better than other pool types.

By following these maintenance tips and addressing any issues promptly, you can ensure that your gunite pool remains a beautiful and functional part of your home for many years to come.

Next, we’ll delve into the process of resurfacing your gunite pool and why it’s necessary.

Resurfacing Your Gunite Pool: When and Why?

The Process of Resurfacing a Gunite Pool

Resurfacing your gunite pool is crucial for maintaining its longevity and appearance. Over time, the pool surface can deteriorate due to various factors such as chemical imbalances, heavy usage, and environmental conditions. Here’s a simple breakdown of the resurfacing process:

  1. Drain the Pool: The first step is to completely drain the pool to expose the interior surface.
  2. Clean and Prep: Thoroughly clean the pool surface to remove dirt, debris, and any loose material. This might include acid washing to remove stubborn stains.
  3. Repair Damage: Address any structural issues like cracks or rough spots. These need to be fixed before applying the new surface.
  4. Apply New Surface: Depending on your choice of material (plaster, pebble, tile, etc.), the new surface is applied. This can be done using a spray or trowel method.
  5. Cure and Refill: Allow the new surface to cure properly. Once cured, refill the pool and balance the water chemistry.

Choosing the Right Time to Resurface

Knowing when to resurface your gunite pool can save you from more extensive repairs down the line. Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to consider resurfacing:

  • Peeling Plaster: If you notice the plaster layer peeling off, it’s a clear sign that resurfacing is needed.
  • Rough Texture: A rough pool surface can be uncomfortable and is a sign of wear.
  • Stains and Discoloration: Persistent stains that don’t come off with regular cleaning indicate that the surface is wearing out.
  • Structural Damage: Cracks and delamination are serious issues that require immediate attention.

Resurfacing Frequency

Typically, gunite pools need resurfacing every 10 to 15 years. However, this can vary based on factors like the quality of the initial construction, maintenance practices, and water chemistry.

  • Chlorinated Rubber-based Paint: 3–5 years
  • Epoxy Paint: 5–8 years
  • Plaster: 8–10 years
  • Pebble: 10–15 years
  • Hydrazzo: 15–20 years
  • Tile: 20–25+ years

Cost Considerations

The cost of resurfacing a gunite pool can vary widely based on the size of the pool and the type of surface material chosen. For instance, using our unique Fibre Tech process, a pool measuring 16 x 32 feet with an average depth of 5 feet costs approximately $7,500 to resurface.

Expected Outcomes

After resurfacing, you can expect:

  • Enhanced Aesthetics: Your pool will look brand new.
  • Improved Safety: A smooth, even surface is safer for swimmers.
  • Extended Lifespan: Resurfacing helps protect the structural integrity of your pool, extending its overall lifespan.

By understanding the signs of wear, the resurfacing process, and when to take action, you can keep your gunite pool in top condition for many years to come. Next, we’ll explore the frequently asked questions about gunite pools to provide you with more insights.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gunite Pools

What is the life expectancy of a properly built gunite pool?

A properly built gunite pool can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. This wide range depends on factors like maintenance, environmental conditions, and the quality of the initial construction.

For example, a pool kept in optimal condition with regular maintenance and proper chemical treatments can easily reach the upper end of this lifespan. On the other hand, neglecting routine care can significantly reduce its durability.

How often do gunite pools need to be resurfaced?

Gunite pools typically need resurfacing every 10 to 15 years. However, this can vary based on several factors:

  • Water Chemistry: Poorly balanced water can erode the pool surface faster.
  • Usage: Heavy use can wear down the surface more quickly.
  • Environmental Factors: Harsh weather conditions can accelerate surface degradation.

Signs that your pool may need resurfacing include plaster peeling, stains, and visible structural damage. The cost for resurfacing ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the extent of the work needed.

What are the cons of choosing a gunite pool?

While gunite pools are known for their durability and customization options, they do have some drawbacks:

  • Maintenance: Gunite pools require regular chemical treatments and acid washing every four years to prevent algae growth.
  • Resurfacing Costs: Periodic resurfacing is necessary, which can be costly.
  • Surface Texture: The rough texture of gunite can be uncomfortable for some swimmers.
  • Salt System Compatibility: Gunite pools are relatively incompatible with saltwater systems, which can erode the surface faster.

Understanding these cons can help you make an informed decision about whether a gunite pool is the right choice for you.


Investing in a gunite pool is a long-term commitment that offers substantial benefits. When properly constructed and maintained, a gunite pool can last 100 years or more, making it a durable and cost-effective choice. Unlike other pool types, gunite pools provide exceptional longevity, saving you from frequent replacements and major repairs.

Long-term Value

Gunite pools are built to last. The robust steel rebar foundation and high-velocity application of the gunite mixture create a structure with immense tensile strength. This means your pool can withstand extreme weather conditions and natural ground movements without cracking. While the initial investment may be higher, the long-term savings on repairs and replacements make it a wise financial decision.

Customization Benefits

One of the standout features of gunite pools is their customization potential. Since they are hand-built on-site, you can design your pool to fit any size, shape, or style. Whether you want a freeform lagoon, a geometric lap pool, or an integrated spa, gunite makes it possible. You can also add custom features like waterfalls, tanning ledges, and unique finishes to make your pool truly one-of-a-kind.

Creative Edge Pools

At Creative Edge Pools, we specialize in designing and installing custom gunite pools that reflect your vision and enhance your backyard. With over a hundred years of combined experience, our team ensures that your pool is built to the highest standards, using top-quality materials and construction methods.

Ready to transform your backyard into a paradise? Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step toward owning a pool that will last a lifetime.

By understanding the long-term value and customization benefits of gunite pools, you can make an informed decision that will bring you joy for decades. Choose Creative Edge Pools for unparalleled expertise and a commitment to excellence.


Durability Uncovered: How Long Will Your Gunite Pool Last?

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