Are Fiberglass Pools Cheaper Than Gunite?

Freeform fiberglass pool in large backyard

Choosing your new pool can be a daunting experience.  There are numerous types of pools, from stainless steel to vinyl, then there’s fiberglass and gunite.  Vinyl pools are known to be the least expensive option out there. Whereas, the stainless steel pool is known as one of the more expensive.  But what about fiberglass and gunite?  Are fiberglass pools cheaper than gunite?

Are Fiberglass Pools Cheaper Than Gunite?

You might be surprised to know that when it comes to pricing a fiberglass pool versus a gunite pool, the answer is not obvious.  In fact, the price comparison from fiberglass to gunite depends on the pool you are specifying to build.  In most cases, the gunite pool will be more expensive, but what we need to consider when making that statement is why.  

Why Are Fiberglass Pools Cheaper Than Gunite?

A gunite pool is often designed to include features you cannot easily add to a fiberglass pool.  A few good examples are natural rock water features or an automatic cover.  A fiberglass pool is limited in shape and size due to its travel requirements. It needs to travel on the road from the factory where it is created to the site where it’s installed.  Gunite is field fabricated, so the gunite pool is commonly much bigger than their fiberglass counterpart.  

Are Fiberglass Pools Cheaper Than Gunite At The Base Model?

When comparing apples to apples, starting with the fiberglass pool and comparing the same exact size gunite pool, you might be surprised to know the pricing is usually within 5-10%.  The customization of the gunite pool can cause that difference to spread wider. Adding things like high end interior finishes, expensive tile, and water features affect the price quite a bit.  However, at its most basic form the fiberglass and gunite pool will cost just about the same. If pricing is similar, why build a fiberglass pool?  

Fiberglass Pool Advantages

Fiberglass pools come with faster and simpler than gunite pools. There’s less questions for you, the homeowner, to answer around the pool’s design. Due to the lack of design specifications that you determine, it’s a quicker process. Many homeowners love this not only because they swim faster, but also for the lack of time their backyard is inoperable.

Are fiberglass pools cheaper than gunite guide explaining the benefits of fiberglass and cost similarities

Speedy Installation

One of the advantages to a fiberglass pool is the speed of install.  Where a gunite pool will take at least 2 months to build, a fiberglass pool can take a few weeks from start to finish.  The pool itself is installed in one day.  The speed of installation is not the only advantage to fiberglass.  Additionally with a fiberglass pool you can ignore your water chemistry and not have to deal with a pitted or damaged interior finish.  Granted this takes effort to damage a gunite pool, but if you are planning to completely ignore your responsibilities as a pool owner, maybe fiberglass is for you.

Less Expensive Than Custom Gunite

Fiberglass is usually all in a cheaper way to go than gunite, but not for the reasons you might think.  A fiberglass pool structure is not inherently less expensive to install. Although, the fiberglass pool has limitations on what you can do with it. Therefore, this reduces the amount you can spend on custom options.  Given many pool project’s budget is sent to the moon by the patio, fire pit, outdoor kitchen, and outdoor living options you select, the pool itself is usually not the main budget driver.  

Are Fiberglass Pools Cheaper Than Gunite Summary

Now you know that the average fiberglass pool is cheaper than the average gunite pool. However, if you compare a base model without any frills, the fiberglass and gunite pools would be roughly the same cost. Gunite just has so many more capabilities that entice homeowners to get creative and in doing so, increase the price beyond a fiberglass pool.

Choosing your type of pool is only the beginning, but it’s an important step.  Keep your mind open and don’t forget to ask questions throughout your process of choosing a pool company and then negotiating with your pool builder.