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Dive in! Thinking about installing a pool?

Here’s everything you need to know about your options.

Pools can provide hours of fun and be the centerpiece of your backyard oasis. They’re also a substantial investment — so you want to make sure you choose the type of pool that’s right for your property and your lifestyle. 



Gunite is a time-honored installation technique that has held its popularity for decades. The structure is reinforced with a rebar framework, and the steel reinforcement provides a solid foundation that ensures longevity. Next, gunite – a combination of sand and concrete — is applied and forms the pool’s hard shell. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Durable and built to last. 
  • Tend to be more customizable if you want a unique or specialized shape 
  • Tends to look more natural and blends well with other landscape features 
  • Can take up to three months to complete, and the process is much more difficult than alternatives 
  • Depending on your climate, gunite can require more frequent repair. The porous surface also facilitates algae growth. 
  • Can be relatively rough and abrasive 


Fiberglass is popular for its ease of installation and maintenance. The process starts with excavation. After properly leveling and laying the foundation – usually gravel – crews put the fiberglass shell in place. PVC piping is laid beforehand to enable plumbing, and finally, the gap around the shell is backfilled. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Relatively low cost of labor and financial investment on a regular basis 
  • Takes a few weeks, not months, to design and install 
  • Smooth, non-abrasive surface 
  • Resists damage and is simple and not as costly to fix 
  • Installation is less complex than other options. 
  • Heats up fast and retains heat better 
  • Shells usually are prefabricated — meaning there’s little room for creativity or adjustment. 
  • Logistical constraints can be expensive, depending on how far the frame must travel and the support required, and there’s risk of damage en route. 
  • If installed improperly, shells can crack or bulge. Also, the quality of the gel coating can vary. 


Vinyl-lined pools have a custom-made vinyl sheet installed over a rigid frame. After excavation, builders install and secure the pool wall panels. The floor is leveled with sand or a cement-like material, and the liner is vacuumed into place. 

Pros and cons: 

  • Relatively quick installation 
  • Opportunity for customization — can be virtually any depth or shape 
  • Relatively easy to maintain and repair 
  • Liner material is soft, smooth and not porous 
  • Tend to have a higher lifetime cost, as vinyl liners last five to nine years on average 
  • The pool must be used with care, as liners are generally about the thickness of several sheets of paper and susceptible to damage. 
  • If you go to resell your house and the liner is over three to four years old, there’s a good chance the buyer will want you to replace it — a multi-thousand-dollar proposition. 

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