Wow, I forgot how exciting and stressful this whole pool thing can be! So, we are considering installing a pool in our new home. We installed a gunite pool at our last home and got a good product. We did a pebble finish (WetEdge) that was a bit rough but we liked the idea that it was a lifetime finish. In addition, we had a spa, salt system and in-floor cleaning. The pool was perfect for five years, then we had a motor that had erosion from a leak in the pump and the salt got to it so it had to be replaced; the salt cell went and was replaced; and we had to get a new pump (warrantied, though). Then we moved.
Now, we are starting over. I am between two builders, one who only does gunite and one who does both vinyl (permacrete) and gunite. The latter has an impecible reputation...I can't find anyone who doesn't like these folks. He really leans towards vinyl as he thinks it is more cost-effective here in New England both to install and to refinish later on (8-12 years). He has only done gunite for the last 3-4 years, but they are all very well done and uses good subs. When we talked about the pebble finish, he felt it was not ethical to say it was a lifetime finish and that the tile would most likely need work at some point, so we should consider those future costs. Our last builder claimed the pebble was a lifetime finish. So confused.
My husband is worried that vinyl will feel strange as a surface after gunite and may not be viewed as positively someday when we do go to sell (hopefully not for 20 years!!). We live in a bit of an upscale neighborhood and he isn't sure that gunite won't be expected. Personally, I think a nicely done vinyl with good landscaping will be just as lovely, and a pool isn't really a selling feature here in Massachusetts anyway. I plan to skip the infloor system this time but will stick with the salt, spa and automation.
So, after all of that, here are my questions. Would you spend the extra $15k for gunite and pebble? Is pebble a lifetime finish? (Both companies use Pebble Tec, but the gunite builder also offers NPT brands, which I am still trying to read about. Same installers for both.) I have already asked about my dogs so I think I am fine with either surface.
I am thinking save the $15k and put it towards the hardscape/landscape. I am also worried we are going to hit ledge, so that is a nice cushion if we need it. Thanks for reading and any thoughts you may have. We are going to go see the vinyl show pools tomorrow and I am going to make my husband stand on the steps to get a feel for it. Hopefully more to come.