First pool - New build decisions SW Ohio - Fiberglass/Gunite?

ngsm13

New member
May 17, 2021
3
Cincinnati, OH
Hey all, I've been lurking for a few months and finally decided to join. I've narrowed down my PB to two different companies. One, specializing in fiberglass, and the other in gunite. Real-talk, is gunite really more expensive to run and maintain? (More cleaning/vacuuming, BRUSHING, higher chemical usage, more circulation?) Or said another way, is fiberglass less costly in TIME/MONEY to maintain...? I understand maintaining water quality is critical, but if fiberglass is inherently more hands-off that is attractive to me. The gunite PB mentions automation has made life much easier.

Where I'm at:
It's just my wife and I, we're not having kids, but we like to entertain family and friends... and we want a spot to relax and some recreation. Wife enjoy's floating on a raft or tanning, and we're looking for some room for pool entertaining/activities.

Reading online, and it's obvious that each PB sells you on the benefits/superiority of the type of pool they sell. Add to that, most owners seem to prefer the type they currently have and it's infrequent to see a pool owner with extensive experience with both.

To be upfront, I had pretty much been sold on a 16'x40' fiberglass pool and I've got a solid estimate and could sign a contract anytime if I wanted. Thursday pools Aspen, with pentair variable speed, 3x LEDs, 2x bubblers, and Pentair heatpump.


However, when getting quotes on concrete, I have experience with the company offering the gunite pool, as they have a long history of concrete construction and pool building here. I had their concrete division do my covered patio a couple years ago... and they offered to give me a quote on coping, decking only. But insisted they also let them bid a pool too. So, this peaked my interest... and now opened up my mind again. I'm expecting them to be marginally higher on the bid, but since fiberglass pools have gotten quite expensive in my area, it's TBD.

Thanks for the input!
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
17,083
Evans, Georgia
Fiberglass can be quicker to install, but you're limited in design. Gunite (cement/plaster) pools can be designed in any shape you want.

Chemistry needs are basically the same.

I personally like the smooth feel of fiberglass, especially on my feet. Some plaster finishes are kind of rough with rocks and pebbles, yet you can specify you want just smooth plaster also. The lifespan for plain plaster is less than those other types of upgraded finishes.

Both types of pools work well with salt water chlorine generators for sanitation. Avoid anything else, no matter what the salesman says.

The smartest element of our pool is the automatic pool cover- really limits water loss, keeps unwanted things (kids, pets, leaves) out and in some communities it eliminates the requirement for a fence. It is kinda costly though.

I hope this helps.

Maddie :flower:
 

Previously-Matt_baqua_Oh

Well-known member
May 29, 2018
149
Bluffton, Ohio
Pool Size
13700
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
We put our Viking fiberglass in way back in 2006. We planned it out, never wanted to deal with a liner or other issues. We were sold on the fiberglass and 'dove in'. It has been a great pool, very smooth feel. The last photo is just after converting to a TFP this past week! Now is also the time to look for steady supply of chemicals, especially chlorine. Or go all out, look into seeing if a Saltwater system would fit your budget. I am not an expert or have experience with one but I am installing this week.
 

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SouthwestOhio

Silver Supporter
Jul 23, 2018
44
Milford, OH
I will be interested to see the cost differential between them. Had you considered vinyl? We are very please with our install- this is our third year.
Best of luck.
 

ngsm13

New member
May 17, 2021
3
Cincinnati, OH
I will be interested to see the cost differential between them. Had you considered vinyl? We are very please with our install- this is our third year.
Best of luck.
I had not considered vinyl, and at this point it's hard enough even getting a call-back, much less a site-visit. Most PBs in this area seem non-responsive, due to excess work.

From the start of my interest, just 2-3 years ago I've watched fiberglass pricing creep up from local reputable PBs. Now, getting two contract-ready bids for FG installs, I'm just surprised at how much it's landed at! I hope to have my final bid back tomorrow, and make a decision in the next 2-weeks.
 

ngsm13

New member
May 17, 2021
3
Cincinnati, OH
So, got a proposal back on gunite pool. Keep in mind this is pool only, turnkey. Decking/patio was given in a separate estimate (to compare to fiberglass company's proposal).

This is such a huge decision, I'm struggling to make the right one.

I created a spreadsheet, to compare like with like and it nets out to:
FG: $85k turnkey (16x40, Thursday Pools Aspen)
Gunite: $100k turnkey (16x38, rectangular with integrated sundeck, see below)

Gunite.JPG
 

Previously-Matt_baqua_Oh

Well-known member
May 29, 2018
149
Bluffton, Ohio
Pool Size
13700
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Mesh Pool cover for off season is a must. Won't keep leaves or worms out (yeah...fun times) but is for safety and allows water to keep replenishing over winter. I uncovered mine and had a full pool, ready to go.

If you want to have a longer swim season, May to September, a heater is good. If not, a solar cover can be used to warm the water. Up in NW Ohio, ours is about 86 in the pool already.

Make sure they are implementing bonding. Take photos of every phase. You are the boss, not them. Don't let them talk you into something like a slanted patio that drain to the house.... cause it will end up in your basement.... yes...first winter blues. :brickwall:
 
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