Gunite vs. Vinyl Liner Pool in NJ


Dec 19, 2020
Berlin, NJ
HI! We are still making plans to build our first pool. We are now trying to decide between getting a gunite or vinyl liner pool. We are looking to get a tanning ledge and we were told that gunite would make more sense because of how easily vinyl can puncture with pets, chairs, etc. However we've also read that repair costs could be more and algae could grow more easily on the rougher surface of a gunite pool which would require more maintenance. How often do you need to re-plaster a gunite pool? Has anyone had any issues having a tanning ledge in a vinyl pool? Thanks for reading and looking forward to your advice/feedback!


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
Central California
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I can answer a couple of those.

If you follow what we teach here, you'll never get algae. Period. The kind of pool doesn't change that fact. If you neglect your water quality, then anything can happen.

Gunite is the material used to form the outer shell of a pool. Plaster or pebble-embedded plaster (and many other types of materials) goes over that, and is what you see and touch and what wears out. Each material has its own lifespan. That lifespan is also subject to how well you take care of the water. Plaster can last up to 15 years or more if well cared for. Pebble can make it 20-25 I think (I hope!). Others here can chime in on those numbers, as well as the expected lifespan of some of the other available materials, including vinyl. Ignore the water and those number go down significantly. The pool that came with my house barely made it 6 years, ruined by a "pool pro" who didn't know what he was doing.

I'm not sure what you mean by "repair costs." Unless I just answered that. Plaster and pebble don't really need to be repaired, as long as you take good care of the water. Are you hearing a theme here? ;) If you maintain proper chemical balance, the amount of maintenance is pretty much identical for any type of pool. And if you use TFP methods, it's crazy easy, and should not be part of your decision-making process.

If you have pets that will be climbing in and out of the pool, that might rule out vinyl altogether. Pet lovers, what say you? (@kimkats?) I don't have vinyl or a shelf or a dog, so I can weigh in on that aspect.
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Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
Tallahassee, FL
Hi and welcome to the world of building a pool!

Dogs, chairs, etc on vinyl=care and upkeep needed. The dog's nails MUST be smooth and kept smooth. A drimal tool with a sandpaper barrel works best for this. I can help you teach your dog to let this happen. Just clipping the nails will not really work as it tends to leave a sharp edge.

Chairs and such you have to really look at the part that will rest on the vinyl. Any rough edges or parts will tear the vinyl.

I hope this helps.
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Active member
Aug 16, 2020
Any reason your not considering fiberglass? Just curious. We are installing fiberglass this year. I considered vinyl but passed because of the possibility of tears from my two energetic dogs. Best of luck!
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