Why exactly is Gunite/Concrete more expensive than Vinyl?

Rico Laguno

Active member
Aug 19, 2010
35
Nyack, NY
What is it that makes a Gunite/Shotcrete pool so much more expensive than a vinyl lined pool?

Arent they both equally labor intensive?....Can someone who has experience with both builds chime in as to why its almost a $10,000+ difference in the quotes?.... if not more
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
More labor, more materials, basically. Multiple crews usually as well. There's the excavator, steel installers, shot crete crew, plumbing, tile guys, and finish guys. The finish is a specialized trade. Plaster, pebble tech, etc all requires skilled tradesman to do it.

A vinyl pool is easier to build. If all goes well, they can do a vinyl start to finish on 10 days. It comes in as a kit. The hole is dug, walls go up, floor is done, plumbing is in, drop in a liner, and you have a pool.
It also depends on where you are. In florida, you can do a gunite pool as cheap as vinyl. Up north, its about double. Lots of reasons for it. Not as many gunite builders, labor is more expensive, unions, etc.
 

waste

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
4,160
Coastalish 'down easter'
bk406 said:
A vinyl pool is easier to build. If all goes well, they can do a vinyl start to finish on 10 days. It comes in as a kit. The hole is dug, walls go up, floor is done, plumbing is in, drop in a liner, and you have a pool.

10 days???????????? 3 or 4 is more like it (as long as you realize that the deck has to wait 6 weeks for the ground to properly settle. I can give you the breakdown on how the build would go if you'd like.

Back to the OP, concrete is pretty expensive and it takes dozens of yards of crete to build even a small pool. There's also the rebar, gravel, plaster/ pebbletech and tile to take into account (as was previously mentioned).
 

Malibu07

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2010
212
Southeast VA
I wished my pool would have gone up in 10 days or less! I'm STILL waiting (since beg. of Aug.) for the ground to settle before we pour a concrete skirt or apron around it. Being that we have had a long dry spell doesn't help.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
Its generally 10 days or less from nothing to a pool. The deck takes longer. I went the entire winter before i put in my deck. I would actually wait closer to 6 moths to put in a deck on an overdug pool.
 

Rico Laguno

Active member
Aug 19, 2010
35
Nyack, NY
guys....Im a little confused about the waiting 6 weeks to 6 months thing before pouring the deck???


Are you using these estimates with just a dirt backfill in mind?

I was under the impression that the proper backfill is using a gravel or a 3/4 pea stone...if either of these are used, I thought you could immediately pour the concrete deck without risk of any settling and cracking?

Am I wrong about this?


And in regards to concrete/gunite pools, is there any backfilling involved?.....if not, there's really no risk of settling decks that will crack?
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
Welcome Neighbor :wave:

Proper backfill will certainly reduce the risk but the longer you wait, the better. Whatever backfil material you use, it will settle. Some much less than others, but it will happen. Both gunite and vinyl pools need to be backfilled as the hole they put in the ground is larger than your actual pool.

Given the point you are at in the season, your best bet is to have the pool built this fall and pour the decking in the spring. There is nothing like a good set of freeze/thaw cycles to settle your backfil :goodjob:
 

gsxrken

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2010
73
Rico Laguno said:
What is it that makes a Gunite/Shotcrete pool so much more expensive than a vinyl lined pool?

Arent they both equally labor intensive?....Can someone who has experience with both builds chime in as to why its almost a $10,000+ difference in the quotes?.... if not more
Having just watched six guys bust their tails from 7AM-4PM non-stop, 6 14-yard gunite trucks come and go, and a deafening compressor truck with agitator, hopper and pump deal, I can tell you it is very labor intensive. It only took one day, yes, but it was really six "man-days", the machinery and trucks involved were probably over a million dollars sunk cost, and you need some talented concrete shapers. Not cheap.
 

Shane1

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 29, 2010
621
Buckeye, AZ 85326
dmanb2b said:
Welcome Neighbor :wave:

Both gunite and vinyl pools need to be backfilled as the hole they put in the ground is larger than your actual pool.
I'm a bit confused about this statement: With our pool the hole was dug ten to twelve inches over spec, then the shotcrete crew shot it in to conform to the shape of the hole that was excavated. There was zero backfill needed?
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
Shane1 said:
dmanb2b said:
Welcome Neighbor :wave:

Both gunite and vinyl pools need to be backfilled as the hole they put in the ground is larger than your actual pool.
I'm a bit confused about this statement: With our pool the hole was dug ten to twelve inches over spec, then the shotcrete crew shot it in to conform to the shape of the hole that was excavated. There was zero backfill needed?

If you had a level property and the conditions were right for zero backfill, that's great :goodjob: And I will agree there is certainly less backfilling needed when building a shotcrete pool, but where backfill is needed, I'd rather see it settle before putting the deck in.
 

Johnl

LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2008
88
Montgomery County, PA
When I had my pool built 5 years ago, I had the opposite experience. We had quotes from two vinyl pool companies and one plaster pool company. One of vinyl quotes was almost 10k over the plaster and the other vinyl quote was the same price as the plaster, but with less equipment/options.
 

Malibu07

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2010
212
Southeast VA
bk406 said:
Its generally 10 days or less from nothing to a pool. The deck takes longer. I went the entire winter before i put in my deck. I would actually wait closer to 6 moths to put in a deck on an overdug pool.
My dilemma is the building permit runs out in January 2011. I already spent $250 on permits and I don't want to spend more for an extension.
All that is left to do to get a final inspection is to put a wire mesh around the pool. Before we can do that, the ground needs to settle a little more. Hopefully we will get some much needed rain this weekend.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
Check on the permit. Thats actually not a big deal, at least around here. The only time a permit expires and you have to get a new one is when no work was ever started. You are in the process, so it should be fine. Call the building inspector and find out for sure, but I'm pretty sure you would be ok on the original; we were. In fact, we took 2 years to actually close it out and get a final, but we were working on things on and off the whole time.
 

Malibu07

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2010
212
Southeast VA
bk406 said:
Check on the permit. Thats actually not a big deal, at least around here. The only time a permit expires and you have to get a new one is when no work was ever started. You are in the process, so it should be fine. Call the building inspector and find out for sure, but I'm pretty sure you would be ok on the original; we were. In fact, we took 2 years to actually close it out and get a final, but we were working on things on and off the whole time.

On the actual building permit that is taped to my front window, it has January 11, 2011. It's only good for 6 months. The pool builder said I could ask for an extension.
I may call the city just to see what they say.
A city realistate official came by on Tuesday to see if the pool was in the ground with water and the pump working. Around here, they give you 3 months to do that or they can condemn the project. They consider it a hazard. She saw the water and pump working. Took a picture and told me to enjoy.
 

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