What is the Difference Between a Fiberglass and Concrete (Gunite) Pool?

What is the Difference Between a Fiberglass and Concrete (Gunite) Pool?

Every homeowner, especially if you have a family, dream about one day owning an inground swimming pool.  It’s like having a vacation in your backyard all summer long.

One of the most common swimming pool-related debates today concerns inground fiberglass and concrete (Gunite) pools and which type is the better option if you are purchasing an inground pool. We can probably get a better idea if we list the unbiased pros and cons of each option. Let’s just remember that the choice is entirely up to the individual and some people are already set in their ways and simply prefer either fiberglass or concrete. Fiberglass pools aren’t for everybody and neither are concrete pools and you’ll find both options can result in a beautiful and elegant appearance.

Concrete Pools


  • A concrete pool will allow you to customize the shape and/or size/depth. Perhaps you’re looking for a specific size, design, or depth which isn’t offered in fiberglass, which has some limitations when it comes to width and depth.
  • A concrete pool allows you to create a naturescape in your backyard as it may feature several natural-looking rock features such as grottos, a pond or beach entry.


  • You could run into some expensive repair jobs down the road and a concrete pool typically means more time spent on weekly maintenance.
  • The concrete floor and walls of the pool may feel a little too rough for your feet and other parts of your body that come in contact with them. There’s no doubt that fiberglass pools are much smoother next to your skin.
  • Concrete or pools need to be renovated approximately every eight to 12 years. This involves re-tiling and resurfacing the pool at a considerable cost.
  • The porous surface of a concrete pool means it’s harder to fight off algae. In addition, the alkaline pH of the surface raises the water’s pH, which means you’ll need to counteract it with the addition of acid.
  • Concrete pools typically take from two to four months to fully install and quality is entirely dependent on the contractor pouring the concrete.

Fiberglass Pools


  • Fiberglass pools are easier to maintain and keep clean. This means you can spend more time in the pool than working on and around it. They have a nonporous surface shell which helps fight off algae growth and the pool can be maintained with fewer sanitizing chemicals.
  • Structurally speaking, it’s rare that you’ll come across any major expenses and/or repairs down the road and there’s no liner to replace every 10 years or so.
  • If you’re in the market for a pool between 16 feet in width and 40 feet in length then there are many fiberglass options that fit the bill. The core strength is also impressive as fiberglass pools can withstand constant ground vibrations and are stronger than concrete.
  • The non-abrasive surface of the pool is much smoother to the touch than concrete.
  • Fiberglass pools can come with tanning ledges and built-in seats and steps etc as they can all be incorporated into the swimming pool’s shell.
  • Many options are available such as tile mosaics, perimeter and inlaid tile and built-in features such as streams and cascades. LED and fiber optic lighting are also available along with vanishing edges and in-floor cleaning systems.
  • The shell of a fiberglass pool is manufactured off-site and installed in one piece. This can usually be done within three to four weeks or even quicker.
  • If the pool’s surface should happen to crack or get scratched it can easily be repaired.
  • Most pools come with structural and surface warranties and the shells are designed to handle freezing/thawing, great for having a pool here in Ontario.


  • Fiberglass pools come in limited designs, shapes, and depths because they’re created from molds.
  • The pools aren’t wider than 16 feet due to shipping restrictions and most fiberglass pools aren’t certified for diving because of their shallow depth.


In the end, both types of swimming pools can do the job,  It comes down to how much time and expense you want to invest and the specific dimensions you are looking for.  Fiberglass pools are usually the choice for most people unless you want a very custom design that a fiberglass pool can’t accommodate or you will be using the pool for diving.

Have a question about choosing the right inground swimming pool for your family?  International Pool and Spa is Ontario’s leader when it comes to swimming pools and equipment.  We have locations across Ontario and have a full team of pool professionals on hand to help you with all of your pool needs.

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