How Much Does a Gunite Pool Cost?
Installing a gunite pool costs between $65,000 and $180,000, with homeowners paying a national average of $100,000 to take a dip in this unique style of inground pool.
- The typical cost range to install a gunite pool is from $65,000 to $180,000, while the national average cost is $100,000.
- There are several factors that can affect the cost of a gunite pool, including the size of the pool, the materials and supplies needed, the cost of labor and permits, and site preparation.
- A gunite pool offers numerous benefits, such as the ability to customize the pool, durability, and versatility.
- Gunite pool installation is a difficult project for most homeowners, making it best left to a professional pool installation company.
For homeowners looking to trade some of their backyard real estate for an aquatic haven, a gunite pool could be the best option. Gunite pools are a luxurious and durable type of swimming pool that’s created by spraying a mixture of concrete and sand onto a steel framework.
This process allows for unique shapes, sizes, and designs, giving homeowners the freedom to design a pool that perfectly complements their outdoor space. But this level of customization and durability comes at a price.
According to Angi, a custom gunite pool costs between $65,000 and $180,000, depending on the pool’s size, the materials used, and local labor costs. The national average installation cost comes in at $100,000, making a gunite pool a considerable investment in enhancing outdoor living.
Homeowners can prepare for this project by learning more about estimating gunite pool costs, reading tips on how to save on installation, and reviewing the most important questions to ask a pool installation company before breaking ground.
Factors in Calculating Gunite Pool Cost
When estimating gunite pool costs, homeowners need to consider several major factors. While the average gunite pool cost is $100,000, pool size, materials, labor, site preparation, and more influence the final cost.
Gunite swimming pools cost between $100 and $280 per square foot. Larger pools require more materials, labor, and site preparation to construct, making size one of the most influential factors for homeowners to consider when they are estimating the cost of a gunite pool.
Excavation costs can be higher with larger pool designs, and larger sites may require special equipment. Besides requiring more gunite mix, larger pools also require more finishing materials. Additionally, larger pools may need a bigger filtration system and heater. Operation and maintenance costs can also be higher compared to those for a smaller pool.
|Pool Size in Feet||Cost Range (Materials and Labor)|
|10 by 20||$20,000 to $56,000|
|12 by 24||$28,000 to $80,640|
|16 by 32||$51,200 to $143,360|
|20 by 40||$80,000 to $224,000|
Materials and Supplies
A wide variety of materials and supplies are required to construct a gunite pool. The shell requires rebar and supporting steel, which are then covered in the concrete gunite mix. The shell represents a major budget line item, primarily determined by pool size.
Material costs don’t stop at the shell, though. Homeowners need to consider deck materials, including concrete, tile, and coping. There are also filtration systems, pumps, heaters, and sanitation equipment to take into account. Electrical wiring and plumbing supplies can also add to a gunite pool’s installation cost.
When everything is added together, many homeowners find themselves paying between $60,000 and $70,000 for materials. Once the pool has been installed, water is the final material to factor in, costing between $60 and $1,250.
No matter the size of a gunite pool, labor is a major cost for homeowners to consider. It’s also unavoidable, since proper construction of an inground pool requires a skilled team of professionals.
Homeowners can expect a third of their budget to go toward labor, which encompasses the work of the general contractor overseeing the project as well as any additional specialized tradespeople, including the following:
- A plumber to install water lines, drains, jets, and intakes;
- An electrician to provide wiring for pool pumps, lighting, and heating;
- A stoneworker for brick elements like waterfall features;
- A tile contractor to install tile work on the pool floor and walls; and
- A fencing installer to construct any required pool fencing for safety.
The cost of inground pools always includes the price of site preparation before construction can begin. Examples include the following:
- Excavation: Digging out and shaping the pool area;
- Demolition: Removing any existing structures, trees, or obstruction;
- Grading: Leveling and contouring the yard;
- Utilities: Upgrading or relocating electrical, plumbing, and gas lines as needed;
- Access: Establishing clear pathways for trucks and equipment.
Site preparation costs vary greatly depending on size and scope, but pool excavation costs between $400 and $1,500. Homeowners with wooded backyards may have to spend between $200 and $6,000 per acre to clear the area and another $0.50 to $2.30 per square foot to level it.
Permits help local governments make sure pool plans in their community meet all safety requirements, and they are required by law before a pool can be built. Homeowners may find themselves paying anywhere from $100 to $300 for a pool-building permit, depending on location, pool size, and any additional structures that are included in the design, such as a pool house or slide.
Building a pool without a permit is risky. If it doesn’t meet code, the pool is likely unsafe to use, and homeowners may be legally required to remove it. While permits add additional cost to gunite pool construction prices, they’re a required step for any pool installation project and help keep everyone safe.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Homeowners budgeting for a gunite pool will need to think beyond initial construction when considering gunite pool costs. For example, operating expenses and routine maintenance are ongoing costs for homeowners to keep in mind.
One of the most loved benefits of gunite pools is their ability to be completely customized. There is a long list of fun features homeowners can consider adding to their gunite pool design to make the pool and area around it more relaxing and boost recreational enjoyment.
Adding a hot tub is one of the more expensive customization options, but it does create an outdoor space that can be used for additional months out of the year. A pool house is another expensive cost but offers storage for pool equipment and even a spot to entertain guests. More budget-friendly customizations include slides, diving boards, and waterfalls. This table shows the price ranges for different gunite pool features.
|Features||Cost Range (Materials Only)|
|Diving board||$300 to $5,000|
|Inground hot tub||$8,000 to $25,000 (including labor)|
|Ladder||$150 to $400|
|Pool cover||$75 to $22,000|
|Pool deck||$3,000 to $12,000 (including labor)|
|Pool house||$26,600 to $180,000 (including labor)|
|Pool lighting||$200 to $625 per light|
|Slide||$1,500 to $5,000|
When estimating the cost to build a pool, homeowners will also want to consider the price of keeping the pool operational.
For example, professional cleanings cost between $50 and $100 per hour for skimming, vacuuming, brushing, cleaning filters, and testing and adjusting the water’s chemical levels.
Opening the pool for the season costs between $150 and $400, while closing it down at the end of the season costs anywhere from $150 to $300. Adding more water to the pool throughout the season costs $0.004 per gallon. Electricity is another important operating cost to consider. Most homeowners pay an additional $300 per year in energy costs to keep their pool running.
Gunite pools are durable and have a long lifespan of up to 100 years or more with impeccable care and maintenance. But what does this entail?
Carried out approximately every 4 years, acid washes help clear away mold and algae growth from the pool’s walls and floor. Homeowners can expect to pay between $250 and $1,000 for each wash. Gunite pools are also replastered approximately every 10 years at a cost of $10,000 per instance.
In terms of budgeting, homeowners are advised to set aside $2,700 to $4,000 every year for pool maintenance costs. Over the span of a decade, gunite pool maintenance costs can be as much as $40,000.
While gunite pools are known for their durability and longevity, repairs may still be occasionally needed to address issues like cracks or water leaks. The good news is that repairs are rare during a gunite pool’s early years.
But after some time, gunite pool repairs may include surface coating, plaster resurfacing, tile replacement, pipe patches, drain adjustments, or foundation repairs. They can also include pump or motor replacements, filter repairs, control panel adjustments, pool deck repair, coping repairs, fence or railing repair, and electrical updates.
Every type of repair is unique in scope and price, but homeowners can expect to pay between $240 and $1,100 per repair. If the issue is cracked gunite, the average repair cost is $75 per linear foot.
Just as fresh paint and an eye-catching front door can enhance the front curb appeal of a home, so can professional landscaping enhance the aesthetics of a backyard pool.
Backyard pool landscaping costs between $3,000 and $5,000 for all-new installations. When dressing up smaller or more contained areas, homeowners can expect to pay between $4 and $12 per square foot for new plants, trees, and shrubs.
After a pool installation, replacing sod is a common landscaping request; sod costs between $0.35 and $0.85 per square foot, not including installation. Yard drainage systems cost an average of $4,335 and can help prevent soggy spots around the pool and prevent erosion.
Benefits of Choosing a Gunite Pool
There are several types of swimming pools homeowners can choose from when creating their ideal outdoor oasis. But at the end of a hot summer day, gunite pools offer several unique benefits, as explored below.
One of the most appreciated features of gunite pools is their customization options. Unlike even the best above-ground pools, gunite pools can be built in nearly any freeform shape. They can also be sized to fit any backyard space or family size.
The depth of a gunite pool can also be customized, with shallow portions for less experienced swimmers and deeper diving sections for those who want to make a splash. A customized gunite pool can feature anything from waterfalls to a slide or even a hidden grotto.
Gunite pools offer a clear advantage for homeowners looking to create the pool of their dreams. Nearly every detail of a gunite pool can be customized, giving homeowners a pool with improved functionality and the potential to boost home value.
A durable pool can last for decades with proper care. Durable pools experience fewer cracks, pops, and leaks, and sturdy construction prevents sagging and shifting. Durability and safety often go hand in hand as well when it comes to swimming pools.
Out of all inground pools, gunite pools last the longest. Gunite is an extremely strong material that can withstand tough weather and heavy use, while the pool’s steel rebar offers tremendous support. Gunite pool warranties are known for offering long coverage periods and broad protection scopes, signaling confidence in a gunite pool’s quality and build.
It’s important for homeowners to factor in the durability and longevity of gunite pools when they are evaluating their installation costs against the costs for fiberglass and vinyl liners.
A versatile pool can be modified over time as a family’s needs and interests change. This is also beneficial when selling a home. Gunite pools are incredibly versatile and can keep up with changing fashions and trends.
For example, a gunite pool’s tiling, coping, lighting, and other elements can be swapped out to match current styles. The pool’s shell will remain intact, but the aesthetics can be updated as needs develop and budgets allow.
Homeowners can have fun choosing decorative elements when installing their gunite pool, knowing they can be swapped out down the line to keep up with popular styles.
Gunite Pool Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
An ambitious homeowner may be tempted to attempt a DIY gunite pool installation. However, the reality is that installing a gunite pool requires specialized skills, tools, and materials that are not easy to come by.
To start, the gunite application process involves using a high-pressure hose to spray the concrete mix, which must be done precisely and evenly. This is a difficult process to learn, and mistakes can lead to cracks or leaks in the pool down the road.
A pool installation also requires excavating, grading, plumbing, and performing electrical work. These are all specialties in their own right, and to expect one person to be able to master them all for a DIY gunite pool installation isn’t usually realistic.
Simply put, the risks and liabilities of DIY mistakes that lead to safety or structural issues in the future make professional installation strongly advised.
Hiring an experienced pool contractor to install a gunite pool offers several advantages, including the following:
- Professionals bring specialized knowledge and experience, ensuring proper techniques and precision.
- Experts can significantly reduce installation time.
- Professionals understand exactly how to build a pool, including how to obtain necessary permits and adhere to local regulations.
- Experts source and use top-grade materials homeowners may struggle to track down.
- Professional installers can provide design suggestions a DIY enthusiast may not think of.
- Pool installers have access to necessary specialized equipment, making the process safer and more efficient.
- Reputable professionals offer warranties on their installation, providing homeowners with peace of mind.
Whether it’s a matter of saving money or avoiding contractor delays, building a gunite pool is best left to the professionals. The best pool installation companies can safely and flawlessly handle this uniquely complex project, saving a homeowner from stress, risk, and costly mistakes.
How to Save Money on Gunite Pool Cost
Installing a gunite pool is a serious investment and typically not a home improvement project that can be done on the cheap. However, there are still a few ways homeowners can save on inground gunite pools.
- Shop around. Reach out to multiple pool installation companies for quotes.
- Choose a simple shape. Opt for a simple rectangular pool shape rather than a specialty shape to save on labor.
- Keep it on the small side. Small gunite pools require fewer materials and can cut construction costs substantially.
- Avoid unnecessary extras. Keep decorative elements, such as water features and slides, to a minimum.
- Install in the offseason. Plan ahead and have the pool installed at the end of the season when demand is lower.
- Take on the prep work. Reduce preparation fees by providing easy access for workers, such as by removing fences or trees that will be in the way of equipment.
- Opt for smaller tiles. When tiling around the pool, choose smaller tile sizes that require less cutting and waste.
- Learn how to maintain the pool. When it comes to maintaining the pool after installation, use an automatic pool cleaner rather than professional cleaning services.
- Consider a getting home warranty. The best home warranties for pool coverage (Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield, for example) can help customers save on pool repairs in the long term.
Questions to Ask About Gunite Pool Installation
Asking the right questions is key to getting the best gunite pool possible. For instance, the following are important questions for a homeowner to ask any potential installer.
- How long have you been installing pools?
- What is a gunite pool, and is it the right choice for my space?
- How experienced are you with gunite pools?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Are you an Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) member?
- Does the contract cover the full installation of my pool?
- How much is a gunite pool?
- How do you handle surprise issues, such as hitting rock during digging?
- Will you and a team be completing the installation, or do you work with subcontractors?
- How long will the installation take?
- Once the pool is installed, how long will the curing and cleaning process take?
- Can you provide a detailed timeline for each project phase?
- What is the warranty coverage for materials, labor, and cracks?
- Can you provide references from past gunite pool clients?
- Will you handle any necessary permits and inspections?
- Will you go over proper care and maintenance once the installation is complete?
Installing a custom gunite pool is a serious investment, typically ranging from $65,000 to $180,000. But the durability, versatility, and personalization options these types of pools provide put them in a class of their own. With proper planning and budgeting, a gunite pool can bring decades of smiles and splashes to any backyard space. Before embarking on this project, homeowners may want to explore the following FAQs for additional information on gunite pool costs, features, and benefits.
Q. What is the lifespan of a gunite pool?
A gunite pool can last 100 years or more with proper care and maintenance. To boost longevity, cleaning a gunite pool at least once every week is advised. Gunite pools also need to be resurfaced every 5 to 7 years, and repairs are best addressed as soon as possible. Finally, it’s recommended that gunite pools be closed down but never drained at the end of each season.
Q. Do gunite pools crack?
If a gunite pool isn’t constructed properly or if the ground beneath the pool begins to settle, it’s possible for a crack to develop. While gunite pools crack at a higher rate than fiberglass pools, cracks in gunite are far from a guaranteed occurrence. Homeowners are always advised to work with an experienced pool company to reduce the risk of cracking in a gunite pool.
Q. What is the easiest pool to maintain?
Out of the three types of inground pools, fiberglass is the easiest to maintain. Homeowners with fiberglass pools can expect to perform 1 to 2 hours of maintenance per week. Vinyl-lined pools require 4 to 6 hours of maintenance a week, while gunite pools require the most. Homeowners can spend up to 8 hours a week maintaining a gunite pool.
Q. How do you know when a gunite pool needs to be resurfaced?
A gunite pool typically needs to be resurfaced every 8 to 10 years, but there are some instances where gunite pool resurfacing needs to be scheduled sooner. Pool resurfacing costs vary greatly, so if there are surface stains, peeling or flaking plaster, cracks, discoloration, rust stains, or a coarse texture on the pool’s surface, it’s best to call in a professional to evaluate the pool’s condition.
Q. What are the advantages of gunite?
Gunite is extremely durable and can last up to a century or more with proper care. When it comes to designs, gunite pools are highly customizable. Homeowners can choose their pool’s shape, size, depth, and unique features. Gunite pools can also be renovated, resurfaced, and upgraded more easily in the future than fiberglass or vinyl, adding value and appeal to a home when it comes time to sell.
Q. What pool shape is cheapest?
Kidney-shaped pools are the most budget-friendly option, offering homeowners more control over their budgets. Compared to rectangular pools, kidney shapes can fit more overall swimming space within a smaller perimeter. Since the walls and edges of a pool cost more to build than the open pool bottom, a kidney shape offers more swimming space for fewer construction costs.
Q. What is the longest-lasting pool surface?
A gunite shell is always covered with a smoother finish, such as plaster, pebble, tile, or fiberglass. But fully tiled pools tend to last the longest, with the finish having a lifespan of 30 or more years. Tiled pools are durable, attractive, and smooth. They can also make water maintenance easier and more affordable.