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Concrete Gunite Vs. Vinyl

This post is also available in: esEspañol


Today in Costa Blanca area, the majority of new in ground pool installations are concrete pools.  This is not a local phenomenon as in most of Spain the vinyl liner is considered a rarity.We at Eden Pool are big believers in the superiority of the gunite pool over the vinyl lined pool for the following reasons:

1) Value.

Although the base price of the gunite pool may be 25 to 30 percent higher initially, the concrete pool actually represents a savings in the long run.  This is because of the permanence of the concrete pool, combined with lower annualized maintenance costs.  Many of the concrete pools that we refurbish are over 60 years old.  Our experience has shown us that a properly constructed gunite shell has an essentially indefinite life span. Generally a concrete pool requires updating every 25 to 30 years or so.  Contrast this with a vinyl lined pool which requires liner replacements every 7 to 8 years and complete pool replacement every 20 to 25 yrs.  Even liner replacements can cost several thousand euros these days. The plastic components that are integral to the vinyl lined pool are extremely susceptible to wear an often look tired after only a couple of years.  Leaks are another significant source of aggravation and expense in a vinyl pool.  Often, small tears in the vinyl (from the family dog etc..) are nearly impossible to locate and  result in significant damage to the underlying metal structure.  When the annual depreciation expense of the product is considered, the concrete pool is actually the cheaper choice.

Further, when incorporating accessory structures including attached hot tubs, retaining walls, water features etc.. into the pool, the gunite shell can be used as a foundation.  This is impossible to do with a vinyl lined pool as the pool structure lacks integrity.  The costs for these structures need to be carefully considered when looking at whether to use concrete or vinyl.  We routinely see people start with a vinyl pool thinking it’s going to be cheaper and end up having to spend significantly more overall in order to incorporate these ideas into their plan.

2) Design flexibility and aesthetics.

Using gunite construction, the only limiting factor in pool design are your budget and imagination.  There are no limits with respect to things like steps, benches, water features, depths, shapes, hot tubs etc….  In contrast the vinyl lined pool is a prefabricated product that comes in a limited number of shape variations due to manufacturing limitations.  Further, the concrete pool affords almost unlimited choice when it comes to  finishes including tile, interior colour, coping style and material.  There are severe limitations with the vinyl pool when it comes to trying to customize the product for a particular installation.

3)Impact on the environment.

Imagine the waste generated when a vinyl pool is ripped out of the ground and disposed of.  The vinyl used is not biodegradable and generally ends up in landfill.  A typical liner weighs about 130-140 Kg and lasts about six to eight years.  That means every vinyl pool out there is generating arround 23 kg of vinyl waste every year (and we’re worrying about our plastic grocery bags!).  Further, the galvanized  steel shells are usually mixed in with other waste  products and not easily recycled.  In contrast, a concrete pool is a permanent structure and in the rare event of a reconstruction, the waste generated is easily recycled back into crushed stone to be used in new construction.  Even when the whole pool is removed, the concrete and steel are easily separated and fully recycled. Concrete is environmentally inert and has been safely used in building products for hundreds of years.

4) Resale value.

Real Estate studies have consistently shown that a well maintained concrete swimming pool is considered a luxury item and has a positive impact on the value of a property.  In fact, we often build pools for home builders who include the pool as a feature on a spec home.  This proves to us that the pool has a net positive impact on the house price.  The same cannot be said for a vinyl pool.  The impact on house price has been shown to be neutral or slightly negative.  We feel that this is because of the commonplace nature of the in ground vinyl as well as the previously mentioned high annualized depreciation costs.

For these reasons, Eden Pool is exclusively committed to the installation and repair of concrete pools. We feel confident that as the customer becomes more educated about the differences between the various types of pools they will come to the same conclusion that we have.