Although the base price of the gunite concrete pool may be 25 to 30 percent higher initially, the concrete pool 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. We routinely apply new ten-year warranties to these pools. 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 dollars these days.
Wear and Leaks: 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.
More Than Just The Pool: When incorporating accessory structures with the pool, including attached hot tubs, retaining walls, water features etc., 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.