Are Gunite and Plaster Pools the Same Thing? | Riverbend Sandler

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Are Gunite and Plaster Pools the Same Thing?

Are you interested in having your own backyard pool? If you’re spending these winter months researching the pool construction process and gearing up to plan your own pool for the New Year, you’ll probably hear two words thrown around a lot — gunite and plaster. While you’ve probably heard of these materials before, you might be unsure just what their function is, causing you to wonder, are gunite and plaster the same thing?

Luckily, the team at Riverbend Sandler is here to help explain the differences between these two materials and help you understand just what goes into building your new backyard pool. So, let’s dive in!

Natural pool by the creek

What is gunite?

To put it simply, gunite is an alternative form of concrete. Like traditional concrete, it’s a blend of aggregates, cement and water; however, unlike traditional concrete, it only uses the smallest aggregates to create a fine, smooth consistency.

What is plaster?

You’ve probably heard of plaster before — it’s used as a protective coating for the majority of ceilings and walls. However, it can also be used as a finishing layer for the surface of your backyard pool. It’s formed by mixing white Portland cement, limestone, sand, and water.

What is the difference between gunite and plaster?

While many people may use the terms gunite and plaster interchangeably, the two materials couldn’t be more different — the biggest contrast between both of these materials being their strength. Put simply, a gunite pool refers to the underlying structure. Plaster serves as the final finish on top of this gunite structure.

Gunite is an incredibly strong material that is applied to the steel rebar of your pool to create its shell. Once dried, it forms a thick, solid structure. By contrast, plaster is a finishing material and is only used to cover the surface and create a watertight seal that protects the framework.

Another key difference between gunite and plaster is the way in which they are applied. Plaster is usually painstakingly applied by hand, using a trowel to manually smooth it over the pool surface. Gunite, however, has a less time-consuming application process and is sprayed onto the steel rebar using a high-pressure hose. The dry concrete ingredients are put into the hopper and water is added at the point of delivery to offer greater control over batch consistency.

Benefits of gunite pools

  • Longevity: Gunite is an incredibly durable material and, when properly constructed and maintained, a gunite pool can last a lifetime.
  • Versatility: As gunite is pneumatically applied, it can be used on pools of any shape, depth, or style, from freeform to geometric.
  • Additional features: Due to the strength and durability of the steel rebar and gunite combined, it’s easy to incorporate additional features, such as waterfalls and fountains.
  • Affordable: When compared to a traditional concrete pool, a gunite pool is a much cheaper alternative.
  • Simpler construction process: As gunite is mixed onsite, your pool builders can stop and start as necessary without affecting the smoothness of the finish.

Benefits of plaster pools

  • Affordable: As one of the most inexpensive pool finishes available, a plaster pool surface can help protect your bank balance.
  • Customizable: By using plaster, you can customize your pool surface according to your personal taste with a range of color and finish options, including quartz, pebble, and glass plastering finishes.
  • Repairable: Plaster is a forgiving material that is incredibly easy to repair with a spot of replastering if needed.
  • Durable: A plaster finish can typically last for anywhere between 10 and 15 years depending on the frequency of use and maintenance required.
  • Low maintenance: Plaster requires less upkeep than many other pool finishes, making it a hassle-free solution.

If you’re considering a custom backyard pool at your home in Dallas, Prosper, or McKinney, why not get in touch with the experts at Riverbend Sandler? We’ve been constructing, renovating and maintaining pools across the North Texas area for over 40 years now, having picked up countless industry awards along the way. We use the highest quality gunite and plaster in all of our installations to ensure your new pool is durable and will stand the test of time. 

Get in touch with our friendly team today for more information.

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