Swimming Pool Slides: Gunite Slides vs. Fiberglass Slides
Waterslides can be a worthwhile addition to many luxury pool designs. If you are thinking about including a waterslide in your design, there are two popular types of slides and a number of things to consider. Gunite waterslides are made of the same material used to construct concrete pools. The slides are typically “shot” with concrete on grade and plaster is applied for a finish coat. Fiberglass slides are custom engineered and finished with a gel coating. Depending on the size of the slide they are available in segments or one full piece. Gunite & fiberglass slides come in a host of colors in order to fit nicely into the pool and landscape design.
Gunite Slides for Inground Pools
Gunite is the affordable slide option, and it has the freedom to accommodate any custom design. If done with masterful detail, gunite slides can look like weathered natural stone. Unfortunately, while this look is often sought after, it is rarely achieved with any true resemblance to nature. In contrast to their easy installation, gunite slides can require yearly maintenance to keep them operational. They usually have to be painted year after year to maintain their slippery qualities. If the gunite isn’t maintained, the friction will make for a very slow, uncomfortable ride into the inground pool. The cost and trouble of yearly maintenance make the lower upfront cost of a gunite waterslide slightly less appealing. In addition to comfort and maintenance concerns, the slides can also run into construction problems; if they are not constructed properly with footings, they have a much greater likelihood of failure. Without some extra steps, the gunite may also have difficulty with cracking due to freezing and thawing cycles in the Northeast.
Fiberglass Slides for Inground Pools
Fiberglass slides are more expensive than gunite, but they have a number of advantages. First of all, the slides need only be waxed like a boat at the beginning of the swim season to make them more slippery. By eliminating additional costs for yearly maintenance, the fiberglass slides help make up for their higher upfront price. Fiberglass slides and their gel-coated finish make them more comfortable than the gunite and a lot faster. With the smooth fiberglass, you can glide comfortably down the slick surface for a fast, fun ride. For appearance purposes, fiberglass slides used to take a back seat to gunite pools in terms of their ability to blend in with the surroundings of the pool. Today, complete customization, colors, and finishes allow the fiberglass slides to fit into luxury pool designs without standing out as an eyesore. Unlike gunite, fiberglass slides come custom engineered for a smooth, reliable ride. The slides come with proper specifications for a safe, speedy slide into the pool; the gunite slide is much more unpredictable.
Overall, I would have to recommend fiberglass slides for inground pools. As a matter of fact, we are currently renovating a 6-year-old gunite waterslide and transforming it into a fiberglass slide. The gunite slide required yearly maintenance to keep it slippery enough for use. There’s obviously an issue when the kids slide down the slide, stop 6 feet short of the pool, walk to the edge, and dive in. Overall, the gunite maintenance, potential for failure, and unpredictability make that option difficult to endorse. If you want a smooth, reliable, low-maintenance waterslide, fiberglass is the option for you.
NJ Fiberglass Slide