Just last week I sat down with a potential pool buyer and yet again the same old trite question came out in conversation…Do you have many issues with your fiberglass pools floating or popping out of the ground? A few uninformed gunite pool sales people still raise this topic as a negative against folks that mention they will be investigating fiberglass pools as well as gunite pools. What that group of uninformed gunite sales people have in common is more often than not they are new comers to the pool industry or have had poor sales training and have not had sufficient time to learn the causes for a pool to float or don’t even know that a gunite pool is quicker to float than any other type of pool construction.

Fiber Glass Swimming Pools

Floated gunite pool


That is correct! A gunite pool will float quicker than a vinyl or a fiberglass pool. Why? you may ask. The short answer is that gunite pool shells will typically float prior to cracking of the structure and vinyl or fiberglass pools will typically crack before floating. Under any circumstance, any of these scenarios are not ideal, but the good news is a vinyl or fiberglass pool shell can be thoroughly repaired just like damages to a boat or car. Gunite pools that are damaged by floating, 99% of the time will require complete removal and replacement with a new pool. That’s right, a gunite pool that might have cost you $45K brand new to construct will now cost $60K or more to replace.


Fiberglass Swimming Pools

Floated gunite pool.


What is the primary cause of floating pools?

1. A homeowner decides to drain the pool themselves to clean the pool.

Fact: In my opinion NO homeowner should drain any kind of pool. Let the professionals do it.

2. An unqualified third party drains the pool. This list includes pool service guys, lawn maintenance people, friends of the pool owner, the neighbors 12 year old son, etc.

Fact: Save yourself the headaches. Let the pros do it.

Fiberglass Pools

Floated gunite pool.

3. Pool equipment malfunction or valve in the wrong position. Fact: Pool equipment malfunction is rare; on the other hand human error is common. Recently I received a call from one of our own pool buyers who was overseas. He left the pool in the hands of his 18 year old son that was only 12 when we performed the project pool school. He backwashed the pool filter and then turned it off. While he was out doing things that most 18 year old boys do, the timer kicked the pump on and completely drained the pool. Did it float? NO. Did the dad hire a professional pool service to maintain the pool in his absence? YES.

4. Gunite pools will require acid washing, black algae treatments, and new plaster every few years. It just makes sense that they require being drained more often than vinyl or fiberglass pools. This increases the frequency of gunite pools floating. Fact: Fiberglass pools do not require to be drained.

American Pool

Floated gunite pool.

So let’s button up this subject. Floating pools of any kind are rare. Fact is the last one I can remember happening to us was 1987. The pool floated during renovation by a tropical storm that dumped 15-20 inches of rain on our jobsite. What came of it? Our insurance paid for a new pool to be installed. This insurance policy was specifically for this type of occurrence.

Swimming Pool Resurfacing

Floated gunite pool.

If I were a pool buyer, I would not be concerned about any of the above happening to me. It is just too rare. I would always hire an insured pool professional to perform any work on my pool. Lastly, I would insist on the truth about things, heavily research my contactor’s record, insist on both General Liability AND Worker’s Comp insurance and lastly enjoy the heck out of my new pool, make lots of pool side memories, and stay cool!!


“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Benjamin Franklin

Swimming Pool Renovation

Floated gunite pool.



  1. D. Duenas says:

    My neighbors gunite pool down the street from me floated last year during a replaster project.
    Try as they could, the pool company could not get it to sink back into place.
    The pool had to be busted out. Now a lawsuit has been filed by my neighbor.
    We live in Friendswood,Tx.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      I have seen the same thing happen before many times unfortunately. Sometimes unqualified pool guys don’t take any precautions while draining a pool or even worse, don’t take precautions after the pool is drained and just sitting there empty. Hopefully the company your neighbor used is insured. If they went with the lowest bid, don’t hold your breath.

  2. S. Dzinda says:

    I want you to know that we had a concrete pool sales guy tell us 27 years ago that we should not buy a fibreglass pool because it would float.
    Well, we are still waiting for that to happen[Ha Ha].
    We even live on a canal in Destin, Florida.
    Our fibreglass pool is one of the very best investments we have ever made!

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Nice to hear that you have had such enjoyment with your 27 year old fiberglass pool. Also, your reply just confirms that those gunite guys have been using the same old story forever.

  3. Kirk says:

    I have seen so many floated gunite pools in my pool business career that it is impossible to count.
    Here in Florida it is almost considered a norm. Most pool guys now get their customer to sign all kinds of release forms prior to draining a gunite pool for replastering.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Hi Kirk. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. You are correct that most pool plasterings involve all kinds of disclaimers.

  4. Tom Duncanville says:

    We are exploring the possibility of owning a pool this year. During a sales presentation last week, the concrete pool sales guy made mention about fiberglass pool rising up out of the ground. I ask him why a pool that was full of water would do that? He just had a dumb founded look about him. I told him that it was simple hydraulics to keep a pool filled up with water all the time. I ask him if his kind of pool construction would float? His answer was absolutly not! I knew that he was lying to me and after reading your blog post my feelings were confirmed. Scratch that pool guy off my list!

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      You sound like a well informed pool buyer. We thank you for joining us and wish you well with your pool building experience.

  5. Jay Rosin says:

    You are full of usefull information !!
    I have enjoyed reading your blog now for almost a year.
    Keep up the good work and I’m sure that there are other pool owners as well as potential pool buyers that think think the way I do !
    I have never considered that I could not drain my pool on my own. Now I know that when I do drain it, a pool pro will be the one to do so.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Thanks sir! We are pleased that you enjoy our effort to keep this blog educational.

  6. Russell Carr says:

    What a horrible feeling it would be to have to live without our American Fiberglass Pool.
    Since we built it in 1976, our family has now had 5 generations swimming in the pool.

    It is refreshing to know that you folks are still around and we continue to wish you continued sucess.

    Russell Carr and Family

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Russ, thanks for joining us. Glad to know that your American Fiberglass Pool has been so much fun for 5 generations of your family!!!

  7. Charlie Haik says:

    In a previous house I owned the gunite pool there rose up out of the ground.
    Turned out that a pipe broke that 1/2 emptied the pool so it floated.
    I had several estimates to replace it, it was 14″s out of level and could not be repaired.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      I have seen that situation many times with other folks’ gunite pools. Typically it is necessary to remove the pool and start over. Sorry you had to experience it first hand.

  8. Aces4 says:

    Draining pools definitely should be a job for the pool pros!

  9. Rory O'Leary says:

    You always seem to have some interesting topics that you blog about.
    Please keep it up! Rory O

  10. Angie Gooden says:

    Here in the NE we had lots of gunite pools that floated during Sandy. Most of them were low on water due to being winterized months before. I agree wiyh you that it is important that any pool should be drained only by pool pros to lesson the chances of having issues.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      I have a pool industry friend in the N.E. They tell me that they are quite busy the last few months replacing particularly gunite pools damaged in Sandy. That storm was truly a tragic event.

  11. T .ST. MARTIN says:

    We owned a gunite pool in a house in Baytown. The cosmetics of the pool were terrible. We decided to renovate the pool with new tile, new brick perimeter, & new plaster.
    When the work was finished, we re-filled it with water. The pool did not float, IT SANK!
    Thatis right, sank an average of 8 inchs all around the entire pool. I had several estimates and all of them wanted to replace the pool rather repair it.
    I sued the pool repair company & won in court $83,788.67.

    I replaced the pool, added a spa, and a waterfall. All that came up to $76,945.
    Not a bad deal huh??

  12. C. E. Heathcott says:

    I have been around the pool industry now for almost thirty years. I can recall viewing at least once a year gunite pools that have floated during that time. It is a lot more common than most people understand.
    I have seen one fibreglass pool that did so.
    I beleive it is a myth that fibreglass pools are more prone to floating than gunite pools. I know that the fibreglass pool was reset and you could not tell that anything had occurred.

    Almost all of the gunite pools were removed and not replaced.
    I know that the gunite pools were for the most part removed and not replaced.

  13. Randy Condiff says:

    I used to be a salesman for a very large gunite pool builder in the southwest. We were trained to tell prospects that our gunite pools would never float but that fiberglass pool s would.
    I saw four gunite pools while I was there that did float during construction. All had to be ripped out and started over.
    I was in the pool industry for 2 years and never saw or heard of a fiberglass pool floating.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Our thanks for you joining us and also confirming that some gunite pool companies have quite a bag of tricks to pull from when they compete against fiberglass pools.

  14. Halle Wright says:

    My parents bought a concrete pool a four years back from a national pool builder, **** ***** *****.Last year a pipe broke
    somewhere that caused the pool to empty.
    It came up out of the ground almost 2 feet. The pool deck was also destroyed.
    In short, the big pool builder was no help at all. My parents are suing them trying to collect money to help them remove the pool.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Sorry to hear about your parents experience. That company is widely known to be unresponsive to even small complaints, so it does not surprise me in the least that they were no help in your parents situation.

  15. D.Barnard says:

    Fiberglass pools have worldwide popularity. The future of swimming pools is fiberglass.

  16. Jay Rappell says:

    Are there certain types of soil conditions that make it easier for gunite pools to float than others?

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Yes sir! Heavy clay and what we refer to as “gumbo” soil tend to hold water. These soils will make it easier for a gunite pool to float.

  17. George Condrey says:

    Is this problem with gunite pools floating one that is all over the whole country?
    Are there any special techniques that someone can do to try to prevent this from occurring?

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Yes sir, it can happen anywhere. If a hydrostatic valve is installed in the drain, this will typically not allow a gunite pool to float. Another thing is to install a water relief system under the pool that can be accessed at ground level. Then you can pump out all water around the pool prior to draining it and keep the pump available while the pool is empty.

  18. Jason Wirt says:

    Is the builder of my gunite pool going to be responsible if my pool were to float?
    Seems like it is only right since they designed it as well as built it.

  19. Harry Hatcher says:

    My gunite pool recently floated. It is two years old & my builder says there is only a 1 yr. warranty against this type of problem.
    Do you know a person that can help me get it fixed or an be an expert witness for me if I have to sue them?
    BTW, we live in Brazoria Texas..
    Any assistance you can direct our way is appreciated.

  20. M. Pena says:

    Can some of these concrete pools that float be repaired? If so, how much does that type of repair cost on average?
    Can you describe how the fix would occur if it can be fixed?

    Thank you.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Sometimes if the gunite pool has floated only 2-3 inches, the beam of the pool (coping & tile) can be removed and the pool shell releveled in a faux fashion. This usually requires removal and replacement of the pool deck too. I would recommend a leak test procedure on the pool plumbing. What will all this cost? A lot. Maybe $15 – $20K.

  21. Nirvana Not says:

    Our pool floated last year during being drained for a replaster job. Sad to say that the plastering outfit denied any responsibility for their slip-shod work. Anyone that needs a gunite pool replastered should require insurance that covers this type of situation. We learned the hard way.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Sorry to hear about your gunite pool woes. Hopefully others reading of you experience will take heed.

  22. Allie says:

    Gunite pools popping out of the ground has been somewhat only been spoken about in only in dark rooms with the blinds pulled down. Thanks to people like you that expose the truth to the the masses. This problem is rather prolific and should be reckoned with when a pool buyer is trying to making an educated decision on the type of pool to purchase.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Thanks Allie. You are correct that we only hear about a few of the many instances when gunite pools float.

  23. Ted Caruso says:

    Timely post you have here.
    We were told by two different gunite pool sales reps this past weekend that gunite pools never will float.
    Thanks to you, our eyes are now open to the facts.
    We are ready to talk to your company pronto about a fiber glass pool. When can you see us? we live in Brookshire,Tx.
    Reach us at 832-*******.

    • R. Wayne Stringer says:

      Did you tell those gunite guys “liar, liar, pants on fire” yet? I will contact you today. We have lots of satisfied clients in the Brookshire / Sealy area. Happy swimming soon!

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  25. Antone Scardino says:

    Gunite pools float all the time. This is a well kept secret.
    Usually caused by stupid mistakes. You listed them all.
    Great information on your blog, keep up the good work!

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