Beginners Guide to Gunite

Gunite swimming pools are popular for their versatility in shape, as well as their durability. Because of this, gunite is the most common pool type seen at many resorts, and now, homes. Considering a gunite swimming pool for your own backyard? Take a deeper dive and see if a gunite swimming pool is right for you.

What is Gunite?

Gunite is made of sand, water, and cement, and it’s basically the same as regular concrete, with one important exception. Unlike traditional concrete, which is poured by section into wooden frames, gunite is applied in layers using a specialized spray gun. This means that gunite surfaces don’t have seams like traditional poured concrete, and this means that gunite pools are extra-durable.

Because it is applied using a compressed air “gun,” builders can spray concrete on vertical surfaces or curves. In addition to being a popular choice for inground pool construction, gunite is also used widely in things like road tunnels.

Installing Gunite Swimming Pools

Installation of your new pool will begin with the digging of your pool shape and installation of the iron rebar. The rebar framework creates a grid around the perimeter of your pool and/or spa to reinforce the structure. You’ll begin to see your vision come to life as your pool builder sprays a heavy coating of gunite around the rebar. The gunite is then smoothed and left to set.

Once set, your pool finish will be applied to your custom designed backyard. Plaster is the most common finish due to its wide range of color options to match your poolscape. If you’re interested in a more high-end and unique look, having a pebbled or tiled finish may be more your style. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Adding tile accents to your plaster finish can create interest and add a pop of color.

Maintaining Your Gunite Swimming Pool

As the proud owner of a gunite pool, there are a few things you need to remember when maintaining this addition:

  • Because of its porous surface, your pool will be more prone to algae growth. To counter this, you will find yourself using more chemicals and filtration as well as brushing your pool more often to remove any algae.
  • Gunite and shotcrete pool surfaces may need to be refinished. Unlike, say, fiberglass or vinyl liner pools, gunite and shotcrete will eventually show signs of wear. To maintain the smooth surface and attractive appearance, you’ll eventually need to re-finish your pool’s surface, which means adding a fresh layer of finish. On the flip side of this, your gunite pool will never lose its shape like its vinyl or fiberglass pool counterparts.

And remember, whether you have a concrete pool, a fiberglass pool, a vinyl lined pool, or any other type of inground pool, you’ll need to factor in the added cost of routine swimming pool care which includes things like testing your water and adding chemicals, cleaning and scrubbing surfaces, and cleaning and maintaining your filter.

Gunite Swimming Pool FAQs

Q: What’s the difference between gunite and shotcrete?

A: Gunite and shotcrete are basically the same thing, and they are both applied using a spray “gun,” making them ideally suited for curves, freeform designs, and unusual shapes. The gunite process is virtually the same as the shotcrete process. The only real difference between gunite and shotcrete is how and where it’s mixed: Gunite arrives dry and is mixed with water on-site just before it’s sprayed on. Shotcrete, on the other hand, arrives pre-mixed.

Q: Is gunite the same thing as concrete?

A: Yes and no. Gunite is made of the same basic ingredients as concrete (sand, cement, and water), but it’s applied in a different way: Traditional concrete is poured in sections, which results in “seams” where sections join together. Gunite is sprayed on using a specizlied “gun,” which results in seamless layers. The lack of seams makes a gunite pool stronger than a concrete pool.