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The Ultimate Guide To The Gunite Swimming Pool Construction Process

Now that we’re through the summer this year, are you thinking you need a pool for next season?

You can beat the heat next year in the comfort of your backyard.

While it might seem like a massive endeavor initially, a custom-designed pool can be more worthwhile in the long run.

Let’s walk you through the gunite swimming pool construction process. With all the facts, you can decide how best to float through the next swim season.

What is a Gunite Swimming Pool?

A gunite swimming pool, unlike vinyl or other materials, is essentially made of concrete. But where concrete is poured into frames, a compressed air gun sprays gunite in layers.

This allows gunite to be applied to vertical surfaces and curves, creating a both seamless and durable surface.

Gunite’s versatility in application also allows for custom designs. Those unique pools that fit the shape of the landscape? Gunite makes those possible by building out the design’s framework with rebar.

Depending on your budget, the exterior elements of gunite pools are also customizable—from tiling, to step design, to other features like waterfalls—allowing you to match the pool to the rest of your home’s aesthetic.

Gunite Pool Maintenance

All pools require maintenance and gunite is no exception. In fact, because gunite is porous, the pool is more prone than others to developing algae.

Upkeep requires a close eye on the pool’s chemical maintenance as well as a good brushing, more than you might with a vinyl or fiberglass pool. Keep a robotic pool cleaner and your chemical monitoring on a schedule, and you should be fine.

Gunite pools suffer a bit of wear and tear. After some time, the surface needs to be refinished.

Gunite Swimming Pool Construction Process

While the construction of a gunite pool might be a fraction of a larger project encompassing the whole yard, the installation of the pool itself takes about 6 to 10 weeks.

Depending on the size of the pool, and as weather permits, the total installation time may be longer or shorter.

Designs and Permits

After an initial consultation, we’ll draw up a design for the pool. The design accounts for the basic shape and size of the pool, ensuring it fits in the yard and is structurally sound.

The design also maps out necessary plumbing for the pool and where we’ll set important fixtures.

We’ll assess additional features at this time too. Do you want a waterfall? An attached hot tub? Lighting? If not now, in the future? The consultation and plan account for these goals into the design.

Once the design is mapped out and complete, the plans get submitted to your HOA and local inspectors for approval. With all permits approved, installation begins.

The Big Dig

Digging out and framing a gunite pool is no small task. This is a real excavation process, requiring heavy equipment to remove all the dirt and rocks in the soil.

With the outer shape of the pool laid out, the excavation should take a full day as weather allows.

Rebar and Plumbing

Have you ever filled a plastic bag with water? While water fills its containing space, it also creates an immense amount of outward pressure. To account for this pressure, the pool is framed in rebar.

The rebar framing sits at 8 inches on center, creating a strong shell and support system for the gunite to adhere to.

Without proper filtration, the pool cannot stay clean. All of the plumbing gets installed at this time. Pipes are run to the filter location, and we install the filtration hardware.

Finally, we spray the gunite. We blow the cement from a hose, giving a more defined structure and shape to the pool.

Tile and Decking

Depending on the choices you’ve made in the design process, now we begin to tile the interior and finish the decking above the pool.

The whole tiling process takes a day or two, including rounding off and finishing the coping along the pool’s top edge.

The decking process takes a similar amount of time. Pouring concrete may be quicker than laying pavers, though this depends on the size and shape of the decking, too.

Start it Up

The pool installation finishes with any remaining plasterwork and getting filled up. Filling the pool can take up to 48 hours.

Once filled, we’ll check all the components and plumbing to make sure they are working properly. This takes a few days, too, as the pool “settles.”

You’ll be able to swim in and enjoy the pool about a week after it has been filled. Be sure to keep it clean!

Gunite Pool Remodel Process

An inground pool remodel is not as extensive as the installation, but many choose to remodel in order to change or add new features. Adding a waterfall or want to completely replace damaged tile? That calls for a remodel!

Draining and Chipping

First, we drain the pool using a pump and hose leading out to the street. Draining takes up to 12 hours depending on the pool’s volume.

Chipping out the pool means breaking down the surface and priming it so new tile and new surface can adhere to the gunite shell.

Just like the initial design process, you’ll get to choose new tile and surface materials. 

Tiling and Resurfacing

Re-tiling a pool takes a day or two from start to finish, depending on the number of tiles and design. Resurfacing the pool with plaster instead takes about 4-6 hours.

These estimates only account for changes to the pool for the shape it already has. If you wish to expand the pool, change the shape, or add new features, the project will require more than a few days.

In fact, a significant remodel will look similar to the construction process, and may even require new permits.

Refill and Restart

Once all surfaces are finished, we’ll refill the pool. Refilling the pool again requires an initial test of the pool’s systems and integrity before you can swim in it again.

Part of this accounts for changes to the pool’s surface. Different surfaces react to the pH balance in the water and may take a few days to settle.

Get Swimming

Now that we’ve had a look at the entire gunite swimming pool construction process, is a custom pool right for you? 

While we have not looked at costs—and a custom pool is not cheap—the long-term benefits and durability outlive all other types of pools.

For more information on how we can build or remodel your gunite pool, reach out to us at the nearest design center.