Durability Meets Customization: A Deep Dive into Gunite Pools

Backyard pool with sitting area and outdoor bar

Photo Credit: Ryan Theede Photography

Landscape Architect: Outdoor Spatial Design

Pool Build: Aqua Blue Pools

In the realm of custom pool construction, gunite pools stand out for their durability, versatility and luxurious appeal. As our preferred pool-building material for homeowners and commercial clients, gunite promises enduring enjoyment, complete customization and relaxation. Like any substantial project, a gunite pool installation is a significant yet rewarding investment, and familiarizing yourself with the process is key to enhancing communication and understanding with your pool-building partner.

What is gunite?

Gunite is a specialized form of concrete renowned for its strength and flexibility. Unlike traditional concrete, which is mixed and transported to the construction site, gunite is a dry mix of cement, sand and aggregate combined with water at the nozzle before it is sprayed onto the prepared surface. 

This method allows for greater control over the application process and results in a dense, durable shell that can withstand the rigors of pool use and environmental factors. The enhanced durability is greatly welcomed in our coastal climate.

What makes gunite installation unique?

The gunite installation process requires skilled craftsmanship, precision and attention to detail. From excavation to finishing touches, each step plays a crucial role in creating an aesthetically pleasing and functional pool that enhances the outdoor living space.

Formwork and Excavation

Installation begins with formwork, where wooden forms are constructed on the ground to form the pool’s perimeter to define its shape and size. First, three sides of the pool are formed, leaving the fourth wall open so the excavation crew can work their way out of the hole. Once that step is completed, the final wall’s formwork begins and the excavation crew completes the final step in the excavation process, completing the pool’s dig so the subsequent stages of the installation process can move forward. These forms serve as a crucial framework for the subsequent stages of the excavation process, ensuring that the pool takes on the desired dimensions and contours.

Steel Reinforcement

Steel rebar is installed along the pool walls, floor, benches and steps to provide structural support and reinforcement for the concrete shell of the pool. The rebar grid is typically placed according to the design specifications and is tied together to form a sturdy framework.

Gunite Application

With the formwork and steel reinforcement in place, it’s time for the gunite application to begin. The gunite mixture is pneumatically applied onto the prepared surface using specialized equipment and forms a thick, durable shell that will serve as the structure of the pool. Gunite is applied against the form work and soil to encompass the steel reinforcement to the specified thickness. Thickness can vary depending on soil conditions and structural engineering if applicable.

Shaping and Finishing

Next, the pool’s surface is meticulously shaped and finished to perfection. Skilled technicians use hand tools to smooth out rough areas, create curved edges and ensure uniformity across the pool’s surface.

This shaping and finishing process is crucial for achieving the desired contours and aesthetics of the pool, transforming the raw gunite shell into a luxurious oasis that reflects the owner’s vision and style. 

Tile, Coping and Decking Installation

Once the gunite has been shaped and finished, the next step is to install tile, coping and decking materials. Coping is installed along the perimeter edge of the pool to provide a finished look and serve as a functional transition between the pool and the deck or patio. Decking materials, such as concrete, pavers or natural stone, or wood decking (such as Brazilian, Ipe, hardwood or composite decking), are then installed around the pool to create functional spaces for poolside enjoyment.

Why choose a gunite pool?

Gunite pools are a superior choice over other materials due to their remarkable strength, endurance and adaptability. Beyond durability, these pools’ customizable nature enables homeowners to manifest their unique visions beyond that of preformed fiberglass or basic vinyl pools.

With a vast array of interior finishes and customizable features such as waterfalls and spas, gunite pools exude luxury while enhancing property value. This adaptability allows for easy modifications to accommodate evolving needs and preferences, ensuring a timeless investment that continues to delight for years to come.

Elevate Your Outdoor Living Space

As the Lowcountry’s premier custom pool builder, Aqua Blue Pools is ready to bring your dream pool to life. Since 1991, our team has designed and built pools in a range of styles for residential and commercial clients from South Carolina’s Lowcountry to Savannah. We are proud to work closely with our clients to create and execute impressive custom projects built to last. Contact us today to begin planning your oasis!


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