New Pool Construction: Gunite vs. Shotcrete

New Pool Construction: Gunite vs. Shotcrete

New Pool Construction: Gunite vs. Shotcrete

The “shell” of your swimming pool can be made of almost any durable material, but two particularly popular choices stand out: gunite and shotcrete. Both are forms of concrete, but their formation and consequently expected lifespan differ enough to give any homeowner pause. In the debate of gunite vs. shotcrete, which is superior?

During construction, both gunite and shotcrete are shot at high velocity out of hoses to cover the shell of the pool. The major difference between the two is that shotcrete is applied pre-mixed with water, so it simply hardens where it falls. On the other hand, gunite is applied as a dry plaster which mixes with water as it leaves the hose. Opting for a gunite pool gives you a few advantages over shotcrete.

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Gunite generally lasts longer and maintains a higher quality than shotcrete. For instance, gunite tends to dry faster than shotcrete, leading to a much smoother surface and avoiding significant cracks from shrinking. Gunite can also withstand up to 9500 psi, a much higher psi than shotcrete. If you expect your pool to have to withstand a large amount of pressure, gunite is the better choice.

Pro Tip: Additional reinforcements for the gunite may be necessary if you expect a very high amount of pressure on your pool–for instance, if your neighborhood has a high water table. Talk to your pool builder for more information.


Like standard concrete, gunite is applied over a steel frame to form the pool. However, unlike standard concrete, the process takes less time. This is partially due to gunite’s quick drying time, but the pool builder also deserves credit. Only trained professionals are permitted to install a gunite pool. You can rest assured that your pool builder will make your gunite pool to a high standard in as little time as possible.


Because of the relatively simple construction process, gunite pools are generally noticeably cheaper than shotcrete or typical concrete pools. As with any pool project, potential delays or accidents may add additional time or money to the construction process. However, you can trust your professional pool builder to keep costs as low as possible for you.  

Gunite vs. Shotcrete: Gunite Wins

With its high durability and relatively low cost, gunite more than earns its reputation as an excellent building material for your swimming pool. The result will be smooth, durable, and quickly completed.

Wondering what a completed gunite pool looks like? Connect with us and browse our photos of finished gunite swimming pools!

How to Maintain Your Gunite Swimming Pool

How to Maintain Your Gunite Swimming Pool

In the warm Houston climate, gunite is one of the best materials a swimming pool could be made of. Its durability ensures that you’ll rarely need to call for repairs. However, it’s always important to keep your pool clean and ready to use. Thankfully, most gunite pool maintenance is simple enough you can do it on your own.

A gunite swimming pool requires just as much cleaning and maintenance as any other kind. Though most pool cleaning methods are pretty simple, you do need to remember to perform regular maintenance to keep your pool running. Let’s look at the most common forms of gunite pool maintenance you’ll need to do regularly.

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Clearing Debris

Bugs, leaves, twigs, or other bits of debris in your pool not only look unsightly, but can clog a pool filter if left unchecked. Use a net to fish the debris out of the water and dispose of them safely. Depending on where you live, you may want to do this simple maintenance task every day to keep foreign matter from accumulating in your pool. Save yourself from the gross factor of swimming with bugs in the water, and save money by preventing your pool pumps from clogging.  

Clean the Interior

Every couple of weeks, use an automatic cleaner to scrub algae growth or other grime from your pool’s gunite interior. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to do this more than once a month since keeping your pool’s chemicals balanced will kill the worst of the algae. If you keep up with the rest of your maintenance tasks, your pool should not need a thorough scrubbing very often.

Pro Tip: If your gunite swimming pool follows a highly curved pattern, you may want to check on the automatic cleaner every so often to make sure it hasn’t gotten stuck.

Cleaning Your Pool Filter

Even if you scoop bugs and leaves out daily, a few will make it into your pool filters. Long-term buildup in the filters can lead to clogs and expensive repairs. Thankfully, a quick cleaning of your pool filter every couple of weeks can prevent severe problems. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on safely removing and cleaning the filter.

Test Your Pool’s pH

Using a special kit, test a sample of your pool’s water to test its pH and chlorine levels. Keeping the water from becoming too acidic provides a comfortable swimming experience for you and your family, while preventing the water from becoming too basic helps prevent algae growth. Balancing the chlorine also ensures the water stays clean and clear. You should test your pool water every 7-10 days.

Maintain the Water Level

If you have an automatic water system, don’t worry–this part is covered. For those with a manual system, you’re well aware that the Houston sun can evaporate your pool water. If the level starts getting too low, add more from your garden hose and make sure to rebalance the chemicals afterward. Keep the water level high so your filters can freely clean your pool.

Proper Maintenance of a Gunite Pool

Your pool builder will provide you with any additional information on cleaning and basic maintenance once your pool is complete. Your custom designed gunite pool will require some work from you, but a properly maintained pool should last you a long time without any major repair work necessary.

Interested in learning more about gunite pool maintenance? Join the conversation and see how other homeowners care for their swimming pools.

Are Gunite Pools the Best Choice for Your Home?

Are Gunite Pools the Best Choice for Your Home?

If you’re looking to install an inground pool in your backyard, you’ve probably wondered what building material is best. A fiberglass or pre-shaped pool might be quick to install, but what about durability or appearances? Before you decide on your ideal pool material, consider what a gunite pool might mean for your backyard.

Is a gunite pool the best choice for you? With its proven durability and easily customizable nature, gunite is a superior choice to most other swimming pool building materials. Invest in a gunite pool for a long-lasting addition to your home!

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What is Gunite?

Simply put, gunite is a type of concrete made of cement, water, and sand. During a gunite pool installation, the builders will start by excavating your pool space and installing a steel skeleton. Gunite is then shot out of a hose to encase the skeleton and form a single-piece pool lining. This entire process takes significantly less time than a traditional concrete pool, meaning you don’t have to wait as long to start swimming!

Durability of a Gunite Swimming Pool

Due to its nature, gunite offers much higher durability than typical concrete. High impact resistance means your pool lining can take a lot of pressure without breaking or needing repairs. This is especially valuable in a warmer area like Houston. Your gunite pool can take the heat!

Customizing Your Gunite Pool

Customizing gunite is as easy as choosing a color! Gunite pools offer the chance to choose a variety of colors and finishes to line your swimming pool. A particularly beauty-conscious homeowner can even opt for pool finishes with glass, colorful pebbles, or other eye-catching designs for a truly elegant pool.

Gunite pools can also come in any customized shape or size you can imagine. Since the lining is mixed and poured right in your backyard, you can choose any design to match your decor, rather than choosing between preset shapes like a fiberglass pool would require. Add as many curves or custom features as you want! Gunite can accommodate your requests.

Pro Tip: Gunite allows you to add as many custom features to your pool as you want. However, remember that the more features you add, the more time and money your project will require.

Finding the Best Type of Inground Pool

Your swimming pool will be a part of your home for a long time to come, and it’s important to choose building materials and styles that will last. For most Houston homeowners, a gunite pool provides the durability, customization, and pleasing appearance that you’ll be proud to see in your backyard.

Get started on your gunite pool project today! Connect with us to see our photo gallery and talk with our expert pool designers.

Questions & Answers to Help You Find the Perfect Houston Pool Builder

Questions & Answers to Help You Find the Perfect Houston Pool Builder

Ready to finally get that pool for your backyard? Congratulations! This is an exciting time for any homeowner. But don’t rush into the deal without making sure you’re getting the best possible price and quality for your pool.

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Answers to Look For

The best pool builder for your project should have at least an approximate answer for any question you may throw at them. During the negotiation phase, discuss the details of what you want and see what the builder can provide for you. A few important questions to keep in mind include:

  1. Can they build custom features?
  2. What repairs or warranty do they offer?
  3. How much maintenance will you need to do yourself?
  4. How long will the project take?
  5. What past work have they done?
  6. Are their licenses up to date?
  7. What will the complete project cost?

1) Can They Build Custom Features?

The ideal answer to look for here is not an immediate “Yes,” but rather the question “What custom features do you have in mind?” This indicates that the pool builder wants to work with you to decide on particular decorative or functional features for your pool. More importantly, an immediate affirmative answer can indicate the contractor is in a hurry to get you to stop asking questions and start paying him, rather than taking the time to actually listen to you.

2) What Repairs or Warranty Do They Offer?

An outdoor pool will inevitably need regular professional maintenance or, on rare occasions, emergency repairs. Without a warranty or other guarantee, the costs of these repairs can come out of your pocket and add even more money to your pool project. Ask for a copy of the pool builder’s warranty, read every word of it, and ask questions until you’re satisfied. Make sure you know exactly what is covered and what isn’t.

Pro Tip: Between your warranty and your pool contract, you should have all the information you need about your upcoming project. Make sure to read both in detail!

3) How Much Maintenance Will You Need to Do Yourself?

Fortunately, not every problem with your pool requires calling in an expert. Minor repairs and typical cleaning are probably simple enough for you to handle without trouble. However, don’t expect yourself to do all the work. If something isn’t mentioned in the warranty, ask about it. Additionally, consider day-to-day work your pool may need. Will you need to change filters regularly, or just scoop bugs or leaves out of the water?

4) How Long Will the Project Take?

This question depends on a lot of factors, so don’t be surprised if the pool builder can’t give you a very detailed answer. However, they should have at least an approximate idea. For instance, they should know that a gunite pool takes 5-7 weeks to install, dependent on delays and environmental factors. Don’t expect a precise answer. Instead, look for an answer that reflects realistic expectations for the pool you want.

5) What Past Work Have They Done?

Any reputable pool builder can show you a portfolio of completed projects and positive testimonials from previous customers. If your pool builder never shows you either and you can’t find anything for them online, they may be scamming you. Ask for a portfolio and look the company up yourself to make sure you’ve found someone dependable.

6) Are Their Licenses Up to Date?

Every construction company needs licenses or affiliations to display their competency. A legitimate pool company will either display their licenses prominently on their website or make them available for review upon request. Anyone who does neither is likely to be dishonest and trying to continue pool construction on an outdated or retracted license. Look online for their licenses, and if you can’t find one, ask for a copy.

7) What Will the Complete Project Cost?

Similar to the question of time, you may not get an exact number at first, especially if you aren’t completely sure what you want for your pool yet. But your pool builder should be able to estimate a price based off what you know for certain. Unless you make drastic changes to your pool plan, the total price shouldn’t change too much.

Find Someone You Can Trust

A swimming pool is a massive addition to your house, and you deserve to work with a trustworthy pool builder. Don’t be afraid to keep asking questions and weigh your options before deciding for sure. After all, the builder isn’t the one who will end up getting the new pool in the end!

Ready to start the consultation process? Connect with us to speak to our pool experts and start getting your questions answered!

7 Questions to Ask Your Houston Pool Builder Before Construction

7 Questions to Ask Your Houston Pool Builder Before Construction

In Houston, it’s a given that most families will want a pool ready and available for the summer. The idea of transforming your backyard into an outdoor oasis can be fun and exciting, but the process can be unnerving if you’re not 100% sure of what’s going on with the construction side of things.

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What Should Your Pool Builder Tell You Beforehand?

An experienced Houston pool builder should be able to answer any questions you may have before, during, and after the construction process. You’ll want to make a point of asking the most important questions before construction begins so that you have a clear idea of what your pool building team will be doing and what you can expect from the process.

  1. How experienced is your business?
  2. Do you have references to call?
  3. What sort of products will you be using?
  4. Do you offer warranties?
  5. What do you recommend for my backyard?
  6. Do you offer special features?
  7. Will you keep the pool maintained afterward?

1) How experienced is your business?

Your pool builder should be comprised of a team of experts on all things planning, excavation, and plumbing. How many years have they been building these pools? After confirming that the builders you choose to work with are properly certified and permitted to build the pool on your land, it’s good to get to know the team you’ll be working with and see how experienced they are.

2) Do you have references to call?

An experienced pool contractor should have plenty of other work they’ve done in their portfolio. If they’re confident in the work that they do, they’ll be more than happy to provide you with references to call. Getting in touch with these references will give you some extra insight into what working with your pool builder will be like.

Pro Tip: Ask your pool builder’s references what their experience was like, if they had any issues, and if they could do anything differently if they had to do it again. There might be some things you hear from them that you never thought to consider.

3) What sort of products will you be using?

Building a swimming pool is a big home improvement project to start. Ask your pool construction team what sort of materials will be used to build your pool. Are they to make it more energy efficient? What are the costs to build it that way?

4) Do you offer warranties?

It’s a good idea to know what sort of services and warranties are available for your pool. If damages occur or if anything needs maintaining shortly after construction is completed, your pool company should be able to provide those fixes within a certain amount of time with no extra cost.

5) What do you recommend for my backyard?

Obviously, you’ll be telling your pool builder all about the vision you have for your new pool. However, try not to get too far ahead of yourself before asking their expert opinion on what will work the best for how your backyard is set up. Get their specialist advice beforehand and work with them on planning the pool’s layout.

6) Do you offer special features?

Chances are, your experienced pool builder has been building some of the same designs for years. Ask them if there are features you can add to your pool for a customized aesthetic. Waterfalls, slides, and bubblers are all great options that some don’t consider before construction begins.  

7) Will you provide maintenance afterward?

Finding a reliable company for pool maintenance can be difficult, so it might be easier to know that the team who built your pool from scratch can maintain it in the future. The pool designer will know exactly how to keep the type of pool that you have maintained properly and kept in tip-top shape.

Making Your Decision

When you’re looking to build a pool in Houston, don’t rush into anything until you’re confident in your decision to move forward with your pool builder. The quality that you will receive should be exactly what you’ve paid for, so be sure to understand what you’ll be getting throughout the construction process and what to expect in the end results.

Join the conversation for more information on pools, spas, renovations and more.

How to Find the Best Inground Pool Installation Company Near You

How to Find the Best Inground Pool Installation Company Near You

Installing a brand new swimming pool is an exciting time for any homeowner. Of course, the most important first step is finding a pool installation company that you can trust. The multitude of options in Houston may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. Keep these important factors in mind before shelling out thousands of dollars for that new pool.

Not all pool builders are created equal. Many will offer better warranties, faster service, or simply a better final product than others. Don’t assume that the lowest price tag automatically makes one company the best option.

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Pool Features and Construction Materials

If your dream swimming pool includes such features as waterfalls and slides, don’t settle for a plain pool simply because your first choice doesn’t offer those customizations. This is your dream pool and you deserve the best. Hire a company that can make your dream come true.

Additionally, don’t try to save money or cut corners on quality construction materials. Your savings right now can turn into high repair costs later if the cheap concrete or tile falls apart down the road. Ask the company specific questions about their building materials and how long you can expect the finished product to last.

Pro Tip: Ask about safety features for your pool as well before hiring a builder. Some safety features can’t be easily installed on a completed pool.

Maintenance and Repairs

Don’t let yourself be stuck with a future repair job that can either drain your wallet or damage your pool even further. Read every word in your contract and make sure you understand the builder’s warranty and repair policy. Know when to call them for repairs and how much to budget for the required work.

Designing Your Inground Swimming Pool

Even if you don’t have a complete picture in your head yet, discuss some ideas with your pool builder. Take note of how open they are to your questions and ideas. Do they seem to be listening to you? Are their suggestions legitimate, professional thoughts or are they trying to upsell expensive features you don’t want?

Remember, you’ll be paying thousands of dollars for this company to build you a pool. If they can’t even listen to you and work with you to design your dream pool, why should you hire them?

Waiting for Dig Day

Hiring a pool builder is a significant and costly decision, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Find a company that listens to what you want and provides the level of maintenance and quality you deserve.

Ready to get started on your pool project? Connect with us to speak to one of our professional pool designers.