Choosing gunite for pools means opting for resilience and customizability. What sets gunite apart, and how does it compare to other pool materials? This article guides you through constructing a gunite pool, from understanding costs to maintenance insights, giving you the knowledge to make an informed decision on crafting your durable, tailor-made aquatic retreat.

Key Takeaways

  • Gunite is a highly durable and customizable material used in swimming pool construction, offering design flexibility that allows for a tailored look specific to each homeowner’s backyard space.
  • Installing a gunite pool is a complex process requiring excavation, precise application of the gunite mixture over a steel framework, and a significant curing period, followed by finishing touches that accentuate the pool’s character.
  • While gunite pools offer long-term durability and customizable aesthetics, they are a substantial investment in terms of time and money, with average costs ranging between $70,000 to $90,000 for materials and additional labor expenses.

Understanding Gunite: The Core Material for Your Dream Pool

Gunite—a term that might sound as enigmatic as it is robust. But at its core, gunite is pneumatically applied concrete, a powerhouse of durability that has revolutionized swimming pool construction. Picture a blend of fine sand and cement, mixed with water at the last possible moment to ensure the utmost strength and quality—a concoction that gunite pools are renowned for. This material is not only known for its stoutness but also for the flexibility it offers, allowing for an array of custom designs that can be tailored to the unique contours of any backyard space.

The process of bringing a gunite swimming pool to life includes:

  1. Using a high-pressure hose to weave over a network of steel bars
  2. Creating a seamless and smooth finish
  3. Utilizing smaller particles of aggregate for a smoother gunite pool surface
  4. Achieving an overall more refined appearance

This method distinguishes gunite from a concrete pool, setting it apart from traditional concrete pools and unlike fiberglass pools.

What sets gunite apart is a combination of its innate flexibility in design coupled with an unmatched durability that withstands the vicissitudes of nature. Whether you’re envisioning a quaint, cozy nook or a grand, sprawling waterscape, gunite swimming pools answer the call with an assurance of longevity and elegance.

The Gunite Pool Installation Journey

A backyard with a rectangular swimming pool, four lounge chairs, and a green house with a deck and stairs in the background.

Embarking on the journey of installing a gunite pool is akin to crafting a masterpiece. It’s a meticulous process that melds engineering precision with artistic vision. The adventure begins with an initial blueprint, a canvas where your dreams start to take tangible form. As the excavation sets the stage, the true potential of your backyard begins to unfurl.

It’s a transformative experience, watching as gunite—a blend of sand, cement, and water—is expertly sprayed onto a steel framework to sculpt the backbone of your future oasis. As the gunite shell takes shape, a crucial period of patience is required. For about a month, the gunite cures, developing the strength to last for decades.

Post-curing, the pool’s character is honed through final touches—plaster, tiles, and coping—that accentuate its allure. It’s an intricate ballet of construction that leads to a crescendo: the unveiling of a personalized paradise, ready to embrace the crystal-clear waters that signify the completion of your gunite pool.

Preparing the Groundwork

Before the first shovel pierces the earth, a careful survey of the job site is paramount. The groundwork for a gunite pool is a cornerstone of the entire project. It requires precise marking of underground utility lines, followed by a choreographed excavation that respects the outlined dimensions of the future pool. This preparation ensures that the gunite shell will rest on a solid foundation, impervious to the shifting soil beneath.

The excavation phase is a balancing act of precision and strength. The topsoil is removed and stored, soon to be repurposed to beautify the landscape around the pool. Hand-shaping the pool sides is an artisanal touch that guarantees even application of gunite, ensuring consistency in every curve and corner. It’s a step that underscores the attention to detail that gunite pool construction commands.

Reinforcement follows excavation as a steel rebar framework is laid across the pool area. This lattice of strength is the skeleton over which gunite will be meticulously sprayed, creating a pool that’s as sturdy as it is stunning. This phase sets the stage for the gunite to be applied, inching ever closer to the vision taking physical form.

Spraying the Gunite Mix

The application of the gunite mix is a performance where precision meets artistry. A dry mixture of sand and cement travels through a hose, meeting water only at the nozzle, allowing for meticulous control over consistency—an essential factor in crafting a smooth surface that will caress the skin of swimmers for years to come. With the ability to pause and resume the process, the integrity of the structure is maintained, ensuring that the pool’s shape is perfectly preserved.

The construction process for your future aquatic retreat includes the following steps:

  1. Laying down a stone base
  2. Testing the plumbing
  3. Overlaying the steel rebar cage
  4. Reinforcing the perimeter with gunite

These steps ensure that the foundation is unshakeable and ready to support the weight of countless memories.

The gunite process is a symphony of coordination, with specialists maneuvering the hose to evenly distribute the material, ensuring a consistent thickness throughout. It’s a sight to behold, the gunite clinging to the steel frame, gradually forming the solid structure that will become the centerpiece of your backyard sanctuary.

Final Touches

After the gunite cures, a period of transformation ensues, turning the rugged terrain into a polished gem. The pool finish begins with the application of a classic white plaster, an affordable and timeless look that invites the sun’s rays to dance across the water’s surface. This is where the pool’s personality shines through, with options to personalize every detail.

Ceramic tile accents are the brushstrokes that add color and texture around the pool’s border, steps, and benches. These details are not just for aesthetics but serve as tactile guides for safety, ensuring each step is taken with confidence. The tiles and coping are meticulously installed, creating a harmonious border that seamlessly blends with the surrounding landscape.

Choices abound for the coping materials—concrete cantilever, brick, or stone—each offering a unique touch to the pool’s edge. It’s the finishing touch, the crown atop your personal aquatic kingdom. Once the plaster is set in your chosen color, the waters are beckoned forth, and the balance of water chemistry signals the time has come. Your gunite pool, complete with all its finery, is ready to be the stage for life’s cherished moments.

Understanding Gunite Pool Costs

Outdoor swimming pool area with wooden lounge chairs and surrounding trees, next to a stone house and adjacent building under a partly cloudy sky.

Venturing into the realm of a gunite pool is an investment in both your property and your lifestyle. The gunite pool cost, associated with gunite pools, is as varied as their design possibilities, influenced by size, shape, and the inclusion of luxurious water features. With an average price tag ranging from $70,000 to $90,000 for materials alone, it’s clear that gunite pools are a premium choice for those seeking to create a lasting backyard escape.

Labor costs, though variable, can extend from $5,000 to a substantial $30,000, reflecting the skill and time required to bring such intricate projects to fruition. Opting for a smaller pool or forgoing certain add-ons can help manage these costs without compromising the integrity of the final product. Off-season deals and careful comparison of quotes can also alleviate financial strain, ensuring your dream pool aligns with your budget.

The journey from concept to completion is one of transparency and open communication. A reputable pool builder will offer detailed quotes, providing clarity and avoiding unexpected expenses. This financial foresight allows you to focus on the excitement of the project, rather than the numbers.

Gunite Pools vs. Other Types: A Comparative Overview

Backyard pool with woods and hill.

In the pantheon of swimming pools, gunite pools stand tall, revered for their strength and the canvas they offer for personal expression. Unlike its counterparts—shotcrete, fiberglass, vinyl liner, and plaster pools—gunite is in a league of its own, boasting superior durability that promises a legacy of backyard enjoyment. A gunite pool is not just a summer retreat; it’s a year-round monument to leisure and elegance.

Yet these accolades come with a consideration of cost and time. The initial investment and construction period for gunite pools may surpass that of other types, but this is the price of unparalleled customization and a structure built to endure. It’s a long-term investment in quality that offers returns in the currency of memories and aesthetics for years to come.

Gunite vs. Fiberglass and Vinyl Liner Pools

When it comes to choosing a pool, gunite stands as a testament to permanence and personalization. Fiberglass pools, while durable and resistant to corrosion, even in salt water systems, cannot match the bespoke shapes and sizes gunite offers. Gunite’s design flexibility allows for the creation of a pool that is as unique as the home it complements, something pre-engineered fiberglass or vinyl liner options cannot contend with.

Vinyl liner pools, though offering a softer feel and their own range of customization, lack the robustness of gunite. They present an alternative for those seeking a different texture underfoot, but they do not offer the same longevity. Moreover, the speed of installation is another factor to consider. Fiberglass pools can be ready in a matter of days, and vinyl liner pools within weeks, while gunite pools demand patience for their artistry to unfold.

The differences between gunite pools and their fiberglass and vinyl liner counterparts are significant, touching on every aspect from durability to design, and installation time. Gunite is the choice for those who see their swimming pool not just as a feature, but as a focal point of their home.

Gunite vs. Concrete: Is There a Difference?

While gunite is a form of concrete, it distinguishes itself through its specialized application process and composition. The result is a pool structure that is stronger, denser, and more durable than traditional concrete pools. Gunite’s ability to cure with higher strength and better resistance to cracking sets it apart from ready-mix shotcrete, elevating its status as the material of choice for those seeking enduring quality in gunite and shotcrete applications.

As a subset of concrete pools, gunite provides a bespoke, made-to-order construction that allows for greater customization. This adaptability is a boon for those looking to build a gunite pool that perfectly conforms to their vision, a feat not as easily achieved with traditional poured concrete. The density and solidity that gunite application brings forth ensure a pool less prone to cracking, sustaining its beauty and functionality for the long haul.

Choosing gunite over conventional concrete means opting for a pool that will stand the test of time, both in structure and style. It’s a decision that reflects a commitment to quality and a dedication to the art of pool construction, ensuring a result that is as reliable as it is resplendent.

The Benefits of Choosing a Gunite Swimming Pool

Selecting a gunite pool is to choose a canvas on which your wildest aquatic dreams can be painted. With gunite, the constraints of standard shapes and sizes dissolve, giving way to a world where each pool is a unique work of art, tailored to the landscape and lifestyle of the homeowner. Shotcrete pools, created by spraying the gunite mix at a high PSI, form a concrete shell that needs no liner, preserving the beauty and integrity of the pool over time.

Though gunite swimming pools demand meticulous maintenance and occasional resurfacing, these efforts are a small price to pay for a pool that not only enhances the aesthetic value of your property but also serves as a bastion of relaxation and entertainment for decades. It’s an investment in a lifestyle, a commitment to creating a space where moments are cherished and memories are made.

The allure of a gunite pool lies in its promise of:

  • Durability
  • Freedom to realize your vision
  • Bridging the gap between imagination and reality
  • Bringing forth a swimming experience that is entirely your own

From the simplest plunge pool to the most intricate lagoon, gunite is the material that allows you to create the pool of your dreams.

Navigating the Downsides of Gunite Pools

Every choice comes with its trade-offs, and gunite pools are no exception. One of the main disadvantages of opting for a gunite pool is the initial financial commitment, with some projects reaching upwards of $100,000. This investment reflects not just the materials and craftsmanship but also the enduring value that a gunite pool adds to your home.

Construction time is another consideration, as building a gunite pool is not a quick process. The projected timeline can extend to 90 days or more, not including the curing period, which can add another month to the project duration. This is a season of anticipation, where the foundation of lasting memories is laid with care and precision.

The maintenance of a gunite pool can be more demanding than other types. Here are some factors to consider:

  • The application of gunite is a fine-tuned process that may encounter occasional equipment clogs.
  • The pool’s surface, while durable, can be rougher than other materials, potentially affecting the comfort of swimmers.
  • Gunite pools may not be the best candidates for saltwater systems due to concerns over corrosion.

Despite these considerations, the quality and customizability of a gunite pool often outweigh the downsides for those willing to invest in their backyard dreams.

Enhancing Your Gunite Pool: Features and Design Ideas

The journey of personalizing a gunite pool is one of exploration and creativity. It’s about enhancing the basic structure with features and design elements that reflect your individual flair and functional desires. Imagine an oasis that not only complements your home but also expresses your personality through its contours and features. With gunite, you’re not just building a pool; you’re curating an experience.

Professional pool builders are your partners in this creative process, guiding you through a plethora of options that can turn your pool into a stunning visual centerpiece. From serene benches and inviting tanning ledges to lively swim-up bars, gunite pools can be tailored to suit your lifestyle needs and entertainment preferences. Whether it’s for peaceful solitude or joyous social gatherings, your gunite pool can be the perfect setting for any occasion.

Creative Design Possibilities

Gunite’s versatility shines when it comes to design possibilities, including gunite pool surfaces. This material’s adaptability allows for a pool that is precisely shaped to fit the unique dimensions of your backyard, ensuring that no space is wasted and every inch is a reflection of your vision. Whether you desire a classic rectangular lap pool or an irregularly shaped naturalistic pond, gunite can accommodate.

One of the most coveted features in modern pool design is the infinity edge—a seamless edge where water appears to vanish into the horizon. Gunite pools can be masterfully crafted to include this mesmerizing feature, elevating your backyard to a luxury resort level. It’s these creative possibilities that make gunite the material of choice for those who seek to push the boundaries of traditional pool design.

The design process is collaborative and imaginative, resulting in a pool that is not only a place for swimming but also a piece of art that enhances the beauty of your outdoor living space. With gunite, the only limit to what you can create is the horizon of your imagination.

Integrating Water Features

Water features are the jewels that can adorn your gunite pool, adding movement, sound, and an extra layer of allure to your aquatic landscape. Some popular water features for pools include:

  • Rock waterfalls, which create soothing sounds and a natural look
  • Deck jets, which spray water into the pool and add a playful element
  • Fountains, which can serve as shallow water indicators and add a decorative touch
  • Grottos, which offer a hidden cave-like swimming experience
  • Water bowls, which can double as fire-water features for a dramatic evening ambiance

These features can transform your new pool into a dynamic water show and enhance your overall pool experience.

The integration of spas and in-ground hot tubs is another popular design choice. These can be seamlessly added to your gunite pool, providing both aesthetic appeal and a relaxing hydrotherapy experience. Imagine unwinding in the warm embrace of a spa, the water’s gentle caress melting away the stress of the day—a luxury that is readily achievable with gunite.

While the addition of these water features can incur varying costs, there are options to fit every budget, from simple enhancements like pool covers to more elaborate installations such as luxurious waterfalls and integrated spas. With gunite as the foundation, your pool can become an ever-evolving canvas, ready to incorporate new features that bring joy and relaxation for years to come.

An illustration of a luxurious swimming pool with a surrounding pool deck Gunite pool cost estimationGunite pool installation process

Gunite Pool Maintenance Essentials

The splendor of a gunite pool is maintained through vigilant care and regular upkeep. Over time, the pool’s surface, subject to the elements and constant use, will require resurfacing to preserve its integrity and appearance. Approximately every 7 to 10 years, this necessary maintenance ensures that your pool continues to be a source of pride and pleasure.

Daily tasks such as skimming, brushing, and vacuuming are part of the ritual of gunite pool ownership. Balancing the water chemistry is crucial, as it safeguards water clarity and sanitation, ensuring a clean and safe environment for swimmers. Regular pump operation and filter backwashing are also essential to maintain good water circulation, preventing algae growth and maintaining the beauty of your pool.

While the ongoing maintenance costs for a gunite pool can accumulate to an average of $27,000 to $40,000 over the first 10 years, these expenses are an investment in the longevity and enjoyment of your pool. Like any valuable asset, a gunite pool requires care and attention, but the rewards of a well-maintained pool are immeasurable in terms of the enjoyment it provides.

Selecting a Gunite Pool Builder

The selection of a gunite pool builder is a pivotal decision that can significantly influence the success of your pool project. A builder with a wealth of experience and a portfolio that resonates with your vision is invaluable. They should be willing to provide warranties and guarantees on their work, offering you peace of mind about the long-term quality and durability of your pool.

A builder’s reputation is often reflected in the reviews of past clients. Look for feedback that highlights professionalism, reliability, and a track record of fulfilling clients’ dreams. An ideal pool builder will be an active listener, genuinely enthusiastic about your ideas, and committed to translating them into a tangible, stunning reality.

Selecting a builder who offers a full spectrum of services can streamline the process and ensure consistency in the quality of work. The services to look for include:

  • Design
  • Installation
  • Repairs
  • Ongoing maintenance

With the right builder by your side, your gunite pool will not only be a testament to their craftsmanship but also a reflection of your aspirations, crafted into a perfect setting for creating lasting memories.


As we close this comprehensive guide, the allure of a gunite pool remains clear. Its strength, versatility, and boundless design possibilities make it a premier choice for those seeking to create a personal aquatic retreat. Gunite stands as a symbol of luxury and longevity, promising to transform your backyard into an enduring paradise.

We’ve navigated the journey from understanding gunite’s unique qualities to selecting the right builder to bring your vision to life. With the knowledge of maintenance essentials and the inspiration from potential design enhancements, you are now equipped to embark on this transformative endeavor.

Let the dream of your own gunite pool inspire you to take the next step. Envision the laughter of loved ones echoing around its waters, the serenity of solo swims under the stars, and the pride of owning a pool that is a true extension of your home’s character and your personal style. If you want to bring your dreams to reality, visit our website to learn more or contact us, today!

Frequently Asked Questions


What exactly is gunite and how does it differ from concrete?

Gunite is a type of pneumatically applied concrete that is composed of sand, cement, and water and offers superior strength and a smoother finish compared to traditional concrete.

How long does it take to install a gunite pool?

It can take up to 90 days to install a gunite pool, not including the curing period of about 28 to 30 days, to ensure meticulous construction and the integrity of the pool’s structure.

Are gunite pools more expensive than other types of pools?

Yes, gunite pools are generally more expensive than other types of pools due to their durable materials, intricate construction process, and the level of customization they offer. The initial costs, including labor and materials, can be higher compared to fiberglass or vinyl liner pools.

How often do gunite pools need to be resurfaced?

Gunite pools generally need to be resurfaced every 7 to 10 years in order to upkeep their appearance and structural integrity. Regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the longevity of the pool.

Can gunite pools incorporate custom features like infinity edges or waterfalls?

Yes, gunite pools can incorporate custom features such as infinity edges or waterfalls, allowing for a personalized and unique pool experience.