Gunite Pools: Differences between Gunite and Shotcrete

Usually, gunite pools are also known as concrete pools. However calling a gunite pool or a shotcrete pool a concrete pool is statement brings forth a controversy. If gunite pools are the same as concrete pools, are shotcrete pools the same as gunite pools? The key question should be “What is Shotcrete”?

In this article, we focus on the differences between gunite and shotcrete pools. But first, let us explain the definination of concrete. Concrete is a combination of sand, cement, water, and a course aggregation of gravel and stone. The original combination is generally comprised of sand cement, and aggregate and how the contractor mixes water dictates whether it will be gunite or shotcrete.

Learn the difference between Gunite & Shotcrete. See how the different materials are used to create inground pools.

In basic terms, shotcrete refers to the whole mixture inclusive of water. Typically, when delivered during pool construction, shotcrete is already premixed and combined with water. On the other hand, gunite is the dry mix concrete; it does not contain water when inserted in delivery equipment, but gunite pool contractors add water to the dry mixture during the gunite shooting process. 

What’s the difference between gunite and shotcrete for a concrete pool?

As seen in the first paragraph, concrete pools can be gunite or shotcrete, depending on the homeowner’s preference. The only distinction occurs when concrete comes in contact with water and how the water combines with it. Shotcrete is a wet mix of concrete that is already combined with water before it comes out through the delivery equipment. On the flip side, gunite is concrete that has not mixed with water before it gets shot out through a hose pipe. The material combines with water at the end of the hose during the spraying process.

Concrete pool construction

Therefore, the creation of concrete and gunite pools is more or less the same. Both are from concrete. But how are concrete pools constructed? Below are the steps for a concrete pool construction process:

  • Calculate the slope, capacity, bather displacement, among other calculations.
  • Afterward, proceed with the excavation process.
  • After the excavation process, continue with both the exterior and interior plumbing of the pool.
  • Set up a supporting cage of tied steel rebar.
  • Spritz the concrete. You could employ either shotcrete or gunite to form a protective layer over the rebar.
  • Create the required configuration and complete the shell of the concrete pool.
  • Allow the concrete to cure.
  • Install the water tiles and coping.
  • Position the terrace.
  • Conduct the finishing process either through plaster or tile.
  • Perform a test run of the pool.
  • Start the pool.

Gunite Application

How is gunite application conducted? Gunite builders place the dry concrete into the delivery equipment, probably a hose pipe. The professionals incorporate compressed air to transport the dry mix to the end of the hose pipe. Here, it combines with water. Afterward, spraying of gunite takes place at high speed, thus presses down the surface material.

Shotcrete Application

Quite the contrary, shotcrete entails placing the combined mixture in the delivery equipment. Afterward, compressed air transports the wet mix to the hose nozzle, where it quickly sprays onto the material on the surface.

Gunite: Pros and Cons


Gunite contains several advantages which include:

  • Suppose you pour concrete on a single line and you stop and start repeating the process, the two layers will not interact. They act as two distinct concrete layers. Thus, during the application, gunite builders can halt and begin again without forming planes of weaknesses.
  • Also, the gunite application process is more affordable than that of shotcrete.
Gunite Pools: Differences between Gunite and Shotcrete
Perfect example of a Gunite Inground Pool. Gunite & Shotcrete pools are extremely popular because of their versatility.


  • A gunite application procedure needs a professional gunite pool builder to avoid mistakes that could ruin the high standard of concrete.
  • The dry mixture can clog the delivery equipment.
  • During spraying, gunite employs high velocity; hence can cause over-spraying, which can result in a massive mess. Unfortunately, it goes to waste since you can’t reuse it.
  • Unscrupulous pool builders often use rebound gunite in the pool building process which is of an inferior PSI strength for pool walls and floors.

Shotcrete: Pros and Cons


  • Unlike gunite builders, shotcrete builders don’t need to be highly skilled. This is because the mixture is already complete before installation in the delivery equipment.
  • The materials develop a robust and uniform coating.
  • The application process does not consume a lot of time.


  • Considering shotcrete is thoroughly mixed, the application process ought to be quick. Unlike gunite, you cannot repeat the process because the layers won’t mix.
  • In case excess water mixes with concrete, the shotcrete is vulnerable to shrinkage.
  • The shotcrete application process is way costly than that of the gunite process.
  • Sometimes, shotcrete builders add water to shotcrete in the delivery equipment to prevent it from hardening. As a result, it may become weak.

Pool options

Ultimately, it is essential to get advice from your pool contractor. Both concrete and gunite pools are good if pool builders construct them correctly. Before settling for a specific option, compare the gunite, shotcrete, and concrete pools to identify what works best. 

Average cost for a Gunite Pool: Gunite pools usually cost from $45,000–$85,000 to start. Even though expensive, they have the lowest maintenance costs, thus typically saving homeowners significantly over the lifetime of ownership on service & maintenance. This is something that many homeowners consider an attractive feature and why many wind up considering a gunite pool over other options.

Furthermore, concrete pool shapes and sizes are mostly improvised according to an individual’s needs. Thus, you are more likely to find precisely what you are looking for. Besides, concrete pools provide incredible views for your backyard and last for a long time with less or no issues. The concrete pool building process usually takes a maximum of six months, with fiberglass installation taking a maximum of 6 weeks. 

Do you have a question about designing and constructing the pool of your dreams? Contact us, and a member of the friendly team at Southern Poolscapes will be in touch with you soon!

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