Although the decision to install an in-ground swimming pool may
be a no-brainer in most areas of Texas, the details of that are
anything but cut and dried. Gunite seems to be the favored,
"go-to, tried and true" pool material for Texans, but when you
take a closer look at fiberglass composite, you may decide that
"just because it's always been done that way" doesn't make
Gunite the best choice.
By weighing and comparing all the facts about costs,
installation, durability and features for both Gunite and
fiberglass pools, Texas homeowners can make logical and
informed decisions that are right for their families. Let's start with
an overview of these two pool options.
The Basics about Concrete pool
Concrete, often referred to as Gunite, as a pool building material
has been a popular choice in Texas until recent years. Gunite is
a mixture of sand and concrete that is sprayed onto surfaces at
high velocity. It is helpful to understand the steps for installing a
concrete/Gunite pool as part of the decision-making process:
- The installation process starts by excavating the pool area
of the yard per the pool design, allowing an extra 9 to 12
inches in all directions for surfacing the bottom of the pool
and to allow a lip around the perimeter for a work area.
- Plumbing should next be installed, including a drain at the
bottom of the pool and the correct layout to ensure water
flow throughout the pool. All plumbing must be
hydrostatically pressure tested for leaks by a plumber
- Next, a steel rebar grid is installed around the entire inside
of the pool, defining any steps, benches, spas and other
features. The rebar frame provides stability for the concrete.
- Now it’s time to build the walls and floor with Gunite. The
Gunite is a dry mixture of sand and concrete that is mixed in a
cement mixer and then combined with water as it is sprayed in
such a way as to encapsulate the rebar frame. This process will
take the better part of a day. Although 6 to 8 inches is typical,
Gunite thickness can vary based on size, shape, and depth of
the pool, and workers will smooth and shape it to achieve
smooth walls, seats, steps, and floor.
- Gunite needs to cure for a period of time. Depending on the
installer, this will take up to a month, during which time the
Gunite will need to be hosed down daily with water in order to
assist the curing process.
- After the Gunite has cured, decking, plumbing, pool
equipment, and decorative touches can be worked on.
Features such as a 6-inch tiled band are set, and the pool’s
decorative edge, known as coping, is then added, eventually
blending with the pool’s finished interior to give it a
seamless, polished look.
- Adding plaster to the final major step. Most often, this involves
using a plaster with either a traditional white plaster coat or a
finish containing various types/colors of aggregate. The plaster
waterproofs the pool and helps create a smoother surface than
the course concrete.
Note: From excavation through curing to finishing touches,
Gunite pool construction can take anywhere from 75 to 90
days, depending on local specifications and the pool
installer’s standards. And that’s not accounting for any
weather delays that happen in the area.
The Basics about Fiberglass pool
Fiberglass is a type of sturdy, resin mix that is reinforced with
composite glass fibers. It is an ideal material for swimming
pools because it is smooth, non-porous, strong and flexible.
Fiberglass Composite pools are precision-made by applying
resin, fiberglass and other composite strengtheners in layers
to a prefabricated mold. As an example, Viking Pools, one of
the leading manufacturers of fiberglass swimming pools,
creates its pools using a 10-stage process that layers
fiberglass multiple times with Vinyl Ester Resin (for durability
and strength), a sturdy core of ceramic, carbon fibers or more
fiberglass (for added strength), and embedded vertical
support beams (for structure, strength and ease in lifting). The
finished pools are shipped in one piece to the installation site.
... much more to this article if the full Fiberglass vs Concrete eBook below!
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