Inground Pool Construction: Gunite vs Shotcrete Concrete

School Summary:

When in the market for a new concrete swimming pool two terms will come up very often, gunite and shotcrete.

When in the market for a new concrete swimming pool two terms will come up very often, gunite and shotcrete. Now you’re probably wondering what these two terms mean and what they have to do with your pool, no worries that's where we come in to help!

How concrete is used for new pool construction:

When it comes to concrete two components go into the mixture that help make it work. The two components are going to be the dry mixture itself and then water to help activate the mixture. Only when this water is added will you finally get the concrete we are all familiar with. There are various methods of concrete pool construction but gunite and shotcrete concrete are known as free-form applications, a method that makes unique pools that feature curves and other complex design choices.

Concrete is only applied after the hole where your pool will be is dug out and reinforced with steel and rebar to create a strong support for your pool. Once this is done concrete will be shot from a hose by a trained professional to ensure that everything goes smoothly. The concrete will create a strong shell that will need to cure for a few days where the concrete will harden so it can be ready for all the finishing touches.

The main difference between gunite and shotcrete is going to be when water is added to the mixture to give it its effect. The two materials are identical when it comes to the mixture itself, the main component differentiating the two is the method they are applied in. Both techniques can produce wonderful pools in their own right but some differences are important to remember when weighing options.

Gunite Swimming Pools - The Process:

With gunite, water is added to the mixture in real time while applying the concrete to give it the effect. The effect comes through a hose where the dry mixture is added at one end and is shot through the hose and combined with water at the end to give it an immediate effect while applying. The result ends up being a fresh spray of mixed concrete coming from the end of the hose that can be applied as the installer sees fit. The method it is applied in gives a smoother finish in comparison to other types of pools making gunite a very popular option when constructing a swimming pool. Learn more about Pool Stop’s construction process using Gunite in our step by step video on our custom pools page.

Workers shooting concrete into a custom pool frame

Benefits of Gunite Concrete:

  • It can be mixed live by a professional and applied on and off allowing for easier application.
  • The results of gunite speak for themselves with long durability and can withstand more pressure than shotcrete.
  • Gunite is overall less expensive since the water is applied at the moment and is only able to be used by a trained professional to give the best results.

Disadvantages of Gunite Concrete:

  • One of the disadvantages of both gunite and shotcrete is that they take longer to cure than other types of pools.
  • Another disadvantage is that it requires the perfect amount of water and mixture to ensure that it works correctly, meaning that only a trained professional can apply gunite when constructing a pool.
  • The time it takes to apply gunite is generally longer than shotcrete as well which can be seen as another disadvantage.
Workers shooting concrete into a custom pool frame

Shotcrete Concrete Pools - The Process:

Shotcrete works in a very similar method to gunite, with both being applied through a hose. The biggest difference is that shotcrete arrives already premixed and ready to be applied. The method shotcrete is applied makes it impossible to start and stop the process, forcing the whole application to be done at once. This makes the process quicker and more accessible but also can lead to many problems in comparison to gunite.

Benefits of Shotcrete Concrete:

  • With the lack of having to mix ingredients perfectly, shotcrete is more accessible than gunite, but this can lead to many disadvantages as well.
  • Shotcrete does not require as much knowledge and precision when applying, meaning an expert isn't required but is still strongly suggested.
  • Because of the method shotcrete is applied, it is able to be completed quicker than gunite, which can be seen as one of its advantages.

Disadvantages of Shotcrete Concrete:

  • One of the biggest disadvantages of shotcrete is that it is considerably more expensive than gunite.
  • Shotcrete also doesn't hold up as long as gunite does because it is not able to handle as much strength.
  • With the method it is applied not being as detailed as gunite, shotcrete pools tend to develop cracks later on.
  • The premixed shotcrete can also be poorly premixed requiring more water which leads to more problems down the line when installing.


Overall gunite is the more popular option due to its cheaper price and better results in comparison to shotcrete. Gunite pools tend to have a cleaner finish and hold up longer than most other options making it one of the best choices for those pursuing a concrete swimming pool.

These are just a few of the reasons why pool stop builds our custom pools using gunite. We are dedicated to giving you the pool of your dreams and that means using the best materials and methods to achieve that. Get a FREE quote on the custom pool of your dreams.

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