In the world of pool construction, concrete is not just concrete. Let’s begin with a few essential terms to know:
Concrete: a mix of water, cement, sand, and a coarse aggregate (stone or gravel). Concrete normally arrives already mixed with water and will be poured into the excavated space for your pool.
Gunite: unlike concrete, gunite uses smaller particles. With gunite, a dry mix is fired through a hose and water is added at the point of delivery.
Shotcrete: almost the same as concrete, but the main difference stems from the way it is applied. Instead of being poured like concrete, it is fired out of a hose at high speed.
Step 1 : Design
Concrete pools are fully customizable. Before excavation begins, you will most likely have multiple meetings with your builder and designer to narrow down what you’re looking for. You will be asked questions such as:
- What is the desired pool shape and depth?
- Free-Formed / Rectangular
- Multiple Levels
- Hot Tub
- How many people will be using the space?
- Where will be the location of the pool?
– Pool Surround and Landscaping
- What extra features would you like to include?
- Tanning Sunledge
- Waterfalls / Slides / Water Features
- Fire Bowls / Fire Pits
- Pool Seating
- In-Floor Cleaning
Step 2: Permits
This step may not be glamorous and exciting, but it is crucial. The approval process for permits can vary depending on many factors, impervious area, septic system, etc. It is never recommended to proceed with a building project without a permit. These permits protect everyone involved and insure you receive a pool that is safe, strong, and up to code.
Step 3: Excavation
Now things get really exciting. The pool excavation crew will begin to dig and shape the site according to the design plans. This process includes correcting elevation and molding out any interior pool features you have chosen.
Excavation times vary depending on your topography, but could be done in just a day or two if everything goes smoothly.
Step 4: Plumbing, Electrical, and Steel
Congratulations! We are moving along with your pool, but before we can even consider adding concrete, the correct plumbing, electrical, steel, and gas components of the pool must be installed.
In order to boost the strength of your concrete, it will be poured over reinforcing steel bars, commonly known as rebar.
This is the time where all the electrical work for the pool’s light features and any equipment at the pad must be completed. Building codes will require an inspection from your local provider before the gunite or shotcrete stage of construction can begin.
Step 5: Adding the Concrete!
We are ready to shoot concrete! The pool’s shell will now be created by spraying either gunite or shotcrete. Once the shell is formed, it will need to cure for a few days. The curing time allows for proper bonding and it is not a step that should be skipped. Water will help to strengthen the concrete as it is hardening, so it is recommended to water the concrete shell at least three times a day as it cures.
Step 6: Tile, Coping, Decking, and Pool Interior.
Here is where we apply the final surface to your pool and you will begin to see it start to truly look like your original design.
Now we can also begin installing the appropriate landscaping and customizations: waterfalls, diving boards, waterslides, etc. We can get as creative as you would like in order to bring your vision to life.
Step 7: Water and Startup !
The time has finally come to bring your pool to life! Before adding the water however, your crew should add startup chemicals and brush any excess surface materials from the interior finish.
It is now time to learn how to operate the equipment, how to properly maintain your pool, and delight in your brand new custom built concrete pool.
Live in the Raleigh area and are ready to upscale your outdoor living? Contact Don Collins Builder and let’s discuss your project!