Faster Is Not Always Better For Gunite Curing!
You will notice this man in black in the background of this picture. His name is Rick and not only is he our Project Manager Supervisor, but he also works hard as our lead in quality control. The gunite curing stage is one of the most important steps of your pool build.
We often get calls asking “how long does it take for your company to finish a pool?” or stating “my neighbor had their pool built in 3 weeks”. These questions and statements make a quality pool builder cringe. In general a pool takes about 8-12 weeks depending on a multitude of issues that can come up throughout the build process.
Why do we cringe? The most important parts of your pool structure stability over time is your gunite (concrete shell of the pool). Gunite is the mixture of cement, sand and water applied through a pressure hose producing a dense hard layer of concrete similar to concrete. This chemical reaction that binds the sand and gravel together to form hardened concrete can take up to 28 days to fully complete and the first 7 days are critical for keeping the concrete moist if you want to achieve full 28 day strength
After it is applied you are asked to wait 24hrs and then begin watering your gunite at least twice a day. During warmer months you may need to water 3-5 times per day. You cannot over water your gunite. It is recommended to continue watering for at least 2 weeks if not more.
During the summer months, the outside temperature can become hot. By keeping the surface wet, you are keeping the concrete temperature low. Spraying water on the surface prevents the surface of the concrete slab from drying faster than the bottom. Be sure to start watering the concrete in the morning and keep watering throughout the hottest part of the day. You can use sprinklers on a timer to help with this, but hand watering is always preferred as sprinklers can miss the difficult to reach areas. Do not start watering during the hottest part of the day because it could shock the concrete into developing surface crazing (similar to a hot glass breaking when filled with cold water).
Typically the next phase can begin anytime between 7-28 days after the gunite is completed. A quality pool builder will always keep this time frame in mind before applying any masonry to the gunite shell. The more weight you are applying to the structure (ie. Grotto, large boulders) the longer your project manager may wait before moving forward.
If you find a pool builder that promises a pool completion in 2-3 weeks it is time to run away very quickly. This builder is trying to make a quick dollar and will likely not be around when you call them for structural cracks and warranty issues. We call these pick-up pool builders. They have no brick and mortar building keeping them in one location for future concerns. They pull up in their pick-up truck, give you an offer no one can beat and then they are gone.
Emerald stands behind their completed pools with a lifetime structural warranty. We hire specifically for quality control and do not settle for anything less than the best.
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