FAQ

The
Basics
What is gunite?
A specialty form of concrete, gunite is a mix of sand, cement, and water. To build a gunite pool, crews apply it pneumatically, which means it is shot at high velocity through a high-pressure hose. The flexible, lasting material covers a network of steel bars, forming a thick, reinforced, rock-hard pool shell.

Gunite is similar to shotcrete. It is also called a “dry mix” because—unlike shotcrete—it arrives at the job site in dry form before water is added to make the material wet.

What is a gunite swimming pool?
A gunite pool is built with a concrete blend that consists of sand, cement, and water. (Shotcrete is a similar blend, but also contains pea gravel.)

Construction crews spray the material through a high-pressure air hose onto a reinforcing network of steel bars to form a thick, rock-hard pool shell. Both gunite and shotcrete pools are engineered concrete creations that provides superb design flexibility and lasting durability.

What are the benefits of a gunite swimming pool?
Gunite pools offer many advantages. Unlike their fabricated fiberglass or vinyl liner counterparts, they are custom designed to your specifications and built to capitalize on unique variables in your backyard.

Gunite pools offer maximum creative freedom and visual appeal. Blue Custom Pools can form virtually any size, shape, depth, and multilevel configuration. A gunite design can seamlessly and more easily include a wider array of decorative and functional features than you can have in a vinyl or fiberglass pool.

Engineered to last for decades, gunite pool shells boast an engineered network of steel reinforcement that makes them the industry standard for strength and longevity.

What are the most popular shapes for a gunite pool?
With a gunite pool’s design versatility, shape options are virtually unlimited. Favorites fall into four broad categories: classic, Greco-Roman designs; straight-edge/geometric options such as rectangles or L-shapes; curvy, flowing silhouettes like a figure-8, “cloud,” and organic, free-form shapes; and custom configurations that mix curves and straight lines.

However, you can also request a modified version of any shape—even “set,” traditional ones like a Roman or a rectangle. Professional designers can surprise you with a creative, tailored shape.

How much does an in-ground gunite pool cost?
Because gunite pools are custom projects—each with unique specifications, site conditions, and built with materials and craftsmen that vary by areas of Texas—it’s difficult to cite an average cost.

One major consideration will be whether or not the project includes a spa. This popular feature may add around 15 to 25 percent of the cost of the basic pool.

Other determining factors that affect the final price include size (often measured in perimeter feet), depth, shape, design elements, functional features, equipment and technology options (e.g., pool automation), material choices, accessories (e.g., a pool slide), local construction costs, local labor costs, and specific backyard building conditions.

By speaking to our designers and providing some general specifications, you will develop a sense for the typical starting pool prices in your area.

Is swimming pool financing available? How can I get a pool loan?
Yes, sources are available for pool loans, and we can help arrange pool financing for your project. Lenders provide both secured (where the borrower has collateral, such as home equity) and unsecured loans (where interest rates are typically higher).
Blue Custom Pools draws on an exclusive national network of home-improvement lenders to help clients obtain financing (on approved credit). Discuss your needs with your designer and He or She can offer solutions that might work for you.
What is pool plaster?
Pool plaster or marcite (also called white coat) is a kind of interior surface for a pool. The key ingredients in marcite are water, white cement, marble dust, and additives to make it smooth.

The terms “marcite” and “plaster” are often used interchangeably. The term plaster is often used to refer to any form of interior pool finish, such as quartz or pebble.

Specialty tradesmen apply the wet material over the dried gunite shell. Once dry, the layer of plaster performs the critical job of waterproofing the pool structure. It also creates an attractive interior surface throughout the pool.

This is the standard pool plaster that comes in all Blue Custom Pool packages.

What’s a ‘sport pool’? What’s a ‘play pool’?
Unlike a traditional pool with a shallow end that transitions to an 8-foot deep end, a sports or play pool has two shallow ends and a slightly deeper section in the middle.

Typical configurations have depths of roughly 3-5-4 feet or 3.5-5.5-4 feet. These dimensions make it easier to stand in the water and engage in various activities.

For example, you can string a volleyball net across the middle (“deep”) area, and have players on each side compete on equal or comparable footing. These pools also provide a larger shallow end for children’s enjoyment.

Pool Design
& Planning
What happens during an in-home design consultation?
When you invite a designer to your home for a gunite pool estimate, he or she will begin by measuring your backyard and conducting a general survey of your overall property. They will need a survey of your home to verify scale and measurements. You should be able to find your home’s survey in the closing documents you signed when your home was purchased.

The designer will ask about your vision for your new backyard. He or she will discuss available options such as pool shape, dimensions, design features, the inclusion of a spa, finish materials, and various high-tech equipment options that help automate care and save water and energy.

After learning how your family plans to use the pool, your lifestyle preferences, any special requests you may have, backyard conditions, local building regulations, and your overall target budget, he or she will create a custom pool plan for this array of criteria.

Your designer will send you a 3-D rendering of your project for your review. He or she will discuss with you the things you like and the things you’d like to change. Once the design and budget are agreed upon we can move to the next step of the build process.

If you would like to consider a pool loan, your designer can also share information about financing programs (OAC).

How much backyard space do I need for an in-ground pool?
Depending on the backyard configuration, you will likely need a rough minimum of 500 square feet for an in-ground pool.

However, the final minimum number will vary with the shape of the property. That’s because gunite pools allow designers to develop shrewd designs to maximize use of available space. Enormous versatility for pool size and shape is possible. A designer may even configure a pool that will use space from both your backyard and side yard.

Other factors may enter the equation and influence how much backyard space you can use and where the pool may be positioned. One is building codes, which vary by city. For example, most codes require pools to be 3 to 5 feet away from the house and the property line.

Keep in mind, you will need some area around the pool for decking.  You may want to include other backyard features as well. Your designer will advise you of other considerations—as well as opportunities—for space-saving design solutions.

Can I build an in-ground pool in a small backyard? Will it fit?
Most often, the answer is yes. Because a gunite pool provides maximum design versatility, the chances are good that a Designer can configure your pool’s size and shape to fit within tight dimensions.

Keep in mind that property setbacks, building codes, minimum deck requirements, and other backyard conditions can limit the ultimate square footage that can go to the pool. You also will want to have room for a pool deck.

Experienced pool designers, like the ones at Blue Custom Pools, can develop clever—often surprising—design solutions for making the most of available real estate.

What kind of backyard access do I need to build an in-ground pool?
For efficient in-ground pool construction, property access is essential. That’s because heavy equipment, such as excavators, dump trucks, and gunite or shotcrete rigs, must enter the backyard. Adjacent homes, fences, trees, or hardscape may be in the way. Narrow side yards—such as those with a protruding gas meter or air conditioning unit—can also limit access. Other kinds of obstacles may exist.

In these cases, pool builders can usually find a solution. They range from fence removal and restoration to use of smaller excavation equipment. Your Designer will go over the obstacles and solutions with you at your in-home consultation.

What size in-ground pool should I get for my space?
Along with your Designer, you can determine a gunite pool size by considering available backyard space, desired pool shape, pool style, features, accessories, and plans for any outdoor amenities.

How your family plans to use a pool is also important: For example, if you want a pool for swimming laps or a pool with a diving board, a minimum length is typically required. Likewise, including a beach entry and a big custom spa for a family of six will dictate a specific length/depth requirements.

On the other hand, if you just want to jump in the water to cool off, a compact True Blue Series pool will suffice.

What are the most space-efficient shapes for an in-ground pool?
In general, in-ground pools composed of straight-edge geometric forms—such as squares and rectangles—use space more efficiently than do free-form or curvilinear pools.

However, with the vast level of customization that’s possible with a gunite pool, other shapes may also work in compact backyards with unique property configurations or elevations. Your designer will be able to guide you in selecting an optimal pool shape for your particular yard and preferences.

Pool
Construction
Process
What happens during an in-home design consultation?
When you invite a designer to your home for a gunite pool estimate, he or she will begin by measuring your backyard and conducting a general survey of your overall property. They will need a survey of your home to verify scale and measurements. You should be able to find your home’s survey in the closing documents you signed when your home was purchased.

The designer will ask about your vision for your new backyard. He or she will discuss available options such as pool shape, dimensions, design features, the inclusion of a spa, finish materials, and various high-tech equipment options that help automate care and save water and energy.

After learning how your family plans to use the pool, your lifestyle preferences, any special requests you may have, backyard conditions, local building regulations, and your overall target budget, he or she will create a custom pool plan for this array of criteria.

Your designer will send you a 3-D rendering of your project for your review. He or she will discuss with you the things you like and the things you’d like to change. Once the design and budget are agreed upon we can move to the next step of the build process.

If you would like to consider a pool loan, your designer can also share information about financing programs (OAC).

How much backyard space do I need for an in-ground pool?
Depending on the backyard configuration, you will likely need a rough minimum of 500 square feet for an in-ground pool.

However, the final minimum number will vary with the shape of the property. That’s because gunite pools allow designers to develop shrewd designs to maximize use of available space. Enormous versatility for pool size and shape is possible. A designer may even configure a pool that will use space from both your backyard and side yard.

Other factors may enter the equation and influence how much backyard space you can use and where the pool may be positioned. One is building codes, which vary by city. For example, most codes require pools to be 3 to 5 feet away from the house and the property line.

Keep in mind, you will need some area around the pool for decking.  You may want to include other backyard features as well. Your designer will advise you of other considerations—as well as opportunities—for space-saving design solutions.

Can I build an in-ground pool in a small backyard? Will it fit?
Most often, the answer is yes. Because a gunite pool provides maximum design versatility, the chances are good that a Designer can configure your pool’s size and shape to fit within tight dimensions.

Keep in mind that property setbacks, building codes, minimum deck requirements, and other backyard conditions can limit the ultimate square footage that can go to the pool. You also will want to have room for a pool deck.

Experienced pool designers, like the ones at Blue Custom Pools, can develop clever—often surprising—design solutions for making the most of available real estate.

What kind of backyard access do I need to build an in-ground pool?
For efficient in-ground pool construction, property access is essential. That’s because heavy equipment, such as excavators, dump trucks, and gunite or shotcrete rigs, must enter the backyard. Adjacent homes, fences, trees, or hardscape may be in the way. Narrow side yards—such as those with a protruding gas meter or air conditioning unit—can also limit access. Other kinds of obstacles may exist.

In these cases, pool builders can usually find a solution. They range from fence removal and restoration to use of smaller excavation equipment. Your Designer will go over the obstacles and solutions with you at your in-home consultation.

What size in-ground pool should I get for my space?
Along with your Designer, you can determine a gunite pool size by considering available backyard space, desired pool shape, pool style, features, accessories, and plans for any outdoor amenities.

How your family plans to use a pool is also important: For example, if you want a pool for swimming laps or a pool with a diving board, a minimum length is typically required. Likewise, including a beach entry and a big custom spa for a family of six will dictate a specific length/depth requirements.

On the other hand, if you just want to jump in the water to cool off, a compact True Blue Series pool will suffice.

What are the most space-efficient shapes for an in-ground pool?
In general, in-ground pools composed of straight-edge geometric forms—such as squares and rectangles—use space more efficiently than do free-form or curvilinear pools.

However, with the vast level of customization that’s possible with a gunite pool, other shapes may also work in compact backyards with unique property configurations or elevations. Your designer will be able to guide you in selecting an optimal pool shape for your particular yard and preferences.

Spas
Should I include a spa with my in-ground swimming pool?
Gunite spas are custom builds that are popular among pool buyers because they serve as a lovely focal point in the pool and offer so many health and lifestyle benefits. Particularly when the spa is elevated, its façade and spillway provide superb design opportunities and also serve as a distinctive water feature.

Beyond their beauty, spas bring added value to your lifestyle. This amenity can provide an ideal amenity for unwinding mentally and physically, warm hydrotherapy for sore muscles, a place for low-impact exercise, support for enhancing blood circulation, promotion of better sleep patterns, general relaxation and serenity, and a setting for socializing and conversation. This feature also provides a fun spot to hang out or play—even when it’s cooler at night or after swim season ends.

What in-ground spa shapes are most popular?
The most popular gunite spa shape is circular, since a circle or a rounded shape makes conversation and interaction easy. These shapes are also most efficient for holding the most people.

However, some pool buyers opt for custom geometric options with straight lines—squares, rectangles, triangles, or modified versions of them.

What shape of in-ground spa should I choose?
Pick a custom spa shape that complements your pool shape and style. Many choices are available, from bold geometric silhouettes to organic free-form shapes.

If you plan on having lots of family and friends in the spa, remember that most shapes do not seat a crowd as efficiently as a circle. Ask your pool designer for suggestions.

How much cost will a spa add to my in-ground pool budget?
Depending on the region of Texas, including an in-ground spa might add around 15 to 25 percent of the cost of the basic pool.

Factors that typically affect the bottom line include: spa size, spa shape, and spa-pool configuration. Common design variables include the spa’s position—is it built within the pool perimeter (an “interior spa”) or outside the perimeter (an “exterior spa”), the spa’s elevation—is it level with the pool surface or raised above it, and decorative finishes or special features such as custom dam walls and spillways.

The cost may also be affected by the excavation work needed to level the ground where the spa will go. Including a spa may also require the purchase of a more powerful pool heater to quickly warm the water or a bigger pump to power the hydrotherapy jets. However, these additions maximize a spa’s benefits and extend the months each year you can enjoy them.

I don’t want a pool or don’t have room for one. Can I get a custom gunite spa only?
Yes, you can build a stand-alone custom spa without a pool. They are typically called Spools.  A gunite spa can boast some of the same decorative features as a gunite pool.

Building a free-standing spa can cost almost as much as a small gunite pool. That’s because each specialty crew must come to the job site to complete each of the various construction phases—just as they would for an entire pool.

Despite the investment, some homeowners still choose to build a stand-alone gunite spa. They won’t settle for a portable hot tub because they want an attractive, permanent custom backyard amenity—versus a prefabricated vessel sitting on the ground.

Our goal is to deliver high quality results and a superior customer experience!

What Clients Are Saying About Us

"From start to finish, Blue Custom Pools knocked it out of the park! From design to all the trades involved, everyone was punctual, professional and a joy to work with. Our pool turned out better than we could have ever expected and want everyone to know that Blue Custom Pools is outstanding!"

- Mark B. | Client Review

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