Building a Gunite Cement Swimming Pool

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 6, Part 2

Jesse Gonzalez from Mercedes Homes shows Bob how faux columns wrap supporting pillars to give this Florida home a Mediterranean flair. The Styrofoam pillar halves come hollowed to fit the four-by-four post and are filled with adhesive foam to seal it tight. Styrofoam rings finish the columns, which are sprayed with a textured acrylic that is painted to match the house. Blue Haven Pools sprays on and shapes a gunite pool in the back yard, where Tom McNealy explains how the form is first laid out and with two by fours for support and paper-backed mesh to hold back the soil and shape the pool walls. A dry sand and concrete mix is then pumped from a batch truck and mixed with water at the nozzle by an applicator who sprays six inches of gunite across the base and walls. The crew shapes and smoothes the walls, and forms the stairs by hand. Bob finishes in the master bath where an acrylic jetted soaking tub is installed on a bed of sand for a solid seat. This tub is self-draining with rigid PVC pipe that can be cleaned with a bleach and water mixture. It comes ready to install for around $700.
Part 1: Creating Decorative Styrofoam Columns
Part 2: Building a Gunite Cement Swimming Pool
Bob is joined by Tom McNealy of Blue Haven Pools as the crew forms, sprays, and shapes a gunite cement pool. McNealy explains that the excavation was simple, but the crew found some groundwater at the bottom that must be removed with a line that is run and remains in the crushed stone at the base. McNealy shows how the form is established first by the two by fours that are driven and set with outriggers to establish the shape and hold back the soil. The crew then runs steeltex or paper-backed steel mesh to define the walls and floor and hold back the earth. The batch trucks bring the gunite -- a mix of cement and sand -- and pump it through a hose where the sprayer mixes it with water at the nozzle. The walls and the floor have six inches of gunite blown at them. The crew has about 30 minutes to form, shape, and smooth the cement before it sets. The steps and the swim out are sprayed in as a pile then cut and smoothed by hand.
Part 3: Installing a Soaking Tub With Jets