For most of us, the word concrete conjures an image of a hard grayish material consisting of rocks, sand, and other little bits that we see on our streets and sidewalks – a material that at least one of us dared to trace our initials into when we were young. But for those of us who work in this industry (or if you are exploring your concrete pool options), you are likely familiar with two different types of concrete pools — gunite and shotcrete.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Both gunite and shotcrete consist of a mix of sand, aggregate (sand and small rocks) and Portland cement (a combination of roasted limestone and other materials). It’s when the water is introduced to the mix that determines whether it’s gunite or shotcrete.

For gunite, water is added to the dry concrete mix at the gun-shaped nozzle opening (hence the name “gunite”). The concrete is made in the air right before hitting its target.

Shotcrete is different in that it is trucked to your property wet in a cement truck. The water and dry mix are combined prior to arrival and shot out of a nozzle premixed and ready to go.

Which is Better: Shotcrete or Gunite?

One method is not necessarily better than the other, but both shotcrete and gunite do offer their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of Gunite:

  • Becomes harder upon curing because it’s a dryer material
  • Is prepared on site, giving users more work time
  • Delivers a smoother surface finish
  • Higher comparable compressive strength (from 7,000 to 9,500psi)
  • No shrinkage cracks
  • Comparatively cheaper

Drawbacks of Gunite:

  • There’s an increased risk of error because of the manual water-cement ratio
  • There’s an increased risk of rebound (over-spray) material, resulting in more cleanup
  • If rebound material is used on the pool construction process, it may result in weak spots
  • Limited in its structural applications
  • Special paints needed for the gunite finishing

Benefits of Shotcrete:

  • It takes less time to apply shotcrete than gunite
  • Because there are less rebound materials formed, you reduce the risk of weak spots
  • Shotcrete is pre-mixed, allowing it to form a consistent and strong coating

Drawbacks of Shotcrete:

  • Higher risk of shrinkage cracks forming
  • It arrives pre-mixed, therefore operators have less wiggle room in terms of application time
  • A more costly option than gunite
  • Operators may need to add water to the mixture to prevent it from hardening, which can compromise the strength of the final product
  • A lower compressive strength (6,500 to 7,500psi)


Which Type of Concrete Should You Choose?

While there are pros and cons to both types of concrete, what it really comes down to is the skill and expertise of the operator. Finding a trained and licensed operator for either gunite or shotcrete will ensure a strong, long-lasting pool that will maintain its structural integrity and beauty for the next several years to come.

Design a Beautiful Pool with Dallas Pool Builder Hobert Pools

Since 1975, family-owned and operated Dallas pool builder Hobert Pools has been building concrete pools of all types, shapes and sizes. We welcome you to download and read through our free eBook to get started on building and designing your dream pool.

Have a question? Give us a call or contact us online and a member of the friendly team at Hobert Pools will be in touch with you soon!


Hobert Pools is a Dallas pool builder proudly serving Rockwall, Frisco & surrounding areas. Family-owned and operated since 1975, Hobert Pools specializes in new pool & spa construction, outdoor living design, natural pools, and fire & water feature aesthetics. Hobert Pools is uniquely qualified to build your backyard retreat.

For more Dallas pool design tips, subscribe to their blog and YouTube Channel or ‘Like’ them on Facebook. For pool design photos and inspiration, visit the gallery on their website, and see what Hobert Pools’ client recommended pool design and construction team can do for you. Ready to get started on your own backyard oasis? Contact the Dallas pool builders and pool renovation experts at Hobert Pools today!