Shotcrete (or gunite) warranty?

kevinskii

Gold Supporter
Aug 6, 2019
3
Los Angeles, CA
I think I read in one of the threads here (can't seem to find it again) that someone got a lifetime warranty on their concrete shell. Is that something that we should expect? We're hoping to sign with a PB within the next few days and start construction soon.

One of the prospective builders has a really strong opinion on shotcrete vs. gunite. From my subsequent research I think either one would be fine. It's not really a factor in our decision, but it did bring the "warranty" question to mind given the potential pitfalls of either approach.
 

bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,159
San Clemente, CA
Texas seems to be the frontrunner for shell warranties but it's unheard of out here. Perhaps earthquakes play into that reasoning.

To me a shell warranty is worthless. Suppose the shell cracks, the builder will blame the gunite company, the gunite company blames the rebar, the rebar sub blames the engineer, the engineer blames the soil, the excavator blames the gunite....

So who's on the hook? The builder? You think he's going to pay to fix the crack, fix the tile and replaster the pool? Nope!

The warranty is just a sales tactic that one company started doing so all the others had to follow suit to stay competitive.

I've never heard of a warranty being honored.

As for gunite vs shotcrete, I much prefer shotcrete.
 
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bdavis466

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2014
5,159
San Clemente, CA
All things considered in a swimming pool, either option will produce a strong shell. The skill and knowledge of the applicator and crew will far supersede any negligible differences between the two.

With that said, Shotcrete has the advantage of having larger aggregate in the mix and the yields are typically higher in compressive strength given the same precured cement content. Some may also argue that more pneumatic force can be applied to Shotcrete during application yet produce much less rebound.

Shotcrete can be ordered with the cement, aggregate, and water content (slump) specified which are then measured by a computer and generate a ticket that shows each of those parameters and the batch mix time so you know how long it's been in the truck. On very hot days, plasticizers can be added to replace/reduce the water needed for application without decreasing the ultimate cured strength.

Gunite is much different. It is preferred to have the mix brought dry in a cement truck for the same reasons mentioned above but not all contractors do this. There are a couple contractors near me that dump sand in the street and shuttle it to their equipment with a skip loader where it is then mixed with cement and carried to the nozzle by compressed air. In this scenario the cement/sand ratio is nothing more than an approximate, as is the water/cement ratio as the nozzle applicator controls it basically by sight. The finishers prefer a wetter mix because it's easier to trowel and smooth but this yields a much weaker product that is prone to shrinkage cracks and reduced compressive strength.

Gunite produces significantly more rebound which should be discarded but is rarely done. The rebound is often used in steps and stairs where it will end up causing problems down the road.
 
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PoolGate

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
3,882
Damascus, MD
Mine came with a lifetime shell warranty. The builder said there is a fund that would back the repair if they went under as well. Who knows what would happen if i ever actually had a problem though.