Start Watering New Gunite Right Away, or Wait?

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
Hello,
We JUST had our gunite pool shot today. I am aware we are supposed to water it, and our PB says twice a day for 7 days. I of course see conflicting info; some say 14 days.
Our project manager said to start watering it Wednesday, which will be about 1.5 days after it was shot if we do it in the AM on Weds. It was shot on Monday, and they were done around 3:30pm. Is that right? Do we wait that long to give it water?

We live in the Panhandle of FL, and the temps are going to be high 80s/low 90s and humidity between 60%-80%.
Maybe they say to wait until Wednesday and you shouldn't walk on it for at least 1 day, and a video I just watched that shows us how to do it said we should get IN it to water it properly... But I can water it from the outside (somewhat safely... the deep end area doesn't have as wide of a trench around it).

I of course want to do what is right, given our climate and all.. so is it right to wait 1.5 days after it's shot to start watering? Or.....? Thanks!
 

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Stic2it

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2019
47
Ijamsville, Md
I just went through this, but I didn’t get much information from my construction manager. I watered the morning after, so less than 24 hours. I walked the perimeter and watered it down, the following day I got physically inside the pool. 48 hours after it was shot, and it was very hard and setup. I was supposed to water for 14 days but I was stopped around day 10 so they could put the tile and coping on.
 

needsajet

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 4, 2016
4,698
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Nice to meet you via TFP!

There's two answers :)

Is this a finished surface, i.e. final decking with no stone going over top? If so, yes, stay off it the day it's poured. By the next morning, stay off if you can, or walk gingerly (no twisting boots), and keep it wet by misting, or if you need to leave, cover with wet burlap, old sheets, towels, etc. You only need to do that for a day or two, after which occasional misting is good for around a week.

If it's a finished surface, be careful not to cool it really fast by flooding it after it dried out and got hot in the sun - just mist it to cool it slowly, after it's stayed wet for an hour or so, you can flood it if that's helpful for keeping it moist. Gentle temperature change allows the cracks to develop more slowly, and more likely follow the intended control joints. Rapid cooling induces cracks. This is the worst risk when people are advised to mist twice a day. That's way too long between drinks in the sun (for a finished surface), and ineffective if it's concrete that will be surfaced with something else.

If it's a pool shell (that will be plastered) and surrounds that will be finished with stone or other material, you can't hurt it by walking on it the next day. I would not walk down any bulking such as steps or ledges on the same day it was put in (this could be why they advise 1.5 days).

Avoid shooting a jet stream of water at the concrete at first. It won't matter by the second day after finishing, but contractors don't know how well their customers absorb instructions, so they perhaps find it safer to just say 1.5 days.

The benefit of keeping concrete from drying too quickly mostly happens at the surface and in the early stages of curing. Personally I would only do it for a few days, but a week is reasonable if you can handle it. After that the surface has settled in, and the rest of the curing is going on deeper, and misting has little to no effect. Misting for longer doesn't hurt anything, and gives you something to do while you're anxiously waiting for the next steps :)
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
As soon as the concrete is set enough to walk on (which with shotcrete, that's quick...) you can start watering it. I would (and did) do it several times a day 3-4 times or more. If it starts to rain you don't need to add to that. If you are unsure start early the morning of the day after it is poured.

You can only do it until you have the waterline tile done... that has to set for at least 24 hours... in my case that was right at 7 days... I haven't watered it since and it seems fine. As it is the PB and all the subs say I've done it far more than just about any other customer and they could tell.

The high humidity there will help. Believe it or not, our dew points because of monsoon have been in the low to mid 60's for about 6 weeks now, and that definitely helps.
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
Did you "mist" it, use a nozzle or just use the hose directly?
I'm very confused by the reply saying whether its final decking or not, only just shell, etc.
This is the shotcrete shell that will be covered with tile around, and plaster.

Videos I watched say to do the top perimeter and then around the walls and down... And to use the hose directly and not mist because it won't get as much water with a mister. But I understand not giving it too cool of water to prevent drastic temperature changes. Our water coming out of our hose and inside faucets tend to be warmer in the warmer months because the ground is also warm. Not sure of exact temperature but it most likely won't be cold. :)
 
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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
449
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I think you are overthinking it :) Just try and keep it from drying too much too quickly, especially the first week.

I waited until the next morning ~18 hours, but it was also misty/rainy day they did the gunite. From then I watered it at least 4x a day, for a week. Each time I spent 10-15 minutes spraying down every nook and cranny. The following week we had tile and stone work starting so I still watered the shell 2-4 times a day, avoiding those area.
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I pounded it with a full stream. It's solid concrete... it can take it. With FL water if it's anything like AZ water, it'll be 85F coming out of the tap anyway. Yes concrete setting is exothermic and I bet it's 15F hotter than the surroundings during the first couple of days (there is actually a curve, there are two peaks in that time period), but you'll be fine just spraying it down full stream.

What I meant is that when they come to do the waterline tile you can't be hosing the concrete off without risking the bond of the tiles to the shotcrete. So if you want to water it after the tile is done you better wait at least 24 full hours to do that and 48 is better. (I.E. stop watering it then for 1 to 2 days.) So in my case (see my build thread) I had the tile guy come at 7 days and at that point I stopped watering the concrete entirely.

In theory, watering concrete is effective for the first 100 years, but the most critical time is in the first 3-4 days. Good luck with your pour.

Edited to add: There really isn't a great reason to go more than 14 days with this process. Even stopping at 7 is like a 95% job. With the rains we had, I would say it was wet 10 out of the first 14 days and it looks great...
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
"I think you are overthinking it :)"
That's me to a T... LOL

I'll give it some water in the morning before work, and then if I can break away from work in the late morning/early afternoon I'll do that also... And then when I get home from work. 😁

They said to start Wednesday but I don't see a compelling reason as to why I need to wait aside from not walking on it.. Is there one? That's 1.5 days without water at all if I start Wednesday morning and that sounds more negative than the alternative!
It's not forecast to rain at all.

I kinda hope they wait at least 11 days to do tile.. I'd like to water it at a happy-medium of 10 days since conflicting info says 7 days/14 days. 😊

On another note.. I noticed the outside corner of one of the steps has some "extra material" and isn't smooth. Are they going to fix that at plaster or will it be bumpy forever?

Thanks everyone! This forum is really great!
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
The plaster crew will grind off any irregularities before starting the plaster. You can knock that stuff off in seconds with an angle grinder and a Masonry wheel. You want the surface to be rough for better adhesion. Do the best you can with the hydration, have a beer and don't worry about it. The next morning is fine to start...
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
I gave it a drink this morning, as best I could from the outside perimeter. Some areas aren't the easiest to navigate, and it was hard to get water onto the sunledge and steps from the outside, but I did that mostly with a nozzle on a gentle shower setting.
I will do the same later today and/or tonight.. starting tomorrow I will feel more comfortable actually getting IN it. I'd like to stay off it as much as possible.
Man-o-man it was harder than I thought trying to get the hose around the perimeter and trying to get it as wet as possible. It doesn't help that my hose reel is leaking like crazy. But I managed. Sooooo I am not sure I will be able to do it in the middle of the workday because it's also very hot and difficult so I got very dirty. :cool:
 
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MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
My kids watering during the day was my plan B. Plan C was one of these timers plus a sprinkler.

What type of sprinkler did you use? They did say an alternative was a sprinkler, but I am not sure how that gets it wet enough, or gets all of the spots it needs.

After I am able to get IN, I think I will be able to do it mid-day easier. No kids here, so I can't make them do the work. :p
 
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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
449
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Luckily I never had to go to plan C, but I would have probably just run an impact sprinkler and set it to come on a couple of times during the day when I could not be there to water.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
447
Corona de Tucson, AZ
So... gunite / shotcrete is applied much drier than poured concrete. You can literally walk on it withing a few hours of it being applied. That makes it a little more critical on the watering for the first few days. Do what you can when you can and yes you can walk on it...probably now... go for it.

The drier application also gives it much better compressive strength than poured concrete for otherwise the same mix. Don't Panic. The fact that you care about this at all makes you better already than almost all of your neighbors with pools.

Poured concrete (i.e. decking) does need different care, because much more water is in it initially... that I wouldn't walk on until about 1.5 days and I would be more careful watering it. If you were to chip off a small piece of the gunite, then it won't matter because the plaster will cover it...
 

jimim

Bronze Supporter
Jun 20, 2016
2,465
NE/Pa
I threw 2 sprinklers in my hole and let it run for an hour or more. Did these whenever I could but daily for a few weeks. I moved the problems around a bit.

We were walking on our shell right after they shot it as they were walking in it. My builder and myself going over the pipe holes and such. Didn’t damage anything. Like others said it dries very quick.

Don’t over think it. Just do whatever to soak it daily.
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
Thanks all!
Can you recommend any of the below sprinklers are best for this purpose? I am not sure what the term "impact" sprinkler really is.. :) I may make a trip to the store to get some supplies like a sprinkler, a hose adapter to attach a second hose, etc.
We have a second hose at the front of the house, I just don't think it will reach on its own. So I was also thinking to get an attachment for that, so I can attach another hose to make it longer for pool fill day, too! So I could run 2 sprinklers. Getting my other hose reel back there would be dangerous. My backyard is nothing short of treacherous. I am surprised I haven't broken my neck by now. :oops:
 

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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
449
Prosper, TX (DFW)
The one on the right is an impact sprinkler. Any of them will work, but the impact type usually go further so that is what I recommended.

I'm going back to my overthinking comment above :) There really is no wrong answer, as long as you are getting water on it and trying not to let it completely dry out.

Here was my routine if that helps.
4x a day for the first week I would:
- Walk the perimeter of the top of the pool and spray the entire top cap and any other horizontal surfaces like tanning ledges or benches
- Then I would usually get into the pool and spray up and down the walls, working around the entire pool
- Then I would do a quick inspection from the top of the pool and re-spray any areas that I missed or had already dried

On mornings where I would go into the office and relied on the kids to water during the day, I would wake up extra early and make sure the morning was a good drenching and do the same as soon as I walked in the door.

Lastly, dont overthink it and just get water on it. If it helps ease your concern, my PB told me this after I asked him tons of question and what if's on the watering: "If watering was mission critical to the success of your pool, we wouldn't leave it up to the homeowners to do it."
 

MeowMeow724

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
159
FL
"If it helps ease your concern, my PB told me this after I asked him tons of question and what if's on the watering: "If watering was mission critical to the success of your pool, we wouldn't leave it up to the homeowners to do it.""
-----Well, that is certainly a very good point! :geek:

I did my 4th watering this AM... 1st inside the pool. Yep! That makes is so much easier! Doing around the perimeter is still a little bit of a challenge because I am still walking around it in the trench. Rough grade *should* be tomorrow... and that should make it even easier.

Some areas still seemed a little damp this AM, such as on the deep-end bench and some of the top around the pool. I will go home this afternoon and do another watering, and see if it's looking damp.