How To Properly Water Your Gunite Pool

Fact checked by
Reviewed by

Owning a gunite pool is a luxurious addition to any home, providing endless hours of relaxation and enjoyment. However, to keep your pool in pristine condition, proper water maintenance is essential.

Ensuring your gunite pool is adequately watered is a crucial aspect of pool care that directly impacts water quality and longevity.

In this article, we will explore the best practices for maintaining your pool’s water, covering everything from pool water chemistry to water levels and pool watering techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned pool owner or a novice, understanding these fundamental aspects will help you keep your gunite pool crystal clear and inviting all year round. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Watering the gunite pool shell during the curing process enhances its strength and durability.

  • Consistent moisture prevents surface cracks and structural issues while extending the pool’s lifespan.

  • Proper watering reduces chemical leaching into the pool water and minimizes the need for excessive chemical adjustments.

  • Gather the necessary tools and equipment, including a garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment, timer, sprinklers or soaker hoses, a water source, and optional protective covering.

  • Start watering immediately after gunite application, maintain consistent moisture, and avoid pool traffic.

  • Follow the recommended watering frequency of 2-3 times a day for 7-10 days, adjusting as needed based on temperature, humidity, and rainfall.

  • Use proper watering techniques, ensuring even water distribution, gentle water pressure, and the rotation of sprinkler positions.

  • Consult with the pool contractor to determine when to stop watering based on visual and tactile examination of the pool shell.

The Importance of Watering a New Gunite Pool Shell

When you have a new gunite pool installed, one of the most critical steps to ensure its durability and structural integrity is proper watering of the pool shell. Gunite is a mixture of cement, sand, and water that forms the strong and resilient shell of your pool. However, this material requires specific curing conditions to achieve its full strength.

  • Enhancing Strength and Durability: Watering the gunite pool shell during the curing process is crucial for enhancing its strength and durability. This process, known as “curing,” allows the cement to hydrate and form strong chemical bonds, resulting in a sturdy pool structure. Adequate watering prevents the gunite from drying out too quickly, which could lead to surface cracking and reduced overall strength.

  • Preventing Surface Cracks: Gunite pool shells are susceptible to surface cracks if not watered properly during the curing period. By keeping the shell consistently moist, you can minimize the risk of cracks and maintain a smooth and resilient pool surface.

  • Avoiding Structural Issues: Proper watering helps prevent structural issues that could arise from uneven curing. If certain areas of the pool shell dry faster than others, it can create weak spots that may lead to costly repairs or compromise the pool’s structural integrity over time.

  • Extending Pool Lifespan: A well-cured gunite pool shell will have an extended lifespan, providing you with years of worry-free enjoyment. By investing the time and effort to water the pool shell correctly during the initial phase, you are safeguarding your investment for the long term.

  • Ensuring Optimal Pool Water Quality: In addition to promoting the strength of the pool shell, proper curing also plays a role in ensuring optimal water quality. A well-cured shell minimizes the leaching of chemicals into the pool water, helping maintain the desired pool water chemistry and reducing the need for excessive chemical adjustments.

How To Properly Water Your Gunite Pool

Watering your new gunite pool shell is a straightforward process, but it requires consistency and attention to detail. Follow these steps to ensure proper curing and maximize the strength and durability of your pool:

Step 1: Gather the required tools and equipment

Before you begin watering your new gunite pool shell, make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment ready. Having everything prepared will ensure a smooth and efficient watering process. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Garden Hose: Choose a good-quality garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment. The nozzle will allow you to control the water flow and apply an even distribution of water to the pool shell.

  • Timer: A programmable timer can be incredibly helpful during the curing process. It allows you to set specific watering intervals, ensuring consistent moisture without the need for constant manual monitoring.

  • Sprinklers or Soaker Hoses: Depending on the size of your pool and the available water pressure, you can use either sprinklers or soaker hoses. Sprinklers provide broader coverage, while soaker hoses release water slowly along their length.

  • Water Source: Ensure you have a nearby water source with a sufficient supply to keep the pool shell moist during the curing period.

  • Protective Covering (Optional): If you live in an area with intense sunlight or extreme temperatures, consider using a light-colored, reflective covering to shield the pool shell from direct exposure during breaks in watering.

Step 2: Start Immediately After Gunite Application

Timing is crucial when it comes to watering your new gunite pool shell. As soon as the gunite application is complete, you should begin the curing process without delay. The initial hours and days after application are critical to ensure the gunite achieves its maximum strength and durability.

  • Coordinate with the Pool Contractor: Work closely with your pool contractor to determine the precise time of gunite application. Being on-site or having someone available to start the watering process promptly is essential.

  • Begin Watering Immediately: Once the gunite is applied, don’t waste any time. Start watering the pool shell immediately. The sooner you begin, the better the curing process will be.

  • Maintain Consistent Moisture: During the initial curing period, it’s crucial to keep the pool shell consistently moist. This will prevent the gunite from drying out too quickly, minimizing the risk of surface cracks and ensuring uniform strength development.

  • Avoid Pool Traffic: Restrict access to the pool area during the curing process to avoid unnecessary stress on the shell. Preventing foot traffic and heavy equipment usage will help maintain the integrity of the curing gunite.

  • Follow Contractor’s Recommendations: Your pool contractor may have specific guidelines for the initial watering process based on the local climate, gunite mix, and other factors. Always follow their recommendations for the best results.

Step 3: Follow the Recommended Watering Frequency

Maintaining consistent moisture levels is paramount when it comes to properly curing your new gunite pool shell. The recommended watering schedule during the critical initial curing phase is 2-3 times a day for a duration of 7-10 days. This schedule allows for uniform hydration of the gunite, ensuring it achieves maximum strength and durability.

  • Day 1-3: Frequent Watering: During the first three days after gunite application, the curing process requires vigilant attention to prevent premature drying. Water the pool shell 2-3 times a day, with each watering session lasting approximately 15 to 20 minutes. This regular watering helps keep the surface moist, allowing the cement to hydrate fully and form strong chemical bonds.

  • Day 4-10: Maintaining Moisture: As the curing process progresses, you can slightly adjust the watering frequency. Water the pool shell 2-3 times a day, spacing the watering sessions every four to six hours during daylight hours. This adjusted schedule ensures that the gunite remains adequately hydrated without being over-saturated.

  • Utilize a Timer: If possible, use a timer on your watering system to automate the process. A timer will ensure a consistent watering schedule, even when you’re not around to manually water the pool.

  • Monitor Temperature and Humidity: Keep a close eye on the weather forecast, specifically focusing on temperature and humidity levels. Hot and dry weather can cause the pool shell to dry out faster, requiring more frequent watering.

  • Adjust Watering Frequency: During periods of high temperatures or low humidity, you may need to increase the frequency of watering sessions. Conversely, if the weather is cooler and more humid, you can adjust the watering schedule accordingly.

  • Protect from Heavy Rain: In the event of heavy rain, you may need to temporarily pause the watering process. Assess the amount of rainfall and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to prevent over-saturation.

  • Use Protective Coverings: In extreme weather conditions, such as scorching heat or frigid cold, consider using a light-colored, reflective covering to shield the pool shell from direct exposure during breaks in watering. This covering can help maintain consistent temperature and moisture levels.

Step 4: Employ the Proper Watering Technique

Watering your new gunite pool shell correctly is just as essential as maintaining consistent moisture. Employing the proper watering technique ensures even coverage and helps achieve optimal curing. Here’s how to water your pool shell effectively:

  • Even Water Distribution: Ensure that water is distributed evenly across the entire pool surface. Use sprinklers or soaker hoses strategically positioned around the pool to achieve uniform coverage.

  • Avoid Excessive Force: The water pressure should be gentle to avoid displacing or eroding the fresh gunite surface. High-pressure water can lead to uneven curing and may cause damage.

  • Rotate Sprinklers: If using sprinklers, periodically rotate their positions to prevent overwatering in certain areas. Regularly repositioning the sprinklers will help achieve consistent curing.

  • Set Timers for Convenience: If possible, use programmable timers for your watering system. Timers ensure regular and consistent watering intervals, even when you’re not available to monitor the process.

  • Adjust as Needed: Be prepared to adjust the watering technique and schedule based on your observations and the advice of your pool contractor. Flexibility in your approach will lead to the best results.

When to Stop Watering Gunite

Knowing when to stop watering the new gunite pool shell is as important as starting the process promptly. Curing times may vary depending on factors such as climate, pool size, and the specific gunite mix used. Here are some key indicators to determine when to stop watering:

  • Consult with Pool Contractor: Your pool contractor is the best resource for determining the appropriate curing period. They can provide specific guidance based on the conditions in your area and the type of gunite used.

  • Visual Inspection: Inspect the pool shell regularly for signs of proper curing. Look for a consistent color and texture across the entire surface. A well-cured pool shell should have a uniform appearance without any signs of surface cracks or unevenness.

  • Tactile Examination: Touch the pool surface to assess its moisture level. Properly cured gunite will feel slightly damp to the touch. If the surface feels excessively wet or dry, it may indicate that adjustments to the watering schedule are necessary.

  • Water Absorption Test: Perform a water absorption test as mentioned earlier. If the gunite absorbs water at a consistent rate across the entire surface, it is a good indication that the curing process is complete.

  • Recommendations from Contractor: Rely on your pool contractor’s recommendations to determine when to stop watering. They have the expertise to assess the curing progress and can provide valuable insights on the appropriate timing.

  • Time Frame: Generally, the curing process for gunite pool shells takes anywhere from seven to twenty-eight days. However, this can vary based on the factors mentioned earlier. Be patient and allow sufficient time for the gunite to cure properly. Read our how long does gunite take to cure article to understand the critical curing period after gunite application and learn how to properly care for your pool during this phase to achieve maximum strength and durability.

What Happens if You Don’t Water Gunite

Failing to water gunite properly during the curing process can have detrimental effects on the pool’s structural integrity and overall performance. Here are some potential consequences of not watering gunite:

  • Reduced Strength: Proper watering is essential for the complete hydration of the cement in the gunite mixture. Without sufficient moisture, the cement may not fully cure, leading to a weaker pool shell with reduced structural strength.

  • Surface Cracks: Insufficient watering can cause the pool shell to dry out too quickly, leading to surface cracks. These cracks not only compromise the aesthetics of the pool but also create avenues for water infiltration and potential leaks. Read our can gunite pool crack article to explore the common reasons for gunite pool cracks and gain insights into regular maintenance and construction practices that minimize the risk of cracks in your pool’s structure.

  • Uneven Curing: Inconsistent or inadequate watering can result in uneven curing of the gunite. Certain areas may cure faster than others, leading to weak spots and potential structural issues in the pool shell.

  • Long-Term Damage: Neglecting to water gunite properly can lead to long-term damage that may not be immediately evident. Over time, the weakened structure may be more susceptible to cracking, settling, or other problems.

  • Costly Repairs: If surface cracks or structural issues arise due to improper watering, repairing the gunite pool shell can be a costly and time-consuming process. Preventative measures, such as adequate watering, can help avoid these expenses.

  • Shortened Lifespan: A pool with a poorly cured gunite shell may have a shortened lifespan compared to a properly cured one. It may require more frequent repairs or even replacement in severe cases.

Can You Water Gunite Too Much

Yes, it is possible to water gunite too much during the curing process. Overwatering can have negative consequences and may lead to various issues with the pool shell. Here are some potential problems associated with excessive watering:

  • Poor Strength Development: Overwatering can dilute the cement in the gunite mixture, hindering proper hydration and reducing the strength of the pool shell. This can result in a weaker structure that is more prone to cracks and damage.

  • Surface Erosion: High-pressure or excessive watering can cause surface erosion, especially if the pool shell is still in its early curing stages. The eroded surface may not have the same strength and durability as properly cured gunite.

  • Standing Water Issues: Excessive watering can lead to the pooling of water on the pool surface. Standing water can create uneven curing and may cause depressions or voids in the gunite.

  • Extended Curing Time: While adequate moisture is necessary for curing, overwatering can unnecessarily prolong the curing period. This may delay the completion of the pool construction and impact project timelines.

  • Waste of Resources: Excessive water usage can lead to unnecessary waste of water resources. It is essential to strike a balance between providing enough moisture for curing and avoiding water wastage.

Experience the ultimate guidebook for gunite pool construction. Covering all phases of the process, these detailed guides will empower you to turn your backyard into a haven of relaxation and fun.

How to Build a Gunite Pool Step by Step: Discover the complete guide to building a gunite pool, from the initial planning stages to the final construction and finishing touches, providing you with the know-how to create your dream pool.

How Long Does Gunite Pool Construction Take: Get insights into the typical timeline for building a gunite pool, understanding the various stages involved and factors that may impact the overall duration of the project.

Can Gunite Pools Be Built in Winter: Learn about the feasibility of constructing gunite pools in colder weather conditions and the necessary precautions to ensure a successful build despite the challenges.

How Much Time Does It Take to Shoot Gunite: Explore the gunite application process and find out how much time it usually takes to apply this durable material, creating a strong foundation for your pool.

Methods for Waterproofing a Gunite Pool: Discover effective methods and products for waterproofing your gunite pool, ensuring it remains leak-free and protected from water-related issues.


Mastering the art of properly watering your new gunite pool shell is essential for ensuring its long-lasting durability and structural integrity. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can significantly enhance the curing process and prevent potential issues down the line.

Remember to water your pool shell consistently for the initial few weeks, allowing it to cure gradually and thoroughly. Adequate hydration will minimize the risk of cracks and surface imperfections, ensuring a smooth and resilient pool surface for years to come.

Furthermore, always keep in mind that each pool may have unique requirements based on its size, shape, and location. Thus, it is crucial to consult with experienced professionals or pool contractors who can provide tailored advice for your specific pool project.

By investing time and effort into watering your new gunite pool shell correctly, you are making a sound investment in the longevity and performance of your pool, providing you and your loved ones with countless hours of enjoyment and relaxation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the best method for watering the gunite surface?

The best method for watering the gunite surface is to use either sprinklers or soaker hoses strategically positioned around the pool perimeter. Both methods provide even water distribution, ensuring consistent moisture throughout the pool shell.

2. Should I use a nozzle on the hose while watering the pool?

It’s best to avoid using a high-pressure nozzle on the hose while watering the gunite pool shell. High water pressure can cause surface erosion and may lead to uneven curing. Instead, use a gentle spray or a hose with a spray nozzle attachment to provide a controlled and even water flow.

3. Can I use a sprinkler system to water the gunite pool shell?

Yes, a sprinkler system can be an effective way to water the gunite pool shell during the curing process. Make sure to adjust the sprinkler positions periodically to achieve uniform water coverage.

4. Are surface cracks normal during the curing process?

Surface cracks may occur during the curing process, especially if the pool shell dries out too quickly. Small, hairline cracks are relatively common and often do not affect the pool’s structural integrity. However, if you notice significant or widening cracks, consult with your pool contractor for evaluation and possible repairs.

Photo of author

Written By Scott Keller

Scott Keller is an experienced pool industry professional with over 20 years of expertise in gunite pool design, construction, and maintenance.

Leave a Comment