The SSG Construction Process
With nearly 40 years of experience in commercial and residential pool, pond and waterscape construction, it's no surprise that SSG has grown to be one of the top 25 pool builders in the country. We've developed a construction process that repeatedly and reliably delivers consistent results in all conditions, time and time again.
The following is an outline of the general process we use. If you'd like more details on any of the steps for your project, just give us a call.
Steel: The steel structure is the backbone of the gunite shell; in-floor plumbing will be in place at this point. A rebar reinforced grid of 3/8" and 1/2" steel 6" to 12" on center defines the pool and spas floor and walls.
Plumbing: Expect several plumbing phases during the project starting before the steel, again before gunite, and possibly setting equipment after gunite. Click Here to view some of our Commercial Mechanical work.
Gunite: Shotcrete is a proven and time tested concrete application technique that has been practiced for over one hundred years and has not needed modified for forty years.
Shotcrete comes in two basic forms: dry mix (dry gun) and wet mix. Dry mix also known as gunite augers together sand and regular cement. The mixture is blown, via continuous feed machine ( the gun) using extreme compressed air directly to the nozzle where water is monitored and added. The mixture is blown pneumatically, encapsulating the steel enforced walls and floor. By adding only the necessary amount of water required for hydration, superior strength and one and a half time the density of conventional poured concrete or wet process shotcrete is achieved.
Coping - Decking - Tile - Veneers:
You name it, we do it. Brick, granite, bluestone, limestone, poured concrete coping, glass tile, retaining walls, veneers, and waterfalls.
South Shore Gunite offers over one hundred standard tiles and a variety of decking options - stamped concrete to elegant exposed aggregates, or traditional broom and swirl finish. SSG has pioneered adhesion and bonding techniques for wet set decking to insure the highest quality and durability. Our crews are manufacture trained to use advanced mechanical and chemical adhesion products.
Pool Interior Options :
White Plaster is included in the base price with every SSG pool. In addition to our pozzolan and polymer enhanced white and grey plaster finishes , we also offer our exclusive upgrades with lifetime warrantees:
Excavation and Forming
Excavation and forming are the first construction phases for 'most' Residential and Commercial projects.
All of the following are completed by the end of the Excavation phase:
- Blueprints/ Shop drawings have been approved
- SSG has called in "Dig-Safe".
- All permits have been posted.
- Trucking and Dirt drops have been coordinated.
- The final location of the pool is approved.
- Layout location approved.
- Finish elevation is determined and approved.
- The pool is excavated.
- The floor profile is hand shaped.
- Crushed stone for floor drainage is added, if needed.
- Pool perimeter form work is constructed.
The structural steel phase usually takes one to two days, depending on the size of your pool, and/or if there is additional steel work required for a raised spa, fountain, or other custom feature.
To form the gunite shell, we’ll build a grid of #3 or #4 steel reinforcement rods, tied from 6" to 12" on center. This steel cage is the strength that holds the pool structure together.
You can also expect to see the floor plumbing starting to take shape prior to this phase of construction.
Gunite - Dry Process Shotcrete
Dry process shotcrete (i.e. Gunite) is a method of applying concrete to a structure. It is commonly used to build or reinforce:
Gunite has been used since the early 1900's with excellent success. It’s a mixture of cement and sand sprayed onto contoured and supported surfaces to build a pool. Gunite is mixed and pumped to the site dry, and water is added separately at the nozzle. Plaster or pebble is usually applied over the gunite. Experience is the key to proper, successful placement of the gunite.
Gunite is superior in strength to poured concrete or wet shotcrete for several reasons:
- Only the amount of water necessary for hydration is added at the nozzle to make gunite.
- Hydration and curing can be referred to as drying but it does technically not dry. It’s an exothermic reaction and the reason we cool the shell with water for 7 days.
- There is not the excess water found in conventional concrete during placement.
- Slowing down the cure process by cooling with water greatly increases strength.
- Max. strength is reached in about 28 days
- Excess water occupies space; when cured small voids are left.
- Dry mix gunite is more dense then poured concrete.
(It takes about 1 and a half yards of gunite to volumetrically equal 1 yard of conventional concrete.)
- Superior density = superior strength.
Using our in-house crew and superior mix, the gunite is placed flawlessly. South Shore Gunite has invested over $2,000,000 in volumetric batching and placement equipment to insure the strongest and highest quality gunite application.
Our in-house gunite crew is lead by Donny Miller who has over 30 years of placement experience. We require that all our nozzlemen are Dry-Mix Process Certified (ACI - Nozzleman Certification - Dry Mix).
The ACI - American Concrete Institute, and ASA - American Shotcrete Association certification programs benchmark the knowledge and skill of a concrete applications specialist who has mastered the techniques of properly placing gunite.
"Realize it or not.... the gunite shell is the single most important phase of construction as tiles, plaster, pumps, filtration equipment, and decking will eventually come and go, the gunite shell can last for many generations."
Plumbing, Equipment, and Hydraulics
Plumbing is the next phase after excavation is complete, and will continue after the steel cage is in place. Once the gunite shell is shot, we continue to run all the Schedule 40 PVC from the pool and set the filtration equipment.
Be sure to think about the filtration equipment location by the excavation phase because additional trenching may be required to get the piping from the pool to your desired equipment location.
HYDRAULICS (The study of fluids at rest and in motion): System piping size and run (length) plus equipment resistance (charted by pump performance) are the variables that are calculated at a pre-determined flow rate through the plumbing, filtration and sanitizing equipment. It provides a precise, pre-calculated flow rate to return lines, floor heads, sheer descents, cleaning systems, jets, waterfalls, and fountains.
Coping and Tile
Coping and Tile refers to any material that borders the perimeter of the pool. We divide it into four main categories: Finished stone, Natural stone, Cast or Brick pavers, and Poured concrete.
- Bluestone: Bluestone is a fine to medium grained arkosic sandstone (geologically referred to as a feldspathic sandstone classified as a sedimentary stone) comprised of mainly quartz, feldspars, micas and accessory iron, titanium, magnesium and calcium minerals. Most market grade bluestones are indurated with silica cements with lesser percentages of calcium carbonate or clay mineral cementation of sand grain particles. Rock faced edge, Pencil rounded top and bottom edge, Bull nose or Half Bullnose.
- Granite: (gray, black, blue, yellow or other colors) Rock faced edging, Pencil rounded top and bottom edge, Bull nose or Half Bullnose.
- Cantilevered Edge: (see deck samples) Straight on top and part of the pool deck, The deck runs out past the edge of the pool, then drops down to meet the top of the tile line. Technically we do not classify a cantilever edge deck as a coping.
- Thermal finish: Treated with flame to create a slightly pebbled surface with medium relief. They are ideal for walkways and patios because of the uniform surface and nonskid texture.
- Honed: This paver finish has a super fine, very smooth finish, though not as fine as a polished finish.
- Natural Cleft: Pavers that are cleaved or separated along a natural seam, the remaining surface is referred to as a natural cleft surface. These pavers retain a very natural, non-uniform finish.
Pool tile choices have transcended from the original blue, standard 6" x 6" squares to elaborate shapes, sizes and materials. Tile from all over the world give us a virtually endless palette of colors, and mosaic designs.
Decking and Poured Concrete Coping
SSG offers a wide variety of Decking options:
- Stamped Concrete
- Exposed Aggregate concrete
- Traditional Broom and swirl finishes
- Wet-set pavers with poured sub-decking ( Granite and Bluestone)
- Poured concrete coping
(Any of our poured deck options can be added separately as only a coping or decking border.)
SSG has helped pioneer modern advancements in wet set decking with mechanical and chemical adhesion technologies.
In addition to South Shore Gunite exclusive lifetime guaranteed Pebble exposed aggregate surface finishes, SSG is now offering the Diamond Brite™ © color quartz exposed aggregate pool interiors.
Diamond Brite is a blend of select quartz aggregates with fortified white Portland cement. Available in a variety of colors and textures. Diamond Brite finishes are factory blended to provide a consistent, durable and VERY attractive pool interior. SSG is also introducing 3 new finishes to the marketplace manufactured by Wet Edge Technologies™
Current Diamond Brite selection includes:
BLUE QUARTZ - FRENCH GREY - MARLIN BLUE - MIDNIGHT BLUE - ONYX BLACK
Wet Edge Technologies™ is an innovative company specializing in providing the finest quality interior pool finishes. Wet Edge Technologies™ is now marketing three beautiful and long-lasting pool finishes known as the Pearl Matrix™, Satin Matrix™ and Finest Finish Marble Blend™. Our objective is to provide the finest quality products that exceed all industry specifications. Finest Finish Marble Blend™, Pearl Matrix™ and Satin Matrix™ pool finishes are combined with a patented blend of Matrix Admixtures™ and are considered to be the most beautiful, long-lasting and trouble free pool finishes available today!