Gunite Pool Construction Process

Check out a pool project from start to finish!

Step 1. Layout & Set Elevations

Once a pool shape is chosen we flag out the pool in your yard so that you can picture what it will look like. If any adjustments need to be made that can happen easily prior to digging the pool. During this time we also set the elevation that the pool will be built at. Since the pool must be level any grading or retaining wall work that might be needed will be determined prior to even removing any dirt. As a high end pool builder we do not cut any corners and build every pool as if it were in our very own backyard

Step 2. Strip Topsoil

Now that the pool location has been approved by the customer we strip all the topsoil and stockpile the dirt to be returned at the end of the job at no extra cost. Many companies charge extra machine time and or require you to pay for additional topsoil. We dig our own pools we do not use any subcontractors so we are able to spend the extra time to grade the job without additional costs

Step 3. Excavate Pool & Pour Filter Pad

By digging our pools in house we set our dirt grade right when we dig the pool. We do this so that later down the road when the deck is being stoned you will not run into any additional stone charges like you would with many other companies. When digging our pool we hand shape the sides of the entire pool to ensure a true consistency of Gunite all around the pool

Step 4. Install Stone Base

In the Northeast region the freeze and thaw of winter is a constant threat. We take many precautions in the build process to ensure this yearly occurrence will not compromise the structural integrity of your pool. We add stone to the bottom of every pool with hydrostat plugs. These plugs go into the stone and come through the bottom of the pool. Should you ever need to drain your pool you simply unscrew those plugs and any ground water under the pool can flow into the pool. Without this if you ever drained your pool the ground water can pop your entire pool up out of the ground!

Step 5. Install Plumbing and Equipment

Right after the pool is dug all the plumbing is installed complete. We do not stub plumb any lines, all the plumbing is installed 100%. In doing this we can charge the plumbing system with air from a compressor to ensure there are no leaks. This test gets performed many times throughout the build process to ensure nothing has been broken during construction. We also install any electrical conduit in the same trench with the plumbing this way everything is together and decreases the chance of electrical conduit being damaged later.

Step. 6 Install Steel

Our entire pool is caged in ½” 8 gauge steel rebar. Many companies use 3/8” 6 gauge steel to save on costs, ½” to 3/8” does not sound like a lot but when comparing side by side the difference is astounding. There are also companies that claim to use ½” throughout their pool but only use it on the bond beam at the top of the pool then drop down to 3/8”. Be sure to keep an eye out for this when choosing your pool builder. Our bond beam which is the top perimeter of the pool contains 4 separate runs of ½” steel to maximum strength to handle freeze and thaw. Our bond beam is 12” thick where other companies are 10” thic

Step 7. Shoot Gunite

There are two main types of concrete pools that you can buy. The two choices are Shotcrete or Gunite. Shotcrete is a wet mix. This product is cement out of cement trucks. They pull up with as dry a mix as they can to make stacking easier. The crews then stack this mix up to form the pool walls. Since the mix must be stacked the bottom of the pool is wider, meaning when you swim up to the pool wall you have to lean in to put your arms on the coping. This product is much cheaper and the main reason why many companies still use it today. The nature of concrete as a material is to crack, having a pool shell that can crack will cause major costly repairs down the road. Besides the cracking this product come straight from a concrete plant, which can have problems with their mixes, the trucks can get stuck in traffic making the concrete mix too long, there are a lot of uncontrollable variables where things can go wrong. Gunite on the other hand while costing more cures to a much higher psi than concrete and is a dry mix. The water for the Gunite is added right at the hose nozzle. This way the applicator can control how much water he is adding at all times. By adding water right at the nozzle the mix comes out perfect with no need to stack the material. Our pool walls are straight with a small bowl at the floor, this way you can swim up to the side of the pool and stand straight up with the arms on the coping. Once the Gunite is shot you will need to wet down the entire shell for 7 days. This wetting of the shell is what helps the Gunite to cure to its highest and strongest psi.

Step 8. Install Tile & Coping

Prior to this step you will have stopped by our showroom to choose your choice of many included tiles and copings. There is something for every taste. Once the Gunite shell has cured tile and coping will be installed. Normally a one-day process we bring a wet saw to each job and cut every coping brick in order to make a uniform joint around the perimeter of the entire pool.

Step 9. Pour Deck

With so many different options to choose from for your pool deck, ask to see some pictures of previous jobs, this is a great way to get a feel for what you are really looking for. We install 4” of stone under the concrete to allow it to move with the freeze and thaw of winter. We then pour 4” of concrete per your plan and you will only be charged the square footage price for what we actually pour. We do include some stamped or exposed aggregate concrete decking in our base pricing so you can add whatever you like from there. All of our joints are sawcut for the best finish look. Some companies use plastic expansion joints which break over time and are very difficult to replace.

Step 10. Regrade Topsoil

Now that the deck has been poured we are ready to respreads the topsoil that we stripped and stockpiled at the beginning of the job. Many companies will charge a machine hourly rate to re-spread this dirt, we include this at no additional charge. We do offer an additional service we refer to as rake and seed. We bring in a machine with a rake as well as men with hand rakes to fine tune the topsoil and get rid of rocks and branches. We then spread seed so you can grow grass just like before we started the project. Ask us about rake and sod to skip the time to wait for seed to grow, sod is instant grass!!

Step 11. Plaster and Fill

The final step of the build process is the plaster, the finish coat on the inside of the pool. Whatever color you have chosen is hand troweled to a nice smooth finish. When the plaster is first applied it may seem like a different color than the one you picked. Do not panic! Once the plaster is on the plasterers still have to take the cream off the top. Once they finish the process it will look just like the color you chose! Once the pool is plastered it gets filled the same day. Once your water chemistry is balanced your ready to swim!!!

Step 12. Design and Install Landscape Package

To finish off you project with a bang, at the end of your project you can meet with Michael III and he can design a custom landscape package for your new pool. Mike and Mike also own B&M Landscaping, a that company has been open for 37 years! We are a one stop shop that can also do any landscaping, landscape lighting and paving that you may need.

Step 13. Share your experience with us!

The entire project from start to finish will take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks weather permitting. Keep in mind if you do add stonework to your project that will bring you closer to the 8 week timeframe as our stonework is done by a professional mason who chips and form all the stone by hand.

We love to hear from our customers. Please take the time to write us a review about your experience. Our company is built on our fantastic reputation and we have our customers to thank for that!


Being a customer of Arista Pools and then B & M Landscaping, I cannot compliment either company enough. They were beyond professional and responsive. Their design and ideas are amazing and we are so happy with what they have helped us create in our back yard. Their crews are also professional and always came when they said they would, which we have not always experienced with other contractors. I would highly recommend Arista and B & M to anyone looking to create an outside oasis!!

Tara Terranova, Collegeville, PA

The final result exceeded our expectations!! Mike and his entire crew were professional, extremely hard working, and thorough from the planning stages all the way through the final unveiling. It is evident that they value hard work and relationships with their customers. We recommend them to anyone looking to transform their backyard!

Megan Maran, Collegeville, PA

Excellent Hot Tub!

Great service and Great product.

Very responsive and great people to deal with!

Tom McKeown, Blue Bell, PA
I am so lucky to have chosen a team that pays so much attention to detail. They made our visions into a reality and beyond. They worked in a timely fashion, they were experienced, they were perfectionists, they were awesome. I feel like this experience was a dream, because the process went so smooth. Mike is the man, and his crew is all that! Highly recommend. No issues at all.
Rob Brislin, Skippack, PA
The township inspector stopped by to make sure final inspection was done and he mentioned how impressed he was with how “on top of everything” you were at Arista. He was loving how fast you were following up on inspection requests, and how nicely everything is coming together. He SPECIFICALLY compared it to other companies he has seen over the years and said ours was the best!! And he has been doing this for more than 20 years, for 2 different townships. That says a LOT!
Liz Patterson, Berwyn, PA

5 questions the other swimming pool contractors hope you never ask…

At Arista Pool & Spa, we limit the amount of subcontracting we use to build our pool. Each company we use is the best in their respective field. We have worked with these companies for years and have great relationships with them. Not only are these contractors professional but everyone is friendly and has the upmost respect for the customer. Other swimming pool contractors sub out every single phase of construction. They use subs that give them the cheapest rate, regardless of the quality of their work. Often times they jump from sub to sub so there is no relationship there and subs treat their jobs as just another job. Ask any of our subs what they think of Arista and they will tell you how we are a step above the rest.

We treat each job as if it was our own home. In doing this, we ensure the job is completed in a timely matter. Our gunite pools typically take six to eight weeks from start to finish. We have completed pools in three weeks in the past. Many other contractors claim a six to eight-week finish but after ten weeks the customer is scratching their heads wondering what is going on. Our vinyl pool building process is truly a site to see. An Arista vinyl pool will have a two to three-week completion time from start to finish. In the past, we have built pools in just seven days! This incredible time frame can only be achieved by the way we operate our company. Speed without losing quality is usually a recipe for disaster, but operating this way from day one is just another normal day for Arista pools.

Arista pools take pride in that there are no hidden costs in our product. Many competitors have hidden costs for extra machine time during excavation. This is something we have found other competitors to really take advantage of and charge extra fees. When signing a contract for a pool, there are so many details it is easy to overlook an extra cost that will cost you thousands! Always check to ensure you are not being charged for something that you could get for free with Arista. We make everything you could encounter known right away. When buying from Arista pools, our main concern is your experience and by sneaking in hidden costs and fees, we could not achieve the reputation we have today.

If there is one thing that separates Arista from the other pool builders it is our reputation. We have our customers to thank for that. With such a focus on customer service, our customers rave over their experience with us. We often refer to our customers as our lead sales team, as they have nothing but good things to say. If you don’t believe us, check out our customer submitted testimonials. Many customers use marketing agencies to draft “fake” positive reviews. Not here at Arista, ask us about any customer referral on our site and you can ask them yourself how their project went!

The ideal person to monitor the construction of your swimming pool can only be one person. The owner of the company. No one has more invested in the success of your project then the owner of the company you hired. Many large companies lure you in with a low price, but the problem with that is you deal with a manager or salesperson throughout the build process. Mike Jr. and Mike III, owners of Arista Pool & Spa, monitor every job personally. If you had the chance to work with the owner of a company rather than an employee, who would you choose?