Steel rebar / gunite / decking ... in Houston area

parker86November 10, 2012

I'm in the process of interviewing PBs. I know everything existing has pros and cons but I want to know both.

Most of PBs use rebar #3 8" on center. However one PB uses #4 12" on center and stresses to me it is an advantage. Is this true?

For the gunite company, I read some posts on this forum and it seems MMG gets lots of praise here. How about South Bay Gunite?

Also I have a negative edge and one PB wants to put a separate filtration sys for the catch basin. Is this necessary?

For decking, what are the major differences between stamped concrete and stamped overlay? One PB told me the stamped overlay will peel off in 1-2 yrs so they only do stamped concrete, not stamped overlay. Is this true?

Thanks for any input.

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#3 on 8" or #4 on 12" centers are close enough to equal strength.

A separate filter on the catch basin is usually a very good idea.

Overlays can be subject to temperature related delamination. Stamped concrete is better in that there is only only one layer.

Where are you located?


    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:46PM
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Your rebar engineering should be based on your soils report.No builder should specify bar size or placement until the soils report is done. You should not use a bigger bar just because they think it's better because its bigger.

Any shotcrete company would do as long as they use the specified ACI minimum requirement of 4,000 minumum p.s.i. shotcrete for swimming pools and have an ACI certified nozzle man. It's also good to have an independent deputy inspector on site to observe placement and to take a sample for testing later. Your steel placement once again has a lot to do with how your shell will come out.

Yes you should have a separate filtration system for your negative edge.

A stamped concrete is where they use a ready mix concrete and pour that on grade and then stamp out a pattern in the concrete before it gets to hard. The advantage of doing it this way is you can do an integral color in your concrete so if you damage the concrete the color will be all the way through. An overlay is ready mix concrete on grade underneath and then they spread a thin layer of cement epoxy mix over the concrete and then stamp out a pattern. I'm not sure why any company would do a base of concrete and then do the overlay when you can stamp it on the grade slab. Overlays are generally good for existing concrete. I'm not a big fan of the overlay. If the grade slab was never done properly it will more than likely pop off down the road. At least the ones I have seen.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:00PM
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Thank you all for the input.

I also have a covered patio with pavers on existing concrete. I want to remove the pavers and replace with anything else which can be easily cleaned. Can I do stamped concrete on top of existing slab? Generally speaking what is the minimum thickness required for stamped concrete? How about the thickness of the overlay? If I do overlay for the existing patio and stamped concrete for the deck, can I get matched pattern and color?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:14AM
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Minimum concrete thickness is based off of your steel in the deck. For example. The ACI code for rebar off of the earth is 3". Coverage over rebar is 1.5". If you used #4 12" O.C. rebar your minimum thickness would be 5.5" of concrete.

The overlays are generally about a 1/4" to 3/8".

If the pool builder can use the same company that makes both the overlay material as well as the integral color mix and release it should match close.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:30AM
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Thank you for the stamped concrete/overlay clarification.

I have a sloped backyard (3-4' drop). We want to put negative edge and also a waterfall (side corner of backend 7' depth). Just want to know how PB determines the reinforcement at the waterfall area. One PB told me he will add more steel/gunite but he doesn't need structural engineering spec out. Another PB told he will get the soil tested and also get structural engineer to figure it out. The cost for soil test is like 1.5k and another 1.5k for the structural engineer's work. Do those numbers sound right? Thanks

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 2:28PM
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It depends on what area of the country you are in because cost can differ. $1,500.00 for a full soils workup is not unusual. $1,500.00 for structural engineering for a pool may be a tad high but if they do not do a lot of pool engineering in your area then that would be about right.
If you want to find out if a builder knows his stuff challenge him on the fact that there is no such process called Gunite. It's all shotcrete. Whether it's dry mix or wet mix. Gunite is a brand name of a machine that shoots or "Guns" shotcrete.
I would definitely put more weight towards the builder that is offering soils and structural engineering. A pool builder is not an expert in those fields. It's cheap insurance.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 12:26AM
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I can't comment on soils or rebar size, but I can tell you Azteca Gunite in Htown does a good job and has a ton of experience in not only pools but in many other Gunite projects in the Houston area. I have used them for my 3 owner/builder pools for excavation, steel, and Gunite and have been pleased. The owner of MMG and Azteca are well aquainted, and I suspect they are both about the same in quality and reputaion.

I also don't know about a separate system for the catch basin, but I do know that with most features in a new build, doing it now is probably a minimal extra cost vs. wishing you had done it and adding it at a later time.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I don't use South Bay Gunite, but I have not heard anything negative about them. I have used Top Gun Gunite and Houston Gunite, but now only use Modern Method Gunite. To me they are heads above the rest, but they are likely priced higher than the others.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:39PM
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While the machine is a brand name, it is also a generically used term typically meant as a dry mix with the water added at the nozzle while shotcrete is a wet mix pumped from a truck into a pump with the hose.

Shotcrete can come out of its nozzle at at somewhat slower speed with a bit less air than gunite. Both make concrete shells, produce rebounded material that should be removed and trimmings that are often too far along in the hydration process to be used.

The waterfall's weight and the soil conditions will determine how much of a footer and steel will be needed. Pools are designed to hold water in the shell. A larger waterfall can compress the outside of the shell which can lead to cracks in the shell.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:14PM
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Just an observation. You'll likely only have a choice of gunite crews if you owner build. Modern Method is the "big player" in the market and works exclusive with some builders. I've heard mixed things about Azteca.

A neighbor, down the street, had a pool built recently. I'm not sure who the builder was but nobody spoke english. I'm sure the pool is fine and the gunite was done with South Bay but their trucks were old and dirty.

I had Titan gunite do my pool. They were easy to work with, the owner was a hoot and many of the crew I could communicate with. Oh, and their trucks were spotless. He must have them detailed or something.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:18PM
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@ Bigdave160 Thanks for the compliment we strive to have the best equipment and crew and yes Ted can be a hoot!!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 10:50PM
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