How Long After Gunite Can You Tile? 1 Way To Speed It Up

pool builder administering gray gunite inside a pool shell in backyard

When your pool is under construction, it can sometimes feel like it takes forever.  One day there’s a contractor on site doing something, then there’s a gap of a few days with nothing going on.  It can be a real frustration if you’re unfamiliar with the way pool construction works.  Eventually however, you’ll reach one of the biggest milestones in the project, gunite.  You finally have the concrete shape of the pool in the ground.  The project really starts feeling like it’s getting close to complete!  Then maybe you see progress stop. Why?  Then you start to wonder, how long after gunite can you tile?

In this article, we’ll explain why there’s always a lull in between gunite and tile. We’ll also explain how much time is needed to pass by before your pool builder can start tiling. If you want to know the total length of time between gunite and finishing your pool, read this article.

Factors That Determine When You Can Tile

When you are factoring in how long you need to wait after gunite until you tile, you also need to take some additional steps into consideration. Is tile the next step in your pool construction process?  It may be, but likely is not.

Usually your next step after gunite is stripping the reusable or disposable formwork off the pool. Then you can do some backfill and compaction.  Some pool builders are comfortable doing this after three days of cure time, while others wait 7 days.  At 7 days of cure time, your gunite will have reached 50-65% of its design strength. 

Unless there is some poor workmanship taking place, this will be strong enough to sustain the force of backfill and compaction behind the pool walls.  If you have any question about whether your situation is different, contact your structural engineer for guidance.

Construction Order Of Operations After Backfilling

Once your pool is backfilled, this may be the time for your coping to be installed.  Not all pools have coping, but if you do, it’ll be mortared to the gunite beam, followed by the tile.  

When you have an automatic pool cover going in on your pool, the tile will come first. That will be followed by the automatic cover tracks installation. Finally will come the coping.  

If your pool does not have coping the process may be slightly different.  Perhaps you will have a poured cantilever edge concrete deck of some sort. This could be exposed aggregate, broom finish concrete, acrylic deck, kooldeck, etc. Therefore, your phases may be different depending on where you live.  If you live in the southwest, it’s not uncommon for the poured concrete deck to be completed before the tile.  Whereas when you live just about anywhere else, the tile will always go on first. Next, the deck forms will be adhered to the tiles themselves.

How Long After Gunite Can You Tile?

In our opinion, when choosing how long after gunite can you tile, you ought to consider the phases of construction which immediately follow the tile or precede it.  Then, you need to confirm the structural strength of your gunite pool shell. Furthermore, you have to determine if the 7 day strength is ideal to continue construction.  In our experience, this is the right time to get going on construction, 99% of the time.  

How To Speed Up Tile After Gunite

The biggest factor in delays related to how long after gunite can you tile is not getting your material selections made on time.  It’s very important to make your color and material selections as soon as you possibly can in the process. 

We’d recommend suggesting to your contractor they purchase the materials as soon as you’ve chosen them, even if it requires you to pony up some additional money to pay for the purchase earlier in the process than they’d like.  Far too often materials will change or be eliminated by the manufacturers after you’ve chosen them, which can be a huge last minute frustration.

pool builder showing how long after gunite can you tile as over 7 days with the concrete reaching a good strength

How Long After Gunite Can You Tile Summary

As a homeowner and future pool owner, it can be difficult to contain excitement once a pool is gunited. If you are the homeowner in this situation, remind yourself that your pool builder is likely going as fast as they can. Pools require non negotiable periods of time in between construction phases. Many things can impact the answer to how long after gunite can you tile. These include the weather, material availability and the strength of your gunite.