Artificial rockwork has been manufactured for over 30 years. It is quickly becoming more and more common to see decorative structures in the commercial swimming pool and water park markets for their aesthetic appeal. The two most common methods of creating artificial rockwork are by “hand-carving” (shotcreting) or by using glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC).
GFRC rockwork is the more expensive option when compared to shotcreting. GFRC rockwork costs about 35% more than hand-carved rockwork. Hand-carved rockwork will cost approximately $34 to $39 per square foot of surface area, while GFRC will cost between $50 and $55 per square foot of surface area. Some rockwork experts recommend that 50% to 60% of a project use GFRC and the rest using positive rockwork, with GFRC castings being placed in the more prominent areas.
GFRC rockwork provides the most realistic appearance and is therefore the most desirable. Hand-carved or positive rockwork should be the second option. Lath-and-plaster should not be used for swimming pool applications since the reinforcing bars are not encapsulated completely in concrete and corrosion would be an issue.
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