Summer is on its way and with it, a common thought may cross your mind: “ I think it’s time to build my own pool!” And indeed, that’s a clever thought! But like any dream we want to come true, there’s much planning and research to be done.
One of the first steps of building your in-ground pool project is to find out what functions you want embedded in it and which design fits your lifestyle the best. Do you have children? Should it be family-friendly? Do you want to enjoy it all year-round or would a seasonable leisure space suffice? And for those with a keen financial mind: will it increase your property’s value?
Grab pen and paper and write down all the things you consider essential to your project, always prioritizing the key elements that will make it so you achieve your main objective, be it health, recreation, or financially related.
Some of the boxes you might want to think about for your swimming pool project are easy maintenance, economical heating, depth, amenity to your home, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, safety, and practicality. Take your time thinking about your pool elements and jot down your inspirations as you’ll be handing this down to your pool building professional.
Give your pool contractor a call and schedule an onsite inspection. When the day comes, the builder will ask about your pool design interests, examine the conditions of the surrounding landscape, and check your house for easy access points to the construction site. Since your yard will be the site of major building activity, expected obstacles to be removed so that the dump truck and a digger have full access.
Pay close attention as this is a crucial step to achieve common ground between your expectations on layout, materials, and time frames; and the results that can be achieved all things considered. You can expect the whole building process to take from two to three months until completion.
After a visit or two, the builder will have everything he/she needs to give you a budget proposal. Once approved, it’s time to get your hands on a pool building permit, a local document required by most cities and towns for new in-ground pool constructions.
In many cases, the contractor will deal with the process of applying for and acquiring the necessary papers, but it is as likely that you – the homeowner – get to be responsible for this. This is a slow process, so you can expect it to take from one to three weeks if not more.
Keep in mind that the guidelines will vary from place to place, nevertheless, you must take the time to learn about the rules in your area before you begin your pool building. Contact your local municipality for guidelines and fees.
Now we get our hands dirty as we move on to the excavation phase. With much attention to detail, your pool site will be marked out so the excavator can dig clean and accurate lines, ensuring that no extra materials are needed. Bear in mind though that if the ground is unstable, sandy, waterlogged, or rocky, the excavation may take a few more days as it slows down the process.
Next up, installation is required for all the equipment that makes your backyard pool work as intended. Power and water lines, plumbing and filter systems, steel, and electrical work. This step is about bringing the technology to your backyard pool. Remember: the more features you require – like lights, water features, and spas – the longer it will take to complete.
There are three main materials to consider when building your pool shell: gunite, vinyl, and fiberglass.
Gunite is the same as regular concrete, with the exception that it’s applied in layers using a specialized spray gun. This process provides versatility to the material, as it blends with your pool’s shapes and curves. Furthermore, it creates a strong and durable surface that will protect your pool from corrosion. But beware! Because of its porous surface, your pool will be more prone to algae growth.
If you want a cheaper solution and less building time, go for vinyl or fiberglass. Both are created off-site, shipped, and installed in about two days, faster than any other material.
Fiberglass pool shells are fabricated in predesigned molds, so although you have many options, they are limited. While vinyl pools usually come in rectangular shapes, they can be customized if that’s what you need.
Vinyl is the cheapest, costing about $10,000 less than fiberglass pools upfront. However, you’ll need to replace the liner every 5–9 years, so keep that extra cost in mind.
We’re almost done! All that is left is to build a surface-level deck with any extra features your heart desires. Be mindful that all the things that you’ve gone through until now with your building team are to secure that main health/recreation/financial objective we talked about at the beginning. So keep those criteria in mind as we advance to the final stages of your pool building project.
Moving on, take note that the color and texture of your pool finish can affect the shade of your swimming pool water. A darker tone will result in darker water, and vice-versa. Also, remember that water appears lighter in shallow areas, being further affected by the surrounding landscape and foliage, chemistry, and the weather. Take this inquiry to your builder as well, as some finishes require more maintenance than others.
After your interior finish is installed, add water, maybe some acid wash the day before filling, and ta-da! Congratulations, your pool project is now a sight for sore eyes.
Sweep that sweat out of your eyes, as your backyard pool is up and running, and you can enjoy the luxurious pleasure of a refreshing sight. Now acquainted with your project manager, make sure he/she answers all your questions regarding any concerns you may have. They will give you the instructions you need to maintain your in-ground pool for as long as your heart desires.