How To Build A DIY Inground Pool

Family jumps into their DIY Inground Pool

When you look into buying a pool, you may realize that there are unnecessary costs being applied. After all, pool companies tack on a percentage of overhead and profit in their quotes. Knowing that pool prices will not likely go down anytime soon, you may want to build a DIY inground pool. If the price you’re given is close to your budget, try to negotiate with the pool builder first. In this article, we will explain how to build a DIY inground pool and why we advise against it.

How Pool Building Works – Subcontractors

When you look at pool construction one thing you might notice is that the company you hired to do the work has none of their employees on the job. Sure, sometimes they’ll have quality control inspectors or supervisors on site. Though, as far as the people doing the actual work, in many cases, they are subcontractors. Some companies out there do all the work themselves with their own employees, SSG Pools in New England for example. However, this is very much the minority of pool builders. The lionshare of pools are built with subcontractors doing all the work. So why can’t you eliminate the pool contractor and build a DIY inground pool?

Some of the reasons you may not want to build a DIY pool are the very reasons you hire a pool company. These range from the initial design of the pool itself, creation of the plans and shop drawings to build the pool, to the oversight of the subcontractors. But if you are the type of person who pays attention to detail, couldn’t you build the pool yourself?

DIY inground pool built in texas backyard with plants around
Courtesy of Pool Magazine

How To Build Your Own DIY Inground Pool

In some places around the country there are companies which have created a niche where they can help people build the pool themselves. These companies provide the plans and know how to assist you in the process. Early on in my career, I worked for a pool company called Build-Your-Own-Pool (BYOP) that specialized in this service.

How To Start Planning Your DIY Inground Pool

Let’s get the process started for you. Here are some things you will need to procure either from a DIY Pool consultant or from an architect or designer.

  1. Basic plans showing the pool, the patio or deck, and the house.
  2. Show your utilities, and any existing utilities on the property.
  3. A plot plan or survey of the property showing the footprint of the house and the property lines.
  4. Research the setbacks required for pools in your community.
  5. Hire structural engineering resource

All of these need to be integrated into your construction plans, as well as into your permit application package. The process is different in just about every city, town, county, and state.

Phases Of Pool Construction

Once you have your permit, you can move on to the phases of constructing your pool. All pools are custom, but you can use the list below as a quick guide to what most pools have phase wise.

  1. Layout – Draw the pool out on the ground where it will be built.
  2. Excavation – Remove the soil where the pool will be built, and form the outer edge of the structure.
  3. Plumbing – Install all the piping and plumbing including the equipment (sometimes the equipment comes later, depending on the project).
  4. Steel – Tie the reinforcement steel for the concrete pool structure.
  5. Electrical – Bond the steel and the pool equipment pad
  6. Building & Electrical inspection by city, town, county, or state. (Depending on your location)
  7. Shotcrete / Gunite – Install the concrete pool shell
  8. Tile and Coping – Install the tile and coping stones
  9. Deck Bond – Part of the equipotential bonding grid required for swimming pools. This is done by your electrician.
  10. Deck – Install the patio around the pool.
  11. Fencing / Barrier code compliance – Put up the fence around the pool, install door alarms, self closing and latching gates, etc.
  12. Cleanup – Install plumbing fittings, clean out pool shell and construction area, prepare for plaster installation.
  13. Pre-plaster inspection by city, town, county or state (Depending on your location)
  14. Plaster – Install plaster or pebble interior finish.
  15. Fill pool with water

As you can see there are quite a few steps to building even a simple pool. Although, once you know the basic recipe it makes the process easier. Having some patience with the contractors you hire for each phase helps as well.

Courtesy of Premier Pools and Spas

How Much Will DIY Inground Pool Save You?

It is not uncommon to save 10-20% on the price of your pool by building it yourself. Yes, there are some pitfalls and drawbacks to building a pool yourself. However, for the right person, the financial benefit is worth the effort.

Summary

Note, you will not be able to build a pool with as much precision and grace as the best pool contractors out there. There will be some frustrating times when contractors don’t show up or return phone calls. This is what it takes to build a pool. If you can’t handle the uncertainty, you may want to consider hiring a pool contractor. However, if you have the guts to do it yourself, you just may find you enjoy the process.