Building an in-ground swimming pool is a project that you may have been dreaming of for a long time. In-ground pools offer countless hours of fun and relaxation for everyone, young to old. A pool is also a solid investment in your property. Unlike above-ground swimming pools, in-ground swimming pools are permanent fixtures that add resale value.
During the project, your yard will be the site of major building activity. Fences may need to be removed so that a dump truck and a digger have full access. Budget between two and three months for the total project, from start to finish. The actual working time is usually between 40 and 50 days.
Meet the Contractor
After you choose a pool contractor or general contractor, you will meet to discuss the type of swimming pool you want, including shapes and extra features such as slides. The contractor will draw up an estimate. You can speak to the contractor again if you want to modify any features. When you are satisfied, both of you will sign the contract.
Draw up Plans and Apply for Permits
The contractor will create plans for the pool. The contractor will also deal with the process of applying for and acquiring permits with your local permit office. If your house is in a community controlled by a homeowner’s association (HOA), it is generally your responsibility to apply to the HOA. Some builders may agree to be on hand with you at the HOA board meeting. This can be a lengthy process, ranging from one to three weeks or even more. So it pays to begin as soon as possible, especially with HOA approvals.
Initial Layout in Your Yard
The contractor or builder will spend a couple of hours staking out the basic shape of the swimming pool in your yard. The shape depends on the location, position, and size of the pool. The pool’s shape will be close to accurate at this point, and its shape will be brought into sharper focus in later stages. All underground services such as electrical wires, plumbing supply pipes, irrigation lines, and communication lines are identified.
Excavating the Pit
When the digger and dump truck arrive, your in-ground pool finally begins to take shape. If your yard has large items such as rocks that need to be pushed away or removed, the digger is used. For about two days, your yard will be busy and dusty. Later, workers will do some additional digging by hand.
One of the benefits of an in-ground pool is its internal plumbing. Unlike above-ground pools, in-ground pools’ pipes for filtration and heating are buried in the ground. Plumbers will install all of the in-ground pipes at this time, a process that generally takes one to two days.
In-ground pools require a steel skeleton for the strength of the concrete. This rebar framework of structural steel consists of vertical and horizontal bars that are tied by hand onto steel posts hammered into the earth. Expect the structural steel phase to take about one or two days.
Install Electrical and Optional Gas Connections
Electrical lines must be run in the ground from the house to the pool. If the pool area has extra features such as a firepit or barbecue which require gas, this line is run, as well. This step will take a day or two. The electric and gas work must be inspected, a process dependent on the inspector's schedule and which may take three or four days.
Concrete is forced through hoses and shot onto the structural steel. While the application takes only a day, the concrete must cure for five or six days. During this time, it must be watered a few times a day.
Tile and Coping Installation
Tile around the upper part of the pool and coping at the top is installed. If there are water features such as slides or waterfalls, these are added at this time. For basic installations, this takes about two days. Complex installations can take as much as five to seven days.
Decking Poured or Installed
Installing decking can take another five days. Poured, textured concrete is the most popular option since it is continuous and requires little upkeep. Concrete or natural stone pavers are other options. Concrete pavers help to control costs. Stone pavers are more expensive yet impart a natural beauty not found with concrete.
Inspection and Major Cleanup
The pool must be inspected by municipal officials. Depending on their schedule, it can take up to five days for an inspector to show up. Large items from the work area are cleared away at this time, too.
Pool Surface Application
Similar to the shotcrete, a smooth surfacing material is shot through high-pressure hoses onto the pool's concrete surface. After a full day's curing time, the surface is acid washed. This step takes about two days.
Pool Filled With Water
Your new in-ground swimming pool is filled with water. With a garden hose, it will take about 30 to 40 hours, or about two days, to fill up a 20,000-gallon capacity swimming pool.