Swimming pools make a great addition to the backyard and increase the value of your property while providing you with the opportunity to relax and unwind. Building a pool is far from a simple DIY project. However, with some patience, perseverance, and dedication, you can get the job done and save significant dollar amounts. In a majority of cases, you may not be permitted to construct the pool on your own. A licensed builder must supervise the pool construction in order for the project to comply with local building codes.
What Is Needed to Construct a Pool Yourself?
Tremendous planning and preparation go into pool construction. This guide here will help you through all the steps required.
Every city requires residential building permits for you to put a swimming pool on your property. You can apply for a permit online on the website of your local Department of Building and Safety. The residential building permit also outlines the exact dimensions and specifications of your new pool. Many municipalities also require an additional separate electrical permit. However, this can be taken care of by the electric sub-contractor you hire. It is a good idea to check your neighborhood's homeowners' association guidelines, as many neighborhoods do not allow pools.
Most cities require that you fill out the permit application with structural drawings. These are engineering drawings that determine the stress forces through the pool. Proximity to house lines, proximity to property lines, and pool depth are also taken into account while drawing these plans. The amount of steel rebar required is determined through structural plans. You can either create your own structural drawing by visiting one of the many pool online solutions or hire someone to make them for you.
Pools are usually constructed in the backyards of homes. However, you could create one on the side as well if you have space. Take considerable time in working out the details of the perfect site. You need to be careful while picking out a spot to make it cost effective. Constructing a pool in some areas might drive up the cost if there is an outdoor structure, like a tree that needs to be uprooted. Calculate the dimensions of your pool to pick a suitable site on your property.
Create a basic design for your pool. Pools can be any shape - round, rectangle, square figure 8, or any other shape you desire. Think about factors like the number of exits and the depth of the pool when planning your pool design. These details are important before you begin pool construction because they determine how your pool will meet code, remain safe, and satisfy your desires. The sub-contractors you hire will need to know your expectations before they begin work.
The standard sizes for most home swimming pools are 10' X 20', 15' X 30', or 20' X 40'. The depth can be anywhere from 4 feet to 15 feet. There are several suitable websites to help in the designing phase.
DIY Pool Design Software
There are several software programs such as Adobe and AutoCAD that will allow you to build your own designs. There are many other free online pool designing solutions that will help you create the basic outline for your pool. The sub-contractor you choose may also be able to understand any mode of design from complex blueprints to pencil sketches if he or she is experienced in pool design. However, to keep things simple, it is always advisable to design through a software program.
You can even pay companies to create the right pool design for you. There are many online and in-person solutions you can choose from to design your pool the way you want. Keep in mind that the construction cost will increase for complex designs.
You save huge dollar amounts by designing your own pool and getting the right permits. However, it is hard to imagine pool construction as a complete DIY project. You will need to hire sub-contractors for the different phases of construction. You need to be sure to hire the right sub-contractors after thoroughly checking their experience and backgrounds. You should also finalize expectations and remuneration beforehand.
You need to make sure that all sub-contractors you hire are licensed. There is no point cutting corners here as that will only amount to some serious headache later on. You can protect yourself from getting scammed by hiring sub-contractors who are bonded, insured, and licensed. The Registrar of Contractors (ROC) has information on all licensed contractors in your area. You can also file a claim for compensation with them if something goes wrong.
Clean ROC Record
There is no better review site for finding quality contractors than the Registrar of Contractors. Your sub-contractor should have a clear record. You should check past and current complaints against the sub-contractor before hiring.
Your sub-contractor should be both trustworthy and experienced. There will be no pool contractor to oversee the work, and you will have to take their word that the job done is quality and safe work. As such, you should hire a sub-contractor who is referred by one of your friends or family regarding pool work, if possible.
Who Is Qualified to Construct Pools?
There is a huge trend among homeowners to build their own pools. However, this does not mean you can just build your new pool on a whim while doing everything yourself. Proper pool construction requires you to hire sub-contractors to get the job done well, safely, and according to local regulations. Completing pool construction as a DIY project simply means you do not enlist the services of a professional pool contractor, but rather use the services of sub-contractors to implement your pool design.
How Does Pool Construction Work?
First, you can either hire pool contractors to oversee the building of your pool, or you can plan the building yourself. Then, either these pool contractors hire other sub-contractors for different job roles such as excavation or plumbing, or you hire these sub-contractors yourself. Pool construction, essentially, is the assembly of the right sub-contractors to complete various tasks simultaneously and ensure your pool is of optimal quality.
Which Sub-Contractors Are Required?
You would need to hire sub-contractors once you have developed the building plans and received the permits. It is easier to build a gunite pool than vinyl or fiberglass. You would require the sub-contractors in pool construction who know how to install your particular pool design choice. The same subcontractor most times will perform multiple functions, but you should be careful to check which functions they are experienced in.
Excavators are responsible for digging the huge hole where your pool will fit. It is recommended that you use the services of 'call before you dig' or 'blue stake' before the actual digging starts. This service is typically free and helps in marking underground utility lines such as plumbing or gas lines. A backhoe is used by most excavators to get the job done. However, if there is a space crunch, a Bobcat might be used. In very rare cases, a large crew might
be required to carry out a hand dig. The excavators will also form benches, steps and all other structural features required.
The plumbing team is responsible for installing all pool plumbing equipment and PVC piping. Pool equipment consists of filters, pumps, chlorination systems and heaters. You can save a lot of money by buying your own equipment and hiring a plumbing team to install it. Main drains, skimmers, pool filters, pool pumps, pool chlorinators, pool heaters, waterfalls, wall fittings, water levelers, and Jandy valves are just some of the equipment pieces you may need. You might also require spa jets or spa blowers depending upon your pool design.
The electrician will lay electrical lines necessary to operate pool machinery such as pumps, remotes, lights, and timers. You can get electrical work done in your backyard, too. You need to get pool accessories, swimming pool lighting, and pool controls before you can begin the electrical phase.
Pool construction requires laying down steel rebar frame. This is the reinforcement of pool shell before shooting shotcrete - the concrete-like substance that makes up the wall of your pool.
This is the shell of your pool and is a mixture of concrete and other materials. A high-pressure nozzle is used to spray this mixture to form a shell.
The tile team lays the tiles along the waterline and inside the pool.
This team takes care of rock water features in and around the pool before pouring the deck. Accent boulders, grottos, and standard waterfalls form a part of this. It is optional and depends upon the design you have for your pool.
Kooldeck has been a standard decking option around swimming pools for years. However, recently acrylic decking is quickly becoming popular. There are multiple creative options that include pavers, flagstone, exotic stones, and travertine that can be applied in a variety of different finishes.
Most cities require fencing around the pool as part of the code. You can hire a professional fencer to create your fence of choice. This, however, is one portion of your pool-building project you can certainly do yourself.
Call in a gas company if you are looking to attach natural gas heater options. They will put natural gas lines required for the proper functioning of this equipment. Gas subcontractors also take care of separate gas permits and inspection.
Your pool will be a mess after the tile, shotcrete, rockwork, and deck work is completed. The cleanup crew will haul away all the rubble and trash before the interior of the pool is installed. The cleaning crew also completes the final grading around the land. They clean the deck, pool lights, and peripheral area before the final interior can be installed.
The interior crew installs the pool interior. The standard interior has been Marcite plaster. However, over the years, it has given way to other advanced interior products such as quartz and pebbles. The interior crew is also responsible for an acid wash to clean plaster haze. However, this will only happen when the interior has time to dry.
How to Construct the Pool
Once you have acquired all the needed materials and hired sub-contractors, it is time to begin construction! It is helpful to get in touch with sub-contractors required for each phase and establish a timeline.
Excavation is the most important part of your pool construction. All other components of the pool process rely heavily on this. It is important to have your building permits before you begin excavation. Otherwise, you risk unearthing or damaging utility lines you were not aware of. To excavate the building crew needs access to your property and an entry to bring in a backhoe and other excavation machinery.
Grading the Ground
The next step involves grading the bottom of the pool to even out the floor. It is important that you let the sub-contractor know if you are planning on keeping an even floor or making one end shallow or deep. There are different ways of grading a swimming pool floor. However, all of them involve covering the floor with a thick layer of washed gravel subsoil. This is raked and compressed to achieve the perfect levels.
Frame the Sides
The next step is to form the sides of the pool. The sub-contractor will set up metal rebar and wooden boards to create a shape and provide support around the circumference of the pool. It is important for the walls of your pool to be level, flat, and evenly aligned. It is critical to hire an experienced steel rebar crew to form the proper structure of your pool.
Pool's water circulation system and filtration system can be installed at this point. The plumbing sub-contractor should be experienced in laying down pipes for pools. An inexperienced plumber can make a costly mess of your pool. Plumbing systems might differ on the building codes as per your area. A good way to save on construction costs is to procure all plumbing material yourself.
An electrician will need to run power to your filtration system and any underwater lighting system you require. It is extremely important that you seek the services of a professional. Bad wiring can cause hazardous or fatal malfunctioning.
They will finish your pool using poured concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass. Concrete is the strongest surface material and the most expensive. Vinyl liners are by far the most economical option for finishing a home swimming pool. Fiberglass pools are sold as one piece pre-made forms and can be expensive.
The building crew will then use a concrete mix to cover the steel forms placed along the sides of the pool. The concrete will be graded and leveled out while still wet. The walls are typically finished with sprayed concrete - also called shotcrete or cinder block. It is critical that you check the angle of slopes if you are creating a pool with varying depths.
Vinyl lining is installed after a thin layer of concrete has dried. The entire vinyl sheet will be unrolled and attached to the inside of the pool by securing with the built-in liner tack. The air between the vinyl and walls is then is then sucked out with a vacuum nozzle. Holes will need to be cut out beforehand for lights, skimmers, and any other fixtures. With proper equipment and following of instructions, installing vinyl lining is easy enough for a do-it-yourself project.
Pre-made fiberglass liner is a single piece form put in place using a crane or similar piece of equipment. The space around the pool will be filled in with concrete or dirt. In some cases, the fiberglass liners are installed by spraying fiberglass material onto an existing frame.
Fill In Water
The next step is filling your pool with water. You can either use a single water hose or hire a truck to top it off. A single water hose can sometimes take as long as 24 hours to fill a pool. It will be easier to get the job done by a water truck and multiple hoses. Look for leaks, plumbing malfunctions, and other complications before you use the pool. Even more importantly, check wiring circuitry before you get in the pool! Call the relevant sub-contractor immediately if there is an issue.
Use a water testing kit to check the pH balance of the water. The ideal pH is 7.4-7.6 or neutral. Add chlorine, algaecide, and any other chemical as required. You can even hire a pool maintenance company for help.
By following these steps, you can easily save a lot of money. However, you need to be sure you acquire building permits before you start construction. Hiring the right sub-contractors is critical to this project.
We hope these tips have helped you plan and start your pool construction project today! What are you waiting for? Rest and relaxation await!