Building your own pool is a complicated process, but you can do it if you take it step-by-step and get a little help along the way. This guide will bring you through the stages of building your own pool as an owner-builder, and some things you’ll need to keep in mind through the process.
Our POOLAID design package will give you much greater detail on these steps, but below, we summarize what to expect when you build your own pool. With each stage, you’ll be one step closer to enjoying your backyard paradise!
Before you can build your own pool, you have to imagine it! POOLAID’s design library will guide your imagination through the world of pool designs. Our design team works with owner-builders to find pool designs that fit their backyards while staying within budget and helping you to build your own pool.
Speaking of budgeting, that’s the most important task of the owner-builder, even more than the design. You don’t want your pool project to run dry of funds in the middle of construction. This isn’t just expensive, it could be dangerous. POOLAID can help you estimate a budget for the designs you select.
Once you’ve created a design that fits your budget, your backyard, and your desires, POOLAID’s team of expert designers will create the blueprints and building specifications you need to take your project to the next stage.
Layout and Permitting
We recommend using the blueprints to mark out your pool plans roughly using paint or flour. This will give you a chance to experience how your backyard will change. Sit with the layout for a couple of days. If you end up not liking it, this is the best point to change it! You get one free revision with your pool design package.
If all looks well, then it’s time to make the authorities happy by getting your building permits and HOA approvals. Your local government website should have information on what to do to get a permit. You’ll probably need to send your blueprints and specifications for examination.
When you’re happy with your design and you have all the necessary permits, it’s time to start the next phase.
As an owner-builder, your role is to act as the general contractor. This means you’ll need to contact subcontractors to handle all the parts of your project. Inside the building specifications, there will be different parts for different subcontractors. You might have parts for excavation, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, and even painting. Each part needs to be handled by a subcontractor.
You can either call around to find subcontractors for all the parts, or you can submit your plans to a local plan room and let subcontractors bid on your project. Arranging the subcontracting and supervising the process is one of the most challenging parts of the owner-builder process, but by doing it yourself instead of hiring a general contractor, you could save 20% on your pool build, or more!
All pools will need to go through the stages below, so you’ll need subcontractors that can handle these next tasks.
Excavation is the first step, and usually the most expensive part of the process. Excavating safely and efficiently requires heavy machinery and a lot of training, so don’t try to save money doing it on your own! Let the professionals handle it.
The excavation company will do more than dig out the pit where your pool will go. They may also dig the trenches for running plumbing and electrical and smooth out any elevation changes in your backyard to make your space fit your plans.
Plumbing is the next stage after excavation. Pools use an incredible amount of water that needs to be filtered, chlorinated, cleaned, and even heated. This means a lot of plumbing for drains and water returns. If you have special pool features like water jets or fountains, all that needs plumbing as well.
This is also the point where your pump and filtration system gets installed. Your backyard might look like a maze of pipes once they’re done, but it’ll soon get covered up. Ask your plumbing team how they’ll test the piping before you sign off on the job.
Electrical and Gas
While the ground is still open, it’s time to get your backyard wired for electricity. It’s time to hire an electrician to do that! Your pool filtration system will need power, but you may have extra features like lights, fountain pumps, an equipment room, or even a spa control panel that need electricity.
Like the plumbing, ask how you can test the electrical work before you move on to the next phase. It’s time to cover up all those pipes and conduit, and you don’t want to pay for uncovering them again!
If you have any fire features, this is also the time to call in a gas contractor to run the piping. Everything that needs to run underground needs to be installed and tested before the next step.
The next stage is one of the most exciting! The concrete contractor will lay in the concrete and rebar to seal up the dirt, pipes, and conduit and really make your pool project take shape. Once they’re done, it’ll really start looking like a pool!
After they put in the structural rebar, they’ll use a special technique called shotcrete to shoot out concrete mix at high speed against the rebar. This is a fast way to build strong vertical walls for pools. Your design may also call for traditional concrete work for patios, benches, and other features.
Interior finish and Tiling
Once the concrete is dry, the interior of the pool needs to be finished. This can be done with plaster, pebbles, tile, and many other materials. This is also the surface that gets worn away when you clean the pool for algae. Eventually, it will need replacement, but the underlying concrete will last decades.
Tiles must also get added along the top edge of the pool for both aesthetics and to prevent an ugly water line stain from appearing around the edge. That’s why concrete pools always have that tile at the top.
All The Extras
At this stage, it’s time to make your concrete into a backyard retreat. Landscaping, finish work, pool and patio furniture, and much more can go in now! The specifics will depend on your design, as well as the kinds of contractors you’ll need to hire. Most projects will need a landscaper to fill in any exposed dirt with sod or gravel around the perimeter of your pool project.
Filling and Enjoying!
Now that all is ready, the last step is to fill the pool with water, turn on the filters, and charge the water with chemicals. Most homeowners will get the water delivered to avoid paying extra on their water bill.
Your local pool supply store can teach you how to keep your pool sparkling and supply you with the chemicals you need. Once the water is in and the pH is balanced, your pool is ready for use!
Wrapping Things Up
You’ve got one more step once you’re done building a swimming pool. That’s settling up everything with your subcontractors. If everything stayed within budget, this should be no trouble at all. Once you’ve paid off the last bill to fulfill all your contractual obligations, your job is done.
Now you can enjoy the beauty of your new backyard and pool and enjoy making memories that will last a lifetime! The design you started with in your imagination has become a reality. If you’re ready for your backyard transformation, contact POOLAID to purchase our owner-builder design package.