There are a few decisions you need to make before taking on the job of building your own inground swimming pool. One is choosing either a fiberglass pool or a gunite pool. A fiberglass pool comes in a variety of pre-formed shapes. Once your hole is dug, the shape is dropped in by a crane. A gunite pool lets you decide where and what kind of options you would like to have with your pool. The following is for choosing an inground gunite pool.
First thing you need to do is contact your local building department. Each city has its own requirements to be an owner builder. They can also answer any questions you may have concerning your property setbacks. Many cities have set aside the outer 5 ft of your property. This area can’t have anything built upon it.
Next, you will need to choose a design and size for your pool. Most people choose a freestyle design while others go with the traditional shapes like oval , kidney and rectangle. Once you choose a shape that will fit inside your yard, you need to draw a plot plan. A plot plan shows exactly where your pool will be in relation to the house and property lines.
You will need to submit this plan, along with the required fees to a swimming pool engineer who will stamp your plans. After turning in these plans to the building department, you will receive your building permits. Most cities require you to call a Dig Alert Company before any excavating. They can tell you where your electrical, gas, phone lines etc. are so digging will not disrupt any of these services.
Contact an excavator who will do the layout and dig the pool. Most will work with you to get the right shape, so it’s good to be there while they are digging.
Pool plumbing is next. They will discuss with you what types of pool equipment you will need. Most equipment consists of a heater, pump, and filter. Any other options such as waterfalls, Jacuzzi jets, auto-fills can also be decided at that time. Once you’ve purchased the equipment, have the plumber install it along with the pool plumbing.
You will need to contact a local steelman. Your excavated hole will be lined with rebar. This is done to add some reinforcement to the gunite.
Contacting an electrician is next. He will do the electrical for your swimming pool. This includes the lighting for the pool and all electrical wires for your pool equipment. Any outdoor lighting, timers, on-off switches can be discussed at this time with the electrician.
After the electrical, contact the building’ department for an inspection. They will inspect your excavating, plumbing, electrical, and steel. This inspection is known as a pre-gunite inspection. Once approved, you may then contact a gunite company. They will use a mixture of water, cement, and sand to spray the foundation of the pool. They will add at this time, any steps or seats for the pool. It takes about 2 weeks for the gunite to cure.
While it is curing, you can contact the tile man. He will install your tile. You have a choice to purchase your tile yourself or have your tile man purchase it. There are many different types of tiles. Also many different colors. You may want to check with a local tile dealer about choices.
The next step is the pool decking. Here again, there are many choices. Decks can be made from concrete, flagstone, or brick. You will need to decide how wide and what areas you’re decking will cover. Most often, at least 4 ft. wide decking is chosen.
Before you can plaster your swimming pool, a second inspection is required. This inspection is to check that the gunite, tile, and decking is completed. Fencing must be installed around the swimming pool area. Most fences are required to be a minimum of 5 feet tall and all gates must be self-closing. You can check with your building department for any other requirements.
Once these issues have been approved by the building inspector, you can contact a pool plasterer. You will discuss with them, different types and colors of plaster. As soon as your plaster is applied, your pool will be immediately filled with water. It takes about a week for the plaster to cure.
It’s wise to contact a local swimming pool maintenance company. They will do the initial start-up. They can answer any questions you may have about using the chemicals, test kits, and the operation of your pool equipment.
All in all, with a little planning and effort you can save about 25% over the cost of hiring a swimming pool contractor.