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The Pool Construction Process

If you are building a pool, you need to prepare yourself for what the pool construction process is really like. For the next 6-10 weeks, your backyard is going to look like a bomb hit it, learn how a pool is made to better prepare yourself. Your yard is basically going to be an active construction site until your pool is complete.

What The Pool Construction Process Is Like

Heavy construction equipment and workmen will frequently be in and out of your backyard performing work. Your backyard is under construction and it’s going to look like this for a while. You need to understand that it will get worse and worse before it gets better and your dream begins to take shape.

Pool construction has lots of moving parts and isn’t always a linear process. Many times when homeowners don’t see work being performed in their backyard they don’t understand that there are lots of stops and starts in the process. Permits, weather or scheduling conflicts can also impact the timeline. If you are familiar with the process before you start it, you will be better prepared and know exactly what to expect. The process can be rough but the end results are worth it.

The 13 Phases Of Pool Construction

Phase 1 – Permitting & Engineering Plans
(average duration: 7 to 10 days)

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Your pool contractor will begin by acquiring the necessary permits for the construction of the pool. The pool plans must comply with state and local building requirements as well as your HOA (if applicable). If you have an HOA, the homeowner is required to get approval before construction can proceed. Your pool contractor can help you get HOA approval on your pool plans and should be well versed in the process.

Phase 2 – Pool Layout
(average duration: 1 day)

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Your pool contractor will visit your home and layout the entire pool area in spraypaint. This layout will indicate the shape, size and location of your pool in your yard for the excavation crew.

Phase 3: Excavation
(average duration: 1 to 2 days)

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An excavation crew will come in with heavy digging equipment within a couple days and excavate the pool to the exact engineering specifications. Ask ahead of time if your pool contractor will cover repairs to sprinklers, landscaping, fencing or any other items that may be damaged during the process of moving heavy equipment in and out of your yard. Many do not.

Many areas of the country, such as California have rocky soil. In many instances a “hard dig” will need to be performed when their are adverse soil conditions. This will involve removing the bucket from the excavator and replacing it with a ripper attachment. This ripper attachment can break up hard soil but is very time consuming therefore you may incure additional expenses. The amount you pay for your excavation is dictated by the size of your pool, depth of the harden soil and type of hardness.

Your pool contractor will often dig a test hole at the beginning of the excavation to determine if a hard dig will be necessary.

Phase 4: Plumbing & Equipment Set
(average duration: 1 to 2 days)

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The plumbing for each pool is designed specifically to give it the best circulation and filtration for crystal clear water and ease of maintenance. Your pool contractor will perform calculations ahead of time to ensure that all equipment and piping are of the correct size to combine water clarity and energy conservation. An experienced plumber will plumb in all of the filtration equipment for the pool, including water feature pumps and other optional equipment.

Phase 5: Structural Steel
(average duration: 1 to 2 days)

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Structural Steel is the steel reinforcement structure for the shell of your pool to give it added strength per the engineering plans. It consist of a series of rebar placed horizontally and vertically specifically engineered for you pool design requirements.

Phase 6: Electrical & Gas
(average duration: 1 to 2 days)

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Electricians will trench and install electrical conduit/wire from the house main electrical box to the equipment and all other locations specified on the plan. If utilizing a gas heater or BBQ, gas lines will be run from the main gas meter in the front of the house to the designated equipment. Typically a licensed electrician is brought in for wiring electrical components to the pool and equipment. Many homeowners have questions for an electrician during this time, like how will the swimming pool impact my electric bill, and wonder what the most energy efficient pool equipment is for running their pool. This is a perfect opportunity for your pool contractor to coordinate with a seasoned veteran electrician to get feedback and provide you the best solution. 

Phase 7: Inspection
(average duration: 2 to 5 days)

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Upon completion of the electrical stage your pool will typically undergo an inspection. This is the first of typically two or more city or county inspections that will occur. Scheduling can be difficult sometimes and this can also effect the timeline. The inspection process typically takes a few days.

Phase 8: Shotcrete/Gunite
(average duration: 1 day)

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Shotcrete or gunite will be shot through a high pressure hose to create the shell of your new pool.

Upon completion it is required that the homeowner lightly water the concrete 3-4 times per day to allow the concrete to cure slowly.

Your pool contractor will then typically wait an additional 5-7 days before they begin the next step. This delay allows the concrete to cure properly.

Phase 9: Tile/Coping & Water Features
(average duration: 2 to 5 days)

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At this step your pool contractor will install the waterline tile, coping around the pool edge and any water features such as waterfalls, water sheer, rain descent, deckjets, laminars, etc. The time necessary for installation all depends on the number of features and their complexity.

Phase 10: Decking
(average duration: 3 to 5 days)

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The most popular decking options are concrete and pavers. Concrete can be coated with a texture such as Cool Deck, stamped, acid wash or many other options. Concrete decking is be poured and then a finish is applied.

Pavers have become the most desirable because of the beauty, longevity and maintenance free.

The number of square feet of decking will determine the number of days it will require. A more expensive option to concrete and pavers often found in high-end backyards are travertine and flagstone. The cost and time to install these options can go up substantially from pavers and concrete.

Phase 11: Final Inspection
(average duration: 3 to 5 days)

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Before the pool surface is applied your pool must undergo a final city or county inspection. The home owner will be required to be home for this inspection because the inspector will need access to the home and pool area. The inspector will need to verify that everything is up to code before the interior can be installed.

Phase 12 – Pool Interior
(average duration: 2 to 3 days)

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Your pool project is almost complete and the finish line is in sight! Your pool will get either a plaster or aggregate interior. A popular interior finish is Pebbletech which is shot out of a high pressure hose and comes in a variety of beautiful colors. After applying the finish it requires 24 hours to cure and then undergoes an acid wash.

Phase 13: Start-Up
(average duration: 5 to 7 days)

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Plaster dust and chemicals can accumulate in the pool. When it’s filled it will need to undergo a proper start-up process. This is important for your pools interior as well as to be properly chemically balanced for ideal swimming conditions. The entire process can take as long as a week. Once this process is completed, your pool will be ready to swim! This should mean the end of a constant parade of workmen in the backyard. After a long process filled with many long days staring at this giant hole in your backyard, you can finally appreciate what it was all for.

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