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Lessons Learned While Building my First Pool

The day I determined that I wanted to build my first in-ground pool in the backyard was the start of a process that took a lot of trial and error. I didn’t know what I was doing and learned a lot along the way. I made a ton of mistakes, tried to cut a lot of corners, and, according to my wife, overspent just a bit.

The day I determined that I wanted to build my first in-ground pool in the backyard was the start of a process that took a lot of trial and error. I didn’t know what I was doing and learned a lot along the way. I made a ton of mistakes, tried to cut a lot of corners, and, according to my wife, overspent just a bit.

Flexibility

No matter how much you plan for every eventuality, things will pop up that are beyond your control. Maybe some old piping in the ground that wasn’t marked on the plans show up while digging. Perhaps the hired professionals aren’t so professional. Learning to roll with the project and being flexible really saved me a lot of stress and headaches.

Types of Pools

The type of pool is a huge factor in how long it takes the project to be completed.

Fiberglass pools are a prefabricated shell that can be delivered whole and installed. Typically they take less than two weeks to install because they’re already crafted before arriving at the house.

Vinyl pools are a great option and take a bit longer than fiberglass pools to install. These pools are shipped in kits, or parts, and assembled onsite. They take around two to five weeks to install once onsite.

We chose a classic concrete pool which takes a bit longer to install. These pools take about four to six weeks to install because all of the work is done on site. The concrete is poured, smoothed, and shaped all while you watch. It’s quite a fun experience to watch take place.

Permitting

Maybe the most important part of the process was the permits for the pool itself. Depending on the building regulations in your state, county, city, or neighborhood, this process can take weeks and even months. Once you’ve made the decision that you want an inground pool, begin the permitting process.

Contractors

Hiring professionals will save you time, money, and stress on any building project. Knowing what you don’t know and what you can do yourself is one of the key factors in determining whether or not you should bring in a professional. We had a professional survey the site and check under the ground before digging. We did the dig ourselves but then brought in a professional pool installer to lay the pool itself.

One of the most frustrating aspects that I had to learn was that contractors work on their own schedule and pace. My family and I discovered that a plate of cookies and some cold lemonade are excellent motivators in getting the job done quickly and efficiently but this was only after we understood this phenomenon.

Size & Site

Depending on the size and site of your pool, the job can last a few weeks to a few months. We knew we wanted a pool that would fill the space but not too big that it would cost too much to maintain.

We laid out the site using tape and sticks in the ground to visualize what it might look like. This gave us a good idea of what we wanted and we made adjustments from there. This allowed us to talk to the pool company and price out our options quickly because we knew exactly what our specifications were.

Weather

One of the major causes of delay in a pool project is the weather. Precipitation, wind, and other weather issues can arise and push back The time of year that you put in the pool is a huge decision. We chose to put the pool in just after the final freeze of the year.

Spring was an excellent choice because we knew that the project would take a while. Rains hampered our progress and made the ground soggy during the digging process. Once the rains left, however, it was smooth sailing. Pay attention to average weather patterns before making the decision on when to install.

Inspections

Once the pool has been laid, making sure everything was up to code was our next priority. If we sell this house in the future, we need to make sure that it will actually sell. If our property had a pool that leaked, leached into the soil, or wasn’t sound from an engineering standpoint, we would be out of luck.

The costs to bring it up to code would be astronomical now that the pool had been put into the ground. Luckily, the professionals we hired did a terrific job and the pool passed inspections. Taking this step is essential to make sure that the job has been done, and done right the first time.

Filling

The pool is done, we’re ready to jump in...but what about the water? We got the hose, turned it on, and began to fill the pool. Two hours later and a foot of water at the bottom of the pool, we realized that we’re not hopping in this thing anytime soon. There had to be a more convenient way (and cheaper!) to fill this pool.

We hired a pool water delivery service that saved us a fortune and filled the pool in a fraction of the time it would have taken to do it with the garden hose.

Patience

The process to build my first in-ground pool took a while from the first, “Let’s build a pool!”, to the actual first dip. It requires patience, compromise, and, sometimes, hard decisions. We had to realize quickly that this was a process and the development had to work itself out. Wanting a project to be done and actually getting it done are two different things. Once this was discovered by my family and me, it made it a lot more relaxing to see the progress as it came together.

Our pool project came together in about 13 weeks from start to finish. From the decision that we wanted a pool to the planning and surveying process to the preparing of the ground to the installation of one of our first inground pools here in Jackson to the inspection, all the way to the filling and first dive in was a long process. We learned a ton and are glad to share our experience with others.

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