After a long hot day in the summertime, there is nothing like jumping into a back yard swimming pool to cool off and feel refreshed. Building a swimming pool is a big project, but you can do it if you have the proper instructions and equipment.

  • Before starting the project, check your local building codes and obtain the proper permits.
  • Decide the exact location where you want your pool, and make sure there are no underground lines, pipes or wires where you will dig. Utility companies will not charge to mark their locations for you.
  • Determine the maximum depth of your pool.
  • Decide how high you want the top of your pool and deck to be.
  • Determine the slope of the land where your pool will be.

A concrete pool would require an experienced contractor’s knowledge and expertise, so you will probably want to build a pool with a cement bottom and a vinyl liner. The walls of your pool can be of plastic, fiberglass, galvanized steel or aluminum.

Material for the pool walls

  • The most popular material for pool walls is polymer.
  • Fiberglass may become brittle and is usually not readily available.
  • Galvanized steel would be suitable, but if you plan to sell your home later, potential buyers may be concerned about rust, although modern galvanizing procedures are successful in preventing rust from forming.
  • Aluminum makes a high quality wall but is costly.

Ready to start the pool

  • Shop for your pool kit and all the supplies that you will need.
  • Use stakes and string to make an outline of your pool. The kit will give you the correct measurements for the pool bottom and sides.
  • Begin digging at the deep end of your pool, and use a builder’s level/transit to make sure your final hole is level. You may want to hire a backhoe operator for this chore.
  • Dig the sides of the pool about two feet bigger than your outline to give you room to pour the concrete footer and work with the side panels and braces.
  • Dig 3 ½ feet down at the shallow end for the pool walls and farther down at the deep end.
  • Make a 2 foot wide shelf outside the deep end for the pool walls to sit on, and hold them in place by driving 2 foot long rebar stakes through the bottom.
  • Use a transit/builder’s level and tape measure to be sure that the bottom of the shallow end and the shelf are precisely flat and level.
  • Install the panels making sure they are level.
  • Cut the coping and install it.
  • Dig the spot for the drain box so it will be 2 inches above the bottom in the center of the deep end, and mark the pool’s bottom measurement with string 2 inches above the bottom.
  • Install the plumbing lines.
  • Pour a 6 to 8 inch thick concrete footer.
  • Pour the cement mixture 2 inches deep in the pool bottom beginning at the deep end using a concrete finishing tool to smooth and flatten it. Remove any nails and string markers as you work.

Installing the liner

  • Begin at the deep end and hook the top into the grooves in the coping.
  • Smooth the liner and tuck it into the corners.
  • Suction air from between the liner and pool by inserting a shop vacuum hose into a small opening at the top of the liner, and make sure that it reaches the bottom of the pool. Keep the vacuum running until you have 8 inches of water in the shallow end of the pool.
  • Begin filling the pool until you have 2 inches of water in the deep end.
  • Smooth wrinkles, cut the liner out of the center of the drain box, screw the collar on the bottom drain, and put the top on the drain.

If you have questions about maintenance or any other aspect of your pool, visit Wiki Answers: Pool Building & Repair.

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