Phases of Pool Construction
by Guest Blogger Ian Brownstone, August 11, 2010
So you've decided it's time to finally have your own backyard swimming pool. Congratulations!
You've found a good pool builder and negotiated payment. You've even got your new swim suit picked out. But before you dip your toes into the refreshing blue water though, certain things need to happen.
These different phases of construction of your new swimming pool play a vital role in giving you the pool of your dreams.
In this phase your pool builder and you get together and figure out what the best pool for you is. Depending on your lot size, your home's architecture, financial budget, and what you're looking for - the two of you will come up with a workable finished product.
During this phase many builders get the necessary city permits. If you are in an HOA, they might have to sign off on this too.
At the end of this phase you should have some nice sketches of your future pool. It will also detail any lighting features you want added.
This is the start of the heavy work, and often the messiest and most traumatic. Trees and grass to and from the street may suffer from the process.
First any existing decks, plants, or other backyard structures will need to be removed. Don't worry - you can relocate any landscaping you like after it's removed from the ground.
Now that your pool area is cleared out, it's time to start digging. Crews will bring in heavy machinery to dig the hole. Depending on your area's soil composition this can be challenging - for example, very rocky soils like we have in central Texas can be mostly limestone chunks that do not budge without a fight.
Digging the hole usually takes less than a few days. At the end of this phase, you will have a giant hole in your backyard. Fear not - your pool is on the way!
Steel and Rough Plumbing Phase:
Now the actual pool construction starts. The hole is reinforced with steel rebar. Depending on where you live, the amount might vary. But in all cases this steel rebar acts as the skeleton for the pool and provides the structural support for the shell of the pool.
During this phase skimmers, lights, returns and drains and all plumbing is roughed in, in preparation for the gunite or shotcrete.
This is where your pool starts to look like a pool. Gunite is concrete that is applied with a high velocity air stream. Your pool builder will apply this material around the steel reinforcement bar, and then carve and sculpt it into the general shape of your pool.
When they are done applying the gunite your pool will need to dry. It takes several weeks for gunite to cure. You may see small cracks in the rough surface. This will be covered in plaster. Your builder may have some tasks for the homeowner to perform during the curing phase. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully.
Tile & Coping Phase:
While your gunite is curing is a perfect time to start tiling your new pool. In can be done later, but many pool builders will start the tiling now. The perimeter pool tile keeps a cleanable surface at the water level. The pool coping stones, provide a nice cap stone, and also a safety grip on the inside for easy grasping. You should be able to imagine yourself having a refreshing dip now!
This is where your lighting comes in to illuminate midnight dips. Now that your pool is formed it's time to start prepping it for water and power.
Your builder will finish the rough plumbing from before, as well as lay smaller piping to complete the plumbing circuit. Your pool's electrical system will often start being installed now too. Electrical conduit will be laid for your electrical pumps, lighting, and any other powered features you want. After a series of pressure and line tests your pool builder will move on to installing your equipment.
Your pool is more than 80% done now. The last big construction step is plastering your pool's surface. This plaster serves 2 purposes:
1. It keeps the pool surface waterproof, protecting the gunite and steel beneath.
2. It looks great! You have several options for feel and look here so it's a good way to make your pool truly yours.
Final Prep and Startup Phase:
This is the homestretch now! Any last minute cleanups or installation happens here. Your pool will get the plaster finish applied. Finally, you can turn the water on, and fill it until completely full. Next, the filter will be started, chemistry balanced and sanitizers added.
After the final okay by you and your pool builder, it's time to swim!
Ian Brownstone has experience as an Austin pool builder, in the Capital of Texas.