Above ground pool with built in steps

Building an in-ground swimming pool is a project that you may have been dreaming of for a long time. In-ground pools offer countless hours of fun and relaxation for everyone, young to old. A pool is also a solid investment in your property. Unlike above-ground swimming pools, in-ground swimming pools are permanent fixtures that add resale value. 

During the project, your yard will be the site of major building activity. Fences may need to be removed so that a dump truck and a digger have full access. The actual pool installation process will vary based on your contractor or installation company, your area, your space, and many other factors, but this guide outlines the basic steps for building an in-ground pool. Knowing what to expect from your pool installation process is the first step.

How Long It Takes to Build an In-Ground Pool

Budget between two and three months for the total project, from start to finish. The actual working time is usually between 40 and 50 days.

How fast can an in-ground swimming pool be built? It's difficult to expedite pool work because steps are dependent on previous steps, plus some materials need time to fully cure before moving on. Some estimates indicate that an in-ground pool can be built in as little as 20 or 21 days.

How Much an In-Ground Pool Costs

Depending on your area, the type of pool, and your yard, it costs between $37,000 and $67,000 to build an in-ground concrete swimming pool. The average cost to build an in-ground pool is around $50,000 to $55,000.

If you're not fully committed to building an in-ground pool but you still want a pool, consider an above-ground pool. Above-ground swimming pools can cost as little as $350 to $400 for a 15-foot diameter round pool. A rigid wall pool 18 feet in diameter costs between $1,400 and $1,500.

Meet the Swimming Pool Contractor

After you choose a swimming pool contractor or general contractor, you will meet to discuss the type of swimming pool you want, including shapes and extra features such as slides.

The pool contractor will draw up an estimate. You can speak to the contractor again if you want to modify any features. When you are satisfied, both of you will sign the contract.

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Draw up Plans and Apply for Permits

The contractor will create plans for the pool. The contractor will also deal with the process of applying for and acquiring permits with your local permit office.

If your house is in a community controlled by a homeowner’s association (HOA), it is generally your responsibility to apply to the HOA. Some builders may agree to be on hand with you at the HOA board meeting. This can be a lengthy process, ranging from one to three weeks or even more. So it pays to begin as soon as possible, especially with HOA approvals.

Mark the Initial Layout in Your Yard

The contractor or builder will spend a couple of hours staking out the basic shape of the swimming pool in your yard. The shape depends on the location, position, and size of the pool. The pool’s shape will be close to accurate at this point, and its shape will be brought into sharper focus in later stages. All underground services such as electrical wires, plumbing supply pipes, irrigation lines, and communication lines are identified.

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Above ground pool with built in steps
Above ground pool with built in steps

Excavate the Pit

When the digger and dump truck arrive, your in-ground pool finally begins to take shape. If your yard has large items such as rocks that need to be pushed away or removed, the digger is used. For about two days, your yard will be busy and dusty. Later, workers will do some additional digging by hand.

Install Plumbing

One of the benefits of an in-ground pool is its internal plumbing. Unlike above-ground pools, in-ground pools’ pipes for filtration and heating are buried in the ground. Plumbers will install all of the in-ground pipes at this time, a process that generally takes one to two days.

Install Rebar

In-ground pools require a steel skeleton for the strength of the concrete. This rebar framework of structural steel consists of vertical and horizontal bars that are tied by hand onto steel posts hammered into the earth. Expect the structural steel phase to take about one or two days.

Install Electrical and Optional Gas Connections

Electrical lines must be run in the ground from the house to the pool. If the pool area has extra features such as a firepit or barbecue which require gas, this line is run, as well. This step will take a day or two. The electric and gas work must be inspected, a process dependent on the inspector's schedule and which may take three or four days.

Apply Shotcrete

Concrete is forced through hoses and shot at high velocity onto the structural steel. While the application takes only a day, the concrete must cure for five or six days. During this time, it must be watered a few times a day.

The impact of the shotcrete hitting the walls of the pool consolidates the concrete. Shotcrete helps the pool contractor apply concrete without using cumbersome concrete forms. Yet the shotcrete ends up with the same structural properties as concrete poured into formwork. Shotcrete also expedites the pool building process because water and dry concrete are mixed at the nozzle.

Install Tile and Coping

Tile around the upper part of the pool and coping at the top is installed. If there are water features such as slides or waterfalls, these are added at this time. For basic installations, this takes about two days. Complex installations can take as much as five to seven days.

Pour or Install Pool Decking

Installing decking can take another five days. Poured, textured concrete is the most popular option since it is continuous and requires little upkeep. Concrete or natural stone pavers are other options. Concrete pavers help to control costs. Stone pavers are more expensive yet impart a natural beauty not found with concrete.

Prepare for Inspection and Major Cleanup

The pool must be inspected by municipal officials. Depending on their schedule, it can take up to five days for an inspector to show up. Large items from the work area are cleared away at this time, too.

Apply Pool Surface

Similar to the shotcrete, a smooth surfacing material is shot through high-pressure hoses onto the pool's concrete surface. After a full day's curing time, the surface is acid washed. This step takes about two days.

Fill Swimming Pool With Water

The final step of building an in-ground swimming pool is to fill it with water. With a garden hose, it will take about 30 to 40 hours, or about two days, to fill up a 20,000-gallon capacity swimming pool.

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Can you put steps in an above

For above ground pools with a deck, you can use the single pool ladder or the wider and safer pool steps, connected to your pool deck. For above ground pool ladders, look at the Heavy Duty In-Pool Ladder, or the 5-Step Stainless Steel pool ladders.

What above

Resin. Resin pools are one of the most popular options because they really are the toughest, longest-lasting above ground pools you can find.

What type of pool is cheapest to build?

A vinyl pool has the lowest installation cost and can be built to any size and shape. A vinyl liner needs to be replaced every five to 10 years; because the material is thin, it can be damaged by animals, falling tree branches, rough-housing children, etc.

What is the easiest above

Inflatable. Inflatable swimming pools are the least expensive, easy to maintain and simple to set up. They require an air pump for inflation, but there's not much to it after that.