Top 10 Tips for a Seamless In-Ground Pool Installation

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by SampleBoard

Few investments can enhance the joy and relaxation around your house during summertime more than a swimming pool.

For many of us, the scent of chlorine on a hot summer day is a symbol of delightful moments.

What the kids may not fully grasp after a day of can openers and Marco Polo is the time and effort required to construct your perfect summer sanctuary.

Many hopeful pool owners have seen their dreams of summer bliss fade due to shortcuts, inadequate planning, incorrect material choices, or a lack of proper water treatment practices.

We're here to guide you.

While every installation is unique and will present its own challenges, there are a few general principles that, if followed from the very start of your project, will give you the best chance to be the first one in the water.

By emphasizing the importance of these principles, we aim to instill a sense of confidence and preparedness in you.

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1. Choose the Ideal Spot

Before you start dreaming about your pool, it's crucial to understand the soil conditions in your area.

Some in-ground pool types are unsuitable for certain soil conditions, which could lead to future issues. Consulting with local pool installers can help you make the most viable choice for your area. 

Vinyl lining, fiberglass shells, and traditional concrete or gunite structures are all popular choices, though vinyl and fiberglass pools have limitations.

These must conform to more rigid shapes, where concrete or gunite (smooth concrete made of fine particulates) can be crafted into various shapes, allowing for more custom and exotic pool designs.

Even if you plan to go with a traditional rectangular pool, gunite pools offer advantages over their prefabricated cousins in the form of overall strength and durability.

However, they are far more labor-intensive to install and typically come with a heftier price tag.

Also, consider the space around the planned pool area.

Will there be enough remaining square footage for a gathering area, lounge chairs, an outdoor kitchen or grill area, and so on?

Your pool is much more than a hole in the ground with water in it–it is a scene, and the space around the water is as essential to consider as the pool itself.

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2. Install a Reliable Filtration System

It's easy to underestimate the importance of your pool's pump and filter, but it's also a big mistake.

A pool lives or dies by its filtration system.

Nothing ruins a fun day of swimming more quickly than water that is hazy, turbid, and unpleasant to be in or, on the other hand, overdosed with chlorine and other disinfectants.

Water conditions change swiftly, so you need a system with sufficient pumping and filtration power to address your pool's needs.

Let's discuss pool filter choices first.

Pool filters are typically categorized into three main classes:

  • Sand filters
  • Cartridge filters
  • Diatomaceous earth (or DE) filters.

All three types work in the same basic, mechanical fashion by straining out sediment and physical particulates from pool water.

Sand filters are cheap and relatively easy to maintain, but cartridge and DE filters outperform them.

Many people like cartridge filters because they offer solid filtration against particulates and turbidity, can be cleaned with a garden hose, and aren't as pricey as DE filters.

Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powdery substance made from diatoms, the fossilized remains of ancient algae-like plants.

Its porous structure gives it incredible filtration ability, but it has a heftier price tag and more demanding maintenance requirements.

3. Consider Your Use Cases 

This leads us to our next tip: consider your use cases.

What are people going to be doing at your pool? Swimming, obviously, but pools have many uses, and your intended use case may differ from your neighbors.

  • Are you looking to create a family-friendly spot where neighbors break bread?
  • Or is your ideal pool a cozy retreat away from the world?
  • Do you plan to throw parties with eight guests or eighty guests?
  • Will these be fashionable soirées, family reunions, or a mix?

Plan your space based on the activities you envision occurring there.

These considerations will affect not only the pool's design but also any additional water features, surrounding structures and mingling space, dining accommodations, changing rooms, showers, and so on.

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4. Plan the Layout Meticulously

Knowing your use cases goes hand in hand with tip three: plan your layout down to the last detail.

'Measure twice, cut once' is an adage every carpenter knows well about.

You don't want to be halfway through your excavation and realize that moving the pool site five feet to the left would be optimal.

Last-minute changes can frustrate your contractor and delay job completion.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so take the time to sit down with your contractors and plan things out until both parties are satisfied with the vision to be achieved and the proposed means of getting there.

5. Obtain Necessary Permits

Just because it's your backyard doesn't mean you can build anything you like there–at least not without the necessary paperwork.

Excavation presents issues and potential hazards, such as running into power lines, pipes, or sinkhole areas.

Many cities require fencing around pools, and the specifics differ from state to state or municipality.

Having a pool may pose questions and issues with your neighbors if your planned pool draws near anyone else's property line.

Some areas may legally require signage at a pool warning people that there is no lifeguard on duty, or the presence of first aid kits, etc.

Research online first, and ensure that all legal niceties are performed before you start digging.

6. Hire Experienced Contractors

It may seem obvious, but smooth-talking contractors have hired many people who underestimate a job's difficulty or overestimate their own skills.

You want to avoid your summer fun tied up in unexpected delays, personnel shortages, installation foul-ups, or unprofessional job-site behavior.

Speak with friends who have pools, and do your research on companies with established reputations.

It's a big job, and these individuals will be working in your yard or on your property for weeks at a time–do yourself a favor and hire people you can get along with and expect honest, decent work from.

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7. Select Quality Materials

Pools come with a hefty price tag, so it's always tempting to find places to cut costs, but the point of a luxury item needs to be clarified.

There's no need to spring for every feature under the sun but take the fundamentals seriously.

Concrete or gunite pools are generally costlier than vinyl or fiberglass inserts but are also more solid, reliable, and customizable.

8. Optimize Pool Circulation

Your pump and filter are the heart of your pool.

During the planning and building stages, optimize your circulation system and go with a pump powerful enough for the size of your pool.

Once you have your dream pool installed, you want to keep it looking its best, and that only happens if you keep the pump running.

Running your pump non-stop during swimming season may seem like an excessive electrical expense, but it's the best way to keep your pool water sparkling.

It's cheaper in the long run to prevent water problems rather than deal with them after they arise.

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9. Install at the Right Time of Year

This tip is region-dependent, though the goal is generally the same everywhere: build the pool in time for the summer heat. 

This will be fine if you live in Miami or Southern California.

Still, if you're a Minnesota resident, you have a narrow window of swimming weather each year, so you want to aim to finish before the first day warm enough to swim.

Generally, pool work begins in the spring, though winter pool building is also typical in many areas.

Talk to your local contractors and determine your timetable far before even your most generous personal estimates on how long this will take.

10. Test and Balance Water Chemistry Regularly

This isn't precisely an installation tip; perhaps more of an "ongoing installation tip," but after all the work and money you've put into your summer retreat, be kind to it with regular pH and chemical checks, filter changes, and proper pump use and maintenance.

It is highly recommended that you get guidance from a pool professional the first time you chemicalize your pool.

FAQs

How long does it typically take to install an inground pool?

A pool construction project can take eight to twelve weeks. Larger pools or projects with many special water features may take longer.

What can I expect to pay for an inground pool?

Of course, the price of an inground pool in 2024 varies by region, but on average, you can expect to pay between $30,000 and $80,000, though specialty projects can be far higher.

How do I maintain my new inground pool?

Be proactive rather than reactive in your approach to treating your water. Don't wait for a problem to develop and address it with chemicals.

Instead, keep your filter running continuously, skim any leaves or visible particulates, and monitor your disinfectants and pH.

Can I install an inground pool in a small backyard?

It depends on how small the yard is and what your city ordinances mandate regarding pool placements. If you are unsure, check with your city or municipal authorities.

The Bottom Line 

A pool is a luxury item–if you're going to build one, take the time to do it right, from start to finish.

Envision your ideal space and the sorts of gatherings you foresee taking place.

Talk to family members for advice and input, and ensure that you and your builders are on the same page throughout the process.

Equip a solid pump, keep your filter current, and balance your chemicals. Then, get busy enjoying those summer days and nights!

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