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    Errors in Excavation ~ Blunders in Backfilling ~ Grading Goofs

    May 20, 2014


    The first thing I have to say about the catchy title of this blog post, is that mistakes made with heavy equipment are never amusing. These can be costly errors that cause extra work and project delays.

    When digging out your pool, or when backfilling around the pool and over the pipes, and when grading leftover fill dirt, or when loading it for removal - there are many opportunities for errors, blunders, or just unexpected events. Most pool sites do not have a lot of room to move equipment in and out, and many people (myself included!) underestimate the amount of fill dirt that will be removed when you dig an inground pool.

    Potential Problems to Avoid when excavating, backfilling or grading around an inground pool.


    • Not contacting DigSafe or Call811 one week before diggingexcavator-5
    • Hitting overhead lines, trees, fence or house
    • Not planning for the amount of removed fill dirt
    • Not planning for heavy rain storms during construction
    • Not following the Dig Spec sheet exactly
    • Digging the pool too deep or too shallow
    • Digging the deep end on a downhill slope
    • Finished pool height not calculated correctly


    • Pipes not fully supported underneath skid-steer--loader
    • Not tamping every foot of backfill
    • Pipes not tested with water before backfilling
    • Re-using expansive fill dirt with low compaction
    • Raising level around pool too low or too high
    • Not allowing concrete collar to cure for a few days
    • Not allowing fill dirt to settle before pouring pool deck
    • Spilling dirt inside the pool


    • Poor storm water management around the pool grader-2
    • Equipment pad positioned too high or too low
    • Not accounting for future hillside creep
    • Steep grades, when a retaining wall would be better
    • Stagnant water areas with poor run-off
    • Grading too much within a setback or easement
    • Swale sizes too narrow for heavy rain
    • What would happen if the pool overflows?

    Avoiding these problems in pool excavation, backfilling and grading involves good planning, testing, execution, and not cutting corners. Soil characteristics are important, clay makes a poor pool backfill. Better to have a loamy, silty, sandy soil. If not, you can stratify the soil layers with gravel when backfilling around the pool.

    These pitfalls in pool construction are avoided when you work with the SPP Pool Experts. Our inground pool kit clients have free and unlimited support via phone or email, from a team of former pool builders, whose sole job is to provide support, and information for our DIY inground pool builders.

    Give us a call when you're ready to start planning to build your own inground pool, and we'll help you to steer clear of these potential problems!  

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert  

    Blog Author
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