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    How to Build a Pool: Challenging Pool Locations

    October 10, 2013


    Over my 30 plus years of pool building I have installed pools in all sorts of challenging locations. Every pool builder has his stories to tell; pool installations that were challenging and ultimately rewarding to see them completed. Here's a few war stories, from an old builder of inground pool kits.

    build-a-pool-on-a-mountainON A MOUNTAIN: We had a 20 x 40 rectangle built into the side of a rock mountain. 10 ft off the back of the house an extreme incline started up and by the time it reached the back end of his yard it was 35 ft higher. What made this even more challenging was that the hillside was solid rock. The homeowner contracted a blasting company to come in and blast out enough room for the pool and 6 ft of deck on the far side.

    The new issue after blasting was the huge hole in the ground. About 15 truckloads of material had to be brought in and compacted, layer by layer, to the shape of the pool configuration. While we were building the pool, an 8 ft high retaining wall was installed across the whole backyard. This was a very determined homeowner who wasn’t going to let a rock mountain stop him from having a swimming pool.build-a-pool-on-a-cliff

    OVER A CLIFF: I installed an inground pool kit on a small cliff, where the back side of the pool had a huge drop off, a good 30 ft down. I backfilled the pool with a small bobcat very carefully, as 3 ft from the bobcat was a 30 ft drop off. I can tell you I was scared to death during that backfill and glad to be off the machine and have the backfill completed.

    build-a-pool-hit-waterUNDER WATER:  Installed a pool kit where we hit water just 2 ft under ground - a very high water table. This was a small pool, a 14 x 28 rectangle, 42” flat bottom - a pool to play volley ball. We knew about the water table before starting the installation, as the customer had to do underground drainage just to build the house. It was a muddy mess, even though we used pumps will digging.

    We over dug the depth 2 ft deeper, and filled the overdig with ¾” gravel stone. In the bottom center of the gravel pit, we put in a drainage pipe and connected a pump, outside of the pool area, pumping non-stop to keep the area dry until the pool was completed. We marked the location of the drainage pipe, outside the pool area so when they drain the pool to put in a new liner, or if the liner began to float (water underneath the liner), they can connect a pump to the line again.

    build-a-pool-in-the-winterBELOW FREEZING: I had a customer who kept building new houses and then selling them after living in them for 2 or 3 years. He was buying a new house in December - in Massachusetts, and the pool had to be done to be included on his construction loan. We dug the hole before the ground froze and put a tarp over the pool area, and had a generator running as there was no electricity in the home to give us lights and heaters under the tarp.

    We were in tee shirts and shorts under the tarp, but you had to dress up in heavy clothes if you went outside, as the temp was in the single digits. We also had no water to mix the floor material, so we pumped water from a nearby stream, into a 55 gallon drum, with an small pump at the bottom of the barrel attached to a garden hose. In normal conditions, this job would have been done in a week - but in this case took us 3 weeks to complete. It was so cold when the water was tanked in that as it splashed on the side walls of the pool the droplets froze. We couldn’t backfill until spring but everything else was completed.build-a-pool-indoors

    IN-DOOR: Haven't had to build a pool indoors, although I have built pools that were enclosed after the pool was built. I've had a customer here at SPP however, that built his own indoor pool kit - in the basement of a completed home. I'm sure that presented a few challenges, mostly in maneuvering around the tight spaces.

    inspector-from-hell-2 - purchased from istockIN-HELL: Although I'm sure they could use a few pools, I've not yet been asked to build a pool in hell, but I have built pools in Inspector Hell. Building inspectors can be a 'challenging' issue to manage for a pool builder in a tri-state region. In each of the dozens of towns where I built pools, the inspector would want things done a specific way. Even though there were standard state codes, they all had their individual interpretations of the code, which sometimes brought surprises or more work. With this challenge, I found that life was much easier just doing it the way they wanted it done, and to ask questions before the dig, such as where to bond the pool, and the depth of plumbing and electrical.

    But these are unusual cases - in most situations, an inground pool can be built, despite challenges of location, temperature, or if you hit rock or water. If you are thinking about our DIY inground pools, but are wondering if you have some challenges, give us a call, we'd be happy to discuss your project. Toll Free at 855-863-4301.  

    Larry Weinberg
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
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