In-ground swimming pools will have a very positive impact on your life and your family's life. From parties, to swimming laps, to cookouts, to relaxing nights, your pool will deliver an array of benefits. Unfortunately, there will be time, effort, and expense involved in completing the project, but the payoff will be worth it!
That said, there’s no denying that the pool installation process will produce surprises that can be stressful to families. Rather than gloss over those issues, we believe it’s important for people who are considering a pool to know exactly what to expect from the process. One of Pool and Spa News Top 50 Builders, Concord Pools and Spas, understands the importance of this topic SO MUCH that they provide a complete "What to Expect From Your Inground Pool Installation Guide" to all potential new pool owners. Here are some highlights of what Latham, and Concord Pools and Spas, feel is more important to know.
How to Install a Fiberglass Pool
Step #1: Excavation
Before fiberglass pool construction begins, the first step is excavating a space in your backyard or side yard where the pool will be located. You’ll need to obtain the appropriate building permits before this stage begins to ensure that no utilities are damaged once digging starts. Using heavy machinery, excavation typically takes a single afternoon, with most jobs completed in a matter of hours.
Step #2: Foundation
Once digging is finished, it’s time to place your pool’s foundation into the hole that’s been excavated. The foundation for a fiberglass pool generally consists of a two-inch base of gravel. The purpose of the foundation is to give your pool a firm, even, stable surface to rest upon, minimizing the risk of settling, bulging, or leaking that could damage the pool and surrounding soil.
Once the foundation has been laid, the pool can be placed inside the hole. We use cranes and other heavy machinery to safely position and lower your pool onto its foundation.
Step #3: Plumbing
To stay fresh and clean, your pool needs a plumbing system. This system features two main parts: a pool filter that removes small pieces of debris, and a pool pump that circulates water through the filtration system. Keep in mind that, even with filters, you will still need to periodically skim your pool with a net in order to remove larger debris items.
In addition to filters and pool pumps, we will also install any lighting or heating systems your pool will feature at this stage of the process.
Step #4: Backfilling
Step four is backfilling, which is the process of filling the gap between the pool shell and the excavated hole (also known as “locking in” the pool). This is also the stage when water is added to the pool, along with a drain pipe that helps to circulate water properly.
To ensure that pressure on the outer and inner walls of the pool remains equal throughout backfilling, our crew will alternate between locking in the pool with six inches of gravel, then filling the pool with six inches of water. Working with care and precision, we continue to alternate between these procedures until backfilling and pool filling is complete.
Step #5: Coping & Decking
“Coping” is the trim that borders the edge or lip of the pool, like the margins around the page of a book. Pool coping is both decorative and practical, giving your pool added visual flair while blocking water from spilling over the pool shell and leaking into the soil. It generally takes somewhere from around two to five days to finish building a pool deck and installing the coping.
Step #6: Fencing
Last but not least, it’s important to erect safety fencing around your swimming pool. Not only does fencing give you privacy, but even more importantly, it also protects children (or pets) from wandering into your pool and becoming injured. Fencing must meet specific height and design requirements to comply with safety regulations, such as featuring latches located at least 54 inches above ground level.
Fiberglass Pool Installation Expectations
An in-ground pool installation is considered “major construction.” Consequently, if you come away from a conversation with an installer believing that you’ll “hardly know they’re there,” they probably haven’t set your expectations properly.
The truth is, large machinery is required to excavate the spot for your new pool, get it into place, and backfill around it. So, there will be noise, disruption of your landscaping, etc. In the interest of full transparency, here are some aspects of in-ground pool installation that you should be aware of:
- Heavy equipment access. Excavators, dump trucks, concrete trucks, cranes and other machinery will need access to your yard. This may require the temporary removal of fencing, small trees and shrubs, etc. And, this equipment is heavy, so it will create ruts in your lawn. If access is inhibited, extra costs may apply.
- Driveway/sidewalk damage. While your installation team will take great care in navigating in and out of your yard, if they have to take machinery across a driveway or sidewalk, there is the potential for damage.
- Rain delays. Moving and operating heavy equipment in the rain is both dangerous and more damaging to your yard. In the event of significant precipitation, operations may have to be halted for a few days until the ground can dry.
- Unstable soils requiring a lift. If the soil in the area where your pool will be installed is deemed unstable, it may be required to build it up to create the necessary “lift” to support your pool. This is done by adding layers of compacted stone. While it is very effective, this process is also time consuming.
- Bedrock or shale that must be removed. Digging out soil to place a pool goes fairly quickly. If bedrock or shale is encountered, however, a hydraulic hammer must be brought in to break up the layer so it can be hauled away.
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Fiberglass Pool
The typical cost to install a fiberglass pool ranges anywhere from approximately $15,000 to $70,000, with other estimates giving a slightly narrower range of around $18,000 to $65,000. Current estimates place the average cost of a fiberglass pool in the $41,500 to $45,000 range, with a median cost of $41,000. Since each fiberglass pool construction project is unique, installation costs inevitably vary, depending on factors like size, shape, and whether the pool has any special features (such as tanning ledges, heating systems, or automatic safety covers). Factors like shipping costs, backfill materials, and building permits also impact the final amount.
While a vinyl pool is cheaper to build upfront, it has higher lifetime maintenance costs, raising the price over time. Fiberglass pools are more expensive at the outset, but require minimal maintenance, making the lifetime cost low. Gunite pools or concrete pools are the most expensive option, generally costing anywhere from around $29,000 to $60,000 and requiring extensive long-term maintenance.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Fiberglass Pool Installed
When it comes to fast pool installation, nothing beats fiberglass (though vinyl-liner pools are certainly a close second). The timeline for building a fiberglass pool generally ranges from around one to two weeks, depending on factors like the weather, the size of the pool, and the types of equipment needed to complete the project. By comparison, an inground gunite pool generally requires around six to eight weeks for construction, while a vinyl pool typically takes about two to four weeks to finish installing.
Every installation is different, but the considerations above are the most common.
Learn More About Fiberglass Pool Installation
Contact your Latham dealer today to get all your questions answered.