Make no mistake, it is a massive undertaking to build your own pool, and those with knowledge of construction should attempt it. Having said that, if you do manage to complete such a project you will be a legend in the family. Not many keen enthusiasts will ever be able to say that they took on such a project and turned it into success.
If I have not deterred you from building your own sunken pool, well done; you are a brave person. Before you start digging a hole, read about the process of pool construction so that you understand every logical step to the project.
Here is a step by step guide to installing your own garden swimming pool. It worked for me, but every job is different. Take what you need and adapt it to suit your garden.
Before you excavate the pool, give some thought to how it will drain for maintenance. The water authority provides sewage systems for the homes, but the bottom of the pool will probably be deeper than the sewer pipes. That means you will need to install a pump and pipework to take the water away.
Some pools have curved walls, but they are much more complicated to construct than straight ones. We are going to build a rectangular pool.
- Make sure there are no services running through the ground where the pool is to go.
- Mark the shape of the pool with string and pegs.
- Start to excavate a hole. Swimming pool installers use heavy machinery to do this part of the job quickly. It is hard work to do it by hand, so you might want to think about hiring a contractor to complete the excavation for you.
- You must shape the bottom of the hole to the shape of the pool. Most people make one-end shallow and the other end a little deeper.
- Run the drain pipe to the bottom of the deepest part of the pool.
- Run another pipe to an area just below the waterline. It is the pipe that will fill the pool and return filtered water to it when the filter system is operational.
The pool must have a solid floor. Steel reinforced concrete will make the floor strong.
- Make a cage from rebar for the floor. You cut the rebar with an angle grinder and tie the pieces together with wire. Sometimes you might want to weld a joint. The weld doesn’t need to look perfect because it will not be on view when you pour the concrete. It is a time consuming job, but you must get it right.
- When the rebar cage is complete, pour concrete over it for the floor. The concrete must come in by truck because there is too much for you to mix.
- Hire a compressor and a vibrator. That will remove the air bubbles from the concrete.
You can build the walls in two ways; use bricks, blocks, or reinforced concrete. I advise you to use concrete blocks because it is the easiest method of construction.
- Use a mortar mix of one part cement to four parts building sand to lay the blocks.
- Use a string line to make sure that the walls are straight and a plumbline or spirit level to make them vertical.
- Cut the blocks with a disc cutter where necessary.
- Make sure that the vertical courses are never in line and interlock the blocks in the corners for extra strength.
- When the blockwork is complete, install the capping stones to give the walls a decorative top.
- You can now start to apply render to the walls. It must be a waterproof product. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and work as fast as you can without compromising the quality of the finish. It is a good idea to ask for help with this job because you must complete it in a day if you can. If you coat the pool in sections, it could leave a join that might leak.
Tile The Walls
If you have ever tiled a kitchen or bathroom, you will appreciate the scale of this job. Luckily you don’t need to cut many tiles, so it doesn’t take too long to complete.
- Mark a vertical line and a horizontal one to find the middle of the first wall. begin to fit the tiles in the middle and work outwards.
- Apply waterproof tile fix to the render using a notched trowel. Work on about one metre at a time.
- Press the tiles onto the fix and use spacers to make the gaps between them an identical size.
- When you come to a corner or an obstacle, measure the gap and use a tile cutter to trim them to the correct size. Electric tile cutters are best, and they will save you much hard work.
- When have covered the walls and the floor, you must use grout to fill the gaps. It is a tedious job, but a vital one, so take your time and get it right. Push the grout into the joints with a float and scrape the excess off the tiles. When it is dry, you polish the tiles to remove all traces of grout from the surface.
You will need a small building to house the pumping and filtration equipment. It can be a wooden shed, but it must be robust and waterproof because there will be electrical equipment in there. All pool systems are different, so you must consult the manuals and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. It is wise to use an electrician to test, inspect, and make the final connections to your wiring. This building will also be a connection point for the pool drainage and sewer pipes. It is the control room for a swimming pool
well, I hope you can now comprehend the enormity of the project. It is not for the feint-hearted, but we all love a challenge don’t we? It took seven months for me to complete mine. These things always take longer than you expect. Good luck with your task, I hope it all goes swimmingly.
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