What to Expect When Constructing a Pool: Pre-Installation Preparation

March 25, 2022

A pool is a massive investment in any home, and we understand that the journey to installing and owning one for the first time can be overwhelming. You have the option to do it yourself or hire an experienced pool installer to help bring your dream of owning a pool to life.

Whichever option you choose, we've compiled a pool pre-installation guide for you to help you get started. This guide will take you through the various stages of pool-building and what steps to expect when constructing an inground pool.

Planning & Preparation: How to Prepare for a Pool Construction

The construction of a pool can be involved, strenuous, and a little intense. For the project to be successful, proper planning and preparation are crucial. 

Before the crew shows up, there are a few things you can get done as part of the preparation for your big project. 

  • Identify where the pool will go
  • Determine the size and shape of the pool
  • Designate a storage space for the pool equipment and materials
  • Clear out the designated construction site 
  • Designate an access point for the crew and equipment
  • Clear out or reroute any underground and overhead utilities

Although not essential, we recommend sourcing qualified pool builder for this kind of project. A professional pool installer will help you make better plans and preparation as well as see-through that the project is completed successfully and that you are happy and satisfied with your dream pool. 

10 Phases in Swimming Pool Construction

To prevent your dream pool from turning into a nightmare project use these ten easy steps to save time and money.

#1 Design & Engineering

You’ll need a residential land survey to find out where your pool can legally go and how big it’s allowed to be. With a location in mind, you can start planning your pool design and the materials needed. Drawing up a detailed plan upfront will help you figure out your project costs and any permits needed.

#2 Layout & Excavation

Outline the exact location where the pool is to be built using some form boards. After the layout is set, the site will need to be excavated. A mini-excavator rather than a backhoe would be best for this kind of work. You can rent one and DIY this, or hire an operator to get the job done.

#3 Rough Plumbing & Electrical

During rough plumbing or "stub out", the plumbing lines for the main drain and skimmers are installed, as well as the return lines and the cleaning system. If you plan on having a raised spa or a waterfall, this is when they will also be installed. 

#4 Steel 

To hold the pool together it is reinforced with steel rebar. The steel rebars are placed horizontally and vertically in a grid pattern to form a rigid contour around the entire pool. When this is finished, a steel and ground inspection will then be done to pave the way for the next step.

#5 Gunite or Shotcrete

Gunite and shotcrete are used to cover the steel reinforcement framework and form the pool shell. They’re basically a mixture of cement, sand, and rock. The difference between the two is when they are mixed with water. Shotcrete comes premixed before spraying, while gunite is a dry mixture that’s mixed with water after spraying. Because of this, gunite is generally preferred for pools because it’s so easy to use.

Spray this on the bottom of the pool and surrounding areas using a pressurized hose and let it cure.

#6 Tile & Rock

The next step is the installation of tiles as well as the coping of the pool edge. This will take a couple of days or more if you are installing water features like deck jets, wall sprays, waterfalls, etc

Tiling helps to strengthen the pool surface and extends its life.

#7 Decking

Your pool is almost complete! Hopefully, you planned your decking during the design phase and choose something that compliments your pool and the rest of your landscape. Pavers seem to be the most preferred by most homeowners, perhaps because of their affordability, low maintenance, longevity, and beautiful aesthetic. However, there are nearly hundreds of options to choose from.

#8 Equipment Set

This is the stage where the pool plumbing system is installed. Make sure you’ve considered every aspect of the pool position and elevation, as well as additional water features. It’s very important that the plumbing system is correctly engineered.

#9 Plaster 

Pool plastering enhances the aesthetics of the pool as well as provides a protective layer to extend the life of your pool. You can get pool plaster in a wonderful variety of colors to suit your design.

#10 Construction Clean-Up and Start-Up

At this point, all the construction waste will be removed from the site so that the start-up process can begin.

All newly plastered pools must go through a pool start-up process which involves brushing and vacuuming out the calcium carbonate layer on the pool's surface as well as water testing. For your pool to be ready for a dive, all pH levels, alkalinity levels, and calcium hardiness must be within an optimum range.

How Long Does it Take to Build a Pool? 

On average, it takes about 6-12 weeks to build an inground concrete pool. The construction is done in stages, with the duration of each shown as below:

  • Design, engineering, and approvals: 4-6 weeks
  • Layout & excavation: 1-week 
  • Rough plumbing & electrical installation: 1 week
  • Steel reinforcing: 1-week
  • Gunite or shotcrete: 1 day + 3-4 weeks curing
  • Tile & rock and decking: 1-4 weeks
  • Equipment set and plastering: 3 weeks 
  • Construction clean-up and start-up: 5-7 days 


Building a pool is exciting, but it requires a lot of time, effort, and resources. What was estimated to be completed within 12 weeks can quickly escalate to 16 weeks or more if the project has not been planned correctly. That is why it’s best if you familiarize yourself with all the steps involved in pool building - even if you decide to bring in an expert. 


The cost is dictated by the pool type, size, shape, and materials.
Swimming pools can cost as little as $1000 for a small, simple, above-ground pool and between $20,000 - $50,000 for an inground pool. Fancier pools with waterslides, waterfalls, or other add-ons can cost upwards of $100,000.

About the author

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson is the marketing manager of FortisHD and an enthusiast in construction and heavy equipment. Construction has been an integral part of his life, and he is proud to be able to continue to build his future in such an exciting industry. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to be involved with many engaging projects and is appreciated and valued for his works with the contracting team.

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