How To Install A Fiberglass Swimming Pool
While I do recommend that you contact a local pool builder or installer for this size job, if you are adventerous you could do it yourself. A licensed swimming pool contractor knows the ins and out of pool installation, as well as the tricks of the trade. If you are going to take this on yourself, a fiberglass swimming pool would be a better choice than a concrete or gunite pool primarily because you bypass many diferent steps and inspections by going with fiberglass.
A gunite swimming pool needs to be dug, steeled, inspected, sprayed with gunite, plumbed, inspected again, then near the end of construction the marcite finish needs to be applied.
Fiberglass does not need any of these steps! Here's how you do it:
First and foremost, you need to select the pool that you want. You will need to know its shape and size to determine where you want to place it in your yard. This is the planning stage and is very important. The location of the pool needs to be high enough to prevent ny other area of your yard from draining into the pool area. As with a house, you want all stormwater to drain away from the pool. If you have a steep slope you will need to look into building a retaining wall.
Most municipalities will require you to have a surveyor plot your pool onto a survey as a requirement for the permit you will need to obtain. You also have to call your local utility departments and have them come out to locate all of your utility lines. You do not want to dig up your power, gas, cable, or phone lines. You also need to find out what your local inspection schedule is, because being an owner/builder, you will have to call in inspections after certain phases in order to move onto the next phase.
Once you have your permit, you are ready to start the excavation! The pool manufacturer, such as San Juan Pools will provide you with a dig diagram. Set your stakes and string to outline the excavation area. It is important to plan on what type of pool decking you are going to be using. If you are going to leave the area grassy the height of the pools top dge will be different than if you are going to have a concrete or pavered cantilevered edge. It is also very important to remember that the pool will actually sit higher than the rest of the yard, because you need the decking to pitch away from the pool.
Step 3...dig away! Keeping the hole as close to the actual dimensions of the pool shell itself, start digging your hole. You will need it to be just a few inches deeper than the shell to allow for a sand bed for the shell to sit on, and you will need 6" around all edges of the pool for plumbing. If you live in Florida like me, you will most definitely need to run a sump line. This is a permanent dry well line that you can hook a pump up to, to suck the water out of the hole during construction. An empty fiberglass pool shell will float on the water and be very difficult to set properly if the hole is not dry. All this is, is a 2" PVC pipe with a cap and some perforations, set in gravel, and run up and out beyone the deck area.
When you are sure your hole is dug to size, and you have string lines in place in the bottom of you hole showing you where you need to fill the sand bed to, you are ready to bring in the sand. Make sure it is level and compact. Meanwhile you could have someone plumbing the maindrain into the pool for you. You will not be able to do this once the pool is in the hole, so you best do it now. You will also need to know where that drain piping will sit in the sand so you can prepare a ditch for it.
When all that is ready, you can set the pool in the hole. Depending on the size of the shell you chose, and the location, you may be able to lift and place it with the excavator, or you may need to hire a crane operator. Making double sure your drain pipe is not being pushed on, set the shell into the prepared sand bed and check your corners for level.
At this point there is nothing holding up any bench seats, swimouts or steps other than the fiberglass structure itself, so be careful. You should start to fill the pool with water to help hold it in place while you begin backfilling the 6" voids with sand and water. Using a broomstick you can jam the sand down into the areas under the steps and benches. Make sure you keep the water level inside the pool about a foot higher than the level of sand backfill on the outside to equalize the pressure on the shell walls.
Before you reach the halfway or two thirds point you should start your pools plumbing to the skimmer, drain line, and returns, out to your equipment pad. The details of how to plumb a pool are another hub in itself. You will need to test your plumbing for pressure and leaks, and have all electircal work done at this point.
What type of deck have you chosen? If you are going with a concrete deck or a concrete coping with a sand set paver deck you will most likely want to cantilever the edge. It is recommended that you pour a beam around the edge of the pool setting the fiberglass edge of the pool in the decks concrete for a good solid bond. You will need to form up the outside edge of the concrete too. A good rule of thumb for drainage pitch is 1/4" to every foot you go away from the water's edge. You need to attach cantilever form boards, and start pouring. There is an art to pouring concrete, so if you have never done it, I recommend you, at a very minimum, hire someone who knows what they are doing to help.
San Juan Fiberglass Pool- "Pleasure Island"
Hawaiian Fiberglass Pools "Serenade"
Ocean Reef pool- small
As you can see from the above few shell designs, you really do have quite a bit to choose from in terms of size and shape when choosing a fiberglass swimming pool and/or spa.
Of course this "how to" is a simplified version, but the truth is that you can do it yourself!
Installation of a fiberglass swimming pool
- Why Choose A Fiberglass Swimming Pool
This is a must read for anyone who is on the fence between installing a fiberglass swimming pool versus vinyl or concrete.