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Inground Pool Kits: Do-It-Yourself Swimming Pool Installation

Updated on January 11, 2013
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Skip the Pool Contractor and Save Money

Nobody likes to deal with contractors. They're expensive. They hang around your home for long periods of time. And maybe worst of all, there's always a lingering sense that they're overcharging, not doing a good enough job, or generally trying to rip you off.

All that goes double for swimming pool contractors because the stakes are so much higher. Building a swimming pool in your backyard is the biggest, costliest home improvement project you will likely undertake. Trusting it to an outside company is a bit of a leap of faith, and the labor cost can be crushing. But what are you going to do? It's not like you can install a swimming pool yourself.

Or can you? While building from scratch is beyond the abilities of most homeowners, experienced do-it-yourself types can save themselves a lot of money (and potential headaches) by using an inground pool kit to assemble the swimming pool themselves. Inground pool kits come in a variety of configurations and contain all the basic materials you need. In some cases, these kits even come with phone support to help you through the construction process.

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The Cost of Installing a Pool

The cost to have an inground pool installed varies a lot depending on the size of the pool, materials, and loads of other factors. In fact, trying to figure out how much you'll have to pay and what type of pool you can afford is a major undertaking in itself. But speaking very generally, for the typical backyard pool, the price is usually in the tens of thousands of dollars.

A lot of prospective pool owners try to reduce the cost of installation by doing some of the most time-consuming labor (mainly digging) themselves. Homeowners with a DIY background may even attempt some of the trickier tasks (provided a pool company is willing to work with them to complete the rest - not all do). Pool kits give people the chance to do the whole job themselves - or at least manage the project.

What's Included

The idea behind a pool kit is to get all the basic materials you need to install your pool, along with instructions on how to get it done. Simple, right?

Not exactly. Pool kits vary a lot in what they include. What may be essential to you may not be a standard feature of every kit, especially the cheaper ones. In many cases, you can add optional features (at an additional cost). In order to compare prices accurately, you really have to make a list of what you want and figure out what it's going to cost to get to your goal with each kit.

Some typical things included with a pool kit include:

  • Pool Walls
  • Liner
  • Plumbing Materials
  • Pump and Filter
  • Coping
  • Ladder
  • Documentation (Manual, Instructional DVD, Phone Support, etc.)

Optional features might include things like a heater, pool cover, steps, and so forth. There could also be optional safety features available, some of which may be required by law in your area. If you decide you need any of these options, make sure you check around to see if you can get them for less by buying separately.

What's NOT Included

Pool kits come in a limited number of shapes and sizes. If you're looking for a highly customized pool, or just one with a nonstandard shape or size, you might be out of luck. However, for some people, the limited choices are a positive. There are so many choices to make when building a pool that many people welcome the idea of narrowing down the options.

That said, there are kits available for a wide variety of pool designs. In addition to a full range of sizes, you can get them in different shapes such as rectangle, oval, and even some more unusual and freeform-looking styles.

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Can You do it Yourself?

If you think installing a pool might be too much for you, even with one of these kits, you're probably right. Swimming pool installation is complex and a lot can go wrong. Even the professionals run into unforeseen snags, from problems getting permits to excavation issues.

That said, you can always hire someone to help. A pool kit makes it easier to do what you can and outsource the rest. For example, if plumbing is the one thing you're not comfortable with, you can hire a contractor for that. In fact, you could could even hire a general handyman to do the entire installation for you. With a kit, you don't need a professional pool builder, so why pay for one?

The bottom line is that inground pool kits are yet another option to consider when building a swimming pool. They're not for everyone, but if you're handy and/or have a knack for project management, they can save you thousands.

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