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Thread: DIY IGP on a Budget

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    DIY IGP on a Budget

    Stumbled onto this site just recently and have been amazed at the wealth of knowledge on here. Thought I'd post a couple questions to the experts. I'd love to have an in ground pool, but financially it's just not possible for me to hire a professional. We had several builders give us quotes, but even the most basic install was well out of our budget.

    Lately I've been looking at going the DIY route. I've always had the attitude of, "I won't pay someone to do what I can do myself". Two years ago I complelely finished my basement by myself and I have had no trouble constructing a large barn and playset in my backyard. While I realize a swimming pool is a bigger undertaking, the basic principles are still the same.

    While I want to keep my costs at a minimum and not overpay, I also don't want to be so cheap on the front end that I wind up paying more in the long run. So my questions are:

    1. Is there any part of the construction I should avoid attempting myself?

    2. Are pre-made walls (polar pools/nationalpoolwholesalers) the best way to go, or would it be better (financially speaking) to attempt a cinder block or wood pool build and then buy the other components (liner, pump, filter) separately?

    3. What is a "reasonable" budget for a DIY in ground pool assuming and average size (16X32), no frills diving pool?

    4. Is there any equipment you feel that you absolutely "cannot live without"?

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Sicklerville, NJ
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    80

    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    The first thing to consider with any DIY project is: do you have the time and commitment it will take? Most people severely underestimate this aspect, making it the most common reason DIY projects fail or aren't completed. Even if you don't have the skill to do something, you can learn as you go. If you screw it up, you'll have to redo it... but given enough time and commitment you will get it right.

    1) If you've handled big projects like finishing a basement and constructing a barn, you should be able to handle a pool. There's no part you specifically need to avoid doing yourself (using a helper at times) but you have to weigh your time against what it's worth to hire out. I have the time and enjoy the accomplishment of doing things myself, so l'm doing it all (as of now) except the electrical. I don't doubt I could do that, but given the possible consequences if something goes wrong, and not being able to focus specifically on that while everything else is going on, I'm leaving that to the pros. Everyone will have their own preferences though.

    2) Assuming a liner pool (no reason to exclude gunite or fiberglass for DIY, but liner will be lowest cost) the pre-made walls are best for DIY because they take the least time and require the least effort. It might take a day or two to put up manufactured walls versus weeks constructing from scratch. If you screw-up the alignment of the pre-made walls you can move them. If you don't get a cinderblock wall perfect from the start you've got trouble. I'm sure you could do better financially skipping the pre-made but unless you're particularly skillful in that aspect probably best to go with manufactured walls. You can save money by buying the walls separately from any willing pool builder and sourcing your own liner, filter, etc. You won't have the dealer to hold your hand but this forum is a great resource that could substitute.

    3) "Reasonable"... you're dealing with a swimming pool, there's no reason here! Ok, my (pulled out of you-know-where) guess would be about $10k all said and done. Probably less if you really tried. I'm spending somewhere around $20k with a bigger kit pool, automation, SWCG, etc.

    4) That's pretty subjective. I can't live without the pump and filter but nothing else is indispensable.
    25k gal Lazy-L, vinyl liner, poly walls, swimout spa, diving board, TurboTwister slide.
    Hayward 2HP 2-spd pump, Pentair 2HP spa pump, Hayward 30" 500lb sand filter.
    Goldline Pro Logic PS-8 automation/SWG. 2 LED ColorLogic 4.0. 8 Jandy deck jets. MX-8 cleaner.

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    I priced a 16x32 rectangle kit with good quality pump & filter, no heater, no SWG. Vinyl liner with one set of steps. Subbing concrete, excavation, and vermiculite floor, permits, do my own electric. Took me to 13-15K. The pool kit alone is around 8K IIRC.

    That's when I decided to partially sink my existing AG, build a new deck, and replace all the equipment for about half that.
    24' Round Doughboy AG.
    Usually filled with 3 kids, the wife, and occasionally the dog.

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by wmshay6
    I priced a 16x32 rectangle kit with good quality pump & filter, no heater, no SWG. Vinyl liner with one set of steps. Subbing concrete, excavation, and vermiculite floor, permits, do my own electric. Took me to 13-15K. The pool kit alone is around 8K IIRC.

    That's when I decided to partially sink my existing AG, build a new deck, and replace all the equipment for about half that.
    This is an option as well, although I currently do not have an AGP. Any recommendations on sinking an AGP? Did you have to change the pump/filter to an in-ground system?

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    Malibu07's Avatar
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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    We initially wanted to do the DIY route by buying a pool kit from;

    http://www.royalswimmingpools.com/

    However, we did hire a pool guy who is a subcontractor for a local pool company, to install the pool kit.
    You can search for DIY Pool Installation videos in Google and ask yourself if you feel up to it.
    I did get estimates from National Pool whole sellers but after reading their reviews, I went with Royal Swimming Pools. They even gave me a better price.

    There is a lot more to putting in a pool than just the things you listed. You have find out what the Bonding codes are for your area and purchase that material separately. You also have to decide what kind of deck do you want to go with around the pool.....that will be a separate cost. If you choose to do the dig yourself, you need a back hoe and the necessary surveying instruments to get it to the right level. Then you need an Electrician to hook up the wires to your home panel box. You also have to purchase PVC pipes for the plumbing because it is not included in the kit. To be honest, if I had to do it all over again, I would probably have gone with a local pool company. The subcontractor only gets the pool and the pump station in, the deck was a separate charge. Hope this helps.
    14,700 gal. 14 x 28 rectangle with 2R IG by Hydra Pools, 1 hp Hayward Maxflow ll, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, Aquarite Electronic SWG, one Aqua Genie Complete Skimmer, two main drains, four returns, 2 spa jets in steps, 30ml Tidewater liner. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    There are people here that have sunk AG pools. I have not. Mine has a bit of a slope around it, so the goal is to dig the slope back and set the pool into the hillside. Then build a nice deck around it to cover / hide the excavation.

    One of the days. . . . The economy and all of that nonsense have prevented me from spending much in terms of discretionary $$. My pump and filter will still be below the waterline (self priming) when i sink my pool, so there will be no need to upgrade pump and filter.

    Good thing since I just ordered my new filter yesterday!

    I have my excavator on standby. I hope to get this season out of my old liner before embarking on this adventure in the fall.

    Good luck whatever you decide!
    24' Round Doughboy AG.
    Usually filled with 3 kids, the wife, and occasionally the dog.

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    I'm considering a DIY project. I have friends who are electricians, and I've done some in-house electrical. Plumbing I'm not afraid of either. It's mostly the digging and cement I'd be worried about.

    I like the Royal site. (http://www.royalswimmingpools.com/construction.htm)

    Are their any good videos about spreading the cement?
    13,500 Wilkes Vinyl AG (15'x30' rectangular)
    Hayward Power-Flo LX SP1580, 1HP
    Hayward S-160T High Rate Sand Filter

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Some years ago, I built my own concrete block pool. MajorDIYer brings up almost all the salient points I would bring up.....especially the availability of time. I had ZERO experience but a ton of time and was able to struggle through everything.

    I would also agree that an inground pool kit would be your most logical choice.

    In mosts cases, you will need a licensed electrician for the power and for me, I chose not to tackle the vermiculite flooring. Pretty much everything else was done alone or with help from friends.

    A WAG of 10k also makes sense to me. The first thing most folks notice about your pool is the decking. Space permitting, make sure your budget enough to make it as large (or larger) than you think you will need. I don't think anyone has ever posted on here that they made the decking too big.

    Make absolutely sure you really NEED a diving depth pool. It will add a very significant amount to the expense and cut down tremendously on the size of the rest of the pool.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Malibu07's Avatar
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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mkenyon2
    I'm considering a DIY project. I have friends who are electricians, and I've done some in-house electrical. Plumbing I'm not afraid of either. It's mostly the digging and cement I'd be worried about.

    I like the Royal site. (http://www.royalswimmingpools.com/construction.htm)

    Are their any good videos about spreading the cement?

    As in for the pool floor or pool bonding or pool decking? Kind of 3 different processes.
    14,700 gal. 14 x 28 rectangle with 2R IG by Hydra Pools, 1 hp Hayward Maxflow ll, Hayward 24" Sand Filter, Aquarite Electronic SWG, one Aqua Genie Complete Skimmer, two main drains, four returns, 2 spa jets in steps, 30ml Tidewater liner. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    If you can not afford it you may want to wait a bit because there WILL BE surprises along the way and it would suck to have the pool half complete for a year because you're waiting to find some money to pursue the build.
    19.5k gallons in ground, P4 panel with turbocell SWG, 1hp Hayward superpump II, sand filter, Heater low nox 250k btu heater, solar cover on rocky roller

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    The floor of the pool, as in, the bottom and slopes of the deep end. Is it just sand? Or is that cemented? How is it done?
    13,500 Wilkes Vinyl AG (15'x30' rectangular)
    Hayward Power-Flo LX SP1580, 1HP
    Hayward S-160T High Rate Sand Filter

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mkenyon2
    The floor of the pool, as in, the bottom and slopes of the deep end. Is it just sand? Or is that cemented? How is it done?
    Usually either sand or vermiculite mixed with portland cement. See this thread.
    25k gal Lazy-L, vinyl liner, poly walls, swimout spa, diving board, TurboTwister slide.
    Hayward 2HP 2-spd pump, Pentair 2HP spa pump, Hayward 30" 500lb sand filter.
    Goldline Pro Logic PS-8 automation/SWG. 2 LED ColorLogic 4.0. 8 Jandy deck jets. MX-8 cleaner.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by mart242
    If you can not afford it you may want to wait a bit because there WILL BE surprises along the way and it would suck to have the pool half complete for a year because you're waiting to find some money to pursue the build.
    I'm purely in the "dreaming" phase at this point. It's going to be at least a year (bonuses come out in December) before I can even start "planning", let alone actually building this thing.

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by MajorDIYer
    The first thing to consider with any DIY project is: do you have the time and commitment it will take? Most people severely underestimate this aspect, making it the most common reason DIY projects fail or aren't completed. Even if you don't have the skill to do something, you can learn as you go. If you screw it up, you'll have to redo it... but given enough time and commitment you will get it right.

    1) If you've handled big projects like finishing a basement and constructing a barn, you should be able to handle a pool. There's no part you specifically need to avoid doing yourself (using a helper at times) but you have to weigh your time against what it's worth to hire out. I have the time and enjoy the accomplishment of doing things myself, so l'm doing it all (as of now) except the electrical. I don't doubt I could do that, but given the possible consequences if something goes wrong, and not being able to focus specifically on that while everything else is going on, I'm leaving that to the pros. Everyone will have their own preferences though.

    2) Assuming a liner pool (no reason to exclude gunite or fiberglass for DIY, but liner will be lowest cost) the pre-made walls are best for DIY because they take the least time and require the least effort. It might take a day or two to put up manufactured walls versus weeks constructing from scratch. If you screw-up the alignment of the pre-made walls you can move them. If you don't get a cinderblock wall perfect from the start you've got trouble. I'm sure you could do better financially skipping the pre-made but unless you're particularly skillful in that aspect probably best to go with manufactured walls. You can save money by buying the walls separately from any willing pool builder and sourcing your own liner, filter, etc. You won't have the dealer to hold your hand but this forum is a great resource that could substitute.

    3) "Reasonable"... you're dealing with a swimming pool, there's no reason here! Ok, my (pulled out of you-know-where) guess would be about $10k all said and done. Probably less if you really tried. I'm spending somewhere around $20k with a bigger kit pool, automation, SWCG, etc.

    4) That's pretty subjective. I can't live without the pump and filter but nothing else is indispensable.

    Sorry to Hijack this thread I saw you are in Sicklerville, NJ. Me too. small world. Are you in Gloucester twp or Winslow. We are Gloucester, the inspector was quite the stickler.
    Currently Pooless

    Former Pool:Buster Crabbe resin and steel 30'x15' oval 52" ABG pool Pentair sand dollar filter 1.5 Pentair Dynamo pump13,500 gallons

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: DIY IGP on a Budget

    Quote Originally Posted by melissab
    Sorry to Hijack this thread I saw you are in Sicklerville, NJ. Me too. small world. Are you in Gloucester twp or Winslow. We are Gloucester, the inspector was quite the stickler.
    pm sent
    25k gal Lazy-L, vinyl liner, poly walls, swimout spa, diving board, TurboTwister slide.
    Hayward 2HP 2-spd pump, Pentair 2HP spa pump, Hayward 30" 500lb sand filter.
    Goldline Pro Logic PS-8 automation/SWG. 2 LED ColorLogic 4.0. 8 Jandy deck jets. MX-8 cleaner.

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