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Thread: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

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    DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    Hello all! I am thinking of building my own pool. My design is interesting because I want it to be a semi inground with one end above ground due to my sloping yard. This whole idea came about when I heard of plywood walled pools. I happen to have several large timbers laying around, and it dawned on me I can use them to build a pool. My idea is to put these timbers (treated) in the ground on 4' centers and frame wall sections to be supported by the timbers. I would then skin the wall sections with 3/4" plywood. After that it would be a typical install with a vinyl liner. Here is a pic of my idea:



    So, my question is on the structural design of this thing. The pool is going to be a flat bottom with 52" walls. My concern is the exposed end of the pool. In the pic, I did fill about 6" around the bottom to give additional support, but is this enough? The wall sections are 2x4s on edge spaced 16" on center spanning 4' between posts and the 3/4" plywood on the inside. Any thoughts? Any help would be great!
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    How are you going to get this design past your municipal building dept, just curious. I'd think your gonna need an engineer backing up your plan, no?
    Also, what about home insurance, might wanna run it by them as well.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    What happens if you have a wall blowout? I not being facetious, Aside from anyone that's in the pool, What would happen? Would it flood your place, a neighbors house, run off down the hill harmlessly, etc.?

    If it would run off down the hill harmlessly then I think your plan will work as long as the timbers are large enough and anchored in the ground far enough. The 16" centers on the 2x4's is probably fine. If there's any possibility of it flooding someones home I'd have a structural engineer design it properly.

    Cramar brings up a good point about your insurance underwriter too.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Yukon Jack's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    The plywood will degrade with time and exposure - are you ready to tear it down and start over when that happens?
    18x33 AGP, 17,300 gal, Hayward Sand Filter, 1.5 HP 2 Speed Hayward Pump

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    Thanks for the replies guys! To answer a few questions: there is nothing below the pool except a creek, so a wall blowout wouldn't really have an impact on any neighbors. As for permits, I'm in a very rural area and the building dept there was not need for a permit except for electrical. I already have power in that area so no worries there. I haven't talked with insurance, but I probably should do that.
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    As for plywood degrading, I am worried about that. I've heard of plywood walled pools lasting for 30+ years, so I'm not sure what to expect on that. I do plan to backfill with gravel and put a drain around the perimeter of the pool to carry water away. The part that is exposed will be covered with some type of siding (stone, wood, etc.).
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    Is the patio already there? Why can't you dig down on one side to level and use a retaining wall on the lower side?
    18x36 Grecian Vinyl; 8' Roman steps w/t 2 spa jets; cozy cove w/t 6 spa jets; 2 MD, 1 Skimmer, 3 returns; Hayward Ecostar, 30" Ranger sand filter; Hayward color logic 4.0 LED light; Hayward aqua logic; 2" PVC pipe 4 Jandy Valves

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by kyle11
    Is the patio already there? Why can't you dig down on one side to level and use a retaining wall on the lower side?
    No, the patio is going to be fill dirt from the dig. I really don't have room to come out any further with the fill because of other structures in the yard.
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    What state are you in, surely your gonna need a permit from the state if your outside of a municipal boundary, I can't see building something that holds 15,000 gallons of water not requiring a building permit of some kind. Building codes are state/federal.

    Plus you'll need an engineer, this isn't something that one can just look at and say "ya....that outta hold!"

    That said, there's a couple of great threads around here where people built DIY pools from cinder blocks, those might have some good info for you.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    I do have an engineer currently working on the numbers for it, and it seems everything will work by his crude estimates. I saw
    this thread by morrodds that just used 4x4 posts, 2x6s laid flat and 3/4" plywood. I sent him a message and he says everything is holding up nicely. By the numbers, the 2x4s on edge spaced at 16" should be stronger. I may put in an extra 2x4 toward the bottom to make it 8" centers just to be safe.
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    That's a wild build, great job.
    Good luck, post some pics if you go for it!
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    The only drawback even if you use marine grade plywood and treated 2 bys and timbers the exposed wood will deteriorate faster. Wood buried will last a long time as oxygen doesn't get to it as fast. Good luck though.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    U can coat all the wood with fiberglass type epoxy (Mas epoxy), it will last for a very long time

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    I think you've got a great plan and it should be fine. I'm wrapping up my wood framed and walled pool now. Overall my budget is under $2500 complete for a 16'x32'x52" deep pool. I've got a bit into concrete for my piers, RR ties for posts, new AWWF ply and treated purlins. The liner is new and was a stock size, I figured fitting to a stock size would save money and hassle in the long run. I was able to get salvaged commercial grade bronze pumps and sand filters by doing some horse trading on construction and municipal pool re-build projects.

    I too live in a rural area and the County and State could care less about non-commercial construction. My insurance guy called it a manufactured pool since it's very close in design to the two companies on the internet that sell pre-fab plywood walled pools. After looking at mine he realized it's stout as stout can be compared to any tin or plastic or pipe pool. It seems there are a lot of myopic posters above, use your imagination and your vision. I think you're onto a fun pool. Enjoy the build and cooling off!

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    Re: DIY Pool Build - Questions!

    Thanks for the reply milescity! I'd love to see some pics of your build. As for mine, I actually chickened out and went with an above ground oval and buried it similar to what is pictured above. I don't plant to live here many more years, so I may try the diy build next time.
    approx 15k gal, IG plaster, Cartridge Sta-Rite System3 model #PLM150, 150sq ft filter cartridge, 150GPM max flow rate. Not sure of pump information, pool built approx. 2001, Zodiac pool cleaner

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