Casey want's to build her own IG liner pool - let's help her, and anyone else, do this project right!
The absolute first thing you need to do is find out what the town, county and state requires for pools! Around here there are rules governing what % of the yard the pool can take up. We also have wetland issues often - the pool cannot impede the wetlands. Some localities restrict the use of sand or DE filters. Before you can begin any other planning, you need to know that what you'll build will pass inspections and be to code.
Then you need to decide how large a pool you want/ can afford. Is a diving pool 8' deep a necessity? or do you just want to play volleyball and swim laps? You also need to take your yard into account - how much room do you have, how much deck will you want and where will the filter system go (the system usually needs to be kept away from the property line). Do you have a septic system in the yard or a well, are there any buried phone, power or cable lines in the yard or do any of those pass over the proposed pool site? If you live in an area with bedrock or ledge - that may dictate how deep a pool you have or where it will go (having to dynamite out ledge can ruin your budget). How's the water table in your area? If it's high you may need to install well points or if everything slopes towards your yard, you may need to install curtain drains to keep the liner from floating every year.
Decide how much you can afford to put into the project and anticipate that it will cost at least 10% more than you think If this means getting a smaller pool than you wanted, you might want to wait another year to do it, not many folks say "I wish I had built a smaller pool". Also, think about what features you want, a waterfall, slide, sundeck, SWCG, heater, etc. and budget that in.
There are some computer programs out there that can help you design the yard - using 1 of them would probably be a good idea! Before you start have a good idea of what you want to end up with.
As I've never installed my own pool, this is an area where I'm a little 'weak' in the knowledge - but I know that the kind folks here who have done their own pools will help by sharing their experience with the initial planning
I realize that without the rest of the info on DIY pools, budgeting is neigh impossible but I'm thinking we'll start at step 1 and then progress
The way I see this going is for this to be the first part and then make other threads on:
Style and depth of pool/ ordering liner
Digging/ site prep
Putting up the panels/ squaring the pool, leveling and pouring the collar (& plumbing)
Shaping the pool walls and floor and applying the vermiculite - or whatever base you want.
Dropping the liner, filling with water and cutting it in
Starting the pool and maintaining it (Casey already knows this - but we'll just throw it in to 'round out' the threads )
I welcome any input on this project - let's do this right and make a comprehensive DIY pool directory!
part2 site prep and digging
part3 - style and liner
part 4 - putting up steel and squaring
part 5 - plumbing and lighting
part 6 leveling and pouring the collar *edited 12/09/08*
part 7 electrical