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Thread: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

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    Casey's Avatar
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    DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Well, I wouldn't say I'm an all out adventerous type of person but I do like to walk on the wild side.

    My plan is to eventually have an inground but with the prices of a professional job, it seems like I'd have to reach real far into my pockets *like down past my knees to my tippy toes* for a professional installation.

    How hard would it be to build your own inground vinyl lined pool and do you really save money in the long run? Now, I understand that I'd have to hire some of the work out like electrical but could we actually do it ourselves for the most part?

    I did the installation on my above ground pool but that was an above ground!! I get antsy just thinking if I could do something like this... I mean, my heart POUNDS!!!

    I guess my most important question right now would be...
    Does anyone recommend doing a DIY for someone with no experience in pool building except for seeing pics of pool builds online?

    This is not something that is going to be started in the next year or so but I would like my inground sooner than later!!!

    Any insight is much appreciated.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    Well, I wouldn't say I'm an all out adventerous type of person but I do like to walk on the wild side.

    My plan is to eventually have an inground but with the prices of a professional job, it seems like I'd have to reach real far into my pockets *like down past my knees to my tippy toes* for a professional installation.

    How hard would it be to build your own inground vinyl lined pool and do you really save money in the long run? Now, I understand that I'd have to hire some of the work out like electrical but could we actually do it ourselves for the most part?

    I did the installation on my above ground pool but that was an above ground!! I get antsy just thinking if I could do something like this... I mean, my heart POUNDS!!!

    I guess my most important question right now would be...
    Does anyone recommend doing a DIY for someone with no experience in pool building except for seeing pics of pool builds online?

    This is not something that is going to be started in the next year or so but I would like my inground sooner than later!!!

    Any insight is much appreciated.
    Hey Casey,

    I pondered this question for about a month and was going to do it all myself. All of the local PB's wanted a min of 25k for a basic liner pool (which is all we wanted). This was still too much for my wallet. After doing all of the research, I pulled the trigger on one of the "DIY" pool kits. After receiving it, this is not a DIY project for most. I ended up calling pool builders and received different prices for putting it in. Some did not want to talk since it wasn't their kit. Anyhow, I ended up with 3 quotes:

    $5200
    $8500
    $10800

    The 5200 is the one I went with, for obvious reasons, but also, they had been in business longer (since 1972), only did vinyl pools and had no BBB complaints in 36mos. Interestingly enough, I heard several complaints on the PB with the most expensive quote. Altogether, it has cost about $15k for the pool and install. This same pool with the few options I went for would have been over $30k going directly to the PB. So it will save you money by buying online.

    There are some things you can do yourself, but the ones to stay away from I think are:

    digging the hole
    putting up the walls
    pouring the concrete collar
    putting down the vermiculite bottom
    pouring the concrete deck
    Pool Bonding/electrical

    (which doesn't leave much left)

    But backfilling, hauling dirt, plumbing, cleaning, are for DIY folks. I think for an inground pool, it has to be done with precision otherwise you end up with a headache!

    Good Luck! If you have anymore questions, I can certainly help!
    Nod
    16x32 IG, polymer panel Vinyl Pool w/approx 21k gallons of H20
    1 HP Hayward Pump & 300lb Sand Filter ~ Polaris 280 Pool cleaner
    ~~Nashville, NC~~

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    There are some things you can do yourself, but the ones to stay away from I think are:

    digging the hole
    putting up the walls
    pouring the concrete collar
    putting down the vermiculite bottom
    pouring the concrete deck
    Pool Bonding/electrical


    digging the hole
    How bout a guy with a back hoe and a laser level thingamabobber? He's a friend of the family and would probably do it next to nothing and or a case of beer *for after he's done digging*.

    putting up the walls
    I was really considering doing this part myself with a few good men. Is it really difficult? I assume as long as you're leveled up the walls should fall right into place right?

    pouring the concrete collar
    Would have someone else doing!

    putting down the vermiculite bottom
    I was thinking I could do this. Does the slope and hopper get tricky?

    pouring the concrete deck
    Would have someone else doing!

    Pool Bonding/electrical
    Would have someone else doing!

    I'm sure I'll have tons of questions! Thanks for your comments Nod.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    There are some things you can do yourself, but the ones to stay away from I think are:

    digging the hole
    putting up the walls
    pouring the concrete collar
    putting down the vermiculite bottom
    pouring the concrete deck
    Pool Bonding/electrical


    digging the hole
    How bout a guy with a back hoe and a laser level thingamabobber? He's a friend of the family and would probably do it next to nothing and or a case of beer *for after he's done digging*.

    putting up the walls
    I was really considering doing this part myself with a few good men. Is it really difficult? I assume as long as you're leveled up the walls should fall right into place right?

    pouring the concrete collar
    Would have someone else doing!

    putting down the vermiculite bottom
    I was thinking I could do this. Does the slope and hopper get tricky?

    pouring the concrete deck
    Would have someone else doing!

    Pool Bonding/electrical
    Would have someone else doing!

    I'm sure I'll have tons of questions! Thanks for your comments Nod.
    If your friend is good with the laser level then this should be doable. If you overdig the hopper, it can be corrected with vermiculite. Overdigging the pool wall area can be tricky though. If possible, I would go with the AquaGenie to stay away from plumbing a main drain.

    The walls didn't look too hard to do, but again, its one of those things that has to be done exactly right. Overdigging that area will mean you will need to use shims. I think if you put up the above ground, you should be able to get this done, I just don't like leveling as I can never seem to get it right

    I think with the vermiculite, you want a professional in there doing it. I had 4 guys in my pool and 2 on the outside mixing this stuff. I don't think you could work fast enough and get the string levels right as this is a very important step to get the liner to fit like a glove. This is the part that sent me looking for a PB as I knew this had to be just right and wouldn't tell anyone this is a DIY job. In fact I would say putting up the concrete collar around the pool would be a lot easier then this.
    MY PB used his backhoe to carry the wet concrete to the areas while the workers were working it into the corners.
    Nod
    16x32 IG, polymer panel Vinyl Pool w/approx 21k gallons of H20
    1 HP Hayward Pump & 300lb Sand Filter ~ Polaris 280 Pool cleaner
    ~~Nashville, NC~~

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I can help with any phase of DYI inground liners - it might take me a few hours of serious typing per task, but I've been there, done that and ruined the Tee shirt doing it You might just be better off being your own GC for the pool and hiring it out, but if you want to do some of it yourself, I'll tell you how to. (some of the things you think you can handle yourself, you probably can't - some of the things you think you can't handle, you probably could with a few people to help you)

    As this is an impending project, why don't we talk over the winter - I'll have more time to give the info and you'll then have time to set up the materials, workers and properly plan it out
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Sounds good waste! I'd love to talk over winter. 8) Your insight is priceless!

    I think the more info I get on this, the better!



    All I know is that they cost alot of money and my hope is, that I could pull it off.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Just be sure to add pictures along the way . I would love to watch this being built !
    Les
    Don't have a pool right now. Just sharing what I have learned over the years!
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Honestly after watching very closely to my entire build I don't believe it was all that difficult. The dig could be hired out. Cement hired out. The walls are easy to install and level as far as I saw. Having the collar poured also not a big deal. Plumbing was also not a big deal. My PB was a one man show! Even the vermiculite he did himself! The only thing you may really need is a vacuum for when you put the liner in it really helps. Maybe you could find somewhere to rent one. This is honestly the last time I use a pb...mine was fine but we are DIY's and the bottom line is you save money and take the time to do it right!
    14x33 fiberglass freeform
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    My experience is incomplete because I am not yet finished, and I wouldn't want anyone to use my timeline as an example, even for DIY, because I basically took most of a year off right in the middle of construction, but my take on it is that no one part of the job is very difficult, but there is a lot of knowledge that you have to acquire along the way if you don't get help. And there are points where you can screw up if you don't have that knowledge when you need it.

    I dug the hole myself with a compact tractor with backhoe attachment. A 25,000 gallon pool translates into a whole lot of dirt to move for a little tractor. A one day job for a full-size excavator with competent operator took me a few weeks off and on. I dug an inch or two low in places which meant shimming under the walls. I dug a few inches too shallow around the deep end hopper which turns out to be an agonizing amount of work to correct now that the walls are in and the only option is a shovel and wheelbarrow in the bottom of the deep end. Pushing the wheelbarrow up to the shallow end. Shoveling the dirt out over the wall into the tractor loader bucket, and resting while driving the tractor to move the dirt. A rectangular pool would have been much easier for a first-timer, our kidney pool requires some complex measuring to get the slopes and radii correct. Hopefully when we finally install the liner, our work and the liner manufacturer's work will match, but at the moment I'm a little paranoid about it. I'm planninng to mix the vermiculite bottom mix inside the pool with a small electric mixer. I think if we go slow and lay boards at the right angles and depths we can screed it smooth and then remove the boards and fill the gaps. In terms of time and money, if I put any reasonable value on my own time I don't think I'll really save much, but I am a do-it-yourself type to a FAULT and I really wouldn't have it any other way. A lot of the job is interesting enough to be fun, some of it is just plain hard work. Working slow means more interruptions due to bad weather, more mud in the bottom to dry out. It would be nice to have a pool to jump into for relief from digging in the humid summer heat, but I can't do that until the digging is done. A week or so ago while waiting for the mud to dry up I did install the equipment and rig up the spillover spa as a stand-alone hot tub so I can soak my sore muscles. It feels good but I'm not sure it has helped my productivity.
    Currrent pool under construction: DIY Kafko steel/vinyl IG 26kgal 20x40 Kidney, sand filter, Triac spillover spa, Aqua Logic SWG
    Previous pool: IG vinyl 20x40 rectangle. Made all the mistakes - now reformed (mostly)

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Hi Casey, here's my thread ..

    brian-s-pool-construction-t2851.html

    FWIW - I'm a programmer by trade, I'm pretty good with cars, but this was my first construction project. I read everything I could find about it here. The things I contracted out were:

    - Digging the hole. There will be ALOT of dirt to move. Make sure you discuss where the dirt is going before digging starts. Have the backhoe operator dig your trenches for electrical and plumbing while he is there. Mark it off early, and have him stop a little short around the overdig and finish it by hand. If you have swimouts or steps make sure he digs those too.

    - Installing the liner. I could do it now after watching the installers.

    - Concrete deck. I got out of the way for this. I contracted with the driver that delivered the concrete for the bond beam.

    Now for the good stuff. The tasks where I saved the most $$ :

    - Electrical. You can run the wiring from your house to the pump pad, and pad to pool if you have lights. I used regular indoor 10/3 cable (2 runs) in a single 3/4" conduit for feeds and 12/3 indoor in conduit for lights. I only got hit on one thing: You can't have more than (4) 90 degree bends in any one conduit run without an access point. I did the bonding also, but with all the confusion about it - let the electrician do it when he makes all the connections. I saved about $800 buying and running the electrical.

    - Floor. I was able to do the floor myself off and on in about 10 weeks. No, it's not perfectly level everywhere, but I was very careful when measuring to make sure the corners and slopes were correct. My liner fit perfect except for a manufacturing flaw. Materials were about $900.

    - Bond beam. Call the concrete company yourself. It's easy to calculate how much you need, and always order some extra. Frame the pump pad so you can pour that at the same time. Have 3-6 helpers available with rakes, hoes, and some long 2x4's for finishing the pad. Make sure the truck has access to all sides of the pool. And most important, have a $50-spot in your pocket to convince the driver to help you with the funnel on the truck.

    Tools I had to buy:

    - Cheap rotary laser level, $50 at Harbor Freight for setting walls. My walls are level to 1/8" according to my water line.
    - 3 cu. ft. concrete mixer, $200 at Harbor Freight. For mixing concrete and vermiculite.
    - Pool trowels.
    - Rented Ryder truck to bring pool home from manufacturer.
    - Construction fence to keep inspector happy.
    - Sledgehammer, broke mine halfway through driving stakes.

    Keep us posted !
    20x40 IG Vinyl
    33k Gallons
    Triton TR-100 Sand Filter
    Pentair WFDS-6

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    What great builds you guys have!

    You are *BUILDING* my confidence!

    I am really intrested in a true L. I like lotsa water. 8) I have a lot of little ones that wouldn't necesarily use the deep end all the time and I feel the longness of that shallow end would be sweet and the bonus being the deepend which would also get a workout with a diving dog and the big kids.

    In time, I would also like to make my pool handicapped accessable with a lift. 8)
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Casey,

    You sure are getting lots of information and sitrring up quite a bit of excitement!

    Everybody might want to stock up on popcorn for the discussions that will for sure carry us thru the winter!

    I can feel your confidence building from here
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Quote Originally Posted by jjparrish
    Casey,

    You sure are getting lots of information and sitrring up quite a bit of excitement!

    Everybody might want to stock up on popcorn for the discussions that will for sure carry us thru the winter!

    I can feel your confidence building from here

    Seems to be a few DIY'ers on here. I know I watched the pool guys work on mine and the main thing I would worry about is the leveling aspect of it. There were so many string levels and they were checking, rechecking, etc... I am not sure if it is all needed, but the end result for my pool was a completely level pool that a liner fit right into, without a single wrinkle to take out. I would think being off, just a 1/2" would put a lot of strain on the liner.
    Nod
    16x32 IG, polymer panel Vinyl Pool w/approx 21k gallons of H20
    1 HP Hayward Pump & 300lb Sand Filter ~ Polaris 280 Pool cleaner
    ~~Nashville, NC~~

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I can't wait to kick off the discussions this winter.

    I think I might even bank my income tax!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I built (am building) my own 20x46 vinyl pool. I bought nearly all of my parts through a sympathetic local pool builder who is my "coach". There is no one aspect of building a pool that is beyond the understanding of a reasonably competent adult. There are a few tools that are specialized, but usually have additional use on other projects. For instance, I bought a DeWalt rotating laser level with tripod, grade rod, and detector for about $300 on Ebay. It has paid for itself many times over, not just on the pool itself, but elsewhere. What can trip you up, however, is that some of the phases of building a vinyl pool are very time consuming for one or two people to get done quickly. Here's an example:

    Erecting the walls is easy. Even if the dig is a not quite level, with a rotating laser it's easy enought to shim them up. But putting in the vermiculite/cement mixture is another matter. I paid a crew of 5 $1,800 (materials were extra) to put the pool mix in and install the liner. It took one day, not including coming back to cut in the steps, returns, and skimmers. So 5 (experienced) guys 1 day, or 1 guy (me) 5 days, but I'm not experienced so let's double it, plus I couldn't work on it every day, so I figured it would have taken me the better part of a month to get the liner in after the walls were up. Bottom line, the $1,800 was well spent.

    That said, there are other areas where, assuming you know which end of the wrench to hold, it is almost stupid to not do yourself. Plumbing is an example. In fact, by taking a little bit of extra time, you could easily plumb a pool much better than someone who is getting paid by the job and wants to slam in two inside of a single day.

    I think it would be fun to systematically discuss the building of a pool over the winter. I would divide the project into the following segments:

    1. Design and equipment selection.
    2. Site preparation.
    3. Dig
    4. Walls, bottom, and liner install.
    5. Plumbing.
    6. Electrical.
    7. Decking.
    8. Equipment installation.
    9. Startup.
    10. Landscaping and fencing.

    It's easy to type these out on a keyboard. But any one of them could be a major *****-ache, depending on the site, logistics, your skill level, availability of help, weather, etc... Right out of the gate, I'd count on spending at least 20-30% more than your most reasonable budget number, and taking twice as long as you currently anticipate. Plus, plan on a 1 or 2 setbacks, events that will raise your blood pressure and result in lost sleep or the consumption of excessive adult beverages.

    So will it be worth it? For me, absolutely. We were quoted about $35,000 for a moderately-sized "L" with minimal decking and basic equipment. That did not include sitework. I figure we are about into the project for $50,000, give or take, but have a bigger pool, an automatic cover, a huge brick paver patio, a 450 square foot poolhouse with a bathroom and shower, and top notch equipment. Based on estimates and what some friends who had pools (and outbuildings) installed, I figure we are probably $20-30,000 ahead. Possibly more. The downside? I've worked on nothing else since we started the project last summer. But my hobby is carpentry, woodworking, and home improvements. If yours is playing golf or watching sports on TV, grab your checkbook and cellphone, because those are the two most important tools you own.

    Ponz
    Cleveland, Ohio
    20 x 46 Vinyl (self-built)
    Pentair Intelliflo VF pump : Pentair Quad D.E. 80 filter : Pentair IC-40 SWG : Raypak 335k N.G. heater
    Diving board : Slide : 4 Jandy Deck Jets : Automatic Cover

  16. Back To Top    #16
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    Thanks for your insight ponz! 8)
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I consider myself a pretty handy DIY(master electrcian by trade) and I'm looking forward to the information to give it whirl. Getting the vermiculite will be the tricky thing. I've only found one place to buy it so far.

    I'm glad to see others like me trying this installation.


    Chris

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I spy with my lil eye a big CAT in my next door neighbors yard!


    I can't wait for Roll Call!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    I just got off the Web site to see if the prices dropped on the inground pool kits.

    Is it winter yet??

  20. Back To Top    #20

    In the Industry

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    Re: DIY In~Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Kits

    to give us an idea of your skill level why dont you tell us about things you have experience in? Have you ever done concrete work in the past? Have you ever built an addition? A shed? anything like that. Carpentry experience, masonry, anything that could be related.
    Matthew
    Involved in the pool and spa industry
    Pittsburgh, PA

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