Building Your Own Gunite/Shotcrete Pool
It is easy to realize with the present economic state that most people are trying to save money. Everyone needs a way to enjoy themselves or else life itself becomes a chore. A swimming pool is a perfect form of enjoyment and entertainment for the entire family. Building ones own pool can be a rewarding endeavor and also lead to family involvement.
I have outlined several different alternatives to owning a swimming pool and saving money in the building process.
Many people that come to this site are looking for ways to build an in ground pool using concrete block for the walls of the pool.
After doing a little research and actually helping a homeowner build a new shotcrete pool I have decided that unless you are bound and determined to do a lot of the physical labor on the pool, it is really not cost effective to consider concrete block as a viable material for constructing the pool walls.
I can only imagine that most people looking to build their own pool have already done at least a little research and have found that the cost of having a gunite/shotcrete pool built is very expensive. The one thing you must realize here is that the pool builder is is adding a substantial amount to the actual cost of building the pool.
Typically a pool builders markup is somewhere between 50 and 100 % of the actual cost. Now before you get too upset at your builder , do realize that there is a potential for things to go extremely wrong during the pool building process. Since most pool builders sub contract out a large portion of the job and usually have many jobs going at one time, he cannot be around to supervise every aspect of the pool project. Leaving critical decisions in the hands of those less concerned can lead to disaster. So to cover any likely problems that may arise, they make sure they charge enough from the start to essentially build the pool twice.
If you have already obtained quotes from several different pool contractors and all of the prices are reasonably close, you have some base numbers to work against.
Before proceeding, please be aware that the pool contractors role in building your pool is to accept responsibility for the finished product. If you are willing to take on this responsibility then it is not an unreasonable expectation to be able to save 5 to 15 thousand dollars on a pool that you have been given a quote from a few pool contractors of $35,000.00.
Knowledge is the key to success here. You will be hiring and scheduling your own sub contractors throughout the building process. You will need to know which materials need to be on the job and when they need to be there. You will need to know if each sub has performed satisfactory work before moving on to the next phase of the project.
For those of you that really want to be involved (hands on) there are plenty of things you can do yourself. Form the pool up , this isn’t rocket science and with a gunite/shotcrete pool there is really no wrong shape. It is good idea to avoid sharp inside corners, they will lead to water stagnation and poor cleaning in these areas, but other than that go for it. Forms must be level within an inch. Use a laser if available. You are forming up the outside of the pool beam take into account the coping material you will be using and adjust accordingly.
If you are proficient at running a backhoe feel free to dig the hole yourself, just remember you are digging the outside of the pool shell so it needs to be 6 to 8 inches larger that the finished pool.Tie your own rebar. This is fairly straight forward you are looking to make 12″ x 12″ grids over the entire pool floor and walls, In a pool over 6 ft deep we tie 6″ x 12″ grids in the floor and up the walls past the transition. This is the area where the pool starts getting deeper. Do your own plumbing. Skimmers aren’t hard to set , neither are main drains . Tie the two main drains together and set them 5 to 6 ft apart, this will ensure that there is no possibility of someone covering both drains at once and becoming trapped. There are alternatives to using two drains but this method is the most useful as it allows for the drains to be plumbed separately from the skimmers.
I am going to try to get some videos together for this , I have a hard time with it as I am usually the one doing the work, but I’ll work on it. Maybe I’ll hire a camera man, HA.