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Top 5 DIY Fiberglass Pool Kit Mistakes and Considerations


diy pool plansSo you're thinking about doing a DIY and installing a fiberglass pool kit yourself, ehh? It's interesting how often we get asked about self-installs here at River Pools. In fact, we usually sell 3-5 of these kits every year to homeowners. That's why I wanted to discuss today some of the problems and considerations that must be made before you simply buy a kit and start digging.

1. How Much Will Your DIY Project Really Cost?

Over the years, I've talked with homeowners who told me they could save 10-20k on their fiberglass pool if they just installed it themselves. Granted, there can certainly be a savings if one elects to go this route, but before you simply look at the price of a shell online, consider these other expenses as well:

  • Pool Shell Shipping
  • Excavator rental
  • Crane rental
  • Bobcat rental
  • Gravel for base/backfill/ and concrete base
  • Water Truck to fill the pool
  • Concrete material cost
  • Concrete Labor cost for finisher (hopefully they know cantilever!!)
  • Final Grading cost
  • Electrical Hook Up (always cost more than most folks realize)
  • Plumbing, parts, equipment, etc.
  • Dirt Hauling
  • Permits
  • Retaining Walls
  • miscellaneous

As you can see, there are many other expenses that need to be considered. I mention this because many, many times folks have come to me after an DIY project and fretted over all the additional expenses they missed and had not thought about. Don't let this be you.

2. What are the Warranties?

As with any building project, be it a home, pool, etc, clearly stated material and workmanship warranties are a big, big deal. Most consumers never bother to get these warranties in print and therefore suffer down the road when there is a problem. Please protect yourself and take the time to do this.

3. Concrete, concrete, concrete

It doesn't matter how many times we write about this subject here on the blog, we still get emails from around the country from folks that are wondering if there is anyone we know in their area that can properly install a concrete deck around a fiberglass pool with the cantilevered coping finish.

Remember***: Just because someone has done a concrete patio around a swimming pool doesn't mean they have the first clue as to working with cantilever forms on a fiberglass unit.

4. Timeliness

If there is one thing that can mess up a fiberglass pool installation it's the weather. For example, if you know you're digging and setting the pool today, but it's going to rain a ton tonight, you likely should wait until tomorrow (or later) to start, otherwise the pool might move/shift in the hole.

In other words, a fiberglass pool isn't safe and secure until it's completely full of water, and even still you want to get your concrete decking around it as soon as possible.

So make sure you don't schedule the excavation for one week, then the set and fill the next. Do it all at one time, as it just might save you quite a bit of headache.

5. Walls, Drainage, Etc

If there is one thing homeowners tend to overlook the most when doing a DIY kit install is the grade of the pool area. Remember, if your yard is not flat, you're going to have to make it flat. Sometimes this can be achieved with fill dirt, but other times a wall is in order.

Without proper grading, water can run into the pool area,  which is obviously a very bad thing. Also, retaining walls can be very, very expensive, so just make sure you have a very clear understanding of needed site work BEFORE you go ahead and just order a fiberglass pool shell to show up to your back yard.

So there you have it folks, 5 things to consider when installing your own fiberglass pool. As always, if you have any thoughts or questions regarding this subject, please don't hesitate to leave a comment below.


Marcus Sheridan

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Hey Marcus,  
Its almost like building your own house. Yes, you can save a few dollars, but what do you have when you are finished? A DIY MESS... There is so much to learn about fiberglass pool installation. After 35 years in the pool business, I've learned that you can't know enough about building pools. I strive to learn new and better ways every day and still I find a way to bump my head. I will most likely attend a seminar a week before I retire. The homeowners that try DIY have no idea about what they are getting themselves in to. At least its been my experience that most DIY installs are sorry that it just didn't go as smoothly as once thought. Yes, I've sold DIY kits and I also become their "FAST DIAL" ON THEIR PHONES"... Of Course, there are some exceptions, but not many... I think it would be wise if you consider DIY, at least hire an experience pool installer to be available for guidance. 
OK Marcus..Hope to see you soon...
Posted @ Thursday, November 10, 2011 5:57 PM by Wade Arcement
Wade, one of the best comments we've ever had here my friend. You know this business as well as anyone out there my friend. 
Appreciate your wisdom and support. 
Posted @ Saturday, November 12, 2011 12:45 PM by Marcus Sheridan
Really nice post.It will be a great help for people who are planning to have this.
Posted @ Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:00 AM by Jennifer Bolduc
I applaud your efforts to educate your customers! Good stuff.
Posted @ Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:45 PM by Steve Landau
I'm always a little worried when people call me for DIY pricing on pool shells. The task of building anything large-scale yourself just seems daunting to me. Now I have someplace to point them if they are looking for info on what needs to be done for a DIY pool. Thanks!
Posted @ Friday, February 17, 2012 12:31 PM by addie
I wouldn't want my husband doing a DIY swimming pool in our yard any more than I would want him doing a DIY root canal! Some things are truly better left to the experts and WORTH the price! :}
Posted @ Sunday, March 11, 2012 2:40 PM by SuperMama
Pools are the greatest source of outdoor entertainment so if you want to have the finest experience make sure that the pools are clean as well as beautiful. We are not only dedicated in renovation services but <a href="”> Swimming Pool Plastering Perth options are also provided.
Posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 1:31 AM by marcus013
I'm confused. You are contradicting yourself 
I need to know the correct advise before I start meeting with installers again.  
I have a slope dropping away from my house and want a FG pool. One installer told me they would use the dirt from the whole to raise the grade to creat a flat spot for the pool. But wouldn't this the same as using fill dirt? You say it is ok above but say not ok in the link 
Posted @ Sunday, June 09, 2013 11:33 PM by John Reynolds
this blog is osome , I like this post
Posted @ Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:24 AM by Crane Equipment
My kids and I have been trying to convince my husband to get a pool put in our backyard. He finally broke down and told us he would install a pool on his own. I have been very worried about all the work he would have to put in to install the pool. I think he needs to take a look at this as it might just be easier to hire a company to put the pool in.  
Mia |
Posted @ Thursday, April 03, 2014 12:54 PM by Mia
That's right. Don't forget bobcat hire. Rates vary but most companies charge by the hour for a minimum of 3 hours including travel time. 
Posted @ Thursday, July 24, 2014 6:24 AM by Hire the Right Earthmoving Equipment at Dee Gees Bobcats
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