Do It Yourself Fiberglass Pools: The Ultimate DIY Project!
Since 2001 we at River Pools have installed over 1,000 fiberglass swimming pools. We get many questions every day about DIY fiberglass pool installations.
We want to address many of these questions and also provide a resource that can help you install your own fiberglass pool.
If you're just starting your research, you're probably thinking: "Fiberglass pools are conceptually easy to install. You just dig a hole and set it in, right?"
Well, yes, although it may not be quite as simple as it seems at first glance.
However, fiberglass pools are a perfect Do-It-Yourself project for anyone with basic excavation and plumbing experience—and, of course, time.
If you are considering a DIY fiberglass pool you probably have several questions like:
- How much money do I save with a DIY fiberglass pool?
- What resources do I need to provide that are not normally included with the fiberglass pool shell?
- What are some common problems associated with Do It Yourself fiberglass pools?
- Is there a comprehensive installation guide available that can walk me through every aspect of installing the fiberglass pool?
What should I know before I install a fiberglass pool myself?
You have to budget for expenses such as equipment, dirt hauling, plumbing, water, and more. You'll save about $6,000 to $10,000 overall. The most common challenge with DIY fiberglass pools is getting the pool shell level. Give yourself plenty of time to set it. For linear pools, you also have to make sure the pool walls stay straight.
How much money does a DIY fiberglass pool really save me?
This is a great question.
Be careful not to get too excited after checking the initial price of the inground fiberglass pool shell.
A lot of expenses are not covered in that price. (We'll discuss those below.)
You want to be thorough on the front end so your budget doesn't get obliterated by a surprise expense during the project.
To answer the question of how much do you save, let's look at an example.
Say you have an inground fiberglass pool around 30 ft. long without any concrete patio.
For a professional to fully install this, it would normally cost anywhere from $40k–$55k in our area.
A DIY installation of the same fiberglass pool would probably equate to a savings of $6k–$10k.
A high-quality pool shell makes all the difference during installation. Learn why we expanded to manufacturing fiberglass pools and how our methods revolutionized the industry.
What do I need to purchase that is not normally included in the fiberglass pool shell price?
These expenses are usually separate from the shell purchase:
- the equipment to complete the excavation
- a crane to set the pool if needed
- water to fill the pool
- the backfill material
- any necessary plumbing fittings and pipe
- the pool equipment if not included
This is a very rough pricing guide to give you some concept of the expense of these items.
Equipment rental (one week): $2,000
Water (trucked in): $700–$1,200
Backfill material: $1,000–$2,000
Miscellaneous plumbing: $300–$600
Pool equipment: $700–$1,200
Please note that these are averages and may vary dramatically from region to region.
What are some common challenges associated with Do-It-Yourself fiberglass pools?
The most common challenge associated with DIY fiberglass pool installations is getting the pool level.
For a first timer, this can be a frustrating experience. The key is to stick with it until you get it right.
One word of advice here: be careful to give yourself plenty of time for pool leveling.
If you're having water delivered, build in a couple extra hours before they arrive and budget some extra time for the crane to sit on site while you work on getting the pool level.
Few things are more stressful than re-setting a pool over and over while everyone's standing around waiting on you.
These situations can lead you to compromise and settle for a pool that's not as level as you would like. Don't do it. You'll kick yourself later.
Another common challenge with straight-wall pools is keeping those suckers straight. This requires constant monitoring while filling the pool and placing backfill.
As soon as you set the pool, run a string line from corner to corner and keep it spot on until the pool is full.
If the wall bows in or out, the pool will probably be fine, but you'll have to do some digging to get it straight again.
Please leave any questions you may have about installing your own fiberglass pool below, and I'll do my best to answer them promptly.
Thanks and good luck!
Editor's note: This blog article was updated on February 15, 2019.