So, you really want a swimming pool but can’t afford to have an in-ground swimming pool?
Well what about an above-ground pool! Above ground swimming pools come in a variety of sizes and depths, do consider that the larger the pool the more expensive it will be to buy, run and maintain. The following DIY Swimming Pools Guide will help you install your above-ground pool, in a methodical way that will make the job so much easier.
Decide on the size and shape of the swimming pool you want to install. Remember that the larger your swimming pool the more it will cost to keep. Heating a swimming pool is one of the most expensive aspects and a very large pool will require a lot of heating. Regardless to the size of the pool you can reduce the energy requirements and cost by installing some solar panels. Swimming pools are not exactly eco-friendly but this will help enormously to reduce the carbon footprint of a swimming pool – give this some serious thought.
Locate a suitable spot in your garden where you want your pool to stand. The location will often as not, be dictated by the size of the pool you want to install. It is NOT a good idea to place the pool where there are lots of trees, as falling leaves can block the filtration system. Try to find a spot where it gets sun most of the day. This will help keep the water warm and reduce your heating costs.
Once you have decided where you are going to install your swimming pool you need to first construct a solid concrete base on which it will sit. The depth of the concrete base will be determined by the size of the pool you are installing, the larger it is the stronger the base has to be. Start by measuring out the area and shape you require. Add approximately 3′ to the overall size as this will give you a base to step on when getting in and out of the pool. Mark this area with marking paint or using wooden stakes and string.
Dig out the area to a depth of about 8″ and level and compact the soil. You can use a hand tamper or a commercial compactor. If you want to use a commercial compactor then these can be hired from most good DIY Tool Hire companies. For me, I buy small tools such as electric chainsaw recommended by experts. This saves money in the long run. Anyway, If the pool is large, you’ll need a large base and it will be much easier with a commercial compactor.
You now need to make and fit timber forms that go around the edges of the area you dug out and these forms can be constructed from plywood. These timber forms will contain the concrete when you pour it and allow you to get a level finish to the base. Fit the timber forms to the depth of dug out area. Secure the forms in place with wooden pegs. Once the forms are in place make sure they are level. You can do this by placing a length of timber across the forms and placing a spirit level on top. Tap the forms down if required or lift them by placing wood shims underneath. Once your forms are completely level you can move onto the next step.
Fill the area with approximately 2″ of building sand. Level the sand using a length of wood and a spirit level and then compact it down. Once you have a nice level sand bed you can build a network of rebar. The rebar will give the base real strength and the size of the steel bars you use will depend on the size of the area you are concreting. If in doubt ask for advice at your local builders’ merchant.
Once your rebar cage has been constructed you can now mix the concrete, which should consist of 1 Part Sand, 3 Parts Aggregate and 1 Part Cement. If you are concreting a large area then you have a choice of either ordering in a cement truck or mixing it yourself using a cement mixer. It is not recommended that you mix by hand as this is extremely hard work.
Pour the concrete and move it about as you go so that it fills all the spaces around the rebar. Once you have completed pouring the concrete, take a length of timber that is long enough to over lap each side of the forms and then drag and tamper the cement. This will help the cement to compact and provide a nice smooth and level surface. Once complete you need to let the concrete cure properly.
Curing Your Concrete Base – You should find that your concrete base already has a layer of water on top. This is perfectly normal but to cure concrete properly you need to keep it wet with a film of water on the surface. You can do this by setting up your garden hose and attaching a sprinkler head. Set the head to a very fine mist and let it continuously keep the area wet. When concrete cures it goes from a very dark gray to a very light dusty gray and when it is light gray you can then determine that the concrete is cured, hard and very strong. NOTE: It is never a good idea to pour concrete in very hot weather. This will dry out the concrete too quickly which may end up in it cracking and becoming very weak.
Now that you have a solid base it is time to install your swimming pool. Construction will vary from one manufacturer to another so lay out all the components and follow the construction instructions very carefully and step-by-step. Most above-ground pools are easy to construct but if you have bought one that is particularly large then it’s a good idea to get a few friends in to help. The wall panels will be heavy and it’s always easier to have extra hands to hold things while you bolt and screw them together.
Once the structure of your pool is complete you can connect plumbing and electrics for the pump, heater and filter. Again, these can vary, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. WARNING: You must follow building code regulations regarding any electrical wiring. If in doubt call out a qualified electrician.
Once your pool is complete, go around and check all the fittings are secure and that any plumbing joints are tight. You can now fill your swimming pool and add the recommended amount of chemical cleaner. Let the pool settle and the water circulate for 24 hours before use. After that… have fun!
Please leave any comments or advice below.
Article Contributed by : Chris Ross