How Long Does It Take to Build a Pool?

Summertime means fireflies at dusk, juicy watermelon slices, and long, sunny days that lead to warm, starry nights. Do you dream of cooling off in your own backyard pool, complete with patio loungers and fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas? In order to make your dream a reality and enjoy the many social and health benefits of having your own pool, you’ll need to design and build it. If you’re thinking about adding a pool to your backyard space, it’s important to consider, “How long does it take to build a pool?”

On Average, How Long Does It Take to Build a Pool? 

Making home improvements, such as enhancing your backyard space with a custom-designed pool and outdoor living space, can be exciting endeavors, so it’s natural (and wise) to ask how the process works and how long it will take. There are a number of variables that impact the installation time, but on average, it can take up to 90 working days to build a backyard pool.

Some major factors to consider when estimating your timeline are pool type, scope of work, and additional features to enhance your pool.

  • Type of pool: The quickest pool projects include pre-fab or fiberglass, pool renovations, and vinyl liner projects. For longer-lasting and more durable structures, many homeowners consider gunite or shotcrete pools. The type of finish you select will also impact the total duration. Popular options are plaster, aggregate, and tile.
  • Scope of work: If you’re looking for high-end work that produces gorgeous backyards, the addition of glass tile and rock features will add time to the project. Any type of masonry work will take more days to complete. When consulting with your custom pool contractor, it’s a good idea to ask them about resources and trade availability.
  • Add-on features: What truly transforms your pool area into your dream oasis are the relaxing aesthetic features you add. Options like water features, fire bowls, and sunken firepits will liven up your pool and take it from a simple swimming area to the place to be. The additional time it takes to install such features are often well worth it when the project is complete.

To help you estimate and plan, we’ve detailed the main steps involved in the pool-building process and the approximate time needed for each. Read on to discover all you need to know to get your summer plans moving as soon as possible.  

What to Consider Before You Start the Building Process

There are a number of contractors who will compete for your business. Don’t pick the first one you see. Do your research and interview companies before you make a commitment. Watch out for builders who promise speedy timelines and make claims that seem impossible. As with most things in life: if it looks too good to be true — it probably is. 

An ideal contractor is transparent about their timelines and offers a detailed explanation about each step of the process.

It’s also important to consider which features you’d like to include in your pool design. Each feature will impact the total build time and can delay the finish line for your completed project. The depth of your pool, for example, may affect the time it takes to excavate the area, which will extend the timeline. 

The best way to account for delays and to have an accurate timeline is by creating a detailed design. That way, you can integrate every feature into your pool project before it even begins.

Design Your Pool Project and Apply for Permits

When you decide to take the plunge and build a pool, you need to be prepared to make a lot of important decisions. You’ll begin by exploring your options regarding size, shape, and other design elements. Each choice you make will impact how long it takes to build your custom pool. 

Your pool customization options are virtually limitless, so take some time to think about what you want. It’s often helpful to look through inspiration galleries to get an idea of the wide array of possibilities. 

Once you have an idea of what you want, a professional pool designer can provide you with 3D representations of your finished project. You and your contractor may need to tweak the design until you finalize the plan and are ready to move on to the next step.

In general, you can expect the design process to take one to three weeks from the initial consultation until its completion. The total time of how long it takes to build a pool depends on how complex your custom pool will be and how many revisions are needed to achieve your vision.   

Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll need to request the permits that are needed to build your pool legally. Unfortunately, this is one area where you and your pool contractors have little control. Once you’ve submitted the paperwork, the length of time it will take to get your permit will depend on your municipality. Obtaining them can take anywhere from one week to two months, and you can’t begin until they’re in hand. Once you’ve received the proper permits, you’ve got the green light to start building your custom pool.

Average time: Two weeks to two months 

Plan Initial Layout 

With all the legalities in place, your pool builder can now get started. They’ll come into your backyard and outline the shape and placement of your pool, typically with wooden stakes or form boards. 

This exciting stage offers you the opportunity to see what the pool will look like on your property. The builder will also calculate your pool elevation and discuss the rest of the building process in detail with you. On average, this process won’t take more than one or two days. If your pool project is more complex, it may take longer. 

Average time: One to two days 

Start Excavation 

Once the planning and permits are ready, your builder will be able to get started. They will begin with excavation, which requires the use of heavy machinery. Your building team will remove the dirt where your new pool will be constructed. This process usually takes between one and two weeks. 

There may be certain obstacles that impact the time it takes to excavate your space. Physical aspects like accessibility, exposed utility lines, and natural obstructions like boulders and branches can greatly impact the time it takes to excavate your yard. Weather and soil conditions can also cause delays.

Related: Cost Variations in Swimming Pools

Your professional pool construction company will keep you in the loop every step of the way, and they’ll inform you of any issues that may affect the timeline. Most often, you can expect excavation to take one to two weeks.

Average time: One to two weeks 

Install the Frame 

After excavation, it’s time to start building your pool. Your professional pool builders will install a steel frame that gives your swimming pool its structure. After this step, you’ll be able to see what your pool will look like as the area begins to take shape.

The framing process doesn’t take long. On average, it takes one to three days to complete this step. Factors that could impact the timeline include weather, supply chain issues, and the complexity of your pool design.

Average time: One to three days 

Add Plumbing and Pipes 

Pipes and plumbing allow water to flow so you can run your filter, pump, and heater. This aspect of pool installation is critical, and small mistakes can mean expensive repairs down the road. Your building team will take their time to correctly install every pipe and plumbing component so it works perfectly when your pool is complete. On average, this process takes about a week from start to finish.

Average time: One week 

Hook Up the Electrical 

After installing the pipes, it’s time to hook up the electrical connections for add-on like lights, pumps, heaters, water features, and fountains. 

Related: Great Ways to Use Your Swimming Pool Year-Round 

Although it doesn’t take long, the more features you’ve selected, the longer you can expect it to take. Of course, it’ll be worth the wait when you’re relaxing and socializing around your finished pool with all the design elements you envisioned. On average, this stage takes one or two days to complete. 

Average time: One to two days 

Add the Walls and Floor 

When calculating your timeline for building a pool, this stage is the most variable. The duration for building your pool’s walls and floor greatly depends on the materials you choose. For example, a fully custom concrete-lined pool, wall, and floor installation can take anywhere from 20 to 60 days. 

During the design phase, you can discuss your options and resource availability to get a better idea of your unique timeline for your wall and floor installation. It’s also important to remember that the weather is a variable that can’t be predicted, and it will impact how long it takes to finish this step.

Average time: 20 to 60 days 

Finish with Tiling, Coping, and Aesthetics 

Now it’s time to add creative touches like tile, coping, and decorative lining with materials like marble or brick. Remember that with masonry work, your custom pool builders will want to take their time to get this process done right to deliver the aesthetics you envision. Depending on the choices you make, expect this step to take one to three days. 

Once this process is complete, your builder will focus on the pool deck, decorative lighting, and landscaping. These improvements can take up to two weeks, depending on the extent of work that needs to be done. 

It’s also important to factor in the time it takes to clean up — and if you’ve built a concrete pool, it will take one to two weeks for the final coating application.

Average time (total): Three to six weeks 

Prepare Your New Pool for Swimming 

Before you jump in, you need to make sure your pool is swim-ready. There are a few steps that need to be taken, including:

  • Filling your pool with water (two to three days) 
  • Installing the pool pump (one to three hours) 
  • Installing the pool filter (less than 48 hours) 
  • Installing the pool heater (one to seven days, depending on the heater type) 
  • Adding pool chemicals (less than 24 hours) 

Average time (total): One to two weeks 

As you can see, the answer to the question, “How long does it take to build a pool?” comes with many variables. That’s why it’s so important to get a professional estimate for your unique project. At California Pools, we offer customer-focused and quality workmanship every step of the way, so you know exactly what to expect from the design phase until the project is complete. Contact us today and schedule an appointment. Our team of experts will help you create a custom design for your backyard pool. We’ll provide an accurate estimate for your unique project, and we’ll offer an honest timeline that takes into account factors like materials, unique features, and unexpected delays like the weather. Take the first step today toward cooling off all summer long with California Pools.

Good times guaranteed.
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