In-Ground and Above Ground Pool Installation [Complete Guide]

Congratulations on having the plan grounded to install a pool of yourself. But getting over the nitty-gritty of how it’ll look like, here comes the mammoth task of turning it into reality.

Well, we’re talking about having it installed on whatever ground space you’ve planned to do it on.

Yeah, it’s a quite big deal to install a swimming pool in your backyard but nothing to be tensed about. Because we have compiled a complete guide on pool installation.

In this piece, we’ve crafted together the steps of installing pools(both in-ground and above-ground), followed by a list of professionals who’d do it for you.

In case you don’t want to ruin the whole plan, you better give yourself some time to go through this whole article.

Let’s get going-

Importance of Installing the Pool Properly

Both above-ground and in-ground pool installation requires carefulness. You have to install them in a proper way to seal the chances of happening anything bad in future. If you don’t install it properly, these can be happen in future:

  • If the base or foundation isn’t installed properly, the pool will surely damage within a few days or months.
  • A poorly kept pool can decrease your property value.
  • If any important part you don’t concern during the installation (put it off for the future) it can be messy, time-consuming and very costly.
  • If you do not build the pool on a level ground, the rocky or unstable soil will make building trickier.
  • If you don’t choose the location for your pool very carefully, it’ll not be easy to move in future.
  • Take the weather into consideration. Don’t waste full installation to do it on a windy or stormy-weathered day.
  • It’s important to contact your insurance company before installing it. Sometimes, having a pool on one’s property affects the homeowners insurance. Even if it doesn’t matter, your insurance company should be informed that it’s being installed.
  • Your pool shouldn’t be installed under any overhead wires (electrical and other utilities) to prevent any future risks.

So, if you don’t want to spend more money in future to fix the problems, you should be careful from the very beginning. It’s important to keep each and every point in your mind.

It will be better if you don’t finish full installation by yourself. Because there are matters an experienced contractor can do precisely. Do a short research about the pros and cons of both in-ground and above-ground pools and then go for one. Every step of the installation needs much carefulness. So, carefully follow all the instructions to avoid any risks.

In-ground Pool Installation

Do you think it’s a very complicated process to install an in-ground pool? It actually is quite complicated, but only when you can’t get proper guidelines. We compiled here 9 easy steps that will make your journey easier.

What Tools You’ll Need?

You will need an in-ground pool kit. But before having a kit, you will have to make many decisions:

  • Your pool size and shape
  • Color, pattern and liner thickness
  • Corner radius
  • Wall height and material
  • Plumbing equipment
  • Skimmer system
  • Pool filter (sand filter, cartridge filter, etc)
  • Pool pump (one speed, two speed, variable speed)

There are 3 types of pool kit:

Vinyl Pool Kits

People most likely look for vinyl liner pools. Actually, ‘what’s in a vinyl pool kit’ isn’t easy to answer. Because, this kit will vary by manufacturer or retailer. In fact, many of the items are also optional. So, the contents of this kit will depend on what you choose to add.

Whatever the kit you’ll collect, it should contain most of what you’ll need to construct the pool. But there are still many additional supplies that you will need to complete the installation:

  • Basic hand tools
  • Trowels
  • Shop-vac to fit the liner
  • Excavator to dig the hole
  • Grout or vermiculite


How Much a Vinyl Liner Pool Kit Costs?

With the smaller pools on lower end and larger pools falling on the upper end you can expect to spend between $5000-$10,000 (on your pool kit). Custom liner pool shapes can cost $15,000-$20,000.

The filter, liner, wall material and any other options will dramatically affect the price. For instance, just the liner by itself will cost anywhere from $700 (for very cheap and small liners) to over $2500 (for larger and thicker liners).

Note it down that any important parts that you don’t add to your kit will still need to be purchased separately.

Fiberglass Pool Kits

These kits are mainly popular among DIYers, but it is also common for the pool owners to buy a fiberglass pool kit and hire a contractor for the installation.

Every pool kit can vary widely by manufacturer and retailer, but here are the fiberglass pool kit basics you may get an idea about:

  • Dig sheets
  • Pool pump and filter system
  • Some hardware (lights, fittings, faceplates, etc)
  • Instructions
  • Plumbing equipment
  • Pool cover
  • Sanitizing systems (salt water chlorinator or automatic chlorinator)
  • Chemicals
  • Shipping costs

As we said before, kits will vary with some basic and others including all of the above and more.

How much a fiberglass pool kit costs?


Overall, the price of your pool shell, pool pump and filter system plus shipping cost will be anywhere from $15000-$35000 or more.

As we said for vinyl pool kits, the necessary materials not included in your fiberglass pool kit will still demand to be purchased separately.

Concrete Pool Kits

You probably imagine that it’s a bit harder to package a concrete pool into a kit.

Let’s take a look on what is included in a concrete pool kit:

  • Pool pump and filter system
  • Pipes and plumbing materials
  • Skimmer and main drain
  • Valves, above ground pool lights and fittings
  • Plaster or other surface materials

These are what your concrete pool kit might include.

How Much a Concrete Pool Kit Costs?

These pool kits are more uncommon than fiberglass and vinyl liner pool kits. Concrete pools can take 3-6 months to build. Most people don’t DIY their concrete pool construction because it can get extensively messy.

As like the others, the cost of every kit will depend on what’s included. In general, you should be ready to pay $3,000 and up.

Step 1: Pick a Suitable Site Your Pool

First thing first, designate a part of your property that would be best for your new pool. Most pool owners prefer to install their pool in the backyards. But you also can situate yours to one side in case you have enough space to play with.

Step 2: Come Up With a Basic Design for Your Pool

Before the project gets underway, you need to be clear about the shape of your new pool. It can be round, square or rectangular-shaped. How deep your pool will be and how many entrances it will have also are the matters of concern. After setting your mind, discuss with your contractor about these important details.

Step 3: Create the Foundation of Your Pool

Now you have to create the foundation of your pool to ensure that it’s built to last. Most of the residential swimming pools are finished using one of the three surfacing materials: Fiberglass, poured concrete or vinyl.

From the three, Concrete is the strongest and most durable one and also the most expensive.

You also can purchase a molded Fiberglass pool for ease of installation. Mainly for salt-water pools, you should go with fiberglass of vinyl lining. Because salt can wear down concrete over time.

Choose a Vinyl-lined pool in case you want to spend less. Vinyl swimming pool liner is by far the most economical option to finish a home swimming pool.

Step 4: Hire an Excavation Contractor

Why hiring a contractor? Because, a machine can do in a minute where it takes hand labor hours or days to accomplish.

So, you should choose a skilled excavation contractor for this part of the installation process and more importantly for a diving swimming pool. But if it’s a shallow or play swimming pool, it can be excavated with a rented skid loader.

Step 5: Assemble The Pool Walls

Regardless of who assembles the walls (an experienced installer or the homeowner himself) the process is as follows:

Assemble the panels using the nuts and bolts that are provided in your kit. Attach a pool wall brace where two wall panel sections are joined. Check to be sure that the pool is in level and correct-shaped.

Step 6: Concrete Footer & PVC Plumbing

Now, set the pool wall braces in 6” of concrete.  Schedule 40 PVC pipe will be used to connect the pool to the filtration system. The needed amount of pipe will vary.


Step 7: Install Pool Liner

Installing pool liner is briefly obstructed here:

  • Open the liner box and roll up for positioning the liner.
  • Continue unfolding the liner until it’s set in the both shallow and deep end.
  • To prevent the positioned liner from moving, secure the liner ends with sand bags.
  • Climate each wrinkles by pulling and positioning the liner.

Try to install this on a wind-free warm day to make the installation easier.

Step 8: Back-Fill the Pool

A rented skid loader makes the back-filling and landscaping much easier. You can use the dirt that excavated from the area to back-fill or a high level of expensive clay or high water table.

Step 9: Electrical & Concrete Deck

Grounding of the pool and electrical connection must be done by a licensed electrician. You may use wood to form the area of the concrete walk around the deck.

Now, go ahead, get out the giant flamingo float and relax at your new favorite place. You just earned it! Moreover, you deserve a break sending out your pool party invites.

Above Ground Pool Installation

Installing an above-ground pool can be done quickly if you are prepared beforehand. In fact, it’s easier plus pocket-friendly to install an above-ground pool than an in-ground one.

Here are the steps to walk you through the process of installing an above-ground pool.

What Things You’ll Need?

You should have these following tools on hand:

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Tape measure
  • Trowel
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Wrench (5/16 and ¼)
  • Duct tape
  • Skimmer
  • Filter
  • Sand (use easily-compacted sand)
  • Transit
  • Sod remover
  • Shop vac
  • Drill

Now, you can go for the steps.

Step 1: Ensure the Ground is Level

First of all, choose an area to install your pool and ensure the ground is level. Here are some tips to ensure the ground is level:

  • Use a straight, longboard with a carpenter’s level on top of it for measuring the levelness of the area.
  • The entire area will be within 1 inch of being perfectly level.
  • If the ground isn’t level, dig down the high areas (instead of building up low areas) to prevent the pool from settling over time.

Step 2: Prepare the Ground for Construction

The first job is to find the center point (where the middle of your pool is going to be). Measure the area and mark where the edges of your pool will go. Now, measure the radius of your pool from the marked edges. This is the center point, mark this. Use a tape to measure around the perimeter of the pool.

Now, use a sod remover and a rake to remove any remaining grass, rocks, debris, roots and all of which can negatively affect the liner. Here are some information about preparing the ground:

  • In case the ground is clay, use a floor pad for the installation.
  • An oval pool can’t be installed on concrete
  • Don’t install a floor pad on a dished pool (because floor pad is designed to lay flat)
  • You can’t dish an oval pool if it has strapping
  • The pool has to be level across the perimeter

Step 3: Build the Bottom Ring of Your Pool

You’ve entered the construction of your pool. Now, follow the instructions that come with your pool package since each type, brand and size of pool have different instructions. Here you go with some tips to identify each piece:

  • The plates will be made of resin or metal
  • The bottom stabilizer is should be crimped on one side
  • The bottom rail is larger and straighter than the stabilizer
  • Don’t forget to measure the bottom track in several locations. If the size is correct, you’ll stake the ring into position.

Step 4: Support the Base

When the ring is in position, you’ll need to add support for the base of your pool for keeping it stabilized and level over time. To do it:

  • Level each plate within ½ inch of each other.
  • Place the patio block in the ground so the track is flush on the ground and level in all directions. Make sure the patio blocks are perfectly level and flush with the ground.
  • Remove the bottom rail to fill the area with sand.
  • Replace the bottom rail, spread the sand evenly across the pool area.
  • Try not to spill sand on the bottom rails.

Step 5: Install the Pool Wall

Installing will not be the same for ‘the pool has buttresses’ and ‘the pool has strapping’. Here is a to-do-list for both situations.

If your pool has buttresses

  • Be sure the gaps are tight along the wall where the buttresses are.
  • Use stakes around the pool for holding the wall up while you’re installing it.
  • Never skip any nuts or bolts, otherwise your pool will not be stable.
  • Wall bars can’t be touched by each other.
  • You should build a 6-8 inch cove along the inside of the pool wall.
  • Pack your cove without scratching the pool wall.

If your pool has strapping

  • Make sure that the straps raise higher in the middle.
  • On the oval pools, the strapping can begin to float. To solve it, ensure you raised the straps by ½ inches in the centre.
  • In case, holes do not align, do not drill holes. Verify the alignment of the structures.


Step 6: Install the Pool Liner and Filling

Be very careful not to tear the liner during installing it. Try installing it on a wind-free, warm day and check to be sure the evening temperature doesn’t dip too low. The steps of the installation are:

  • It will be better if you lay the liner in the sun before starting. Because liners are slightly smaller than the pool’s support. So, this part is for stretching the liner naturally.
  • Wet the sand and rake it before you put the liner in the pool. It will ensure a level base.
  • Don’t step on the liner with your shoes on. Better if you install it either barefoot or in socks.
  • Be sure you don’t take any rocks into the pool with you while walking on the liner to work the wrinkles out.
  • After the stabilizer rails are installed, you can take down the landscaping stakes.
  • It’s the last chance you must ensure the bottom of your pool is level and free of debris.
  • Never trim off the excess liner. If the liner needs to be removed, roll up the excess liner and tape it in place near the top of the pool wall. Because trimming the liner will make re-installation very difficult.

Some additional tips for different types of liners:

  • V-Bead liners will require no coping. The stabilizer rails will hold this liner in position.
  • Snap Bad liners will snap into a separate track around the pool and will be installed on top of the pool wall.
  • Unibead liners can be used as a V-Bead or a Snap Bead liner. It actually comes as a V-Bead one but you can remove the top portion and make it a Snap Bead liner.
  • Overlap liners are hung over the pool wall and are secured using plastic coping strips.


Step 6: Install Plates, Rails and Covers

Once you are done with installing the pool liner, go for installing the plates, rails and covers. Here are some tips to install them:

  • Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instruction. All the pieces should fit together easily.
  • Check to be sure the sides and top are level.
  • Be sure that the top plates are perfectly straight using a level before you tighten them.
  • Bottom rails have to always be held in position in the bottom plate.
  • You have to recheck the gaps at each and every one of the bottom rails as if they are all equal in gap size.

Step 7: Fill Your Pool

The last step is to fill the pool. Check out the tips below:

  • Firstly, fill the pool half way and then install the skimmer and filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Install the safety warnings because your warranty could be nullified in case you don’t add these labels.
  • Apply the safety warnings before you fill the pool on the top.
  • The water level should be ⅓ of half way up the skimmer.

That’s it! Now, you can enjoy the pool time with your family.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: How much swimming pool installation costs?

Ans: It depends. Costs for installing a pool will vary a bit depending on the size and location you choose.

Q2: How long will it take to construct the assuming pool?

Ans: This also will depend on the size of the pool and its location. But on average, most projects will take between a few weeks or a couple of months.

Q3: How long does an above-ground pool last?

Ans: Pools normally last between 5-15 years. It actually depends on the quality of the pool and the type of dirt the pool is sitting on.

Q4: What to do to keep grass from growing through my Vinyl liner?

Ans: Before installing a pool, the ground must be treated for whatever kind of growth you have to clear out. Importantly, always keep a 2’ barrier around the outside of your pool free of any vegetation.

Q5: Is there any way to make my pool last longer?

Ans: Most importantly, don’t let a leaky liner stay in your pool because the water will eat the wall away- either patch it or just change it. Besides, everytime you change the liner, examine the inside wall of the pool. If you see any rust there, sand it away and spray on some corrosion eliminator.


At the end of our journey, we hope that you could utilize your valuable time reading this over.

There’s nothing to worry about installing a pool right now because you got a complete guide on pool installation process. So, no need to think twice, go for it!

Happy installing!

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