If you’re in the market for a new pool, how long it’s going to take to build your pool is an important part of planning your pool project. Installing a swimming pool in your backyard isn’t an overnight job – pool builders need time for design, permits, excavation, setting up infrastructure, installing the pool, and putting the finishing touches on decking and landscaping.
Putting a specific timeline on the pool construction process isn’t always easy, but if you’ve got a good idea of what to expect, you can begin planning ahead. Not to mention, if you know what the potential delays or hang-ups are, you can aim to avoid them. From digging a gaping hole in your backyard to relaxing in pristine waters, here’s what you should know about building a swimming pool.
The Quick Answer: Average Time to Build a Pool
There are three types of pools to consider: fiberglass, vinyl liner, and concrete (here’s the difference between them). The construction time frame and cost can vary between each:
- Fiberglass pools usually take anywhere from 14 to 30 days to build
- Vinyl liner pools usually take around 25 to 45 days to build
- Concrete pools (also known as gunite pools) typically take anywhere from 45 to 75 days build
- I cover the above ground pool installation process in a separate article, which you can view here.
It’s worth noting that the construction process happens in several stages. From the design phase to obtaining a permit and hiring a pool professional, we can break these numbers down even more for a more accurate model. Let’s cover each step in the process.
Design and Permitting Time: 7 to 60 Days
This is one of the most challenging time periods to try and estimate, but most of the time, the permitting and planning process can take anywhere from a week to eight weeks. Working with a company to help design your pool can often depend on how clear your vision is, and if it’s obtainable. Some pools, like a concrete or vinyl liner pool, can take a little bit longer in the design process too.
Keep in mind that for most outdoor residential pools, you’ll need to meet specific regulations (based on your local government regulations) as well as obtain a residential building permit. Permitting is, unfortunately, just out of anyone’s control. Most contractors have working relationships with municipalities and local governments, but obtaining a permit can still take a few weeks, depending on where you live.
If you’re trying to figure out a timeline, it’s a good idea to overestimate this stage – designing your pool and getting the proper permits shouldn’t take more than eight weeks unless there’s an unusual delay.
One potential delay, for instance, is if you don’t have everything you need for the swimming pool. Many places require that you have a gate with a childproof lock. If that’s not something you planned on, it could take extra time to install that before you obtain a permit.
A major step you can take to prevent delays is to find out what’s required of you as a pool owner. If you need a gate for the permit, you can install that beforehand so that your city doesn’t immediately reject your permit. The contractor you plan to hire is probably already very familiar with city or county swimming pool regulations, so you can always talk to them as well.
Excavation Time: 7 to 10 Days
Once you’ve got the design and all the correct permits, the excavation part of the construction process shouldn’t take long at all. Most contractors can do it in a week (or less), but depending on the size of your pool, it could take slightly longer.
For instance, excavating an Olympic-size lap pool in your backyard is likely to take a lot longer than digging an inground swimming pool that’s only fifteen or twenty feet across.
Important note – ensure your builder knows where your utility lines are so they don’t hack through them while excavating.
Steel, Plumbing, and Electrical Time: 7 to 14 Days
Once your contractor has finished the excavation process, the next step in the pool building process is to begin laying the steel, plumbing, and routing the electrical. While this shouldn’t take more than two weeks if there are no delays, it’s one of the most delicate parts of the process.
A pool that doesn’t have adequate steel or plumbing is likely to cause a lot of problems in the long run, so this isn’t a part of the process you want to rush.
Installation Time: 7 to 21 Days
Inground pool installation can take anywhere from a week to three weeks, depending on the type of pool you’re putting in and the weather conditions. Most pools can’t be installed during rainy weather.
The installation time should be quick with a fiberglass or vinyl liner pool. The pool liner is already made, so all the contractor needs to do is pick it up and put it in.
With a concrete pool, there’s no pre-made pool liner; you’re getting a custom pool. You’ll need to hire a gunite or shotcrete crew to handle the special mixture, and then wait for it to cure before you do anything else. Depending on the size, gunite/shotcrete can take a week or a little longer to completely cure.
Once the pool shell is finalized, your builder will install all of the pool equipment you need, like a pool pump, filter, heater, and anything else you ordered.
Additional water features and landscaping in the pool design will also extend the timeframe.
Decking and Landscaping Time: 7 to 30 Days
Before you grab your pool noodles, the final step in the construction process is installing a deck and dealing with any other pool landscaping that you might want to add on. This is the step where the pool truly begins to feel like your own.
Along with adding a deck, some homeowners might also want to include custom lighting, a tiny waterfall, or other special landscaping features that could tack on extra time. Individually, installing these special features might only take a day or two, but depending on how much you want to add, it could take up to a month to do everything.
If all you’re interested in is a simple deck with little landscaping, this part of the process might only take a week. For anything more complicated, you should allow for more time.
Total Pool Build Time: 1 Month to 3 Months
I’ve already given you the rough numbers above, but if you’re truly interested in calculating a pool construction timeline, it’s best to break down every part of the process and go from there. If you’re on a tighter schedule, you’re better off overestimating for time than underestimating. Try planning for potential delays rather than assuming everything will go off without a hitch.
Need a Pool Builder?
We partner with HomeAdvisor to help you find the best swimming pool contractors in your area. Compare quotes for free from fully vetted pool builders.
Even if you’ve met all the city regulations and you’ve found a crew to build your pool, that doesn’t mean you might not still run into a mishap. It might take a week or two for the correct materials or pre-made pool liner to become available. As I mentioned above, poor weather can be a potential delay when it comes to building an outdoor pool.
Don’t forget that the type of pool you plan to build is always a consideration too. Fiberglass and vinyl liner pools usually have the quickest construction times, and building a swimming pool with concrete could take a bit longer, so you’ll want to include that in your estimate.
None of this means that building your dream pool has to be a hassle, but by understanding the potential concerns now, you could be saving yourself a lot of trouble later on. Timelines aside, the good news is that you’re only a couple of months (or sooner) from taking a refreshing dip in crystal waters!