How Long Does It Take To Build a Swimming Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
August 23, 2023

unfinished swimming pool next to a calendar and clock

If you’re in the market for a new pool, determining the time it will take to build your pool is an integral part of planning your pool project. As you probably already know, installing a swimming pool in your backyard isn’t an overnight job, and 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.

From digging a gaping hole in your backyard to relaxing in pristine waters, here’s what you should know about how long it takes to build a swimming pool.

Main Takeaways

  • On average, pools take anywhere from 14 days to 75 days to build, depending on the type of pool.
  • Allow 7 to 60 days for design and permitting, 7 to 10 days for excavation, 7 to 14 days for steel, plumbing, and electrical, 14 to 70 days for installation, and 7 to 30 days for decking and landscaping.

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 to 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 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 also take a little bit longer in the design process.

Most of my professional experience has been in building custom concrete pools. Here’s an example of a custom design I drew for a client. This blueprint took me about two weeks with all the client back and forth and drawing time.

swimming pool plan in AutoCAD

Remember that for most outdoor residential pools, you’ll need to meet specific regulations (based on your local government regulations) and 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 also talk to them.

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 will likely take much 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 will likely cause many 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. Your contractor will have a gunite or shotcrete crew handle the special mixture, and then you need to 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 cure completely.

shotcrete process in a new swimming pool

Here’s an example of a shotcrete pool that I built in 2010. This is just the outer shell – your pool builder will install the colored pool plaster on top of this shotcrete shell (the pretty finish you see in the pool when it’s done), which also takes time to shape, cure, and clean before filling the swimming pool.

Once the pool shell and plaster are finalized, your builder will install all 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.

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Things That Could Delay Your Pool Build Time

Unfortunately, long delays on the finishing date of a pool being built are a reality for many homeowners. While you may agree on a finishing date with your contractor, there are a number of factors that can significantly slow down the process and push back the completion date.


Weather is one of the most pivotal things to consider when your pool is being built. Inground pools are dug out of the ground, so when there is heavy rain, the soil gets saturated with water, and excavation becomes a nightmare. In some cases, pool builders will excavate a pool only for a large storm to pass through and destroy their work, forcing them to start over once the ground has dried sufficiently.

Equipment Delays

Another factor that can delay your pool build time is waiting for equipment. Remember, even once the structure of your pool is completed, there is still a lot of work to be done in setting up the pool equipment (heater, pump, filter, etc.). In some regions with limited warehouse space, you may have to wait for quite some time for pool equipment to be shipped. Especially if you are building a saltwater pool or need an unusual type of pump or heater, you may have to wait some time for the equipment to arrive.

Labor Shortages

Another thing to consider when building your pool is the pool contractor labor force in your region. If your town has limited pool contractors, you should expect your pool to take longer to build as the labor force will be stretched thin. Make sure to talk with your pool contractor to get a clear picture of how many other projects they will be taking on at the same time as yours.

Unexpected Obstacles In Your Yard

If you find gas, electrical, or water lines in the area where you plan to build your pool, your pool can be delayed by a LONG time. Relocating utility lines in your yard is a pretty extensive project that involves hiring licensed professionals and obtaining permits. Another obstacle that can slow down your pool build time is if contractors find the ground in your yard difficult to excavate. This includes dry ground, areas with lots of large rocks, or an area with shallow bedrock (6 feet or less).

How to Speed Up Your Pool Build Time

While many things can slow down your pool build time, there are also plenty of ways to speed up the process.

Go For a Fiberglass Pool

Fiberglass pools are the simplest to install and take the least amount of time to build. So, if you want your pool up and running as soon as possible, I recommend choosing a fiberglass pool.

Build Your Pool in the Offseason

Pool builders are the busiest in the spring and summer, as this is when most homeowners decide to build their pools. So, pools can take longer if you choose to build them in the summer as pool contractors will likely be building many different at the same time. Getting your pool built in the offseason is a great way to ensure your pool builder has more time for your project. Additionally, some pool contractors may lower their prices during these months due to decreased demand.

While building a pool in the offseason is a viable option for people who live in regions with milder year-round temperatures, it won’t be possible in areas that experience bitter, freezing winters. Unfortunately, if you live in the Midwest, the Northeast, or Alaska, you’ll have to wait until summer to build your pool.

Prepare the Site in Advance

Preparing your yard before you bring in the pool contractors is always a good idea. If the pool contractor has to move debris or get rid of vegetation in your yard before excavating, chances are your pool is going to take longer to build. Move away any larger rocks and gravel in the area where your pool will be built, and get rid of any trees or vegetation. Additionally, you should ensure that the builders can get into your yard easily with heavy machinery.

Choose the Right Contractor

The final thing that can have a HUGE impact on the build time of your pool is the contractor you hire. I cannot stress enough how important it is to vet your pool builder extensively before you sign a contract. Ask for reviews and credentials, and ask them a lot of questions about their build processes.

Check out my complete guide on how to vet potential pool builders for more on this.

Does Pool Build Time Vary Based on Location?

The time it takes to build your pool also varies depending on the state/region you are located in. Certain areas present more challenges for pool builders or have a lack of pool contractors in general, which causes pool build time to be much longer. In states with warmer weather and lots of pool ownership, there are generally A LOT of contractors, so it will take less time to build the pool.

  • Building a pool in states with high pool ownership (California, Florida, Texas, Arizona) generally is the easiest and takes the least amount of time.
  • Building a pool in states with low ownership or in regions with cold winters (Alaska, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin) takes more time as there may be weather and equipment delays.
  • Building pools in remote regions with lower population densities (Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska) will also take longer as there will be fewer options for pool builders, warehouse space may be limited, and shipments will take longer.

And There’s Your Timeline

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 building an outdoor pool.

Don’t forget that the type of pool you plan to build is also a consideration. 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 you’re only a couple of months (or sooner) from taking a refreshing dip in crystal waters!

Drop me a line if you have more questions about swimming pool installation timelines; I am always happy to help.

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