Darlington Designs
Shell of in-ground pool being built with large piles of dirt surrounding it.

What Is the In-Ground Pool Installation Process Really Like?

When you think about building a pool, you probably envision the end product. 

Don’t get us wrong, building a pool is all about the end product, but, sometimes homeowners overlook the work it takes to get there. 

The in-ground pool installation process is an intricate series of steps that homeowners are usually not familiar with. Although straightforward to pool installation professionals, homeowners may not be aware of the potential impacts it causes on their backyard and daily lives. 

Not to worry. Darlington Designs is here to give you a crash course in everything you need to know about pool installation. 

With over 15 years of experience in pool and spa installation, as well as landscaping and construction, our team is well-versed in the design and build processes. Our “one-stop shop” methodology of working allows you to work with one, dedicated team throughout the entire project. This allows us to provide you with the most accurate estimates, budgeting guidelines, and updates regarding your project.

The In-Ground Pool Installation Process: What to Expect 

After you design the pool, select the materials, and acquire the appropriate permits (Darlington Designs handles all of these processes), the in-ground pool installation process begins! 

Depending on which type of in-ground pool you’re building (fiberglass, gunite, vinyl, etc.), the pool installation process can vary, but there are general steps that are taken which include: 

1. Layout and Excavation

This is when our team breaks the ground in your backyard to create the space where the pool will be installed. This also includes creating the selected shape of the pool. You will need to approve the location and elevation, and may have to consider if any trees or existing structures will need to be removed or relocated. 

Underground utilities will also need to be checked before the crew begins digging. Once the area is cleared, heavy machinery will be brought in to begin the excavation process. 

If there is excess soil that cannot be graded into the yard, it will be removed. This process typically takes a couple of hours to one full day, depending on a number of factors. 

2. Steel Reinforcement

Next, the substructure of the pool will be laid out and secured. How this process is handled varies. For gunite and vinyl-lined pools, we typically use steel bars that are placed horizontally and vertically to create the pool’s backbone. 

For fiberglass pools, because they are factory-molded into large, bowl-shaped shells, and then set into the hole, steel reinforcement isn’t needed. Instead, gravel or sand will be placed at the bottom of the hole that is excavated, and then the pool will be crane-lifted and placed into the hole. On average, this process takes one to two days. 

3. Pool Shell Formation

This is where the shell of the pool is formed, and will include any unique attributes, such as steps, ladders, benches, tanning shelves, etc. For gunite and vinyl-lined pools, the gunite is shot through a high-pressure hose to create the shell of the pool. This process takes one to days on average to complete, but the project will need to be put on hold for five to seven days at this point in order for the gunite to properly cure. 

4. Plumbing

Next, the pool water plumbing and filter equipment will be installed. Pressure tests will be executed for quality assurance, and hydraulic calculations will be performed in order to ensure all equipment is the correct size. On average, this process takes one to two days. 

5. Coping, Tile, and Water Features

This is when you’ll finally start seeing the pool come into its final look. At this stage, the pool coping, wall tiling, and any unique water features, such as waterfalls, grottos, sconces, etc., will be installed. On average, you can expect this process to take two to five days, but it depends on the complexity and amount of features being installed. 

6. Electric and Gas

Blue tiling in the process of being installed on the floor of an in-ground pool. Next, we will trench and install the electrical wiring from the house’s main electrical box to all necessary pool equipment. If utilizing a gas heater, gas lines will need to run from the main gas meter of the house to the pool heater. Installation takes on average one to two days. 

After the electrical and gas lines are set up, the town will need to perform an inspection before we can proceed. On average, this inspection can take two to five days, but it depends on the time of year and location. 

7. Decking

Only upon the approval of the electrical and gas inspection can you begin decking. The two most popular decking options are concrete and pavers, but the pool coping material you selected should be taken into account when selecting your decking material. It is ideal to choose a material that will blend with your pool coping. This step usually takes three to five days. 

8. Fencing

Next, many homeowners choose to install fencing around their pool for safety reasons. Depending on your local building codes, this step may be optional or mandatory before the pool is plastered and surfaced. Even if it is only optional, it may be beneficial for those with pets or small children. Fence installation usually takes three to five days. 

9. Plastering and Surfacing

Before your pool is plastered, filled, and finalized, the town must perform one final inspection. Once the approval is confirmed, the shell of the pool will begin to be plastered. For vinyl-lined pools, the vinyl-lining will be installed at this phase. This takes two days on average to complete. 

10. Start-Up

What makes a pool a pool? The water, of course! This is the final phase where the pool will be filled with water. It is important to let the water run until the specified stopping point and not before that. This is to help prevent an unnecessary ring or stain from forming in the plaster of the wall. Filling the pool can take anywhere from a few hours up to two days depending on the size of the pool.

Last, the equipment will be started up to make sure everything is working properly, and the water chemistry will begin to be balanced. Instructions will be provided to you to explain equipment operations and maintenance. 

Pool Installation Is a Cinch with Darlington Designs

At Darlington Designs, we’re committed to making the pool installation process as seamless, easy, and enjoyable as possible for our clients. Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or call us at 856-442-0440 to get started. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in southern New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia region. 

Also, feel free to contact us via our project form on our site. The project form can be found at the bottom of our Pools and Spas page