How Long Does It Take to Build a Pool?

If you’re dreaming of lounging around your backyard pool in the sunshine, it’s time to build your new pool. But how long does it take to build a pool? Before getting caught up in daydreams, let’s look at the steps involved in building. Breaking down the process will help you to plan ahead and make your backyard daydreams a reality. Many factors can play into how long your pool build will take. The type of pool plays a part, and the time of year you decide to build it. Starting the process during the busy summer season is likely to take longer, as contractors can require booking weeks and even months ahead.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Pool

Design Phase

Building a backyard pool starts with designing one. First, meeting with a pool designer will help you figure out a realistic vision that’s not only the pool you dream of but also one that you can realistically build in your existing space.

Then, combining 3D modeling software and some collaboration with an expert in pool design will help you figure out the best pool for your yard. This phase of the pool building process usually takes about 1-4 weeks.

Permit Phase

The majority of cities, towns, and counties in the United States require a residential building permit to build an inground swimming pool.

Obtaining a permit communicates to your community that your pool meets building codes and is constructed legally and safely. In addition, be sure to obtain permits for your project elements, including patios, decks, lighting, and accessory buildings.

The amount of time required to obtain necessary permits varies greatly depending on where you live. Sometimes you can get all your permits approved in as little as a week, whereas other times, you can wait as long as six weeks.

Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do to speed up this process other than making sure you submit all the necessary fees and paperwork. The average time for permit approvals for a pool is 2-6 weeks.

Excavation Phase

It only takes one or two days to dig the hole required for pool installation as a general rule. However, problems can arise with the excavation process, such as buried utility lines or other underground obstructions.

The schedule for excavation also depends on your contractor and how backlogged they are with other jobs. The depth of your pool, ease of backyard access for equipment, and any additional project components can all extend the amount of time excavation will take.

Additional elements include retaining walls, patios, or accessory buildings. The excavation phase should take about one week.

Steel, Plumbing, and Electrical Installation

Once you’ve got the hole dug for your pool, steel needs to be placed, electrical and plumbing must be routed into the space. This will ensure the underside of your pool is adequately fitted with everything it needs to work correctly.

Lighting, water features, spa jets, filtration systems, or any other amenities in your pool will need to be appropriately powered. It takes about two weeks to install the plumbing and electricals. This timeline can vary slightly depending on the pool’s size.

Plastering, Vinyl, and Fiberglass Installation

After 6-12 weeks of pre-installation work, you are finally ready to start building the pool part of your pool. This installation process takes between 1-3 weeks and varies based on what type of pool you have decided to build.

Vinyl and fiberglass swimming pools install faster because the liners are pre-made and shipped directly from the manufacturer. If you are making a gunite or sprayed concrete pool, it takes a bit longer. Concrete pool shells require a crew to pour concrete, time to plaster, and time for the concrete to cure in place.

Installation Requirements for Different Pool Types

Vinyl Liners

If you want to enjoy the benefits of a customizable pool without the customized price tag, vinyl liners are a popular choice. The pool walls are made of steel and polymer and assembled on-site in your yard. Vinyl liner pools have concrete floors and concrete pool decks.

If you live in a colder climate, these pools are ideal as they are less vulnerable to cracking during freeze and thaw cycles.

Fiberglass Pool Shells

Fiberglass pools are entirely pre-made. Often, they can be placed in the ground and filled within a day. However, the pool site must be prepared correctly to ensure maximum longevity for your fiberglass pool. Large pools are very tricky to deliver, as they require a crane to hoist the pool shell over top of your home without cracking the shell.


Concrete pools are the easiest to customize with regards to shape and size. However, they take the longest to build and are often the most expensive, costing 2-3 times as much to install as a fiberglass or vinyl pool.

Concrete pools are called gunite shells, which refers to a mixture of concrete, sand, and water. Specialized contractors are required to pour concrete pool shells.

It can take up to 30 days for concrete to completely cure, depending on outdoor weather conditions. It’s important to note that concrete pools are not compatible with saltwater pool systems.

Custom Features, Landscaping, and Pool Decks

Once your pool base is fully built, it’s time to develop or add any landscaping, water features, decking, or lighting that you wish to accompany your newly created backyard oasis. It takes 1-2 weeks to finish the process. Obviously, the more complicated your plan is, the longer it will take to complete.

When is the Best Time of Year to Build a Pool?

If you live in an area with winter weather, the best time to build your pool is early in the spring, as soon as the ground is thawed. However, it’s best to plan your pool, obtain permits, and book contractors through the fall and winter. This way, you will be ready to break ground as early as possible and have your pool completed before the hot summer weather begins.

Factors that Delay Pool Building

Contractor Schedules

Pool building season begins in the spring (unless you live further south where it doesn’t freeze). The further you get into summer, the more booked pool builders are. If you want to ensure your pool gets done within a reasonable time frame, book your contractors as soon as you can.

Inclement Weather

Some stages of the pool building process can be delayed by rainy or windy weather.

Permit Inspections

Most cities or counties require certain stages of the building process to be inspected before issuing your final permits. Once your plumbing and electricals are installed, for example, you will need an inspector to sign off on the work before burying the wires and pipes under your pool shell. If inspections are not promptly carried out, this can delay construction.

Filling Your New Pool

If you have passed all your building inspections and the construction is finished, it’s time to fill your new pool with water. The larger your pool is, the longer this process will take.

Using your hose to fill your pool is not realistic. Whether your house is on a municipal water system or a well, it would take days to fill an average backyard pool. Ensure your pool contractor includes water delivery in their service to save you this hassle.

It’s also important to keep in mind that you can’t just fill your pool with water and jump in. You’ll have to prepare the water first to maintain sanitary levels and avoid grimy pool bacteria from growing. Maintaining proper chemical balances in your pool water is part of the responsibility of owning one.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Pool from Start to Finish?

The average time it takes to build a pool is 8 to 12 weeks. Designing, obtaining permits, excavation, pool shell installation, and the backyard finishing work will all need to be completed before you can finally enjoy your poolside paradise.

It may seem like three months is a long time to wait, but think of the many years you will be able to enjoy your pool!

While this article does provide a general timeline for building a pool, it’s best to discuss this with your contractor or pool design specialist for the most accurate information. They will have a better idea of permit requirements and contractor availability in your local area.

The sooner you start designing and planning your backyard pool project, the sooner you can relax in your backyard pool.

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