DIY Fiberglass Pools

Thinking about installing a fiberglass pool in your back yard?

In theory, fiberglass pools are easy to install. You simply dig a hole and place the pool shell in the hole, some gravel, plumbing and water. Don’t forget about the landscaping. Well, maybe not quite so easy.
However, if you have the time and basic knowledge of excavation and plumbing, you could find that your overall costs of installing a fiberglass pool are less than hiring a contractor to install one.
But before you start digging, consider the following points:
  • What are the savings associated with DIY fiberglass pools?
  • What do I need to supply that isn’t typically included with the fiberglass pool shell?
  • What are the most common issues involved with DIY fiberglass pools?
  • Is there an installation guide that provides every step of installing a fiberglass pool?
  • What’s the cost of landscaping, concrete collar beam, coping stone?

What do I need to do before installing a fiberglass pool myself?

You’ll need to budget for equipment $7,000 to $15.000, dirt disposal, gravel, plumbing, water, and more, but will save in the range of $8,000-$20,000. The greatest challenge with DIY fiberglass pools is ensuring that the pool shell is level within the National Fiberglass Association guidelines. Allow adequate time to set it with a crane service ($1,700 – $3,500)

How much money will I save with a DIY fiberglass pool?

While the price of an in-ground fiberglass pool shell may seem reasonable, many expenses aren’t covered in the price. Make sure your front end budget is solid to avoid surprises during the project.
The following example provides insight as to how much you can save if you have a 30 ft in-ground fiberglass pool with no concrete patio:
For professional installation, the price can range from $48k–$68k. In contrast, a DIY installation of the same pool would probably save between $8k–$20k. Installing a high-quality pool shell will make a major difference.

What do I need that’s not normally included in the cost of a fiberglass pool shell?

The following expenses aren’t typically included in the shell purchase:
  • equipment to complete excavation
  • soil removal and disposal
  • fiberglass pool fittings, skimmer, returns
  • fiberglass pool LED lights
  • crane to set the pool
  • water to fill the pool
  • backfill material
  • any necessary plumbing fittings and pipe
  • pool equipment, if not included

Below is a rough expense estimate for these items:

One week’s excavation equipment rental: $2,500

One week’s excavation equipment rental: $2,500

Soil removal & disposal: $7,500

Crane: $1,700$3,500

Water (trucked in): $700$1,200

Backfill material: $1,800$3,200

Miscellaneous plumbing: $700$1,600

Pool equipment: $7,000$16,000

What are the most common issues associated with DIY fiberglass pools?

Getting the pool level, which can be frustrating for first-time installers. Keep at it until you get it right.

Make sure to allow plenty of time to level the pool. If you’re having water delivered, allow a couple of hours before they arrive and allow extra time for the crane to wait on-site while you get the pool level. 

There’s nothing more stressful than resetting a pool again and again while everyone’s waiting for you. 

This can cause you to compromise and settle for a pool that’s not as level as it should be. Be patient and do the job right. 

Another common issue is keeping a straight-wall pool straight. You’ll need to constantly monitor this when filling the pool and placing backfill. 

Once you’ve set the pool, run a string line from corner to corner and keep it in position until the pool is full. 

The pool will probably be fine if the wall bows in or out, but you’ll need to do some digging to straighten it again.