Pool Installation Nightmares: What to Know Before You Dig That Hole

by Matty ByloosJuly 11, 2016

Installing a Pool This Summer? Read This Guide First

Summer is right around the corner, and unless you live somewhere in the frozen north, the temperature in your backyard has already risen accordingly. You may not yet be dreading the dog days of summer, when July and August temperatures hover over ninety and can reach over one hundred, but you know you will be looking for relief when they get here. And what better way to get relief from summer’s heat than with a new backyard pool or spa?

A pool can make a wonderful addition to your property, enhancing the architecture and grounds and adding considerable value to your home while providing you with years of enjoyment. But for every content, happy pool owner, there seems to be three more stories of pool construction gone horribly wrong.

While building a pool may not be nearly as intensive or complicated as building a house, there are many potential pitfalls on the path to blissful pool ownership. Homeowners that don’t take the time to do their research beforehand are more likely to encounter problems or to get taken advantage of. Here is what you need to know before you install a pool in your backyard.

guide to pool installation

Common Pool Installation Nightmares

The most common issues that come up during pool construction stem from three main areas:

  1. Ignorance of zoning laws or homeowners association rules.
  2. Not checking with utilities before you dig.
  3. Going with a cheap, incompetent, or untrustworthy contractor.

No one wants to spend several thousand dollars installing a pool only to have the city make them fill it back in. No one wants to break a natural gas main and risk their neighbors’ lives. And no one wants to have a half-constructed pool abandoned — one that they have to find another contractor to finish. You might as well just purchase an inflatable kiddie pool instead.

Zoning and HOA Issues

You need to check with your homeowner’s association (if you have one), and the city and county governments that have jurisdiction over your property to make sure that you are legally allowed to install a pool. Further, you will also check that where you plan to install the pool doesn’t violate any zoning laws. Don’t just take your pool contractor’s word for it, either.

Excavation Issues

Make sure that you check in with your local utility company regarding what may be running through your yard underground. This is especially important if you are going to try to save some money by renting equipment and handling the excavation yourself. You don’t want to have to pay the city for a burst water main, or the damages for accidentally flooding your entire neighborhood.

Construction Issues

Make sure that your pool contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured. Also make sure that they have a long record of good references from satisfied customers. Signing an agreement with the lowest bidder (or the only bidder if you’re really trying to set yourself up with a problem) without checking their references is very risky.

If something goes wrong and the contractor goes out of business, you could get left with an incomplete project, liens against your property from unpaid suppliers and subcontractors, or worse.

Relax and Enjoy Your New Pool

With a little research into what every homeowner should know before installing a pool, your project should come off without much of a hitch. Soon, you’ll be sipping beverages and grilling burgers, beating the August heat with a quick dip in your flawlessly installed pool.


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About The Author
Matty Byloos
Matty is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. He's a newly minted homeowner who currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife. When he's not working, he enjoys writing fiction, working on the house, and enjoying the amazing nature that the city has to offer. He is also the founder of NOVEL Creative Agency.

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