Key Groundwork Considerations When Building a Pool

huge pool in a suburb house

The conditions of the area a pool will be placed influence its size and design. Builders must adapt the pool and its materials to fit into the conditions of its chosen location to minimize potential problems.

There’s more to digging a swimming pool than digging a hole. In-ground pools are a big investment. Several considerations must be made before and throughout the building process to ensure that the pool is installed correctly to ensure the long-term integrity and ease maintenance. These factors influence not only the shape and size of the pool but also the steps taken throughout its construction.


The location and available space for the pool is the biggest factor determining its size and design. The pool can only be as big and be shaped as the optimal space would allow. A pool must be situated in a location with full sun.

Trees present a challenge for pool builders. A pool must be built far from a tree to prevent damage from expanding tree roots. In addition, keeping trees away from the pool’s surface keeps leaves and other debris from dropping into the pool’s surface.


The type of structure that would form the walls of the pool is a critical consideration during the building process and have their unique benefits and maintenance challenges.

Vinyl pools—which involve a vinyl liner over stainless steel walls and concrete floor—offer massive flexibility and cracking resistance but is vulnerable to tearing and punctures. Although algae resistant and quick to install, fiberglass pools are a challenge to fit correctly and can be difficult and expensive to repair when installed incorrectly.

Concrete and gunite pools represent one of the most expensive forms of swimming pool construction but are also the most customizable. Although prone to cracking if poorly maintained, gunite pools are remarkably durable and offer the best returns out of all types of pools.

A Matter of Groundwater

pool tiles

Groundwater issues are going to be one of the first things that builders would spot during the pool construction process. A high-enough water table will automatically fill in any excavation with groundwater, confounding any ability to build the pool around it. If the water table is high enough, the surrounding groundwater pressure may put pressure on the pool itself, which would need to be full to counteract it.

Moreover, without an adequate way to keep it watertight, the pool will be subject to the slow intrusion of the surrounding groundwater and also be subject to water damage. Sealing pool walls can help maintain its structural integrity, protecting the reinforcing bars or steel walls from corrosion and prevent the seepage of groundwater from contaminating the interior of the pool itself.  A variety of swimming pool waterproofing methods can be employed to protect the pool’s walls.

Soil Quality

The type of soil an in-ground swimming pool would be built is a crucial consideration during the design process. The pool’s design would need to be adapted to suit the conditions of the soil and adapt to the rigors it may present. Swimming pools built on rocky soils may not have much of an issue being built until the builders encounter boulders, which can slow down construction. Likewise, sandy or clay (expanding) soils need to be taken into account when laying the superstructure of the pool to accommodate for their effects on buildings and mitigate the likelihood of damage.