I have seen a lot of really awesome swimming pools and I have seen some pools with some stupid mistakes. When building a pool, a contractor will do a lot of things differently then other contractors. However there are some things a pool contractor should never do. Here are some major mistakes when building a pool:
Not properly leveling the pool.
After the pool has been excavated, the pool walls get built. After the walls have been built, they need to be leveled. I go around with a laser level and find the highest point. I set the laser to that measurement and go around and raise the low spots with shims. I’ve seen some new pools be 2″ out of level. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is substantial. Most liners have tiles at the top that will show how bad the pool is out of level. Also if there are 2 skimmers, one skimmer will have a hard time keeping water in it.
Not building a pool on “virgin soil”
A lot of builders will quickly excavate the site and fill the low spots in with dirt. This saves on time and material, but that dirt will eventually compress after time or say 20,000 gallons of water are put on it. Normally there is a concrete footer behind the pool wall called a bond beam that will help if the pool is built on “fill”. However over time sometimes the pool will settle and now the pool is out of level like issue 1.
Not building the pool square.
If the pool is a rectangle the pool should be measured off the house in two spots at the exact number. Then the tape measure diagonally on both sides should be the same. This makes the pool parallel with the house and “square”. Most homeowners probably cant tell if there pool is off an inch, but it is noticeable to some people. Also if the pool has an auto cover, that auto cover will always have a hard time closing equaling on both sides.
Back filling with dirt.
After the pool has been built and the concrete bond beam poured, the outside of the pool needs filled. This needs to be done with non compact able material, something like sand or grits. Some guys use dirt, but this dirt cant be compacted without bowing the walls, and thus the dirt will eventually settle and the concrete above will 100% crack or pull away from the pool. This is incredibly common, and the result of this lazy (or cost cutting measure) will take a year or two and the contractor will be long gone.
Bonding requires a lot of copper, around 100 to 150 ft and appropriate bonding connectors which probably costs 200 bucks all together on something no one ever sees. A lot of builders skip this step, especially if no building permits are being processed. Skipping bonding can create “shocks” to a person. This happens when holding metal like a vacuum pole, touching a metal ladder, handrail, diving board, etc. The shock doesn’t hurt the person, but it’s not pleasant. An hour or two of labor and a couple hundred bucks so make this step necessary for all in ground pools. Here is some more information about pool bonding.