Should I build my pool myself or hire a contractor?

There's nothing like the luxury and entertainment value of having your own backyard swimming pool. But what if you find out that the cost is out of reach or that the contractor you want to hire is booked for months?

If you are handy with tools and enjoy building things, you may wonder if you could build your pool yourself. The answer is yes, but that answer comes with some qualifications you need to consider.

At Tops Pools, we specialize in residential and commercial in-ground pool construction, but we also can help you build your own pool. Why? We recognize that some homeowners have the desire and the know-how to complete this project and just need some support.

First, it's essential to understand that state laws on this type of project vary. The state of Utah does allow you to build what it classifies as a "private residential pool." The term "private residential pool" means a swimming pool, spa pool, or wading pool that will be used only by "an individual, family, or living unit members and guests, but not serving any type of multiple-unit housing complex of four or more living units."

In addition to stipulating that your pool must be for private use, the state specifies a list of other requirements for this DIY project. The list includes rules for lighting and other electrical elements, including pumps and heaters. Visit this site for the complete list.

Now, let's examine the pros and cons of building your own pool versus hiring a contractor to perform the job.


You'll save money.

Building your own pool can save you up to 30 percent of the cost of hiring a contractor. Some sites, such as, say those savings could go as high as nearly 50 percent.

With these savings, you may be able to add upgrades to your pool that you would not be able to afford otherwise.

You'll save time.

Many families are spending more time at home due to work-from-home and online schooling schedules. When you add in that public swimming pools and health club facilities have had to close their doors in recent months, many pool contractors are fully booked for months in advance.

With a DIY project, you may be able to have your pool ready for its inaugural swim well before a busy builder even gets around to starting your project.

You'll enjoy bragging rights.

When you are in charge of your own project, you call the shots. When your pool is finished, you'll have pride in your accomplishment and be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. That's a great feeling!

Cons of building your own swimming pool

You must provide all the labor.

Any way you look at it, constructing a pool is a huge job. You can't do it alone, so you'll need to find the experienced labor. The two most common positions you'll need to subcontract for are:

  • an excavation contractor (to dig the hole for the pool and haul away the excess dirt)

  • an electrician (to supply all necessary electrical requirements according to your local code)

You must provide all the tools and building materials.

Building your own pool is best suited for homeowners who already own or are renting large construction equipment. Otherwise, the cost may be prohibitive.

All legal issues are your responsibility.

Most cities require you to obtain a residential building permit to build an inground swimming pool. Some cities also require an electrical permit. You'll need to find out other laws and regulations that are specific to your community. When you hire a contractor, they take care of these issues.

You must schedule and manage the project.

While you may save time over a busy contractor handling the work, you could also waste time (and money) by making poor choices or not protecting your site or equipment properly. If you're already busy with your family and career, this project may not be the right choice for you.

You may lose warranty coverage.

Warranties on fiberglass pools and pool liners often specify that the product must be installed by a factory-trained or otherwise licensed installer. Mistakes can happen in a DIY pool project, so a voided warranty can be a costly problem.

​If you'd like to find out more about building your own pool with some professional guidance, Tops Pools is ready to help.

We offer the following:

  • your pick from one of our vinyl or fiberglass shapes

  • step-by-step instructions

  • our directory of permit-approved engineered plans

  • phone consultations and support (in-person visits are available for an additional cost)

Give us a call to schedule a free estimate for our DIY service today.