How Long Does It Take to Build A Gunite Pool?

by | Aug 26, 2019 | Backyard Lifestyle, Featured, Pool Design


Quick Summary of Length to Build a Gunite Pool


One of the most common and difficult questions about gunite pools, how long does a pool take to build? The question is not hard to answer because a pool builder does not know. Instead, it is hard to answer because while a pool may be the focal point of a backyard project, it is not the only part.

Swimming pool construction takes the size of the pool and many feet beyond. Unless there are space constraints, this is commonly where the patio will be placed. Pools demand a big area that often conflict with the other backyard projects. These conflicts can affect the time frame of construction.

Our team has detailed some things that affect how long it takes to build a swimming pool. To help homeowners understand their role, we’ve broken things down into two main categories, items in your control and outside of your control. It should also be known that asking how long it takes to build a pool varies by region of the country. For this article, we focus on our region, New England. 

At SSG, we find that analogies are helpful. How long your pool will take to build is like asking how long your work commute is in the morning. Most of the time, you’re pretty close with estimations, give or take 5-10 minutes. Occasionally, there’s a big accident that extends timelines. Building a pool involves many uncontrollable factors for the builder and the homeowner. By working together and having good communication, the factors that are controllable can be handled properly on both sides.


Items Within Your Control


Design Decisions

Finalizing decisions on colors, patio size and even pool size and shape after it has been excavated. Sometimes homeowners decide to change the shape of a pool after it has been excavated. Our team has even seen homeowners change their mind after the gunite (concrete) has been installed. SSG can handle design changes but they do add time to the project.

Additional Backyard Structures

Examples include backyard pool houses, sheds, or cabanas. Typically, backyard structures are very close to the pool. For a pool and pool patio to be completed, the structures foundation needs to be installed so that the pool plumbing and underneath the pool deck can be filled with dirt and compacted to build the pool deck on.

Your Electrician

It may be tempting to use a friend or relative who has electrical experience. It’s very common for this situation to add time to the project. Our team has seen these favors or side jobs go wrong countless times. Sometimes family friends cannot commit the necessary time to complete the project or they find themselves overwhelmed. Swimming pool electrical can be very complicated, some pools can require a significant amount of electrical work.

There are many moving parts when it comes to the electrical of a swimming pool. It’s not uncommon for there to be multiple motors, sensors, heating elements, disinfection items, lights, light systems, along with controllers and communication systems. All of which fall under the electrical code and are required by law to be installed by a licensed electrician. Even electricians that operate on pools regularly have to do research, check code books, and read instructions on how all of these components work together.

Complex Designs

Complex pool projects take longer than simple designs. Some pool projects require the pool to be built in specific phases, such as foundations to be installed before the pool can even be started. Some pools get large structures built on top of them or boulders installed within them and things like this need to wait until the concrete has gained its full strength.

Timing of Construction

The timing of construction plays a big role how long pools take to build. This is such a popular topic that we’ve published a blog specifically about when is the best time to build a pool in New England. Excavations typically cannot be performed in the winter. The fastest time to build a swimming pool is the middle of the summer. Swimming pool contractor’s schedules are lighter after July 4th.

Most homeowners don’t want their backyards under construction during the summer months. However, if you want to get a pool built as quickly as possible it is the time to do it. The planning process should start around May to capitalize on a summer construction time. Homeowners should even consider starting earlier if they anticipate permitting issues.

The next best time to start a pool for ease of construction is in September. The Fall season is a busier time and will not go as fast as summer but it will help ensure that the pool is ready for the following summer. All of the difficult parts of the construction process can be completed while the ground is typically more dry and the weather is more favorable. Even complicated projects starting in September can usually be completed for the following summer.

Spring is the busiest season for pool builders. Out of the available months, it is also the most difficult time of year to build a pool. Spring involves rain and therefore the ground is saturated with water. Rain and groundwater can create a wet yard which makes normal processes take more time. Given these factors, a little more patience is required to have springtime pool construction.

Final Fill of Water

The best way to fill a pool is by hiring a water company to deliver truckloads. Water companies pre-treat their water so that once it is in your pool, it only needs a small amount of chemicals and time to get it running properly. Backyard pools range from about 25,000 gallons to 35,000 gallons. A water truck holds 9000 gallons and pumps the water down a 4” hose into the pool. Most of the time a pool is filled by truck in 1 day or less.

If a homeowner chooses to use city water or well water, it can take much longer to fill a pool. An average well can only produce 8-10 gallons per minute. Therefore, a 30,000 gallon pool would require all of your well water for 2-3 days, providing the well has a good water supply. It is not uncommon for a well to run dry while trying to fill a pool. Once the pool is full of well water it can take a few more days to balance the well water. Well water can also have hard water or other minerals in it that can stain a pool adding time to clean the pool of the stains can mean no swimming because of the chemicals that are used to clean the pool. City water flows a little faster than well water and typically has less minerals that can damage a pool. Although, it can cause other issues if it has strange characteristics. For example, the water on Nantucket is overly soft and requires special chemicals to keep the water from sucking calcium out of the interior finish, therefore affecting the look and feel of your pool.


Items Out of Your Control


Backyard Surface Conditions

Pools can be built just about anywhere, even on steep slopes, hills, and even in the air. If the yard has a slope, a number of measures can be taken. The pool can be engineered to retain the uphill soil. Retaining walls can be added before or after pool structure construction. The location grade of the yard will usually dictate which actions needs to be installed first. Some pools are even built on deep foundations where piles or drilled piers are installed deep in the ground to hold the pool in place.

Backyard Subsurface Conditions

SSG has excavated over 10,000 pools in New England over the past 45 years. Our team is highly skilled at anticipating the level of difficulty with an excavation. However, sometimes surprises arise. We have found a lot of surprises during excavations, some add time to the project timeline and some do not.

Discovering ledge or very large boulders can add time to a pool project. Our equipment cannot move car-size boulders or bedrock. Soft soil conditions such as a layer of peat more commonly found near the coast, especially in maine, can also add to excavation time. Poor water conditions are also possible in these cases.

Stump dumps are especially common at the end of a dead-end development or cul-de-sac. Stump dumps are when someone (illegally) buries a large deposit of stumps from when they cleared the land for a new development. These can go down as far as 40’ sometimes and are a hassle to deal with but SSG can handle them.

Some of these inconvenient findings can add a day or two to a pool project. Other situations, warranting dynamite or a giant jackhammer can add weeks. If a pool turns out to have these conditions, it is important to remember that SSG can and will handle all of it.

Permitting and Town Approval

Most of the time the permitting process takes roughly 1 week. Some things can extend the process. If the desired pool location is within wetlands boundaries or property setbacks, there needs to be approval from the town to obtain a permit to build. Most of the time if the properties only option for a pool is within boundaries, but outside the buffer zones, the pool can still be built. Sometimes if the backyard is a wetland permission it cannot be obtained, but this is rare. Every town has a slightly different permitting process. To learn more about your town’s process, Google “[your town] pool permit”.




Now that we’ve reviewed some items that affect swimming pool construction duration, back to answering the basic question. If the location of the pool is relatively level, all decisions have been made up front, no other contractors will be involved with the project during pool construction, SSG manages the electrical, and no subsurface conditions are encountered a pool can be easily built from excavation to jumping in within 7-10 weeks. There may still be some final inspections and small items to settle, but after that 7-10 week period, people can jump in the pool as it’s being filled up with water.

It’s important to have a full plan before construction. That way, you can ask the pool builder’s supervisor or other contractors how decisions affect each other. A plan helps ensure that everything is lined up to happen at the right time so nothing holds anything else up.

In most residential pool projects, the homeowner is required to act as a general contractor. The homeowner taking on this role will typically be save 15-25% of the total project instead of hiring a general contractor to manage everything. Even with a general contractor involved, the homeowner is still required to make a lot of decisions, but the GC will let the homeowner know when to make them. If the homeowner acts as the GC, they will need to be prepared to ask lots of questions. We’ve seen plenty of pools built using both models, it’s entirely the homeowner’s preference.



Preparing For Your Pool? These Blogs May Help.


Red Flags When Buying a Gunite Pool


How Much Does a Gunite Pool Cost?


The Best Time to Build a Gunite Pool in New England


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Our Work Brings Great Reviews


“They build a gorgeous pool. The finished product is exactly what I wanted. I came very close to working with another vendor as I did not think I could afford a quality Gunite pool. I quickly made the switch as SSG worked with me to customize a pool within my price range. Best decision I made and best pool ever! I am very happy with my decision”


– Susan L. | Plymouth, PA | Facebook Review

“These folks did a great job building and finishing our pool. We also needed them to move the equipment after adding an outbuilding, which they did on time and on budget and without complaining! The service people are friendly, punctual, and very professional. Overall, an excellent customer experience.”


– Frank I. | Saunderstown, RI | Google Review

"The staff at SSG went above and beyond to make this pool happen for us, in the least stressful manner possible, amidst a Pandemic that shut down manufacturers, suppliers, deliveries. They worked outdoors in masks in 90 plus degree weather. They designed and created a beautiful backyard oasis for us. SSG is an exceptional company. They do high quality, gorgeous work, and they stand behind their name. They are a FIVE star company!"


– Susan L. | Hampstead, NH | Google Review

"We had an excellent experience with SSG Pools! Professional, accessible, informative, easy to deal with describes everyone from start to finish! And we thoroughly enjoyed watching the installation process of our beautiful new pool. We will recommend to everyone. Thank you SSG Pools!"


– Dot C. | Nantucket, MA | Google Review

"South Shore Gunite Pools know how to build a pool. They showed up when they promised and were always courteous and cordial and competent. Best regards to Rachel, John Fitz, Enrico, Anita, and many others who helped with this project. The pool is fabulous."


– John O. | Biddeford, ME | Google Review

"Expensive, but you get what you pay for. Good service and quality construction. Responsive to service requests. Provided guidance to me as a new pool owner throughout the process of designing, pricing, constructing, and equipping the pool."


– Steve Q. | Tyngsboro, MA | Google Review

"Couldn’t be happier with the whole service from start to finish. The quality of the work was exceptionally good and you can tell that they approach their work with professionalism and enthusiasm. They pay attention to detail and don’t cut corners. The price for the work was very reasonable and they were always responsive and pleasant to work with. Very happy I went with SSG and will be using them again for any future projects/renovations/openings and closings."


– Adam W. | North Reading, MA | Google Review

"We worked with SSG Pools for the installation of our gunite pool and deck. We found them wonderful to work with and the pool turned out spectacular. Stunning! It is a wonderful gathering space for our family and friends now. SSG Pools has a wonderful and skilled staff. Through the whole process we were in good hands and the pool they built was the one we dreamed about. I highly recommend this company and also love the lifetime warranty."


– Danielle D. | Scituate, MA | Houzz Review

"On time and on budget. I have used South Shore over the last 10+ years on 2 pools I have, one at home the other at my vacation home . They repaired a major problems on one pool that other pool companies had been unable to fixed and they completely rebuilt a second pool starting in April and had the job completed and ready to swim by Memorial day. I also use them for weekly service to make sure things run well. In New England you get 3 months to really enjoy your pool why would trust anyone else."


– Paul D. | Weston & Osterville, MA | Houzz Review

"We just had a beautiful gunite pool and deck completed by South Shore Gunite pools and spa last summer. From the very first meeting at our home they understood what we were looking for and made us feel very comfortable with their ability to deliver a beautiful result. Their attention to detail and their ability to connect us with a wonderful landscape architect guided us through the planning and construction phases. Their work crew was well organized, efficient, pleasant and very respectful of our property. It was an amazing process to watch and an amazing result to enjoy. We would be happy to recommend them to anyone looking for a high quality pool company."


– Louis Y. | Orleans, MA | Houzz Review

"SSG was wonderful to work with throughout the pool building process. I anticipated being overwhelmed given that I had never had a pool before, but they helped put my mind at ease with their professionalism and responsiveness to all my needs. Rick (sales) Mark (builder) and Karen (Admin) were outstanding!"


– Michael E. | Pembroke, MA | Houzz Review

"After interviewing 3 pool companies, we chose South Shore Gunite based on their expertise, their willingness to guide us through the process, and their great communication. We chose a filtration system recommended by them that uses an ozonator. Love our pool. Very happy with every step of the way."


– Ruth J. | Westwood, MA | Facebook Review



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