How do I build cement block inground pools?

Written by phillip woolgar
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How do I build cement block inground pools?
The concept of constructing a pool from concrete blocks is relatively simple. (swimming pool image by apeschi from

Build your in-ground pool in easy-to-follow steps. A pool constructed with cement blocks is challenging to build, but if you follow these steps carefully the process will be relatively painless. The walls of the pool are made from blocks that are moulded into a concrete footing, or from blocks that are stacked 6 or 7 high and filled with concrete and rebar. These instructions outline the steps for a cement block pool that is 20 by 40 feet. The bottom of the pool can be compacted sand or a perlite and concrete mixture.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • concrete blocks
  • cement scraper
  • cement
  • excavation equipment
  • a pipe drill
  • concrete
  • rebar
  • pipes
  • pump
  • filler pump
  • plaster
  • tiles
  • mortar bit
  • drill
  • stainless steel or galvanised bolt
  • ground lighting (optional)
  • diving board (optional)
  • ladder (optional)

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  1. 1

    Select the size and location of the pool. Note that the top of the pool will rest squarely with the ground's surface. Make your measurements precise, as you will need these for the excavation process. Dig an extra six inches in excess of the desired depth of the pool. This will provide ample room for concrete, compacted sand or perlite and concrete mixture. Also, use your excavation equipment to dig a one-foot trench around the sides of the pool for a lounging area. You will also need to dig space for pipes to access your pool. An excavator is the quickest way to accomplish this task.

  2. 2

    Prepare the concrete for footing your breeze blocks. A filler pump will be needed to fill the blocks with cement. You could use shotcrete instead of concrete; the mixture is less reliable, but it is cheaper. You will also need evenly spaced rebar to reinforce the concrete, about one every six inches.

  3. 3

    Set the blocks around the edges of the pool for the walls and stack them six or seven high. Drill a hole where you want to place the pipes and pump. The drainage pipe must be underneath the pool. A pump to fill the pool can be placed near the top for easy access. The pump can be connected to the pool from any area in your backyard.

  4. 4

    Place a ring of concrete at the top of the walls. You might want to designate space for lights that are secured in the concrete either to the top or sides of the pool. Leave extra space for these features and attach the lights to the concrete later by carefully blobbing the concrete to secure the lighting. Pour the concrete on the bottom of the pool about six inches deep. Always level the cement with a scraper. Cover all surfaces that might be exposed with water. You do not need to put cement on the sides of the blocks, as the blocks are made from cement.

  5. 5

    Install the ladder, which is made from aluminium tubing. Drill into the side of the pool with a mortar bit. Slide each end of the ladder into the holes. The railing will come with a flange collar. Attach the flange, which is a railing base, to the anchor collar or pool deck with a stainless steel or galvanised bolt. Use the same process to install additional features, such as a diving board.

  6. 6

    Seal the entire cement surface with a layer of plaster. You can do this with a cement scraper. The plaster is a mixture of plaster, sand and cement.

  7. 7

    Tile tightly with pool tiles to create a waterproof seal. Pool tiles can sometimes be bought at tile stores or at swimming pool and hot tub stores. Cut carefully around the ladder when placing the seal and tiles. It is imperative to tile snugly because concrete isn't waterproof. Fill the pool with water.

  8. 8

    Complete the project by going for a swim. Relish in the fact that you saved about half the cost from what you would have spent if you hired a contractor.

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