What Is a Block Swimming Pool?

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What Is a Block Swimming Pool?
Block swimming pools are characterised by their cinder or concrete block and vinyl liner construction materials. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

When having a swimming pool installed, several decisions need to be made before they're put into the ground when it comes to in-ground pools. For example, some vinyl liner in-ground swimming pools have walls made of steel or composite framing and panels covered in vinyl. Other vinyl liner in-ground pool walls use blocks of various materials which are then covered in a vinyl liner. For the do-it-yourself enthusiast, a block in-ground swimming pool lends itself well to DIY projects.

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Block Pools

The main reason a "block swimming pool" is referred to as such is because of the materials used in its construction. A block swimming pool specifically refers to an in-ground swimming pool made with cinder or concrete block walls that are overlaid with a vinyl liner. Using vinyl liners is one way to keep water in swimming pool basins. The blocks in a block swimming pool sit on top of a concrete foundation to support the weight of those blocks.

Wall Construction

A typical block swimming pool uses either hollow or solid cinder or concrete blocks, depending on the pool builder's techniques, laid out to form its walls. Typically 7 to 9 "courses" (layers) of concrete blocks are built to form walls about 3.5-feet high. In the case of hollow blocks used in a block swimming pool, they're stabilised with reinforcing bars sunk into the pool's concrete foundation. Hollow-block swimming pool wall blocks are also filled with concrete once they've been built up.

Pool Foundation

A block swimming pool's cinder or concrete blocks rest on top of a solid concrete pool perimeter foundation. Most block swimming pool foundations are about 15 inches wide and 6 inches deep. Block swimming pool foundations need to be wide enough to accommodate cinder or concrete pool blocks laid one on top of another. A block swimming pool's foundation goes completely around the perimeter, including the area where the deep end will be dug out later.

Floors and Liners

Block swimming pools have compacted sand floors or floors made from concrete or gunite (shotcrete). Deep ends, called "hoppers," can be included in block swimming pool hole excavations, though the perimeter foundation sits above those deep ends. A custom vinyl liner is made to exact block swimming pool dimensions, and it attaches to the pool via a special block wall top track. Block pool vinyl liners are protected from the block wall via foam or other cushioning materials.


As of June 2011, one company was estimating total building costs at about £7,150 for an 18 x 40-foot do-it-yourself block swimming pool. Unless you're a professional excavator and have the equipment, you should contract out pool excavation duties. Prices for a swimming pool excavation vary, with £585 to £1,300 online prices being quoted by one company. However, a swimming pool's cost often doubles after you add options like landscaping and decking.

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