Installing An In-Ground Pool? 2 Things That Could Go Wrong During The Excavation Phase (And Their Solutions)

Are you having a brand new in-ground swimming pool installed? If so, the first step you’ll encounter during the process is the excavation phase. Excavating your land to create the necessary pit for the pool to sink into could go quite smoothly and take less than a day, or you could run into one of a few complications. Read on to learn the 2 most commonly encountered problems in the excavation stage of installing an in-group swimming pool, and how these problems are worked around.

The Excavator Hits A Rock Or Ledge

digging a pool

You’re peacefully sitting in your backyard, watching the excavator dig and envisioning yourself wading in your soon-to-be new pool when you hear a loud “clunk”. Uh-oh; that’s not some turtle-sized rock — that’s a boulder that’s at least as big as a car, and possibly as large as a ledge. The excavator isn’t going to be able to pick an object that big up with its bucket, so the excavating contractors is going to need to do something different if he plans to make any more advancements.

  • The Strap And Hoist – Don’t panic. If the rock isn’t too large, the excavator operator may be able to strap chains to their machine, and then use it to tow the rock out of the hole.
  • The Jackhammer – If the rock blocking you from your luxurious swimming pool is bigger than the excavator can safely tow, then your excavator operator may decide to pull out their jackhammer attachment. The jackhammer attachment is hydraulically run and can easily bust up extremely large boulders into smaller, more manageable chunks of rock.
  • The Clean Shave – A sub-problem that arises when one finds a rock during the excavation process, is finding that rock when the job is almost done. This creates a whole slew of extra work because once the rock is removed, the hole that’s left could be deeper than necessary depth of the pool. When this happens, the excavator operator needs to push a bunch of dirt back in the hole, and then somebody needs to tamp it down and make it even and sturdy. In this case, a better option is to use a hand-held jackhammer and carefully remove only the portion of the rock that’s above the target depth of the pool bed.

The Excavator Hits Water

More troubling that the “clunk” sound that accompanies the excavator bucket hitting a rock is the sight of a bunch of water leaching into the excavation hole. Striking water is something that does occasionally happen, though, when digging a hole for an in-ground pool. In most cases, this water will reside after only a few days, but in some cases you’ll need to take extra measures.

Start by asking your excavator operator to dig your pool bed 2 feet deeper than you initially planned. Next, dig a trench from the bottom of the hole, all the way up the sidewall of it.

submersible pump

From here, you’ll need to purchase an inexpensive submersible pump (the cheaper the better) and place it in the bottom of the hole. Run the discharge hose, along with the pump’s power cord, up the trench you’ve dug in the sidewall, and fill the extra 2 feet of space with a load of gravel.

Now, plug the pump in and it should keep the hole dry until the construction of your pool is complete. You can use the pump until it ceases to operate, but it’s only necessary to run it until your pool foundation is laid. Keep in mind, though, that the pump will eventually die and you won’t be able to retrieve it unless you dig up your pool. This is why it’s best to stick with an inexpensive submersible pump; you can purchase one at your local hardware store or box store, or order one online for as little as $100.

If you’re in the excavation stage of installing an in-ground swimming pool, don’t be discouraged if your excavator operator runs into the common problems of hitting rock, or striking water. While both scenarios are a bit troublesome, they certainly don’t mean that your dreams of back-floating your afternoons away are squashed. You may need to make a few small additional investments to move forward with building your pool, but your excavator operator has plenty of tricks up their sleeve to remedy your problem and get you back on track to in-ground swimming pool bliss.

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