Soil and Pool Construction
Certain Soil Types Can Delay Your Pool Construction
Very few things are as exciting as starting construction on a brand-new pool. Not only does it transform the aesthetic of your backyard, but it also gives you a place to relax, cool off, and have fun. Swimming pools are a welcome addition to virtually all homes. However, before you can enjoy the benefits of this new amenity, you must first begin pool construction.
Pool construction is a complicated process that involves many people and pieces. What could take six months for someone a couple of blocks away may take you 11 months. There are many variables that pool builders must take into consideration when installing a pool. From weather to the size of the project, many factors can delay the process of pool construction.
One of the least conspicuous variables in pool installation is soil. However, it plays a massive role in construction. After all, your pool sits in the ground. It is what pool builders must excavate to make room for your pool.
There are several components of soil that can delay your installation. Mid City Custom Pools has years of experience creating custom pools for countless homeowners. We have dealt with our fair share of soil issues, and we know what to do to avoid them or work around them. Contact Mid City Custom Pools today to get started on your dream pool.
What are the Components of Soil?
Many people often view soil as just one thing: dirt. However, it is so much more. It contains many different components that all affect pool construction in their own way. The amount of each also varies from location to location. Even houses across the street from each other may differ in soil composition.
Some of the most common components include:
- Salts: Although most commonly found in seaside locations, salt can be found in some dirt further inland. These salts can speed up the oxidation process of metal components your project needs. They can impact concrete, as well.
- Fill: Fill dirt is used to fill holes in the ground or create mounds or hills. It contains broken down rocks, sand, and clay, possessing little fertility or organic matter for plants to grow.
- Clay: Out of all soils, clay has the smallest particle size. Its most noticeable factor is its expansiveness, which means it swells when it comes in contact with moisture.
- Sand/Gravel: Sand and gravel have the largest particle size, making them the best for drainage.
- Silt: Silt sits between clay and sand in size and characteristics and is usually not expansive and drains water better than clay but not sand.
These are just a few of the many components in soil. Each has different characteristics that impact pool construction.
When talking about soil composition, there are specific characteristics that you should know: expansiveness and density. Each plays a significant role in ensuring your pool is secure.
- Expansiveness: Expansiveness relates to how much soil expands when it comes in contact with water. This soil absorbs water, increasing in volume. When it expands, it can put pressure on whatever structure is near or in it, causing damage. Pools are no exception. Cracks and leaks are frequent damage done by expansive soil. The small particle size of clay draws moisture between the particles, pushing the particles apart.
- Density: Density is crucial to the sturdiness of your pool. Density measures how well the ground bears weight. Soil with high density can bear the weight of structures on top of it. Those with low density are more prone to collapse and cave in. If the soil compresses, then your pool is more likely to settle or crack. Sand, gravel, and salt all have low density.
Each of these factors must be taken into consideration when building your pool. No two environments are the same, which means your soil composition will likely differ from your neighbors.
Solving Soil Issues
Even though soil can cause plenty of problems and delays, expert pool builders like the ones at Mid City Custom Pools know how to work with these conditions. Whether soil is highly expansive or not very dense, we have the experience to deal with them.
As we have already stated, clay is an expansive soil. It will expand when absorbing water and contracts when it dries out. Pool builders may over-excavate and replace expansive soil with more suitable soil that will support a pool better. They may also create deep foundations that bear on deeper, more stable ground, such as bedrock.
A geotechnical engineer will recommend how far down to over-excavate to remove expansive soil to replace with fill dirt with the necessary properties that limit expansion and can support the pool’s structure.
Sandy soil has a nasty habit of shifting. It easily collapses and caves in, which requires more excavation, pushes the completion date back further. Often, builders will create frames throughout the dig site to reinforce the sides and keep it from collapsing.
Sand can also interfere with the application of gunite. Gunite requires a vertical cut so that it can stick directly to the ground. However, because sand collapses and degrades easier, builders must use different methods, such as creating a formwork or buttress system, to apply gunite.
Rocky soil, such as gravel, should not be too much of an issue. It is easy to excavate and usually can support enough weight. However, when you dig deeper and find boulders or even bedrock, you have a problem.
Builders must remove these rocks, which can take time. Often, jackhammers and other heavy machinery must be used to break up a rock bed and remove it. Then, builders will likely need to bring in fill dirt to fill the remaining space left from the rocks.
Is Soil Analysis Necessary?
A soil analysis will give your pool builders a better idea of the ground for your pool. After all, conditions vary significantly from home to home. Even homes directly across from each other can have different environments.
Visual inspections can work but are not nearly as reliable as soil analysis. In areas where the composition is questionable, an analysis may prove to be useful. The results will help the pool builders craft a plan prepared better for the conditions, mitigating delays.
However, these tests are not always necessary. These tests can be expensive, so if your pool builder can determine if the soil is suitable, it is best to avoid an analysis.
Mid City Custom Pools has been building world-class custom pools for homeowners throughout the DFW area for decades. We have experienced many different soil conditions, and we have the experience necessary to work through them. If you are interested in starting construction on your own pool, give us a call today.