Part 2 of 2: What to expect with the excavation
A giant hole is about to be created next to your house. It will be quite an undertaking and have a striking impact on your backyard.
Most pool digs are completed in a single day, but some can take two. To help prepare for the “drama” and watch it unfold, here are some points to know:
- Depending on access to your yard, the hole will be dug by an excavator such as a backhoe or bulldozer. In yards with tight entries—in which large earth-moving equipment cannot pass—your builder must use smaller machines like a bobcat. Unfortunately, this may result in a two- or three-day dig schedule and higher excavation costs.
- During excavation, a tremendous amount of earth will be piled up in your yard. Crews will remove it—usually the same day as excavation. Typically, a portion of the soil will be intentionally left behind so it is available to serve as “backfill” to help prepare the area for deck installation.
- The soil that is removed is taken to special collection yards designed for excavation material—not to the city dump. Therefore, your builder’s crews will not be able to comply with any requests to remove trash or other debris when they haul off the excavation soil.
- The excavated hole will be a bit wider in all directions than the actual pool design. This “over-dig” is no mistake. The extra space will be filled up with reinforcing steel and a thick concrete shell.
- Once the hole is dug, keep your distance—and be sure to keep your children and pets safely away. The sides of the hole have an inherent tendency to crumble. Stepping near the hole can hasten dirt to shift and fall away along the perimeter.
- When excavation is complete, forms made of flexible wood or fiberboard will be installed. These forms will serve as guides for concrete (gunite or shotcrete) application, and they will be precisely positioned at a predetermined grade to allow for adequate drainage. To maintain the integrity of your pool shape, it is critical that these forms are accurate. Therefore, do not move or adjust the forms in any way.
Be sure to also follow any other instructions your pool builder gives you. Doing so will help ensure your excavation goes smoothly and construction for your new backyard resort stays on schedule and budget.