How to build an out of ground brick swimming pool in Spain.

Spanish swimming pool

There are basically two ways to build a swimming pool in Spain. The first way doesn't require so much building, you just buy a pre-fabricated fiberglass pool and drop it into the ground. You can buy these pools at many construction yards and tile centers found all over Spain (mostly on the outskirts of the city – they typically stand them up outside, so the pools are easy to see). Most places that sell the fiber glass pools will also provide hole digging and installation service.

However we decided to do things the hard way and build a swimming pool from scratch using brick/concrete/cement/tiles. Apart from being long lasting a permanent pool looks a lot nicer and will add more value to the property.

Here's how we built our pool (more or less the same as professional pool builders in Spain).

To start with we knew the pool should have a sloped bottom (to get a shallow end and a deep end). Our house was already sitting on a section n the side of a small hill so already had a significant gradient. Too much in fact for the pool. To fix this, we dug a piece out of the ground at the shallow end of the pool and deposited the dirt we dug out onto the top of the pools deep end. This reduced the gradient.

We then dug a 40cm wide/ 40 deep channel at the bottom which became the foundation. We only needed to make one channel at the the bottom of the pool because the base of the pool is 20cm deep concrete and all the brick walls were built on that.

base of swimming pool dug out of the groundThe area we prepared for the pool was 2.5m wide by 10m long.

After making the pool foundation we laid a 20cm concrete base for the pool. While concreting the pool base we added steel reinforcing up the sides. Admittedly we only used leftover steel mesh, but because we put it in all the way along, this is enough to ensure no movement occurred.

We then bricked the pools outer wall. Actually we bricked two walls, starting with the outermost and then building the inner wall approximately 10cm further in. This was was later back-filled with steel reinforced concrete. To strengthen it further and improve waterproofing, we included a waterproofing additive you can easily find at all constructions yards (about 1 kilo plastic bags of cement additive) to the concrete inside the swimming pool walls.

During the pools interior wall concreting process we added tubes inside to take the water up to the jets in the shallow end for the pool cleaning system.

Once the walls were up to height and the steel reinforce/cement added, it was time to render the pool interior. I had never done cement rendering before but after doing some research, found the easiest way was to make some cement heavy cement mix (just use lots of cement powder) and some fine sand (we just bought a sieve and sieved out larger stones/sand grains). Can't remember the mix exactly, I just made it so it was creamy but not too wet. If the mix was too wet, it wouldn't stick to the brick wall. With the right cement mix it was just a matter of throwing the cement on the pool wall and smoothing it out with a flat rectangular trowel. We also added the waterproofing additive to this cement as well.


spanish swimming pool base ready for walls
concreting the spanish swimming pool
concreting the spanish swimming pool2
Andrew getting washed
cement rendering the interior of the spanish swimming pool
cement rendering of spanish swimming pool finished

The cement rendering of the swimming pool went better than expected and I managed to get a really smooth interior wall.

The second to last step of building the pool was to tile it. My wife did all the tiling herself. Although you can use just about any tiles you want for a pool, we used the commonly available small glass tiles called “gresite” (pronounced grey-seat-ay). This comes in a 25cm square pieces with about 150 tiles joined. Some use a plastic mesh on the back to hold the tiles together. The cheaper ones use a paper front which come off easily when you wet it.

After the tiles were applied and grouted, all that was left was to cement on the pool surrounds (the white 'slabs' which go at the top). Nothing fancy about that simply throw some cement on the top of the pool wall and gently lower the slab in place. Made only a little harder than it sounds by the shear weight of the slabs. White grouting was used in between the pool slabs.

Here's how the swimming pool looked when it was finished (show your friends!).

spanish swimming pool from the top
Spanish swimming pool
looking into the spanish swimming pool


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