IBC Above Ground Plunge Pool

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Introduction: IBC Above Ground Plunge Pool

Building a small above ground pool/spa using a 1000L IBC and some pallets

Step 1: Materials

You'll need the liner from a 1000L IBC (if you can't get one free I believe you can buy one pretty cheap around the place) and some 1150-1200mm wooden pallets (clean/new ones are better). I had cut mine down to the desired height prior to bringing them home....which was just below the second slat (around 800mm for the record) but not all pallets are the same so see what works for you :)

Really it depends on the size of the gaps in your pallets and what you can get your hands on but you will want some lengths of wood suitable for filling in those gaps when we get to "Finish cladding exterior"

You'll also need a good supply of timber screws at least 45mm long

Depending on how fussy you are, you may wish to purchase some dressed/finished timber for your top trim/ledge....otherwise you may be able to use some of the pallet offcuts.

I did the former (1200mm x 180mm x 12mm)

Step 2: More Materials

You'll also want some pool or spa suction and provision jets and plenty of PVC pipe with fittings to suit your specific requirements (depending on pump placement etc)

In addition to these, you will need a pool pump. I have used a Bestway 1/4 hp unit with sand filter because I need adequate head pressure for the solar heating I will be installing on my roof at a later date :)

Something smaller would be ok if you aren't heating yours :)

Step 3: Recommended Tools

Circular saw
Hacksaw or cordless reciprocating saw.
Cordless drill/driver with phillips bit and a small drill bit for pilot drilling timber as well as holesaw attachments to suit whichever size jets you are using.

A heat gun is optional but highly recommended.

Step 4: Fitting Jets and Initial Pipework

Ensuring things are going to line up with the gaps in your pallets, cut your holes and install your jets. Make sure you tighten them up nicely. Follow the fitting instructions specific to your chosen kit.

Once the jets are in you can begin plumbing up your PVC pipework....being sure to use the appropriate PVC cement.

Step 5: Constructing the Frame and Fixing Down Edges of the Liner

Your IBC will be rectangular in shape so arrange your pallets as shown in the pics. The pallets should be almost exactly the same length as the long side of the IBC meaning that the pallets on the short sides will sit with just the right amount of overlap for you to fasten them together without having to shorten them or cut them in any other way.

Use your drill driver the screw the pallets together. Back side of of one pallet overlaps perfectly onto the end of another.

The gaps should be sufficient enough for the nosecone of your drill to get through

Once this is done you can cut the top off your IBC (if you hadn't already) and cut vertically down each of the corners down to the level of the top of the frame.

Using the heat gun, heat up the plastic, allowing it to be folded over and screwed down onto the frame.

If you look at the finished product, you will see why this gives a much more professional look.....

Step 6: Connecting Your Pump

Small pool pumps are, for the most part, fairly portable. So just find some flat, even ground for it where it is reasonably well protected.....ideally, close to an all-weather outdoor power outlet. Mine came in its own cradle so all I had to do it put it where I wanted it.

I recommend the flexible hose connections just because they give you a little bit of breathing room if you need to repostion or replace the pump.

I have fitted isolation valves so that if the pump needs to be replaced at any point, those can be shut off and no water need be lost from the tub.

If you do in fact wish to change the water, the IBC has a dispensing valve at its lowest point.....which is just perfect (shown)

I recommend leaving a cut-out in your pallet/ frame for easy access to this :)

Step 7: Capping It Off

This bit is really as simple as cutting your wood to size and screwing it down so that you have an even amount of overhang all the way around the outside.

Avoid too much inner overhang if you don't want to encroach on the already small area.

Pallets aren't generally engineered to exacting standards so you may find yourself packing certain parts up with thin slivers of wood to get the capping nice and level.

I fixed mine down with 12G stainless hex drive screws. Not only because they look pimp, but also because its the one area where the screws are likely to get splashed with water.....and rust is U.G.L.Y

Step 8: Finish Cladding Exterior

Cut your lengths of "gap filling wood" to size and using more of your 50 million timber screws, fasten them into place.

The wood I am using was "whatever I could get my hands on" and so it turned out to be thicker than the slats of the pallet. I quite like the effect. I think it adds some dimension.

Step 9: Fill and Enjoy!

Once you have the water level above your suction jets, it is safe to switch the pump on.

You will need to decide what water treatment strategy you are going to take. Personally I am using chlorine tablets in a floater (not shown) because its the easiest by far with really no fuss.

The challenge I set myself here was to keep cost down without compromising the quality of the end product.

I am in the fortunate position of being able to get my hands on a lot of these materials for free.

The pump was my only cash outlay at $100 for a good second hand unit.

If you had to fork out for every single part, then this is probably a $500 project (assuming you already have tools)

This is my first ever instructable so I hope I have done an alright job.

Thanks for reading!
Jimmy

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    151 Discussions

    2
    davidbluey55525
    davidbluey55525

    Question 3 months ago on Introduction

    What pipework fittings would I need for this. In particular any links to the inlet /outlet? Mine is going to be connected to a Best way heater/pump. Any help welcome. Loving your work!

    0
    T27nna
    T27nna

    4 months ago

    Jimmy your instructions are brilliant, I'm almost finished mine :)
    (Pics are still a work in progress)
    I kept the cage around IBC so different measurements of pallets required.
    I used the silver bubble insulation to keep warm with duck tape....might add expanding foam for more insulation later.
    Have made a deck and stairs aswell so different layout of wood cladding.
    Pump was £40.
    Screws are only other outlay.
    I can get 2 adults and a 4yr old in at same time (dry run).
    I ordered plastic mini stools and blow up cushions for sitting comfortably inside (not arrived yet).
    And I have found another post on pinterest for making a roll top lid to keep heat in :)

    Will add more pics when complete (weather dependent when this will be in Scotland)

    Screenshot_20200513-103542_Gallery.jpg20200428_123829.jpg20200428_161219.jpg20200508_210818.jpg
    0
    therealorson
    therealorson

    Reply 3 months ago

    Absolutely brilliant mate!

    I think you've taken this concept to another level with the whole "built-in" look and the insulation (That's Scotland vs Australia I guess...haha)

    1
    T27nna
    T27nna

    Reply 3 months ago

    I'm just a single mom on a budget and wanting the deck and hot tub, with time on my hands due to Lockdown who couldnt have done it without your instructables!
    Cheers Jimmy, glad you like what you have inspired me to make...my 4yr old cant wait to splash even in the rain or snow (we dont have weather like yours)
    Il keep you updated when its finished, I cant wait to sit in it with a wee dram and toast ya ;)
    Tina
    (Yes, built by a girl ;)

    0
    jrtrauger
    jrtrauger

    Question 5 months ago

    Is there a possible way to safely install some type of heater?

    0
    T27nna
    T27nna

    Answer 3 months ago

    The second hand pump I bought is from a hot-tub so has built in heat elements and has plumbed in same manner as authors, iv insulated all around IBC too
    Hope this helps instead of having to incorporate a pump and heat source?
    (I heard someone at supermarket saying mice had chewed her tub so I bought her pump haha)

    0
    chrissanders229
    chrissanders229

    Answer 4 months ago

    Might want to look at underfloor heating. I know Lowe's has a line they carry called Quietwarmth, comes in 36" and 16" widths. Could cover liner with a waterproof, underlayment, apply heating element to underlayment with HVAC tape, wire it to a thermostat and TA DAHHH!! There's absolutely nothing complicated about installing any of the above-mentioned parts, just follow the instructions. If you have a electrician friend, or don't and have to pay someone, get them to wire the thermostat and the heating pad. I dunno, sounded cool to me.. 😂😂😂

    0
    therealorson
    therealorson

    Answer 5 months ago

    Hi there, absolutely.

    It's all standard swimming pool equipment, so you could easily plumb in an electric heat pump. if you look at my photos you'll see some pipes running up the wall, with a diverter valve fitted. i had this one plumbed up for rooftop solar heating.

    I have seen a hot tub version where the builder created a firebox out of an old gas bottle and then simply ran a copper coil around it. The lower end was a water inlet and the the other was an outlet. As the fire heated the water, it pushed it's way up the coil and back into the hot tub

    0
    robbincola
    robbincola

    Question 1 year ago

    as a northeastern, could you spray foam around and in the pallets to help keep it hot?

    0
    Bogarnz
    Bogarnz

    Answer 4 months ago

    I was thinking the same thing. My best advice is to use a closed cell expanding foam as it won't absorb water. Make sure the tub is full of water as the foam will push out on the container. You could do it in stages as you fill in the gaps working up to get a good fill without wasting too much. Just remember to clean the nozzle as i believe they block up fast.

    0
    T27nna
    T27nna

    Reply 3 months ago

    Super, il see how I get on with the bubble insulation and use the foam you state if needs more insulation, thanks
    Tina

    0
    jackettc
    jackettc

    4 months ago on Introduction

    What are the dimensions? As in would you get 2 small adults in there?

    0
    therealorson
    therealorson

    Reply 4 months ago

    Hi!

    it would be cosy and intimate, but yes. Dimensions are 100cm x 120cm

    0
    Turf1975
    Turf1975

    1 year ago

    Made mine years ago. It was still portable due to the fact that it was placed on a plastic pallet. Heating build out of two old steel oil barrels. And of course with light

    02082008272.jpg12072008371.jpg
    0
    jackettc
    jackettc

    Reply 4 months ago

    What is the liner on yours?

    0
    Turf1975
    Turf1975

    Reply 4 months ago

    I used the original liner, it was turned up side down because it was damaged.

    0
    AntmanR
    AntmanR

    7 months ago

    What size pump did you use? Does it pump the water really hard?

    0
    therealorson
    therealorson

    Reply 7 months ago

    Hi mate,

    As I mentioned in the Indtructable, it was a 1/4 hp (horsepower) pump. For the volume of the vessel, it did pump the water rather energetically if I recall.

    You could also fit spa jets instead of pool jets if you wanted a massage effect

    Cheers and thanks for reading!

    0
    Danhank
    Danhank

    Question 1 year ago on Step 2

    Where did you buy the jets from to fit your pipe work?
    Also can the jets/filter jet be put at any height?

    0
    therealorson
    therealorson

    Answer 1 year ago

    The jets and pipework were all supplied to me by a friend who installs pools for a living, any pool shop will be able to help you. Generally, you'd want your suction jet as low as possible to prevent scavenging if you water level drops and your provision jets should be up top, to optimize water cycling but also at a height that keeps them below the water line