Are DIY Wood Pallet Pools A Cheap Way To Make A Splash Or A Waste Of Time?

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Stacks of wooden pallets next to loading docks, dumpsters, and warehouses are often available to take home, either for free or for a few dollars each. Their reinforced structures can make a DIYer's eyes glaze over with the potential for projects, as there are numerous creative ways to upcycle wood pallets. Building backyard pools out of pallets is a new trend, and many have shown tempting results on social media that are inspiring other hobbyists to get out their tools for a try at this fun summer backyard feature.

Builders document the process of preparing the ground, putting up pallet walls, reinforcing the sides, lining the structure, and much more. The ingenuity is admirable. However, these projects are hugely time-intensive and not exactly cost-free. If you're seasoned with power tools and have an empty calendar this summer, a pallet pool could be worth a shot, but it's not a guaranteed savings over buying a DIY above-ground pool kit.

What are the costs of a DIY pallet pool?

No matter what method they used, every pallet pool builder needed certain essentials. Must-haves for these projects are tarps or a pool liner, as well as reinforcements for the sides of the pool, usually ratchet straps and/or wooden bracing. Many DIYers don't show or mention a pump or some chemical solution to keep the pool water safe to swim in.

Build It on YouTube pulled off their backyard pool for about $250 (£200), and that is most certainly a steal. At that price, their pallets were most likely free. They also mention using leftover material from other projects. The biggest expenses for Build It's pool appear to be two extra large waterproof tarps they used to surround the structure and the line pool, and the two ratchet straps supporting the sides. Combined, these items likely made up most of their budget.

If you can find free pallets in your area and incorporate other free or repurposed material, the price tag on your backyard oasis could be close to Build It's. Yet, that doesn't include the very necessary costs for a filtration pump. There are seriously icky results of not cleaning your pool. If you're going to invest the time and money in this project, take the extra steps to put in a filtration system. Filter pumps for an above-ground pool start around $150.

Is building a DIY pallet pool a waste of time?

For someone who loves creative challenges, they might argue that no project is a waste of time. Designing the perfect pool for your backyard can be a very enjoyable pastime. But, the bottom line is that pallet pools don't necessarily offer you much savings in comparison to other above-ground pool options. However, if you're looking for novelty and a personal challenge, a pallet pool fits the bill. If you're going to invest the time, effort, and money in this build, don't skimp on a filter pump. You want to be able to actually swim in the pool without worries, right?

In short, building a pallet pool without a pump is about as expensive as a budget soft-sided pool. Above-ground pools are getting cheaper and cheaper, and if the purpose of having a pool is just to cool off, you're better off purchasing a kit. You can find soft-sided above ground pools that come with a filter pump starting at around $140, such as this one on Amazon. Whether taking on this challenge is worth the time is entirely up to you!