Rain and Ultimate Pools: Overview and the initial dig

Part of living and working in Southeast Texas is sometimes dealing with rain — lots of rain.

Unfortunately, this past month has seen much of this region (and areas in Central Texas, North Texas and Oklahoma) deal with record rainfall and flooding, leading to scenes locally like the one below:

While there are people in the Houston area dealing with much more pressing issues due to the torrential rains and the corresponding saturated ground, the weather does have an effect on Ultimate Pools’ ability to start the process of digging and getting your dream pool started. Even after the rain finally subsides and gives the standing water a chance to recede, the saturated ground will make digging out a pool a touch-and-go process for several weeks afterward.

In response to this, we will outline the effects of rain and saturation on the construction of pools, from the initial digging to plastering to the addition of complementing elements such as decks to maintenance and pool chemistry. Today we’ll start with the initial dig.

The biggest factor we consider when deciding whether or not wet ground is appropriate for digging is the type of soil in a customer’s backyard. As you can see from this map the type of soil in our area is varied, with Montgomery County containing East Texas Timberland Soils while Northern Harris County southward tends to contain Coast Prairie Soils.

The soil distinction is important. For example, if we were digging a pool in the Austin area, we’d be cutting through drier, coarse rock and shale, which has limited moisture absorption. As for the soils in our region, the Coast Prairie Soils tend to have a deeper sand base and retain more water below the surface than the East Texas Timberland Soils, which are more efficient in dispersing excess water. The slower water absorption and retention of the Coast Prairie Soils are why Harris County has more abundant areas of swamp and marsh land than Montgomery County does. For a description of the main soils in Texas, check out this article.

Misidentifying the soil type can have unfortunate consequences if not handled carefully. Not only can digging prematurely in overly saturated Coast Prairie Soil cause customers to have an unsightly hole of standing water in their backyard, but heavily saturated soil is also prone to collapse, leaving holes filled with debris such as mud and clay. Oversaturated soil also is prone to caving and erosion down the road when plastered or coated, causing irregularly shaped pool surfaces and future repair hassles.

Those are the last things we want. We strive to to get things right the first time and build structurally sound, secure pools that you can enjoy for years. So prior to making the machine dig and starting the process, we go through a couple of checks.

  • Check the weather: Before even thinking about a dig, we definitely check The Weather Channel and other weather outlets and monitor conditions for the time period we are looking to dig and start the process. The last thing we want is to dig out a hole, then come back to have to clean debris/pump water out of it. It’s not an exact science — weather forecasting never is — but we try to pick the perfect weather window before starting a dig.
  • Test dig: Prior to digging the big hole that will become your pool, we dig a smaller hole to gauge soil composition and saturation. This test hole typically measures 3-4 feet deep and 5-6 inches wide. From there we can see if we’re striking topsoil, sand, or clay and see how sturdy and moist the surface is. If water seeps into the hole of the test dig, then we need to reevaluate our timing and approach to the dig before we bring in the machines to really get started on the construction of your pool. We figure it’s better to be safe and secure at the beginning to prevent unneeded repairs and expense to the customer down the road.

The initial dig is just one of the things that are affected by the wet weather. Through the coming weeks (as we hopefully dry out) we’ll delve into more aspects of how rain affects what we do and our timetable.

Discover Ultimate Pools

Ultimate Pools has been a leader in pool building and outdoor improvements in Magnolia, The Woodlands and Southeast Texas since 1991, specializing as a pool builder since 1999. From pools, waterfalls, hot tubs, decks, outdoor kitchens and outdoor improvements, Ultimate Pools will provide the highest of quality and customer service to you. Surf our website, send us an email, give us a call at (936) 321-9632, or visit our offices at 5170 FM 1488, Magnolia, TX 77354 today!

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