“Pools built with BuildBlock and BuildRadius ICFs reduce energy costs by more than 60% and extend the pool season making your investment even better.”

Most heat is lost through the sides and bottom of a pool. Use the same materials as your custom home and enjoy real savings all year. 


Use ICFs to Build Your Energy Efficient Swimming Pool

icf swimming poolsClick image to see a larger version.

Learn the Basics of ICF Pool Construction

Working on ICF poolClick to start learning today!

Insulating Concrete Forms are one of the most versatile building products on the market. They are frequently used for many structures including homes and commercial buildings and are growing in popularity for building swimming pools. BuildBlock customers have constructed retaining walls, fences and gates, fire pits and more. One increasing request for information has been ICF swimming pools. ICFs in swimming pools not only speed construction, but the insulating foam prevents more than 80% of the heat loss of the pool. This means it’s much cheaper to heat your pool, but also increases the length of the pool season.

“ICFs have been used for swimming pools since the very beginning of the industry. In the past few years several manufacturers have created additional coatings and finishes specifically for ICFs that work well in pool environments too.”

ICF Builder Magazine, July 2013

BuildCrete Pool Plaster, a Gigacrete product is perfectly suited as the waterproof coating and plaster directly applied to the EPS foam. Another full line of ICF pool construction products can be found at sider-crete.com ICF pools are being built on many types of projects. Usually found in large custom homes, they are also found in community pools and as an energy efficient addition to existing homes as well. ICFs primary component is EPS foam. They are easily formed into almost any shape imaginable and since they form an extremely flat and smooth wall, they are easily finished.

ICF pool foundation building
Building ICF pool
ICF Pool

Do You Build Pools?

If you’re a pool contractor looking to build with ICFs, let us know. We will set you up with the resources you need to build with BuildBlock!


The greatest cost savings, though, are long-term. “Experts calculate that up to 80% of a pool’s heat is lost through the sides and bottom of the pool, due to the fact that the ground conducts heat far more efficiently than air does. Considering the surface areas involved, continuous insulation is the best choice.”

-ICF Builder Magazine, July 2013


BuildRadius 4-Foot Radius Block


ICF Pool Advantages

  • Faster Construction
  • Modular, Light-weight, Easy to use.
  • Easily Shaped, Modified and Stacked.
  • Environmentally Friendly, Low Waste
  • Easy Rebar Placement
  • More consistent wall finish


Most residential swimming pools are built in conjunction with custom homes and frequently when the owners choose to build with ICFs for longevity and reduced energy costs, they’ll choose an ICF pool for the same reason. This great simplifies construction and uses the same materials as their home.

Field Cut Radius

While BuildRadius is the fastest and easiest way to create curved walls for your pool, it is important to remember that field fabricated radii are also possible with all BuildBlock and BuildLock standard straight forms. View this CAD detail for specific information on how to create radius walls from straight forms or the BuildBlock Installation & Technical Manual.

BuildBlock ICF Swimming Pool Engineering

Free BuildBlock ICF Swimming Pool Engineering Now Available!

The BuildBlock ICF Swimming Pool Engineering Manual is intended to provide prescriptive requirements for the design of BuildBlock Building Systems ICF In-Ground and Above Ground reinforced concrete Swimming Pools.

It provides the wall, footing, and reinforcement designs for building above ground and in-ground ICF pools, cisterns, and water basins. This guide provides recommended designs for a variety of soil and seismic conditions.

Download this guide now and build the most cost effective energy efficient pool possible.




Building an ICF Pool is now even easier with BuildRadius ICF forms. Combine BuildRadius with BuildBlock forms to create any shape or style imaginable.

BuildRadius is a family of radius forms for use in ICF walls and pool construction. The BuildRadius forms create 2’, 4’, 8’, 12’, 16’, and 20’ arcs. Each of these blocks interlocks into any BuildBlock 6” product line and uses the standard BuildBlock webs.

Available in 6” widths initially, these forms are designed to ease construction of energy-efficient ICF pools, southwest style homes, bay windows, circular staircases, and provide options when designing unique areas in ICF homes.


Basic ICF Pool Construction Using BuildBlock & BuildRadius Wall & Pool ICF Forms


Pool construction is similar to standard ICF wall construction.

  1. Excavate the pool area and footings.
  2. After excavation, footings are poured and the ICF walls are stacked.
  3. Plumbing lines are installed per design and Steel reinforcement and bracing is added per the engineer’s specifications and the ICF walls are poured.
  4. The pool bottom is filled and leveled with a smooth, non-compacting fill such as sand or fine gravel.
  5. A moisture barrier is installed beneath the foam.
  6. Under-floor insulation is added. Typically 4” cut foam, but BuildDeck could also be used for thicker insulation.
  7. Steel rebar is added as reinforcement to specification.
  8. The slab floor is poured. If the pool has a slope to a different depth, typically the two horizontal slabs are poured then the slope is poured so they meet evenly.
  9. A cove transition piece is installed to create a smooth wall to floor transition.
  10. Finishing the pool is possible in several ways.
    1. BuildBlock recommends finishing directly on the ICF with BuildCrete Pool Plaster, a GigaCrete product, at least 3/8” thick with an embedded fiberglass mesh. The advantage of the BuildCrete Pool Plaster process is that it’s a one-coat finishing process.
      1. The pool plaster product can be finished completely smooth and is 100% waterproof.
      2. It can be pre-colored or painted.
    2. Also recommended is the Sider-Plast System by Sider-Crete. http://sider-crete.com/product-specs-icf-coatings/ The pool is then finished with the Sider-Proof Top Coat.
    3. Another coating option that can be used both horizontally and vertically is Perma-Crete.
  11. If desired, a pool liner can be used as the final layer. They typically last 8-10 years. It is still recommended to finish the ICF with BuildCrete or similar first.
  12. Form-A-Drain or similar system is installed along with a waterproofing membrane to the outside of the ICF and gravel is backfilled to the waterproofing. The drainage system needs to either drain to daylight, a sump, or other location to keep the two water tables separate.
  13. The pool interior is finished with tile and pool coping or decking is placed and the rest of the pool is finished normally.

ICF pools will bring the homeowner energy savings and lower maintenance for the life of the pool. It speeds up construction and offers lots of design flexibility. Contact BuildBlock for more information about building your ICF pool today!

BuildBlock Pool Construction Gallery

We are currently in the process of building a BuildBlock ICF pool in Oklahoma City. This project utilizes BuildBlock 6″ straight forms, 2′ curved radius forms, and the Form-a-Drain footing and drainage system.   This gallery will be updated as progress continues. Click here to see a brief overview of ICF pool construction.

BuildBlock Pool Gallery

BuildRadius Product Gallery

ICF Swimming Pools March 5, 2014