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How to Build a DIY Cold Plunge Pool

Have you heard the buzz about cold plunge pools? At the intersection of wellness and outdoor living comes the cold plunge pool, the icier sister of the hot tub. If you’re reading this article, you’re probably familiar with the benefits reported by cold plunge pools biggest champions, and are wondering if there’s a way you can jump on the trend without doling out the big bucks. The question of how to build a DIY cold plunge pool is a good one, and it turns out that with planning and elbow grease, it is possible.

What to Consider before Building a Cold Plunge Pool

Before you decide to DIY build your own cold plunge pool, it’s important to keep a few key things in mind. From size, to form, to function, thinking ahead will keep you from regretting your decision to DIY. Here are some of the factors you should think through before you roll up your sleeves.


Before you start building or gathering materials, a very important part of the planning process is figuring out how large you’d like your cold plunge pool to be. Size is a factor that can be determined by a few different things. To figure out the best scale for your pool, ask yourself the following questions–How much space do you have in your backyard? How many people will be using your cold plunge pool at a time? How much are you willing to invest in running your pool?

To elaborate, scaling the pool to the amount of space available is crucial. While most cold plunge pools do not need to be big, a larger pool will make for a more comfortable soaking experience. The same goes for the question of how many people will use the pool at any given time. While cold plunge is not a communal hang out experience ala a hot tub, some may want to accommodate two people.

Finally, you’ll need to answer the question of how much you’re willing to invest to keep your cold plunge pool running. The larger your DIY cold plunge pool, the more money it will take to both build it and keep it running.

Form and Function

Once you’ve determined how large you want your cold plunge pool to be, you’ll have to think about its form and layout. Most plunge pools are simple in shape, but knowing what you would like the internal form to look like is important. Typically, there is no formal seating inside of a plunge pool, and the internal structure is closer to a bathtub than that of a hot tub.

Frequency of Use

Before building your DIY cold plunge pool, you should consider how frequently you'll be using it. If you're planning to use it daily or several times a week, then it's crucial to make sure it's built with durability in mind. This means selecting high-quality materials that can withstand constant exposure to water and are resistant to damage caused by exposure to outdoor elements. In addition, you'll want to make sure that the pool is easy to clean and maintain to keep it in good working order.

On the other hand, if you'll only be using your DIY cold plunge pool occasionally, then you may be able to opt for a simpler design or use more affordable materials. Keep in mind that even if you're not using your cold plunge pool regularly, it still requires some maintenance to prevent mold and other issues from developing. This means that prospective DIYers should factor in the time and effort required for cleaning and upkeep.

The Rest of Your Space


When planning to build a cold plunge pool, it's essential to consider the rest of your backyard or outdoor space. If you have a small backyard, then building a large plunge pool may not be practical. Instead, you could opt for a smaller pool or consider other types of outdoor water features, such as a fountain or water feature. On the other hand, if you have a large outdoor space, then a larger pool may be more suitable.

Another factor to consider is the overall style and design of your outdoor space. If you have a modern, minimalist backyard, then a sleek and simple plunge pool may be the best fit. However, if your backyard has a more rustic or natural look, then a more organic pool design may be more appropriate. You may also want to consider adding landscaping or other outdoor elements to enhance the overall look and feel of your backyard.

Different Methods For Building a Cold Plunge Pool

There are several different methods for building a DIY cold plunge pool, each with its pros and cons. Here are some of the most common options:

  1. In-ground pool: This is the most traditional option and involves digging a hole in the ground and installing a liner or other waterproof material to create the pool. This method is typically the most expensive but can provide the most seamless and natural-looking results.

  2. Above-ground pool: As the name suggests, this option involves building the pool above ground level. Above-ground pools are generally less expensive than in-ground options and can be more versatile in terms of location and size.

  3. Shipping container pool: Using a shipping container to create a cold plunge pool is a popular option for those looking for a more unique and industrial look. This method involves modifying a shipping container to create a pool and can be a more affordable option than in-ground or above-ground pools.

  4. Stock tank pool: A stock tank pool is a relatively new trend that involves repurposing a metal stock tank typically used for livestock into a small, above-ground pool. This option is generally the most affordable but may not be as durable or long-lasting as other options.

Ultimately, the method you choose will depend on your budget, the size and shape of your outdoor space, and your personal preferences in terms of style and design. No matter which option you choose, be sure to research and plan carefully to ensure your DIY cold plunge pool meets your needs and is built to last.

How to Build a DIY Cold Plunge Pool–Step by Step

1. Choose the Right Location

The first step in building a cold plunge pool is to choose the right location. You want to choose a location that is level and has good drainage. You also want to choose a location that is private and has easy access to your home. Ideally, you want to choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight, as this can help keep the water warm.

2. Choose the Right Size

The next step is to choose the right size for your cold plunge pool. The size you choose will depend on the number of people who will be using the pool and the amount of space you have available. A good rule of thumb is to choose a size that is at least 6 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 4 feet deep.

3. Purchase Your Materials

Once you have chosen the location and size of your cold plunge pool, it is time to purchase your materials. You will need a container to hold the water, such as a stock tank or a large plastic tub. You will also need a pump to circulate the water and a filter to keep the water clean. In addition, you will need PVC pipes, fittings, and valves to connect the pump and filter to the pool.

4. Prepare the Site

Before you can install your cold plunge pool, you need to prepare the site. Start by removing any grass or debris from the area where you will be installing the pool. Next, level the ground to ensure that the pool is stable and secure. Finally, create a base for your pool by laying down a layer of sand or gravel.

5. Dig a Hole

The next step is to dig a hole for your pool. The size of the hole will depend on the size of your pool, but a good rule of thumb is to make it about six feet long, four feet wide, and four feet deep. You can use a backhoe, a shovel, or rent a mini excavator for this step. If you are creating an above ground pool, you can skip this step.

6. Install the Drainage System

Once you have dug the hole, install a drainage system. This system is essential to keep the water clean and prevent the buildup of bacteria. The drainage system should include a layer of gravel, a layer of sand, and a layer of rocks. Place a submersible pump at the bottom of the pool, which will help circulate the water.

7. Install the Plumbing 

The next step is to install the plumbing. Connect a PVC pipe from the pump to a pool filter and heater. Install the pool return line, which will circulate the water back into the pool. You can also install a skimmer to remove debris from the water.

8. Add Insulation: 

To keep the water cold, it is essential to add insulation to the pool. Cover the walls and floor of the pool with insulating foam board. You can also use spray foam insulation to fill any gaps or cracks.

9. Install the Pool Liner: 

Once the insulation is in place, it's time to install the pool liner. The liner should be made of a material that can withstand the cold temperatures, such as vinyl or PVC. Ensure that the liner is stretched tight and smoothed out to avoid any wrinkles or folds.

10. Fill the Pool with Water: 

After the liner is installed, it's time to fill the pool with water. Fill the pool to the level recommended by the manufacturer. You can use tap water, but it's best to use filtered water to avoid any impurities.

11. Install a Cover

Finally, install a cover to keep debris out of the water when the pool is not in use. A pool cover will also help to insulate the pool and keep the water cold.

Building a cold plunge pool can be a time-consuming process, but with the right tools and knowledge, it's a DIY project that can be accomplished by anyone. Not only will it provide a refreshing way to cool down during hot summer months, but it can also offer numerous health benefits. If you have the time, energy, and know how, a cold plunge pool may be your next great DIY project.

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