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Thread: Complete Newbies

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    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Florida
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    12

    Complete Newbies

    Hi everyone,

    By way of introduction, I'm brand new to this forum, and DH & I are also new to pool ownership, as well as new to a southern climate.
    We did both have pools as teens, and we each helped with the chemicals/upkeep, but that was over 30 years ago and we know much as changed since then (for instance, we had a gigantic 10 ft deep pool with diving board that my folks paid $10,000 for, and now we're looking at a 12x24 5 ft deep pool for $35-$45,000! LOL - big difference!). We recently moved from the much colder Pacific Northwest, where liner pools are common, to the hot, humid Southeast (Central Florida - Orlando area), where gunite pools seem to be the thing, and cooling the pool seems to be more of an issue than heating it!

    We're in the final stages of choosing a pool builder, we've had estimates from 6 of them, and we're completely overwhelmed with options and have so many questions I barely know where to start! As I research online, I keep stumbling across this wonderfully helpful website and forum, so I decided to join.

    I guess I'll start with a quick description of our basic design, then ask a few of the most important questions...

    We have a small lot overlooking a creek, and most of our backyard will be pool/deck. The lot slopes down about 2 feet toward the creek. A screen cover is a must because of all the critters in/around the creek. The design is a modified Grecian 12x24 with rounded corners, steps at one end, a swim out at the other, a sheer descent with spill centered on the back (screen) length, and a half-circle 4x8 sun-shelf centered on the front (house) length. We're pretty sure we want a salt chlorine generator and a variable speed pump. Not sure about any of the other equipment yet.

    Now for the questions:
    1. Most importantly - only one contractor has mentioned putting a retaining wall on the rear of the pool deck/screen footing, before backfilling. The others have only mentioned backfilling from the hole and compacting, and most of them mention something called "cantilever deck construcion" in their quotes (not to be confused with cantilever pool edge). The one says that will cause erosion, but the rest say it will be fine without a wall. The retaining wall adds about $2500.00 to the one's bid. We don't want our pool sliding into the creek, but but don't want to spend needless money either. Who should we believe?

    2. Without experience, we have no way of knowing which things can be left off now and added later, vs. which things we should spend the $ on now because it will be impossible to add later. Could you guys with experience give us suggestions on this? For example, pool lighting... will we be sorry if we just go with a basic white incandescent light instead of a colorful LED? and is 1 light enough for the size of our pool? Is the size of our sun shelf large enough, or should we expand it, even if it costs a little more? What about things like cleaning systems, circulation, heating (which it seems lots of people here don't even do)? How hard or easy is it to add various things?

    In other words, if you had it to do over and needed to stay in budget - Where would you sink your money initially, and which things would you wait on?

    I think that's enough for now. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions later.
    Thanks so much,
    : ) Melinda
    Last edited by Mello; 08-07-2015 at 06:27 PM. Reason: Adding Region: Central Florida, Orlando Area

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    Re: Complete Newbies

    Hi, welcome to TFP! If you add the region or city in Florida to your location it will help generate answers appropriate to your area. We have quite a few active members in Florida and I'm sure they will be glad to help. I can give some basic information general to all inground pools.

    If you have a very shady backyard and completely enclose the pool with screen and a roof your water will be a little cooler. How much cooler I can't say, but other Florida peeps can chime in.

    You want to make sure they do not build the equipment pad with everything super tight together. It may look nicer but it makes things difficult when something needs replacing/repair down the road. Plus if you decide to add say a heater later on you will want space to plumb it in.

    It is a good idea to include unions between major pieces of equipment, such as pump, filter, heater to make repair and replacement easier.

    If you decide on a cartridge filter make sure they plumb in a "t" with a valve between the pump and the filter so you can vacuum to waste if needed. This is a very handy feature and most cartridge filter owners don't find out about it until they need one and don't have it.

    Make sure the pool lights point away from the house

    Think about how many people you plan to have in the pool on a regular basis, and the ages of those people. Mark off a 4x8 area and see how many lounge chairs you could fit comfortably, or how many small children and adults could fit on that space, approx a 3 ft radius per person. That should give you an idea if your sun self will be large enough for your needs. Also keep in mind you lose some real estate by having the sun shelf in a half circle so 8' long and 4' wide in the center tapered to either end for your mock up.

    Those are a few things to get you started. Good luck on the build process. Be sure to start a build thread, folks love following those!
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    spring hill, FL
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    Re: Complete Newbies

    A screen enclosure will keep the pool, on average, 4-6% cooler, that's what I was told anyway. I opted for no screen, just a fence around the open pool because I personally like the look much better. I love my pool, my kids love the pool. The only thing I can say I wish I had done differently, or more correctly, afforded to do differently, would be to use travertine instead of pavers for my 1000 sqft pool deck. Unfortunately, it was a $4000 upgrade that I just couldn't swing at the time. I have no heater for the pool, but I did have the electrical put in for one, as well as had the pad built large enough to add one later if we want. That being said, my water was at 80 in April, so we were swimming when others with covered pools weren't. My pool cost just shy of $27k to build, but it's pretty much no-frills, and no regrets! Welcome to TFP!!
    12k in ground, 14x28 sports pool, concrete/plaster/diamond brite, uncovered
    Waterway 1.5hp pump, waterway 150sqft cartridge filter, auto chlorinator, on city water, Zodiac MX8

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    Aug 2015
    Location
    Florida
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    12

    Re: Complete Newbies

    Thank you for your quick reply, Zea3! You have already given us some good advice to think about. I'll be out in the yard with the measuring tape and string this afternoon!

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Florida
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    12

    Re: Complete Newbies

    Hi Xandraxal, nice to meet another Floridian!
    I wish we could go without a screen like you did - I like the look better too, and I'd like to save the approx. $6k, but after seeing a snake and an armadillo in our yard, and an alligator in the creek, I put screen right at the top of our list, lol!
    With a fence outside of it for good measure!
    That's a very good point about making sure the electrical and pad space is there for a heater if we decide to add one later. Thanks for that info.
    : ) Melinda

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    spring hill, FL
    Posts
    40

    Re: Complete Newbies

    Haha, yeah I have a wooded area and a lake behind my house, turtles, rabbits, snakes, birds, squirrels and the like. Haven't seen a gator in the lake in the 2 years I've been here, but being born and raised here, I've certainly seen my share, especially on the golf courses. I always figured a screen wouldn't keep a gator out if he really wanted in anyway lol. Only critters I've seen in the pool or on the deck are frogs. With the crazy amount of rain we've seen the past 2 months, I've scooped quite a few frogs out of the pool in the past week. As far as trees go, aside from the wooded area in the one corner, we've only got palm trees around the neighborhood, so leaves in the pool are actually minimal, far less than I expected to have to deal with. Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck and definitely post build pics, everyone here loves them!
    12k in ground, 14x28 sports pool, concrete/plaster/diamond brite, uncovered
    Waterway 1.5hp pump, waterway 150sqft cartridge filter, auto chlorinator, on city water, Zodiac MX8

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