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Thread: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Howdy all. It's been a few months since I first posted with questions and my design/concept. We had to take a short break just as we were getting into the bidding process due to an injury in the family, but all is well once again and we're back in the game and ready to go.

    The original design idea for our pool was to have a separate but attached swim spa to the main pool in order to be able to heat it during the colder months with less energy usage. Needless to say, this turned out to be a very expensive option on top of an already feature-rich (and expensive) design. So in order to trim some fat (and after some initial nausea when we saw the first bids), we scrapped the separate swim spa area. We are still looking to do this build with the RiverFlow Swim Current Generator system.

    Pictures speak more than words, so here is the new and improved design we went to bid with. This first drawing includes the existing patio area to the right of the pool.





    Here is a tighter zoom of the pool design.





    To date, we have contacted or tried to contact 8 different builders.

    2 Never returned our original calls
    1 Never showed up for the initial meeting and then did not respond to a voicemail asking where they were
    1 Bowed out up front once they saw the complexity of the pool because they had a pretty full plate (I respect that because they at least did it quickly once they had met with us)
    1 Disappeared after their bid submission when we asked for some revisions to the design
    2 of the original companies we are currently in the bid process with
    1 new company was added to the mix after #5 disappeared and is still with us

    So that left/leaves us with 3 active bidding companies which is what we wanted in the end.

    What we have discovered so far is that we evidently have expensive tastes. Because I provided the original design to work from, it has worked out that all 3 of the current bids, plus the original bid of one of the drop-outs and then also a verbal "ballpark" price from another drop-out all put pricing within about $10k of each other. We really thought we could do this for right about $100k, but that is not seeming to be the case. To get most everything we wanted (not everything even), we are seeing the same very close price or estimate from 4 different builders all above the $100k mark.

    The price we are limiting ourselves to still does not get an in-floor cleaning system (another $5k - 6k) or any laminar flow jets (another $4k - 5k) as we were hoping to do. We are trying to understand why this is working out to be so expensive and what we are seeing is that the raised beam is expensive and then also the automation, extra LED lighting and range of pumps required for the separate scuppers, sheer and waterfalls on their own circuits. The RiverFlow system is also $15k installed, so really it just adds up with all of the options and design elements we have included.

    So be it.... We're plowing ahead one way or another!!!


    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    That pool looks huge! Where in Houston are you?

    What exactly is a Riverflow Swim Current Generator System?
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    ozdiver's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Plat, I have a triple swimjet system and love it. Kids also love playing in it.
    Have you swum against a Riverflow system? Are you gopng for the elite or competion variant?
    Because of the cost of these systems it would be good to make sure it meets your needs.
    Mine is open to you if you want a test drive. It was a $3500 line item. 3 jets each driven by it's own 3hp pump.
    40k gal freeform, IG pebblesheen, 9'x'6' raised spa, 2-1/2 hp Whisperflo, 520 sq/ft cartridge, Legend w/ booster, Intellibrite 5g in pool @ spa, Rainbow 320 Chlorinator(retired),
    Mastertemp 400k BTU, 3x3 hp Whisperflo Swimjets, 2x2 hp Whisperflow for 15ton moss rock waterfall, Intelitouch Controller, 850 sq/ft Travertine deck, Gas/Wood firepit,
    Autofill, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    @Marlahoutex - We're in Kingwood. As far as size, perhaps it's just the drawing. Easements and lot size have limited us really to 13' width in the main area. One of the benches for a short stretch bumps it to 15' wide. Not including the baja shelf, it's 34' long. On the one end it goes down to only 9.5' width of standing area.

    The River Flow system is like and Endless Pool, just another brand. Lets you swim in place. I have no experience with them. We just didn't have the length to be a lap pool of any substance, so I decided I wanted one of these. Here's their YouTube marketing video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh_wpyQNGag

    I think at least two other members here have them and they seemed to like the system.


    Here are a few renderings from one of the builders.





    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Musta been the drawing then because it couldn't be my eyes! Lol! Great looking pool and overall design.
    Marla
    No longer living vicariously through other people's pool builds. Pool build is complete on my IG SWCG pool, approx 10,000 gallons. All Jandy equipment - VS 1.5 hp pump, 580 cartridge filter, AquaPure 1400 salt cell, AquaLink PDA system. Dolphin m500. PebbleSheen Blue Surf with shells and beads added. TF-100 w/ SpeedStir. A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    @ozdiver - Thank you for the offer! This was my one "splurge". I say that in quotes because the whole pool is a splurge really isn't it? This was just the one thing I really wanted for myself, so I am OK with the cost on this. I am looking at the lower power (Elite) one most likely. It runs at just about 2100 Gal per Min of flow. It is simply a massive amount of water and more than adequate for my level.


    Here are some renderings from one of the other builders. Again, exact same design as above. I think their rendering software is more refined. They also added a detail we REALLY liked which was wrapping the planters in glass tile. We are considering keeping this on the one long planter, but not the two smaller square ones.













    They also perfectly captured the waterfall wall idea I had which was larger ledgestone embedded into a 5' wall of ledgestone/stack stone.


    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    I am in to watch this one!

    I strongly suggest you find and go talk to the PBs last three pools if at all possible.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    that pool will be awesome

    1 thing I would keep as far away is the grass, as kewl as it looks it will be a pain to mow, weed-eat and keep out of the pool, and you really do not want nitrates/fertilizer in your pool.. it will be a dinner party for algae...

    I wonder how "The River Flow system" can charge 15 grand for 3, 3 hp pumps and 3 inch schedule 40 pipe ... I guess its just the DIY in me, I think to myself, I can do that
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Looks like an awesome pool! Can't wait to watch it come to life!
    Free form pool 90'3" prim, 14180 gallons. TF100 Kit In pool table with travertine top, 3sheer descents, Depth 3.5-5-4, Jandy 2HP pump, Inline Chlorinator, Wetedge Satin Matrix Antigua.

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Quote Originally Posted by cowboycasey View Post
    that pool will be awesome

    1 thing I would keep as far away is the grass, as kewl as it looks it will be a pain to mow, weed-eat and keep out of the pool, and you really do not want nitrates/fertilizer in your pool.. it will be a dinner party for algae...

    I wonder how "The River Flow system" can charge 15 grand for 3, 3 hp pumps and 3 inch schedule 40 pipe ... I guess its just the DIY in me, I think to myself, I can do that
    Thanks!

    Just to clarify, the grass is in "design mode" still. We're thinking Mondo grass or maybe Monkey Grass right now but we need to work with a landscape designer on this. It would be a no-mow grass regardless. There would be no drainage into the pool from the grass.

    The 3 pumps is not the RiverFlow system. RiverFlow is one pump with a 12" line at either 7.5 or 10 HP depending on the model. Ultimately I won't deny it's a proprietary and overpriced package, but there is no other off-the-shelf turnkey package that really matches it.

    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    OHHH WOW, now thats a big pump and a 12 inch line... I think it will move a little water
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    amandahein3's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    What about synthetic grass? Stays green and no mowing? It's come a long way and good synthetic grass doesn't look fake
    Free form pool 90'3" prim, 14180 gallons. TF100 Kit In pool table with travertine top, 3sheer descents, Depth 3.5-5-4, Jandy 2HP pump, Inline Chlorinator, Wetedge Satin Matrix Antigua.

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Quote Originally Posted by amandahein3 View Post
    What about synthetic grass? Stays green and no mowing? It's come a long way and good synthetic grass doesn't look fake
    This is an option we considered and is not off the table. My biggest concern with synthetic is that we have dogs who while pretty good about sticking to "approved" relief areas, would probably still probably use the deck occasionally since it is right next to covered patio area. Particularly during inclement weather as they are an extremely rare breed of dog that if rained upon will dissolve into oblivion evidently as displayed by their behavior. We may still look into this further though after speaking with some landscape experts.

    Thanks!
    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Hahahahaha I used to have one of those rare breeds too!
    Free form pool 90'3" prim, 14180 gallons. TF100 Kit In pool table with travertine top, 3sheer descents, Depth 3.5-5-4, Jandy 2HP pump, Inline Chlorinator, Wetedge Satin Matrix Antigua.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Hi Plat,
    Glad you're back. Careful with the LED light at far left with the swim jet. It is shining toward the patio and may cause glare. Generally, it is best to have lights shining away from seating/viewing areas. Dwarf mondo grass would be nice. Artificial turf has made big strides in recent years. We know a couple of folks with it and it is very nice and stands up well to dog traffic and additions over several years so far. One added a little doggy septic tank that is a 2 or 3' deep hole with a lid and some powder to add occasionally that they have been very happy with. They've had that for at least a couple of years.
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Hi Plat,
    Glad you're back. Careful with the LED light at far left with the swim jet. It is shining toward the patio and may cause glare. Generally, it is best to have lights shining away from seating/viewing areas. Dwarf mondo grass would be nice. Artificial turf has made big strides in recent years. We know a couple of folks with it and it is very nice and stands up well to dog traffic and additions over several years so far. One added a little doggy septic tank that is a 2 or 3' deep hole with a lid and some powder to add occasionally that they have been very happy with. They've had that for at least a couple of years.
    Hey pooldv thanks! Happy to be back!

    Agree on the direction and glare issue on lights. On the design drawing just FYI, LED's that are shown as circles are up-lights. LED's that are shown as cones are wall lights. We're doing uplights under one of the sheer descents and then under the 5' waterfall wall so we get a nice shimmer effect and pick up texture at night of the ledgestone and embedded waterfall stones.

    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Oh that sounds pretty! When will you start????????? I can't wait to see this!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    platipus's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Oh that sounds pretty! When will you start????????? I can't wait to see this!

    Kim

    We're waiting on one bid revision from the third builder and then we'll make a tentative selection out of the three of them. At that point we'll also dig in a bit deeper with that builder before signing a contract. I have a list of some very specific in-depth questions (about 60 of them) that we'll run through and then at that point ask to talk with some recent customers and take some tours. I know this may seem kind of backwards to do this after asking for bids, but we did research on all three builders before contacting them and they are all well respected and/or previously did pools for friends of ours. I did not want to have to go through this deep interview process with all of them. If we get all of the answers we need and the customer reference checks and tours go like we expect them to, then we'll sign the contract.

    So given all of that, I would expect to sign a contract in about 3 weeks. Then we've got probably 2 months of City/County/HOA permit approvals, so maybe a mid November dig date? That works well I think as November going into December is cooler weather and lessening rain here. We're also going to be affected in the front end by all of the stormwater mitigation rules Houston has enacted recently that have become so cumbersome in some cases that we have heard of people canceling pool and construction projects all together. Fortunately we are not in the 100 year floodplain as those projects get the brunt of the permitting issues.


    Thanks!!
    -plat
    Modern Geometric-ish Social Pool (4'-5'-4') ~13' x 47'. Sun shelf. Perimeter overflow spa. RiverFlow Swimjet. Dog ramp. "Bubble Lounge"
    Link to my patio build, completed 2013
    Link to my pool build, Aug '15 - Sep '16

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Well thought out and will help you in the end! I love it!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Houston, TX Pool Build Diary - From Design to Dive-In

    Looks like this will be an amazing build.
    2015 Pool Build --> HERE IG 19'x47' w/ 7'x7' in pool spa; 3'6"-8' deep.
    Pentair 520 Filter, IntelliFlow VS XF Pump, IntelliChlor IC60 SWG, IntelliBrite/GloBrite LEDs, IntelliTouch w/Screenlogic2. 400K BTU heater. A&A G4V in-floor cleaning system. WetEdge Prism Matrix Pebble finish. TechoBloc Pavers and Coping.
    Test kits - Taylor K-2006 FAS/DPD, K-1766 Salt, SpeedStir

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