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Thread: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

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    Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    About to pull the trigger on renovations but still wrestling with final selections and builders. The choices will dictate the builder.
    First: the finish, deciding between Pebbletec and Stonescapes. Selected Pebbletec blue lagoon vs Stonescapes similar color (I forgot the name), adding 2 bags of blue glass beads to either. One builder offered either through different subs and claims Stonescapes for approx. $1700 less is no different in quality from Pebbletec. The other builder is the actual Pebbletec contractor (the only one in New England) and is still a little higher priced on the Pebbletec but naturally he claims Pebbltec is far superior to Stonescapes. If we choose Pebbletec I would likely go with the licensed installer for a few hundred $ extra to avoid being a low priority job (assuming he won't match the other price which I will try for.)
    Can anyone offer any advice on a quality comparison between the two finishes?

    Second: Salt Water Generator, I am pretty set on switching from chlorine tabs to a SWG. I know it's still a chlorine pool but the salt pools I've been in the water had a softer feel, less chlorine odor, less eye irritation and less itchy feel after drying off.
    One builder recommends Hayward Aquarite (only Hayward product he says he uses) the other recommends Pentair Intellichlor. I know the first is a Pentair dealer also as he installed a Pentair pump for me just 2 months ago so I'm sure he would put in whichever I really want.
    Any real difference between the two brands in terms of reliability or cell life?

    On a side note, the second builder really recommended I not put in a SWG at all but a combo of a mineral sanitizer and a UV sanitizer with either a feeder or tabs saying I would use much less chlorine so the water feel results will be the same as with a SWG. It seems from other threads I've seen here that the mineral sanitizers are not popular here but wondering if anyone has any thoughts about the addition of the UV sanitizer. He actually recommended that addition even if I do go with a SWG saying the SWG would be set lower as less chlorine would be needed by to treat the water and help maintain lower ph levels (not by any action of the UV sanitizer, just by less chlorine being added to the pool).

    Two other pieces of the renovation, refinishing a worn out gunite slide with either EcoFinish Aquabrite or Resodyne Resocoat and replacing very dim fiber-optic lights with led SAVI lights.

    Any help much appreciated.
    41x20, 27k Gunite kidney shaped inground, 8 ft deep end w/3ft raised beam, square granite diving rock & 16 ft gunite slide built into hill.
    Pentair Intellipro VS pump, Hayward DE filter, AquaComfort 150k btu heat pump.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Hi Truck,
    As for Hayward or Pentair, they are both very reliable and lots of folks here have one or the other.
    Overall, both have their plus and minus which sort of cancel each other out.

    But at the end of the day, I think the biggest difference, is the cost of teh cell when it comes time to replace it (years from now).
    Today, a T15 Hayward cell cost about 400.00 online. The Pentair cell is 600.00 online. The reason why the big cost difference, is because the Pentair cell contains all of the controls electronics in it. The hayward controls are in a box mounted on a wall. For that reason, all other things being equal, It worth seriously consdering the hayward.

    Regarding mineral sanitizer. We dont recommend those on TFP. The reason why is because the mineral packs put copper and silver ions in your water. Should your water get too far out of balance, coppper and silver can leave ugly stains on your plaster which is near impossible to remove. Copper also makes blonde hair turn green. If thats not enough, they really dont work as well as advertised.

    UV / ozone system. they work much better indoors than they do outdoors. Outdoors, they are relatively ineffective.

    Quite a few folks here at TFP which have had both mineral and UV/ozone and weren't happy at all with them.

    You would be far far ahead sticking with a SWG.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    He actually recommended that addition even if I do go with a SWG saying the SWG would be set lower as less chlorine would be needed by to treat the water and help maintain lower ph levels (not by any action of the UV sanitizer, just by less chlorine being added to the pool).
    The "lower pH" claim is not at all correct. Confirming what others have already said, I would not waste money on "alternative" sanitizers......chlorine is simply too good.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    UV and ozone are just add-ons that add to the bottom line of the builder in a residential outdoor pool build. It's not intentional by the builder, it's just what they've been told and sold by the manufacturer reps they deal with. They can server a purpose for indoor pools or spas, but don't have a place in outdoor pools that are properly chlorinated. Mineral systems are the same but don't have a place in any pool situation as far as I'm concerned. Silver and copper do have anti-algal and anti-bacterial action but only at levels that would cause significant problems for staining of pool surfaces and hair and just don't have short enough kill times on these critters. Adequate chlorine is cheaper and has less side effects than trying to integrate mineral systems.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Thank you for the feedback, I was really already set on the salt water system and had never seriously considered anything else and if anyone who wasn't as reputable as the PB who recommended the mineral system had suggested, it probably would have been a reason to pick a different PB (and still may be).

    After reviewing the other quote from the PB offering either PebbleTec or Stonescapes and who also warned me away from the alternative systems, I noticed his salt system quote includes Mineral Springs which I can see works only with a SWG but I have not been able to determine if the "minerals" that supposedly help balance the ph, etc. are the previously mentioned unwanted copper and silver or some other components that are just a way to increase my maintenance costs by tying me to the product line. Or maybe it really is an easier system to maintain, naturally the company website touts less required maintenance and lower costs from a standard salt system saying after start-up, just add the weekly dose of Renewal and you're done.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the Stonescapes vs. PebbleTec? With that being 75-80% of the total project cost and the only piece that would be near impossible to replace, I'm hoping for some feedback. Really more hoping for more info on Stonescapes as Pebbletec is the more known entity with lots of info saying if properly installed its great. If the same can be said of Stonescapes I'd go with that for the lower cost but if not I don't want to make a very expensive mistake.

    Thanks again.
    41x20, 27k Gunite kidney shaped inground, 8 ft deep end w/3ft raised beam, square granite diving rock & 16 ft gunite slide built into hill.
    Pentair Intellipro VS pump, Hayward DE filter, AquaComfort 150k btu heat pump.

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Quote Originally Posted by TruckLoan View Post
    Thank you for the feedback, I was really already set on the salt water system and had never seriously considered anything else and if anyone who wasn't as reputable as the PB who recommended the mineral system had suggested, it probably would have been a reason to pick a different PB (and still may be).

    After reviewing the other quote from the PB offering either PebbleTec or Stonescapes and who also warned me away from the alternative systems, I noticed his salt system quote includes Mineral Springs which I can see works only with a SWG but I have not been able to determine if the "minerals" that supposedly help balance the ph, etc. are the previously mentioned unwanted copper and silver or some other components that are just a way to increase my maintenance costs by tying me to the product line. Or maybe it really is an easier system to maintain, naturally the company website touts less required maintenance and lower costs from a standard salt system saying after start-up, just add the weekly dose of Renewal and you're done.

    Thanks again.
    Honestly all pool builders I have met push this stuff in a way. They really aren't involved in the maintenance side for the most part and probably don't know any different. If I reduced my PB quotes by those that don't sell or even recommend the Ozone/UV/Mineral systems I wouldn't have any PB's to choose from unfortunately. Even the highest rated PBs in my area still push the stuff.

    As far as the mineral springs add believe it or not they get that stuff for free usually so they think they are doing you a favor. The equipment companies give it away hoping you will spend hundreds buying the "weekly dose of renewal". I wouldn't let them put it on my pool. Simple is better and you don't want stuff that will ruin your pool over time.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Quote Originally Posted by TruckLoan View Post
    Thank you for the feedback, I was really already set on the salt water system and had never seriously considered anything else and if anyone who wasn't as reputable as the PB who recommended the mineral system had suggested, it probably would have been a reason to pick a different PB (and still may be).

    After reviewing the other quote from the PB offering either PebbleTec or Stonescapes and who also warned me away from the alternative systems, I noticed his salt system quote includes Mineral Springs which I can see works only with a SWG but I have not been able to determine if the "minerals" that supposedly help balance the ph, etc. are the previously mentioned unwanted copper and silver or some other components that are just a way to increase my maintenance costs by tying me to the product line. Or maybe it really is an easier system to maintain, naturally the company website touts less required maintenance and lower costs from a standard salt system saying after start-up, just add the weekly dose of Renewal and you're done.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the Stonescapes vs. PebbleTec? With that being 75-80% of the total project cost and the only piece that would be near impossible to replace, I'm hoping for some feedback. Really more hoping for more info on Stonescapes as Pebbletec is the more known entity with lots of info saying if properly installed its great. If the same can be said of Stonescapes I'd go with that for the lower cost but if not I don't want to make a very expensive mistake.

    Thanks again.
    I can't comment on StoneScapes, but we are close to wrapping up a major renovation ourselves and will be using PebbleTec. Specifically PebbleSheen - my wife didn't like the rougher feel of the PebbleTec, but wanted the smoother feel of the small pebbles. Kadison will be doing the Pebble (pretty sure they do all of MA, if not all of New England). We debated between PebbleTec and WetEdge - but we are redoing decking, etc, so the interior surface was only one piece of our project (we're using another builder who subs out the finish to Kadison). If you haven't looked at WetEdge you may want to as well - I have heard good reviews about them / their applicators too. If you want, PM me and I can give you the contact info for the local company who does a lot of the WetEdge finishing - they bid on part of our job but I didn't end up using them. They have similar options to PebbleTec too (i.e. glass beads, etc.).

    Also, I'm not sure if you are doing the pool this fall or not, but we are doing pebble in about a week, and the PB we're working with suggested waiting until next spring to add salt back in since we're going to have to close right around the ~30 days when you could add salt. We added the SWG a year and a half ago right after we bought the house (and I was new to the pool), and knowing what I know now it's not particularly hard to do ti yourself if you are reasonably handy and willing/able to do some simple plumbing / electrical. We initially added the Hayward standalong SWG, but then I later replaced our old Jandy control panel with a newer Hayward panel that can control the cell directly. Sold the old controller on CraigsList. I think we paid ~$2k for the initial SWG install, but knowing what I know now I could have probably done it myself for half that or less. Anyway, you might want to consider waiting until the spring to add the SWG if you're refinishing this fall....

    Good Luck!
    ~25000 gal IG gunite pool, built 2001 - renovated 2015
    Pebble Sheen Blue Surf + Shimmering Sea, Gemz, Classic Pool & Tile Rodio waterline
    Grey Granite Paver Deck, with TechoBloc Blu60 Smooth accent strip
    Hayward OmniLogic, UCL and CL320 LED lights, DE6020 filter, EcoStar pump, TF-100, T-15 SWG, Raypak P406A heater

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Quote Originally Posted by ummgood View Post
    Honestly all pool builders I have met push this stuff in a way. They really aren't involved in the maintenance side for the most part and probably don't know any different. If I reduced my PB quotes by those that don't sell or even recommend the Ozone/UV/Mineral systems I wouldn't have any PB's to choose from unfortunately. Even the highest rated PBs in my area still push the stuff.

    As far as the mineral springs add believe it or not they get that stuff for free usually so they think they are doing you a favor. The equipment companies give it away hoping you will spend hundreds buying the "weekly dose of renewal". I wouldn't let them put it on my pool. Simple is better and you don't want stuff that will ruin your pool over time.
    That is sort-of what I was thinking, I did speak more with the PB and was assured the minerals in Mineral Springs are not silver or copper and it is supposedly all you need to add to maintain your pool in conjunction with a SWG. On the face of it, it looks attractive and I was told it would NOT be less expensive annually to maintain than straight salt and adding other chemicals as needed, just easier to maintain correct balance and sparkling water.

    Quite honestly, while I don't like to waste money, if I have to spend an extra $100-150 per season but its easier keep things level, I'm leaning that way.
    41x20, 27k Gunite kidney shaped inground, 8 ft deep end w/3ft raised beam, square granite diving rock & 16 ft gunite slide built into hill.
    Pentair Intellipro VS pump, Hayward DE filter, AquaComfort 150k btu heat pump.

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Read lots of reviews. With just the SWG where is your MA coming from? Is it in the cartridge? I don't think it will eliminate what you need to do to keep your pool balanced and I can bet it costs way more than just buying acid at the store.
    Pool is done! Only took 17 months! - Natural shape in-ground pool: 37x23, 505sq ft, 96ft perimeter, 7ft deep end, 18,950 gallons, tanning ledge, blue surf pebble sheen/luminous blue blend, Belgard coping, 910 sqft paver deck/walkways, retaining walls out the yinyang. Jandy SWG, 2 LED Color lights, VS 2HP Pump, 460sqft cartridge filter, PDA RS P8 controller. My build

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    Re: Renovation Help Needed: aggregate & SWG choices

    Quote Originally Posted by ummgood View Post
    Read lots of reviews. With just the SWG where is your MA coming from? Is it in the cartridge? I don't think it will eliminate what you need to do to keep your pool balanced and I can bet it costs way more than just buying acid at the store.
    I think the MA is in the Renewal product added weekly which they claim that other than adding salt when water is added or after heavy rainfall is all I should need to add all season.
    41x20, 27k Gunite kidney shaped inground, 8 ft deep end w/3ft raised beam, square granite diving rock & 16 ft gunite slide built into hill.
    Pentair Intellipro VS pump, Hayward DE filter, AquaComfort 150k btu heat pump.

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