I am still in the learning phase here, reading through the forums until my head hurts some nights so please forgive me if I'm getting some of my facts mixed up.
Our first pool. Bought the house the beginning of last summer and continued to maintain the pool as directed by the previous owner, much of which I slowly found out was all wrong. Went in knowing we were going to need to do some renovations but not expecting so much so quick. Last fall we re-tiled which solved the water loss problem we were having. Prior to that we had already been told we wouldn't get more than a couple more years out of the existing original plaster. Now that the new tile looks so nice, we decided not to wait until the plaster really goes and replace sooner than later. Along with refinishing the bottom, we want to add salt and do a few other things to bring the whole pool up to like new standards like refinish the gunite slide and replace fiber optic lights with LED.
So we've settled on a pebble finish, most likely Pebble-Sheen or possibly Pebble-Tec if the total project cost gets to high and we want to scale back without losing anything.
I like salt for the ease of maintaining and the water feel. My concerns are two-fold:
First, I can't recall where but I thought I read that a SWG makes it very difficult to maintain calcium levels which makes sense since salt is the most common type of softener for residential hard water. And that is also confirmed by all the aggregate websites clearly stating not to add salt to the pool for generally 30 days or more after a new finish is completed. So does that mean that finish will also be doomed to not last nearly as long as claimed, or will I be constantly be adding calcium?
Second, scaling is also mentioned as an issue with salt pools, especially with negative edge pools (I don't have that) and water features (the slide). Is there an easy solution to avoid the scale buildup or will that be a constant battle.
On a somewhat related side note, is salt becoming less popular, of the 4 PB I have spoken with for the renovation, only one is recommending a SWG. All will put one in "if that's what you want" but three are heavily recommending against.
One wants to put in a mineral system plus UV (I've pretty much written him off), one advocates a combo of ozone & UV plus a chlorine feeder, the third just recommends just the chlorine feeder.
At first I thought it might be a profit motive and everyone has their own twist, but total system pricing on all the recommendations all are pretty close and unless profit margins are much lower on SWG (something I doubt from comparing the quotes to equipment only prices online) that reasoning doesn't make much sense.
The only argument against salt that makes any sense to me is the environmental one and for that reason one of the PB recommended replacing my DE filter with a cartridge type to avoid the need to backwash and pour out so much salt water.