Hi everyone! I am so excited to be starting my very own build thread!
I love reading forums for all of my interests and hobbies so when I started getting serious about a pool, I discovered TFP back in July and have learned so much since. We have lived in Georgia for 10 years and since the day we moved here, my goal was to get a pool. I had been holding off until we had money for it (most of it) and until we got our family complete. One thing always holding me back was the fact that we have to relocate our septic system. I always had in the back of my head that in addition to the expense of the pool, I have to spend $5-6,000 moving the septic system. Then, one day it dawned one me – no matter how long I wait, I’ll have to move that system, so I might as well just do it!
I started thinking seriously about a pool early this year. In July, I got really serious and started researching like crazy, looking for builders, coming up with a plan for the yard, and coming up with the sales job on my wife .
By the time August came around, I had the money figured out, sold my wife on the plan, and decided that it was time: kids are young (3 months, 20 months, and nearly 6 years), and after knowing a few folks who’s life changed too suddenly this year, I thought it was time to do it while things are stable and while we can enjoy this as a family for a long time to come.
I really am doing this for the kids! Sure, I am getting all the bells and whistles, and it’s my dream, but I’ve always wanted a pool and I am so excited to be able to provide something for my kids and family that will drive great memories for years!
So, I’ll start from the beginning in this thread. I can type fast, and like to tell the whole story, so I am sorry if it’s long!
After looking at tons of threads and countless pictures online, my initial wants:
- Concrete, free-form pool; about 100-105’ perimeter
- 4’ to 6’ or 4’ to 8’ feet (wife decided we would do 3’6” – 8’)
- Pebble finish (which is eventually how I found my builder)
- LED lighting
- Waterfall, natural stone
- Benches in pool
- Tanning ledge, 3 lighted bubblers
- Umbrella sleeves
- Laminars (vetoed)
- Lots of decking, stamped or pavers (all quotes included 1,500 sq ft plus a set price for extra)
- 40’ wide and 3’ tall retaining wall will be required due to yard layout
Did not want
- hot tub
- diving board
We have a horribly sloped back yard, so I was always concerned where a pool could go. I had some ideas and initially it was going to be far from the house. Septic challenges and logistics moved it closer to the house, but it’s okay because after monitoring summer sun, the entire pool is in the sun until 7p and then the shallow end takes on shade.
So, in early August I started seeking out builders. For those of you that know the west Georgia area (30 miles west of Atlanta), there isn’t a whole lot out here. I contacted 5 builders.
- Builder 1, found via Google. Local company, no store location, great ideas, estimate was well north of $70k; No thank you
- Builder 2, largest builder in west Georgia. Many store locations, very well known. No showed for 1 appointment and BLEW ME OFF TWICE!! I gave up on them.
- Builder 3, he was building a pool in my neighborhood. I was driving around and found him. Owner came over, looked around, had ideas and was really nice. Sent his estimator over the next week. Estimator/designer spent an hour in my backyard. Told me I’d hear from them in a week. Texted the owner twice two weeks after the designer came out. Never heard from him again!
- Builder 4, local, Had a lot of great ideas, price was right in my range – a little over $50k. He was in the running.
- Builder 5, local with a small store. Family owned. Had them out in August. One of the owners and his daughter spend a hot humid hour in my back yard explaining everything and sharing ideas. They followed up asking if I had questions. I had them back out 3 weeks later because I moved the pool location. I just wanted to check on pricing changes. They gladly came back and were wonderful. They came in at $55k with regular concrete, $58k stamped. They won. They weren’t the cheapest option, but I just felt best with them. Great people. I am fortunate to have found these folks through Pebbletec’s website while I was looking for Pebbletec builders in my area. That is a search I am glad I did!
I am willing to share any facts about any of these builders via PM with anyone. For those in the area, it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out builder 2. Until I am swimming in my pool, I’ll hold off on revealing my builder. I want to make sure all goes well and if we have hiccups, give them ample time to fix. However, I expect all will go well. They are great people.
After my builder came out for visit 1 and I felt good about them, I started figuring out what else I had to do. My budget for this project, before septic system, fend and landscaping was $55,000, top-end, and still more than I would want to spend. I would have loved to spend just $50k. Of course reality is I am already over the top-end budget!
This was a stressful experience with my county just seeing if I was going to be able to build a pool! Bad dirt all over my acre lot and septic tank needed moved. Not a lot of options to move it. Go visit the county to see what I have to do. They tell me I need a survey for the pool, and to see if there is room for new system, etc. So, I was $800 over budget when I walked in to the surveyor’s office! After a few weeks, surveyor tells me there isn’t room to relocate system and put a pool in! Oh geez, that was bad and sad. After some back and forth and showing them exactly where things would go, they redrew and signed off. It was tight but ok.
I hire a septic company to come out, put in a new tank and drain field. That happened in October. They tore up my gardens, and half of the $5,000 worth of sod I put in a few years ago (the rest of my sod was tore up Friday when we dug the pool…it was expected, but tough to watch!). It was a tight fit. I gave the septic guys very tight confines to do their job in. They weren’t happy with me with how far down my hill they needed to go. They were worried the county wouldn’t approve. However, I told them the only reason I am spending close to $6,000 on a new system and drain field is to get a pool. If the septic is too close, all this is for nothing. They didn’t talk to me the rest of the time they worked but they fit it all in.
So, STRESSFUL times from mid-August until the end of October working through the survey, approval, home refi, septic redo, and pool contract. Jeez! However, contract signed with my builder in mid October and down payment made, just needed to find a day that I’d be home so they can dig!
(more to follow tomorrow, including some pictures!)