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Thread: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

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    New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Hi,
    I live in MA and have met with no less than 10 pool builders in the last 4-months. I've narrowed it down to 2 pool builders, but each one is offering very different equipment. I'd like to list out the equipment and get opinions on which builder is giving me the better deal. I'm going to divide this post into 2 threads -- Pool #1 and Pool #2, as in my experience, the website knocks me off after too much writing. Hence, stay tuned.

    Thanks in advance,
    Bonnie in MA

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Pool #1 24X40, 7' depth, free form
    3 pressurized water return inlets
    2 interconnected main drains in deep end
    2 Hayward self-adjusting skimmers
    Hayward Swim Clear 525, Quad Cluster Cartridge Filter system
    Hayward Eco Star 1-1/2 multi speed pump
    2 Hayward Colorlogic underwater pool lights
    Hayward pro titanium 125,000 BTU heat pump
    Hayward Gold Line controller and salt generator
    Caretaker in floor w/ Leaf B gone
    SGM Stonecapes Premium pebble pool plater interior of pool
    Waterfall, 4' tall with large slabs with wide spillover into pool
    73 linear ft. of natural stone coping
    368 sq. ft. of square and rectangle pattern quartzite, granite or similar stone
    36' custom granite, rock faced coping

    Thanks in advance,
    Bonnie in MA

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Pool #2 22X42, 7'6" depth, free form
    2 self adjusting skimmers
    4 wall return inlets to pool
    Pentair Clean & Clear cartridge filter
    2.5 HP Starrite variable speed pump
    Intellichlor (?) dispenser (salt)
    Paramount in-floor w/ leaf catcher
    Pentair heat pump
    2 Pentair Intellebrite LED lights
    Pebble Sheen pool interior finish
    Natural fieldstone rock waterfall, 5' wide x 4' deep x 2'3" high w/ return line, side wall suction line and dedicated 3/4 hp booster pump, dual wall suction w/ Hartford loop
    72' natural stone coping
    racing lane tiles, 1 every 4 ft.
    4 function auto pad
    38' custom rock faceted imported grey granite

    That's it. Please let me know what you think about the equipment -- sound good and if so -- which pool?

    Best,
    Bonnie in MA

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    JamieP's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    From our experience interviewing pool builders, they either used Pentair or Jandy, and each one admitted those were pretty equal, but had a lower opinion of Hayward. For what it's worth, we have decided to go with all Pentair equipment for our owner build. But there are many folks who are happy with their Hayward setups.

    Pebble Sheen is a PebbleTec product and requires certified applicators to install it. SGM stonescapes doesn't make that stipulation, so in general, most people would consider Pebble Sheen to be superior.

    Overall, my preference would be for the second bid. But how do you feel about the builders themselves? Do you have more confidence in one over the other?
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Hi Bonnie,
    like JamieP said, most builders use their perferred manufacturer of equipment. In the big picture, the debate of which is better is relatively a mute point.
    Both Hayward and Pentair are fine products and either one I believe will perform fine for you.

    The lists of equipment above are for the most part fairly equal. I dont see any glaring deficiencies in any of it.

    My only real comment, is to ask PB 2 with the Pentair equipment to provide you a Pentair Intelliflo VS pump instead of a Starrite pump.
    (although starrite is owned by pentair trhough an aquisition, it isn't actually a pentair design. IMO, the intelliflo VS pump is far superior pump).
    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: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    My biggest concern is the builder themselves, size, equity in company, are they using dedicated subs, or their own people. Security of getting subs paid, liens covered, etc. Our neighbor started their pool month before ours. Their guy died, and found out all their money releases never paid subs, so the contractors filed liens, and he had to find a new pool builder to shoot the gunite and finish the job. Basically had to pay twice.

    Our PB had an area superintendant watching over subs, keeping us clearly in the loop, making sure everything done right. Called plumber out to re-do some piping kind of thing. Ours finished without a hitch, and while we paid little more, we definitely were much happier.

    I know the death of a principal can't be planned, but this guy was a 1-man show, and no one else had necessary licensing to continue the business, so all 38 jobs he had got stuck when he passed away.

    Compare references, talk to others that used the builder, not just from their list of offered referrals. See what kind of reputation and satisfaction current owners have.

    my 2 cents
    Phil
    ~9600 gal gunite pool, NEW July 2015; Pentair Intelliflo 2 VST pump; Pentair C&C 150 filter; Pentair Intelliclor IC40 swg; solar heat w/ Pentair Solartouch controller, screened. Taylor K 2005 test kit, FAS-DPD separate test, Taylor K1766 salt test

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Do you have natural gas where you are in MA? What are the utility electrical rates in your area? If your electric rates are high, i.e., electricity costs more than natural gas, then you do not want a heat pump as they are slow to heat a pool (without a proper cover) and they do not work well once the ambient air temperature starts getting into the 60's. I'm going to assume that you have heat pumps listed because you don't have NG but I just wanted to check.

    As far as heating goes, if you have a free-form pool you'll need to have a large bubble cover cut and fitted to your pool. A 22x42 freeform pool will require a fairly large, irregularly shaped bubble cover which will be a major pain in the rear to put on and remove. The problem for you is, with a heat pump, you absolutely need a bubble cover or else your heat pump will never get the pool temperature up to any significant degree before overnight cooling robs all that heat away. So you need to discuss pool cover options with your builder to see what they can offer.

    I have a salt water pool and think SWG's are great. However, most PB's completely undersize the SWG's with respect to pool volume. I have a 16,000 in-ground pool with a Pentair IC-40 SWG. The IC-40 is supposedly rated for pools up to 40,000 gallons and, if I followed the manufacturers guidelines, I should only need an IC-20 for my pool. Well, my IC-40 is just good enough for my pool BUT, when my cell finally dies (lifetimes are typically 3-5 years) I am definitely going to upgrade to an IC-60 (cell rated for a 60,000 gallon pool) because I much prefer to have the larger cell. Retail prices don't change a whole lot on cell size and your PB should be able to get you a cell at a cost lower than retail so make sure you upsize, get the largest cell possible for your pool. With your pool size, you're either going to need an IC-60 from pentair or a Hayward T-15 cell.

    And, I agree with Divin Dave, you want an IntelliFlo, not a StarRite. Also, if you go with Pentair, consider upgrading your EasyTouch automation system to 8 relays instead of 4 relays. You never know how you might expand your pool in the future and having extra relays upfront helps.

    I would go with PebbleSheen over Stonescapes for the reason mentioned above BUT that depends a lot on the plaster subcontractor. Just because PebbleTek requires their product to be installed by a licensed and PebbleTec-trained installer doesn't mean it's any better (you just get the PebbleTec warranty). The quality and experience of the plaster subcontractor far outweighs and is more determinant of success than whatever specific product he is installing.

    Good luck.

    Matt
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    TFP Guide

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    I agree with flipr about subs getting paid being a potential pit fall. In my opinion the use of subs gets a bad rap, as long as the builder is reputable and pays his subs on time why would you want them to take on a task that they may not be well suited for, when they can hire an expert that does one thing and does it well. You can mitigate the risk a bit by either asking for lien waiver as tasks get completed or do what we did and ask the builder for references from their subs. We contacted the excavation and gunite subs since that was the bulk of the subcontracted expense should something go wrong. We asked how may pools they had done for the builder and if they were paid when expected. The city permit office was also a help. It turned out the builder we went with was pulling and completing the majority of permits with no complaints. The lady at the permit office also commented they had very few inspection related issues and when they did they were minor and dealt with quickly.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    I agree with Matt on the size of the salt generator. Go at least double the size of your pool gallonage.
    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: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Flip - This is why you don't pay progress payments unless you get lien releases
    thanks for reminding me. Your story is not lost.
    .
    O/B Woodland Hills, CA : O/B12x30 inground with 6x6 10-jet spa, 10,500gal, 6' Baja deck, 42" spillway, All Jandy: 400k heater, 2.7 HP VS pump, 1.5HP booster spa pump, SWG, Intellelink controls, (4) LED lights, cartridge filter and BlueSquareQ360 infloor cleaning system, Eclipse drain, glass tiles, Zanzibar white pebble finish. Broke ground 2/18/2016, completed 8/16/2016. TFT 100 kit.

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    I think I have more confidence in the one who puts in the Pentair products -- I think we're going to go with that builder. Plus, there's someone on this site who lives pretty close to me who used that builder and had a really good experience. We're going to sign the contract next Saturday!

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Thanks for the suggestion. I just emailed the pool builder I think we're going to go with (contract gets signed next Saturday), to ask that he give us the Pentair Intelliflo VS pump instead of the Starrite. Thank you for the suggestion.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Good point. I actually didn't go with one builder because he's elderly -- he owned a previous pool build company and sold it -- hated retirement and came back into the game and now runs a one-man show. He knows everyone in the business and he trained most of the folks around here who do pool builds -- but I thought "what happens if something happens to this guy during a pool build?" Plus, his prices were way more than most. Still, excellent point. The company I'm going with is larger -- and I'll ask about supervision of the job, etc. Someone on this list referred me to the company, as they were thrilled with their pool build. I think I'm in good hands.

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Thanks for your long, informative note.

    Actually, we do have natural gas. We've decided to go with a heat pump because our town has its own electric company and because of that, our electric rates are the lowest in the state. Heating the pool with gas would be far more expensive than heating it with electric via a heat pump. According to our pool builder and others I've talked to, a heat pump should easily be able to keep our pool to whatever temperature we want it throughout late May, June, July, August, and through mid-September without having to use a solar (or bubble), cover. We have no desire to swim after mid-September and will close the pool completely by Oct. 1st. I think a heat pump should be fine for our use -- we will not be swimming in April or in October. If you know something I don't, let me know, but I've heard that the new heat pumps are far better and more efficient than they used to be and everyone we've talked to said we'll be happy with it.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Bonnie even if they SAY someone will be there for supervision there are a few times you will NEED to be there just in case. I will make sure to keep up with your thread and let you know when one of those times is coming up......First one-when they paint the yard to show where the pool is going.

    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: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Bonnie,

    I am located in Needham. We signed our contract in October. We are on the top of the list for a early Spring 2016 build. I am curious who you went with.
    14x28 Kidney IG vinyl pool, 9250 gallons. Pentair 1.5hp superflo variable speed, Pentair Clean and Clear 240 Cartridge filter, Pentair IC40 SWCG, Hayward Heatpro 110,000k heat pump, Pentair Intellibrite 5G LED lights, Polaris 280, Taylor K-2006 test kit

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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Thank you Kim. Being here won't be a problem, as I work from home. As long as I know the schedule in advance, that is. So yes -- tell me when I need to be here -- so I can be here!

    Thanks. This forum is amazing.


    [QOTE=kimkats;950597]Bonnie even if they SAY someone will be there for supervision there are a few times you will NEED to be there just in case. I will make sure to keep up with your thread and let you know when one of those times is coming up......First one-when they paint the yard to show where the pool is going.

    Kim[/QUOTE]

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    New Pool Build in MA

    Hi,
    I posted a topic here about 2-weeks ago saying I was between 2 pool builders, listing the equipment each was offering and asking for advice. For some reason, the topic has disappeared -- I can't find it! So, I'm starting anew.

    Just signed the contract today with a pool builder. I plan on putting the size, equipment, etc. under my moniker, but first i have to figure out how to do that. Figure it out I will!

    In any case, listed on the contract for the in-floor cleaning system is a Paramount Eco System with 9 heads plus heads on the stairs. When I look at the Paramount web page, the Eco system looks as though it's distribution only and not cleaning. It's not too late for me to change the option -- what would you all recommend as the best Paramount in-floor system?

    Thanks in advance.

    Bonnie in MA

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build in MA

    Bonnie,

    I'm not sure what the attraction of an in-floor cleaning system is?? I fully admit I don't know much about them, but in my biased opinion the are a costly option that you don't really need. Even if they work perfectly, they just sweep dirt into your drains to be captured by your filter. They don't clean the walls or water line tile, they require a max pump speed for an extended period of time, and if they fail it may or may not be easy to repair depending on the point of failure.

    Maybe someone owning a system can provide some benefit information to offset my negative review.

    Personally I like robot cleaners.. They don't require the pump to be run, they capture their own debris, they scrub the walls and tile, and if/when they fail, you can just buy another one.

    Well, that ought to get the ball rolling..

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build -- Need Input -- Between Two Builders!

    Congratulations on your up n coming build. Please keep us updated and post a lot of pics!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Build in MA

    As mentioned already, you will be much better served with a robot or other automated cleaner.,
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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