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Thread: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

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    Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Hi All,

    We are looking to add a 20x40-50 vinyl or gunite non-diving pool to our home on eastern Long Island. The pool will be in full sun in a relatively open field on a 3 acre property, about 175ft from our house. We have narrowed the pool builder search down to two builders that each build both vinyl and gunite pools. We are exploring the pros and cons of each pool surface, and we are also exploring the benefits of add-ons. The pool will be used mostly for lounging and volleyball. We also have two large dogs that may use the pool (supervised). We have a 1-year old, and we expect to be in this house for the rest of our lives.

    Must haves:

    • Split stadium stairs and 8x8 tanning deck - this will take up the first 8 feet of the pool (and is the reason we are considering a pool larger than 40ft). The vinyl pool will have vinyl-covered stairs and tanning deck, as we do not like the look of other steps. However, we are concerned with the dogs on the top step and tanning deck of the vinyl pool. The pool liner is 28mm.
    • Built-in bench in the "deep-end" facing the shallow end. The "deep-end" will likely be 6 feet deep.
    • Salt water generator
    • 12" Bluestone coping with 1.5" overhang into the pool
    • 3 skimmers, 3 wall jets, 2 main drains (all dark in color to match)
    • Heater (leaning towards electric)
    • Automatic top-off and drain (this is standard from both builders)
    • Variable speed pump


    Likely to have:
    • Bluestone patio around 1 or 2 sides of the pool
    • Larger bluestone coping, potentially up to 24".
    • A pool house, either this year or next year, with a bar, bathroom, maybe a shower, and an area to store equipment.


    We would like to know more about:

    1. LED lighting: Is there much of a difference between colored LED lighting and colored halogen lighting?
    2. Pool vacuuming. What are your thoughts on the pressure-type vacuums vs the newer automatic floor vacuums?
    3. Automation: If we are not going to have a hot tub, what does pool automation actually do? I know it can automate the heater and the pumps, though that doesn't sound very difficult. Does it monitor water parameters? Add chemicals? Would it decrease the need for pool maintenance labor?
    4. Chemical maintenance: I have read opinions indicating that gunite pools are much more difficult to maintain than vinyl, while other opinions have indicated it is just a single additional chemical that needs to be checked/added. Which side do you agree with?
    5. Gunite surface longevity: if the water parameters are maintained in a gunite pool, how long should the marbledust last? Also, this raises the question: water parameters obviously wont be maintained during the winter when the pool is covered. Will this time reduce the life of the marbledust compared to other areas where the pools do not freeze? Lastly, if the pool is properly closed for winter, is cracked tiles near the coping a concern?
    6. I have received wide ranging quotes for re-marbledusting the gunite pool, from $6k to $20k. What should we expect to pay for this service?


    We appreciate your feedback. And feel free to share additional thoughts on other topics if there is anything else we should consider before the build.

    Thanks!

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Welcome to the forum.

    Put Eastern Long Island in your profile so we know your climatological region

    2. The enw automatic robots already dominate the industry and will continue to increase that domination.....they're the best deal.

    4. There is VERY little difference in the chemical maintenance....not enough to make it a consideration
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    Put Eastern Long Island in your profile so we know your climatological region

    2. The enw automatic robots already dominate the industry and will continue to increase that domination.....they're the best deal.

    4. There is VERY little difference in the chemical maintenance....not enough to make it a consideration
    Thanks. I found the Automatic Pool Cleaners Sticky after my post, so that answered some questions. If I understand correctly, if I'm having other Pentair products installed (heater, pump, maybe more) then I can buy a Pentair automatic pool cleaner and have the warranty extended from 1 to 3 years. Is that right?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Welcome to TFP!

    Heater should be a heat pump.
    +1 on autofill and overflow and VS pump

    Bar? Yes!

    Robots are all the rage these days.

    I would skip the automation. The VS pump will be programmable and will work with a heat pump, use same brands for these.

    I am not familiar with marble dust finish. Pebble type finishes should last 25+ years, quartz 15+ and plaster 10+. Marble dust is probably in the 15ish bucket. We don't freeze or close our pool but, I have not heard much about damage or issues with properly closed pools over winter.

    We use our pool for lounging and playing too. Get plenty of benches around the pool. They are great for kids to take a break and gather and launch their projectiles and of course great for adults to sit and sip chilly beverages.
    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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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    I would lean away from the vinyl due to the dogs. Why even take the chance? Even if you trim their nails close I would worry that one good launch out of the pool with their back feet............

    I can't wait to see this one built!

    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: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Western Suffolk here, welcome!! Friend of mine had his installed with vinyl, looks fantastic and the color options and patterns are tremendous. However, after the first season, he wished he had gone with a gunite/shotcrete pool. Complains the stair are a little slippery and is always yelling at his daughters and friends to take off the jewelry before jumping in. Don't want a stray earring puncturing a hole in the liner. Gunite would be the option for longevity and durability. As for a heater, with your sized pool, it may be beneficial to go with a gas heater. I have a heat pump, but my pool is relatively small and it does a good job, but when it get's cool, water temp drops at night and has to run a lot to maintain temp (a solar cover helps immensely with this). Gas is not that expensive here and can heat the pool rather quickly. Only drawback is having to run that length of gas line from the house.
    Doughboy 12' x 20' Saphire semi-AG, Installed 2012
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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by LI poolguy View Post
    Western Suffolk here, welcome!! Friend of mine had his installed with vinyl, looks fantastic and the color options and patterns are tremendous. However, after the first season, he wished he had gone with a gunite/shotcrete pool. Complains the stair are a little slippery and is always yelling at his daughters and friends to take off the jewelry before jumping in. Don't want a stray earring puncturing a hole in the liner. Gunite would be the option for longevity and durability. As for a heater, with your sized pool, it may be beneficial to go with a gas heater. I have a heat pump, but my pool is relatively small and it does a good job, but when it get's cool, water temp drops at night and has to run a lot to maintain temp (a solar cover helps immensely with this). Gas is not that expensive here and can heat the pool rather quickly. Only drawback is having to run that length of gas line from the house.
    Thanks for your input. Already two different views on the heater! I'm thinking that with the full sun, shallow pool, solar cover, and heat pump, that should be more enough most of the season. We both grew up with shaded inground pools and no heaters. I wouldn't want to heat the pool above 78-80 degrees. But I appreciate the input.

    You are right about the quality of vinyl builders around here. Even the builders couldn't tell from pictures from other builders whether the pools were gunite or vinyl. Other than a beach entry, they can seemingly do everything with vinyl these days.

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I would lean away from the vinyl due to the dogs. Why even take the chance? Even if you trim their nails close I would worry that one good launch out of the pool with their back feet............

    I can't wait to see this one built!

    Kim
    Well, if maintenance/refurbishing gunite is exponentially higher than vinyl, then patching or relining vinyl may still be the more efficient option. But if I learn that maintenance/refurbishing is not drastically different for the two pool surfaces then I am leaning towards gunite.

    Both builders quoted around $6k to re-line the vinyl pool (higher than typical due the custom stairs, tanning ledges and benches), but the re-marbledust ranged from $6500 to $20000. If I had to re-marbledust every few years and it was $20k each time, that would encourage me to go with the vinyl. If, instead, the gunite only needed to be resurfaced every 10 years and it cost $6500, I would be more comfortable with the gunite. This is why I'm here asking questions!

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    There is no steadfast rule, or reason, to have a pool replastered/resurfaced every ten years, other than a builder looking for money down the road. Plenty of pools with finishes of 20 years, or more. As for the heater, it's not the volume of water (shallow or deep) that has to with heat loss, it's the sq ft of water that is exposed to air. Evaporation is main culprit. Although, if you're only going to be heating it to 80, then a heat pump is the way to go.
    Doughboy 12' x 20' Saphire semi-AG, Installed 2012
    Waterway 1.5 HP 2 speed, 100 sqft cartridge filter
    Aprox 7000 Gal, Full sun, 85K heat pump,
    TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    You will care for both pool surfaces the same. We have you covered in that area! Test kit and TFP and you are set to go!

    To give you an idea of what we use in our pools to keep the water balanced here is a link:

    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    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: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    You will care for both pool surfaces the same. We have you covered in that area! Test kit and TFP and you are set to go!

    To give you an idea of what we use in our pools to keep the water balanced here is a link:

    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Kim
    Thanks Kim. I used the test kit and the BBB method in the above ground pool that came with my old house and will definitely be doing the same here. Perhaps I've spent too much time reading gunite bashing from fiberglass pool manufacturers (and seemingly their purchasers). They make it seem like the pool will be covered in calcium scales in a year or two and will need to be refinished.

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    If you decide to go vinyl, can they put in fiberglass steps for the dogs? That's what I have and it works a treat.

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    If you decide to go vinyl, can they put in fiberglass steps for the dogs? That's what I have and it works a treat.
    Yes they can. However, if we go vinyl we want it to look like gunite so we wouldn't want the fiberglass steps. The pool will be in a wide open field surrounded by woods, so we want it to look as natural as possible. Thanks for the idea though!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Okay so you KNOW how to balance your water. YOU will not have any problems with what they were talking about.

    ANY pool that is not properly maintained will have problems.

    I would do some reading on here. Look for some of the "older" builds and see if they are still active in TFP. Send them a PM and ask how long they have had their plaster/pool and what if any problems they have had. Get real life experiences.

    We have nothing to gain no matter which pool you pick. Can you say the same thing about the other places you have been reading? (This is a real question as I really do not know.)

    Let us know what are do next!

    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    You can have calcium scale in a vinyl pool just as easily as in a plaster pool. Scale is easily avoided by managing CSI, Poolmath will calculate the CSI for you each time you enter your test results. CSI can be adjusted by tweaking PH, TA and/or CH. PH is the easiest to change quickly. There is no real difference between maintaining a vinyl pool vs a gunite or fiberglass pool, just slightly different numbers.

    No plaster will need to be replaced in a few years no matter how poorly cared for. Any plaster can last 10 or more years and upgrades like pebble or quartz will last much longer.
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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Welcome. This will be a fun build to watch.
    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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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    xhaust50,

    I haven't seen any discussion of cost re: Vinyl vs Gunite (plaster). Does it matter to you?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    xhaust50,

    I haven't seen any discussion of cost re: Vinyl vs Gunite (plaster). Does it matter to you?
    Gunite is around $20k higher than vinyl for the initial install, which we're happy to spend for the benefits of gunite if it outweighs the drawbacks. Because of the dogs, the backyard setting and the house itself, we are leaning towards gunite. If, however, maintenance and refurbishing is exponentially higher on the gunite than the vinyl, that would be important to know before we make a decision. However, based on the (early) response here, that doesn't seem to be the case.

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    If you are comfortable with the higher initial cost, it seems like gunite would suit you best.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Several questions regarding a pool build on eastern Long Island

    Here are a couple of article from Poolschool about calcium scaling. NOT written by vinyl pool salesmen!

    Pool School - Calcium Scaling
    Langelier and Calcite Saturation Indices (LSI and CSI)
    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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