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Thread: Need help deciding which type of pool is best for me!

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    Question Need help deciding which type of pool is best for me!

    My wife and I are looking to put in an inground swimming pool this summer, but we realized we have a high water table. It could be 3 feet down, it could be 5 feet down, we have no clue and we know it fluctuates during the seasons as well as daily. We were convinced we wanted a fiberglass pool due to the low maintenance, ease of installation, and durability with dogs nails. We then begin to contemplate and research a vinyl pool and we just recently heard about Radiant pools as well. We definitely want a salt water pool and we want it heated. We have a few questions for the experts here!


    Has anyone had any experience with any of these three types of pools in upstate New York with a high water table?

    With a fiberglass pool, is there a way to take care of the high water table that is hassle and trouble free? If not, what questions should I be asking?

    Do we just go with an aboveground pool, which in our opinion does not look as nice?

    Can Radiant pools have varying depth(shallow and deep end)?

    What do you recommend, and why?

    Also is there any recommendation on size/shape? We are a family of 4, and occasionally will have guests.





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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding which type of pool is best for me!

    I can't comment on your location specific questions but don't buy into the hype that pool salesmen spread about FG pools being "low maintenance" or "easier on chemicals". Simply UNTRUE. ALL POOLS require maintenance and all surface types have specific chemical needs.

    As part of your build you may want to pay for an engineer to do a core sample of the ground in your area. This will tell you a lot about your water table and what you might need. "Best practices" for inground pools in areas with high water tables is to have a ground water control method in place either through use of passive French drains or active management with dry wells. The bottom line is this - you want your pool full of water exerting more force on the ground than ground water exerting force on your pool. Even gunite pools need ground water control as water in the soil can cause shifting and wall collapse.

    Good luck!

    Matt
    Last edited by JoyfulNoise; 04-03-2016 at 08:25 PM. Reason: typos
    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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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding which type of pool is best for me!

    Welcome to TFP. I have a few ideas that might gve you an avenue toward making your decision

    I have an inground vinyl pool in Michigan that was constructed by the original owners in a storm water catch basin on the side of a hill with a terrace, so I can tell you exactly what was done to control water table issues

    In my case, they did the following:
    1. Constructed a drainage ditch around the entire perimeter of the pool, connected it to two drains that run down the hill on either side of our house, and covered the surrounding drain with large decorative stone (eg smooth like river rock) -- this is on he outside of the paved area.

    2. Dug a sump under the diving well and plumbed it to the pool system so that by closing the valves on the main drain and skimmer, you can pump off collected water to waste.

    The advantage to the second construction feature is that unlike the more common systems where a pool builder will create a sump/well with a pump in place at the side of an excavation, the pump never burns out and is then inaccessible without costly reconstruction. Others create the monitoring well with access to drain, but you don't get the power or convenience of having this plumbed right to the system.

    I have lived here 5 years now, and have not had any floating liner issues whatsoever, even with the spring floods of the heavy snow two years ago that flooded our neighbors entirely. (We live on a river that reached 100 year flood level...but I should not we're up hill.)

    In fact, my liner is 15 years old. The previous owners had two chocholate labs that clearly swam in the pool (scratches on vinyl) and this liner still does not leak

    One less-than-conventional thing we do in relation to water table is that we do not drain dwn for winter. We instead rely entirely on doing a good job of blowing out the lines, capping returns with duck plugs, and using a gizmo in the skimmer. The techs from the company that built the pool recommended this method of closing to maintain full pressure against the liner for spring.

    I do have a friend in a high water table who did not have these construction features and whose liner floats every single season in spring. While that has been tough on his liner in terms of a snug fit, he has still been able to enjoy his pool for about 20 years now...the liner more or less reseats itself when the water table recedes a little. He has gone through two or three liners now though.

    In his case, in mine and likely yours, I would be more concerned with a fiberglass pool in this kind of setting. My reasoning is that if the pressure were great enough to pop the shell, the expense to solve would be extraordinary. Vinyl seems to me a little more forgiving, with slightly more give for the walls, etc. I might be all wet on that

    I also feel that vinyl is a little more forgiving if its good, thick (eg the 28 mil not 20) and well-installed, so with the dogs in mind, if you go that route, go with a thicker, premium lining.

    Many people love their fiberglass pools but for me, I would also worry about ground shift and the freeze-thaw cycle causing stress cracks. On one hand, fiberglass is incredibly strong and will last forever...but to my mind, I'd want something a little more flexible/forgiving in that a vinyl liner can be easily repaired or replaced. While the fiberglass is more expensive on the front end, with liner changes, the cost is likely similar over the life of the pool.

    My wariness of fiberglass in high water table/shifting ground may be misguided -- I don't have any concrete data to back it up save he occasional picture of a popped pool So take that with a grain of salt.

    But in your shoes, I might hire an unbiased hydrogeologist to assess your land, water table, give advice, review bids and oversee the construction plans. I had the good fortune of hiring one very familiar with our area to assess the drainage of the property and the viability of the pool versus future pool problems when I purchased this house as a foreclosure, because the unusual features could have made it a nightmare.

    Instead, while complicated, the engineering has turned out to be relatively sound, as he predicted
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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    Re: Need help deciding which type of pool is best for me!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman View Post
    Welcome to TFP. I have a few ideas that might gve you an avenue toward making your decision

    1. Constructed a drainage ditch around the entire perimeter of the pool, connected it to two drains that run down the hill on either side of our house, and covered the surrounding drain with large decorative stone (eg smooth like river rock) -- this is on he outside of the paved area.

    2. Dug a sump under the diving well and plumbed it to the pool system so that by closing the valves on the main drain and skimmer, you can pump off collected water to waste.

    The advantage to the second construction feature is that unlike the more common systems where a pool builder will create a sump/well with a pump in place at the side of an excavation, the pump never burns out and is then inaccessible without costly reconstruction. Others create the monitoring well with access to drain, but you don't get the power or convenience of having this plumbed right to the system.

    ...

    One less-than-conventional thing we do in relation to water table is that we do not drain dwn for winter. We instead rely entirely on doing a good job of blowing out the lines, capping returns with duck plugs, and using a gizmo in the skimmer. The techs from the company that built the pool recommended this method of closing to maintain full pressure against the liner for spring.

    ...

    I also feel that vinyl is a little more forgiving if its good, thick (eg the 28 mil not 20) and well-installed, so with the dogs in mind, if you go that route, go with a thicker, premium lining.

    ...

    But in your shoes, I might hire an unbiased hydrogeologist to assess your land, water table, give advice, review bids and oversee the construction plans. I had the good fortune of hiring one very familiar with our area to assess the drainage of the property and the viability of the pool versus future pool problems when I purchased this house as a foreclosure, because the unusual features could have made it a nightmare.)


    Antrieb, shoot me a PM if you have any specific questions. as with any other vinyl liner pool wall system, Radiants can indeed have a deep end / varying depths.
    Eric Adams, Technical Specialist, Radiant Pools

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