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Thread: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

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    Jul 2016
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    DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    We have long wanted a pool, but the $60k-$70k+ price tag has been a deal breaker. I don't understand why California prices seem so much higher than other places. I know labor costs more, so you would think a fiberglass pool (which is less labor intensive and a much quicker install) would be the answer. But fiberglass pools price out almost the same as gunnite. Every time I have researched cheaper options or DIY options I have always come up empty handed. Nothing made sense.

    Then recently a friend mentioned their doughboy and I thought, well thats better than nothing. Lets just get a doughboy. Then I read that you can sink doughboys without voiding the warranty. I was also surprised that they had options for a deeper pool (expandable liner?). The only thing I wasn't loving about Doughboy was the lack of shapes available. Researching a little more I found the Radiant pools, and they seem to have all the options I am looking for. I can't find a local dealer to help answer my questions, and I am wondering why it seems that very few people in California, specifically northern california go this direction with pools. Am I not going to see the cost savings with DIYing that I think I'm going to?

    I am looking at excavating to do a complete inground with the Radiant Metric Freeform (not sure on size or shape yet).
    Expandable Liner to 7ft deep end.
    Walk-In Steps
    We plan to hire out the excavating but do the rest ourselves. My husband is a general contractor and we (ironically) own a swimming pool maintenance company. The irony is that we don't ourselves own a pool....yet, hopefully.
    Our yard is mostly flat. We don't want to spend a ton on decking which would greatly increase our costs, so we're hoping to have a narrow brick paver decking around the majority of the pool, and the side by our concrete patio add more brick pavers to connect our patio to the pool. So maybe a 5X10ft section of brick pavers (we already have a brick border on our patio, that is why we are sticking with brick pavers, for continuity).

    I am hoping we can do the whole project for under $20k. I really wish I could find someone who has already done something similar in our area to get an idea of whether we are being realistic.

    Either way, would love to hear any comments, advice, etc from all you DIY pros!

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    cowboycasey's Avatar
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    Re: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    Welcome to TFP

    Love watching DIY pools.... I love helping with equipment idea
    Pool: Intex 16x32 15000 gal, 2 speed 340042, Pentair CC320 Filter, CircuPool SJ45 Salt System, Intermatic PE653RC; Hot Tub: 650 Gal SWG Megachlor
    links: pool school * Recommended-Levels * SLAM * CYA chart * Test kits * How To Post Pictures * Poolmath * OCLT ** Support your website if we helped you :) **

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    Re: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    Hi ataylor1215!

    Not sure if I can offer any advice on California pricing or DIY install savings as I'm across the country from you, however let me know if you have any questions on the install itself! Feel free to send me a PM with specific questions if you'd like, and I can answer general product questions in a public forum like this thread. I can also send over some documents via email to help get an idea of installation procedures and techniques.
    Eric Adams, Technical Specialist, Radiant Pools

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    Re: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    20K target is certainly going to be a DIY price range but just as an FYI when I was pricing a pool build I too got a bit of sticker shock at the prices for Bay Area builders. We had our pool in Tracy built from a builder in Modesto for 36K and i have seen pools they built as far as Sonora so I would not be a bit surprised if they would go to Pleasanton PM me if you wan the name. We interviewed 4 different central valley builders and all were with in 5K of each other and at least 15K lower than the Bay.
    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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    Re: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    I was amazed myself when we got bids a few years ago. I think that contractors charge what the market bears rather than what things cost. We decided to go DIY and I was surprised how much cheaper it was.i hired a consultant to provide some expertise and oversight for,the work done by the subs and it worked out great. I also did a bunch of work myself (electrical, irrigation, landscaping,etc) which helped keep cost down. You should get estimates for going gunite as price isnt too much more than an AGP in a hole and a much longer lasting option. Rebar, gunite, plaster are about all you will have to sub out that you cant do yourself.

    to be honest, i got multiple bids for each major piece of work and some contractors were way high ($25k for concrete vs. $14k) and either didnt really want the work or were hoping we hadnt got multiple bids. It was also nice to be able to make design changes and not be raped by the pool builder since it wasnt in the contract and they can charge whatever they want.
    18,000 gunite pool/spa combo. Pebble tec, iaqualink rs8, cl580 filter, aquapure 1400, 400k btu lx heater, 10 solar panels, jandy 1hp, 1 1/2hp, and 2hp stealth pumps for circ, spa, waterfall

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    Re: DIY Inground in Northern California - maybe a Radiant Metric Freeform?

    I'm also in Pleasanton and looking for a reasonable builder. I'm going to go the gunite route.

    Many thanks to atttech-2 for his help.

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