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Thread: DIY pool project in the Caribbean

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    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    DIY pool project in the Caribbean

    Thanks for letting me join this group. Have been going through a lot of topics already and read that it is good custom to show your project.

    Am living the in the Caribbean, which luckily means year round good weather. Every day we have sun and a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius, which is around 90 Fahrenheit. So a pool is a very welcome addition to your house, but we do have a few set backs on this island.
    - good workers are very hard to find
    - good workers who also know what they are doing are even more hard to find
    - electricity costs a fortune and so does water
    - many of the materials you can easily acquire in the US are very difficult to get. Most needs to be imported which will result in long waiting times and hoping they sent you the right stuff, did not forget anything.
    - things like e-bay don't exist here

    Recently I managed to get myself into a bit of a DIY project. Not only the pool, but the whole house needs renovation, so a lot of work to be done. The pool is currently as shown on the pictures, empty, dirty and not sure on how many spots it is leaking.
    I guess it was once built as a DIY project, but not done by someone who knew what he or she was doing. Since construction drawings are not present I don't know how thick the walls or floor are, don't know what rebar they have used (if any at all).
    The pool is 5,15 mtr by 10 mtr, which is roughly 17' by 34'. The depth is not something impressive, only 0,9 mtr or 3 feet (till waterlevel) on the shallow side and 1,30 mtr or 4,3 feet on the deep side. The stairs are a bit of a challenge, very small en very steep, bit of dangerous.

    On three spots I have found cracks in the concrete side and in at least one spot it is completely through the thickness of he wall. I am planning to open these cracks, install concrete anchors and fill the cracks up with silicone which is specifically made for this purpose. I found it in the States for roughly 130 USD for a kit.

    The tiles will all have to come off, will put some new ones there. Should be able to find some decent tiles here on the island, not too worried about that.

    Problem areas are the floor and the walls. They are not smooth and currently covered with some paint (just don't know what type of paint). I would like to smooth out the floor and walls, but fear it will be a job that will take at least 1 or 2 months. Due to the heat you can basically only work at night, under the light of construction lamps. I tried to do a bit during daytime, but the pool just worked as a heat trap. So, it will be crawling over the floor with a grinder, trying to smooth out the concrete.

    After the cracks are repaired I will change the stairs. They are quite steep and narrow, bit too dangerous. Idea is to make a curved step of 4 levels, each level around 2 feet wide. P9051182.jpg

    In addition I want to install a wooden or concrete pool bed hanging over the pool (supported by 2 concrete supports in the pool) and next to the pool bed will be 4 concrete seats. Thus people can sit in the water, use the side of the bed as a table top for their drinks and talk with whoever is on the bed.

    After the concrete work is done I need to decide what to put as a cover. Can use marcite, but from what I read it is a bit complicated to do it yourself. And with the old cracks in the concrete the question is: 'will it hold or will it start to crack again ?' Cost of the marcite would be around 2000 USD (incl shipping and import), but without the work to put it on.

    Paint is not really an option. They don't sell paint on the island and most likely I would have to do it again in less than 2 years. Will be a costly affair. Importing the paint will cost me around 1000 USD.

    I did find some other products, Armorguard, Ultraguard and Armorproxy. All of them promise you the world, but nowhere can I find reliable information on these products. I calculated it would cost me around 3000 USD (with transport and import) for any of these products.
    If these products are any good I am more than willing to use them, but cannot find any reliable customer reports. If any of you have good (or bad) info about these products I would appreciate it.

    Next job will be the pump house. The current pump and filter will be overhauled and moved into an old apartment. That will free up some space for an outside Pizza oven and BBQ. On top of that it will give me more working space around the filter. Currently you need to be Houdini if you want to perform basic maintenance to the filter installation. Nice for young people, but not for me at my age, am not that flexible anymore.
    Also will need to reroute most of the pipes to a bit deeper under the ground. Since the pool is not that deep, the water temperature will be very high, but that also means that water will evaporate at astronomical levels. Using the ground to cool down the water will be the only way to keep the water temperature acceptable. Running the pump for longer periods of time will be the idea to provide cooling. And to reduce the electricity costs am thinking of installing some solar panels to power the pump. With 5 panels I should be able to run a small pump for at least 10 hours per day.

    Lastly I will need to work on the landscaping around the pool. A wind and dust collector will need to be installed. Currently the pool is on the downwind side of the terrain, which makes it a collecting point for dust, leaves etc. In order to stop that a 10 feet high wall, 60 feet long, needs to be constructed. Am now thinking of a concrete base with wood panels. This should let part of the wind through, but keep the dust and dirt out.
    The far side of the pool will be turned into a tropical garden, with lots of palm trees and other plants that should do fine around a pool.

    My guess is that the whole project will take around 1 year. Most of the time will be lost by sitting and waiting for products to arrive on the island. It makes no sense to buy it all at once. Many times the shelf lives are very short in climates like this. And am pretty sure I will run into lots of unforseen problems. Oh, and forget to tell...............I have to do this in my spare time, I do have a normal day time job !

    Anyone who has suggestions, feel free to shoot. I have worked with pools in the past, but only on the part of cleaning and repairing a pump or two. Never have I undertaken a renovation project, so it will be an absolute first for me as well.
    In ground concrete pool, 17 x 35 feet, 4 to 5 feet deep. In poor condition, needs complete overhaul. Planning to do it myself and it will be my first pool renovation.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    DFW, TX

    Re: DIY pool project in the Caribbean

    Welcome to TFP!
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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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    tcrote5516's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    New Hampshire

    Re: DIY pool project in the Caribbean

    Well the bones of the pool look pretty good.

    1) Plumbing the lines deeper will not result in a measurable temp reduction unless you plan to go with a geothermal setup but that would require a network of underground plumbing and would be a DIY challenge to say the least due to the depth needed to achieve sustained cooling. You really need to go DEEP with geo in order to not only find the cool but maintain the cool. Placing your existing run's of pipes say; 5 feet deeper in the soil will quickly warm up the soil around them and the cooling effect is lost. Your best and most economical option to reduce evaporation would be a solar cover but obviously this won't help the water temp issue.

    2) What about a small water feature that can be run at night that sprays water back into the pool? Would help with circulation and would be much easier than geothermal and aesthetically pleasing.

    3) Can you get your hands on a sandblaster or sodablaster on the island? If so, I'd blast that paint and plaster the shell. That will take care of the leveling issue without any grinding of the existing surface. Since you already need to redo the waterline tile, plaster I would think makes the most sense.

    4) Stairs should be easy, just add on to the existing set. Add a course to each existing stair to gain you one more, make the first step reasonable and then shape the curve with concrete. Plaster it when you do the pool and your done.
    - Tom

    Check out my DIY YouTube Channel @

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    In the Industry
    PoolguyinCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Re: DIY pool project in the Caribbean

    Either way check out Anderson products concrete crack Kevlar "staples" - they should do ya well.


  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: DIY pool project in the Caribbean


    The idea of routing the pipes through the soil came from a pool I once took care of on the island. No matter what time of year, the water was always 'cold'. Pool size was not too big, but the owner was running the pump around 8 hours per day. We do have mostly rocks in here, which are difficult to warm up and and roughly 2 meters deep will have a temp of around 20 Celsius. That does still sound pretty warm, but normal water temp goes up to around 28 - 30 degrees. Anything I can use to cool it down would be nice. Was even thinking about routing it through a small condenser !
    The water feature will be no problem, should not be difficult to make, will also look nice and if that cools down the water it would be great as well.

    Unfortunately sand blasting is not possible. There is only one sand blaster on the island and that machine is not mobile.

    Extending the stairs should not be too much of a problem, I just need to get one step extra when you want to get in to the pool. Now it is a drop of around 1 foot and 4 inches, bit too much in my opinion.
    In ground concrete pool, 17 x 35 feet, 4 to 5 feet deep. In poor condition, needs complete overhaul. Planning to do it myself and it will be my first pool renovation.

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