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Thread: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

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    Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Hello,
    I am posting to share my experience to hopefully help others in their builds. Well earlier this year we bought a brand new house and after baking all summer we decided to build a pool so here we are. We live in the central valley for California home to Fresno State Football, Sun-Maid Raisins, Pelco Cameras, and the salad bowl of the country just to name a few things. That being said in the summers we have plenty of sunshine and 100+ degree days.

    I'm a bit of a DIY and have done several projects around the house over the years, I've hired and worked with a few sub contractors so i thought about building this myself but when I came across this site and did some thinking came to the realization that hiring a builder was going to while be more costly on the front end, give me more piece of mind in the long run. Locally we have a little more than a dozen pool builders, and so for this project I started reaching out and getting bids. One of things we decided right away was to go with a build during the off season (fall). After reading several posts of others that built during the summer, and talking to builders it confirmed my suspicions that the labor pool of subs are shared by all the builders. This causes delays in builds because of a shortage of labor/materials and also drives prices up.

    Another thing I learned was that there are few different types of builders. One area of variation was the overall project management.

    Type A is a owner builder (usually a Licensed General Contractor) the owner runs the entire job from design, bid, construction, and follow up. As a customer the advantage is you only have to deal with one person ever.
    Type B is a in-house builder you have a sales person that does the design and bid, project manager that oversees construction and the customer services rep that does the follow up. So here you have multiple people to deal with and I have read posts of people who had issues with mistakes, errors, lack of communication between departments.

    Another variation was the use of sub contractors or not.
    Company A uses all in house labor for plumbing, tile, concrete and electrical.
    Company B uses sub contractors for all aspects of the job.

    Here in the Valley all builders sub contract Plaster and Gunite.

    As it relates to the labor there was some back and forth, pro's and con's on both sides of this. For the in house, I think they are able to save costs by using unlicensed labor to do the work. Now it is all supervised by a Licensed GC, but do you want your electrical done by the plumber? However what was interesting in a apple to apple comparison of bids, Company A using all in house labor's bid was significantly higher than Company B.


    So after getting bids from six different builders, here is how we picked ours.
    1 builder took 3 weeks to send us a bid (no explanation why he was late and only after i called and asked for it.)
    1 builder tried to sell me for 2 hours, for what was supposed to be a 30 min initial meeting. (we would have then had to schedule an in-person visit at their office to get their bid, no thanks)
    2 builders had sales staff do the design and bidding both designs were not what we were looking for and both were pushy about extras we had to have. Which we didn't want including a UV system.
    1 builder who was a local franchise for a national builder, had a workable design but limited our concrete finish options (with them we had to have stamped and colored)

    The bids were rather interesting 5 of the builders quoted pretty much the same equipment (Pentair) and specs, the other was (Jandy). Number wise from the 5 bids we got Company A's with all in house crews bids were 5k to 8k higher than Company B's with the exception of one bid which as in line with company a's. So my recommendation when getting bids is make sure to compare apple to apples.

    As luck would have it the builder we selected was the first builder we met, he had a design and bid to us in the same day. His design hit the mark right off the bat and he listened and applied what we wanted. This is a owner/builder so I get to deal with just him through the entire process.

    If anyone has any specific questions please feel free to pm me.

    On to the pool.

    -32x16 pool with a baja shelf
    -19149 gal
    -425 Sq ft pool
    -3.5 ft to 5ft to 7ft
    -84 ft perimeter

    -white plaster (maybe switch to tahoe blue or French Gray

    -890 Pool decking and Patio Cover concrete

    -Pentair 420 Filter
    -Superflow variable speed pump
    -Pentair rebel cleaner
    -(2) Globrite LEDs
    -no automation other than light timer (may add intellibrite controller later)



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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California



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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California





    - - - Updated - - -

    Yes that's a cat shack, will be slid around the corner to the right once the pool is in. Cat will have access to it via window.

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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Hooray cat shack!

    I'll put in my quick two cents, this will be quite an adventure... keep your chin up... when it's all said and done, it'll be SO worth it. Especially out there in Fresno, it can get HOT out there!

    Your design is very nice, the seat in the back sitting in the curve will be a nice little hangout. Be sure to consider the placement of that umbrella hole (if you do it), I've heard of people putting the hole in, finally being done and putting it up, and realizing it never shades where they want it to (think seasons as well).

    Your statement about no automation but a light timer makes me wonder if I have a timer for my lights... hmmm... will have to see about that.

    P.S.- Speaking of the Fresno area, do you know any good u-pick peach places? The place I go to shut own this year and may not re-open
    Pool-15x31', Spa-7x9', depth 3.5-6', HP Pentair Whisper Flow pump/motor, Intelliflo 8-160, 4-to-8 speed, Pentair 320 Clean and Clear capacity filter (upgraded to 400,000BTU stackless heater). Stacked stone- Autumn Rose Classic, tile- Ridgeline Blue Slate, coping- Turning Leaf Quartzite. Start date 7/12/16! Progress thread

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Awesome start! Thanks for letting us come along for the ride!

    It really seems as if you have been doing so reading and thinking. That will come in handy.

    Do you have a date for the dig yet?

    LOVE the cat shack! We had one at the old house. They used the window for it and loved it.

    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    For the umbrella was thinking of getting a adjustable angle one, the house faces south so we have the sun east to west right over the back yard.
    For peaches we usually go to the local farmers market but, check this out Fresno area of California Fresno area of California U-Pick farms: Find a pick your own farm near you in Fresno area of California for fruit, vegetables, pumpkins, organic foods,local produce and more!

    Waiting on permits to come in today or tomorrow, Dig possible on Friday.

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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Due to new house construction ( deeds and title) permits still being held up. Dig scheduled for next week...

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    darn those pesky permits

    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    The Digging has started Yeah.... one slight snafu..... however ........HardPan.....

    - - - Updated - - -



    - - - Updated - - -

    It's all about having the right tool..........


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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    I live just south of you (Hanford) and just completed my second pool build. Your design looks great, it is very similar in design, shape and volume to my first pool. We had French Grey plaster, loved the look and how it didn't model nearly as much as the darker Tahoe Blue. Our issue, and why we didn't do it again, was the pool became unswimable in July for a couple weeks due to heat. Our water would routinely exceed 90*, occasionally as hot as 94*. I had to run my waterfall and fountains non-stop all night to have a fighting chance of keeping it under 99*. Our pool had sun from about 10am till 6pm in the peak summer.

    So, fwiw, just take that into consideration.

    Our new pool, slightly larger volume because it's geometrical and not Free form, stayed right around 84*-87* through the summer with 100% sun from rise to set. It's much more comfortable for us.
    16' x 32' IG 20k Gallon
    Traditional White Plaster
    Hayward Tristar VS Pump
    Hayward Navigator Pro
    Pentair 60 Sq. Ft.

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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    thanks for the tip.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    LOVE the chew it up tool!!! Fun times! Let the mud begin!

    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Digging completed...for reference my 5 ft wife.




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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Looks alot bigger now!

    Get your tape measure and make sure of the size. Is it long, deep, wide, etc enough? NOW is the time to fix it. Add about 6 inches for the gunite and plaster.

    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Measurements done, everything is looking great. now more progress, rough electrical and plumbing done, rebar going in today.







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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California




    rebar is in, first inspection passed, gunite next week.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    Moving right along! That looks awesome!

    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    We have gunite!!!!








    now for tile... I wanted the bling....my wife wanted ........



    This build has been such a stress free process, our PB has been totally cool at every step. No Up selling either!!!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    That is a pretty tile=happy wife, happy life! LOL What color of grout are you using?

    Now you can start bonding with it! aka watering it. It will help slow down the curing. Some cracks are normal so do worry if you see some.

    This is when I ask you if you know what test kit the PB is providing if any. Ask him and let us know which one so we can help fill in any holes.

    Here is a set of links I put together for new pool owners. It is a LOT of info. so take it a bite at a time. It will all start to make sense are you use it.

    Print these out:
    Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Bookmark these:
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals


    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html


    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry


    Make sure to ask any and all questions you might have no matter how small! We have all been where you are at one point.

    If


    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: Diving in on a new pool build in the Central Valley of California

    grout color is gray,

    oh bonding was fun, pushing the flakes and little crumbs aside as i watered.

    so progress wise, tile is in and we are prepped for decking. One slight snafu was the footings for the patio cover, the concrete guys chickened out of the job due to their concerns about if they could get them in the right place. So crunched for time due to inspections and not wanting to halt the progress i decided to dig them myself. Boy let me tell you that was fun, after about 3 hours i was able to get down the first 8 inches for all 3 footings. Only to fail the first inspection because they have to be 12 inches below grade.





    No one told me that before hand, so after realizing hand tools were not going to do it anymore i had to go rent this....... but boy was it worth it.

    and now we are ready for decking 11/21/16





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