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Thread: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

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    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    I'm in the process of interviewing PBs right now. We have interviewed both vinyl and gunite builders and we're leaning towards gunite at this time. I have read the Pool School and some of the other reading but in my pre-pool investigation, I am still trying to hunt for the truth and/or best amount of information to help us in this process and to educate ourselves the best possible way.

    Oklahoma weather - can get extremely hot but just like this winter, we can have cold & snow...

    Size of pool - diving pool, approx 18-22' x 38-42' x 9'ish deep (not sure on approx gallons yet)

    Hence, here's some statements and questions and would appreciate any insight:

    1) on a pool & hot tub combo, should you have two pumps? I have had one PB show and tell me that he always installs two pumps. However, I've seen others with just one pump. Approx pool size is 18-22x38-42x9' deep (unsure of gallons)

    2) gunite / concrete finish - on the pool finish, if I understand correctly, there are several products that are finishing products.
    Like - plaster, quartz

    Question: I'm having a hard time understanding what options are my best options if I want the smoothest and longest lasting finish- help please?? 3-4 builders say they will use some sort of quartz finish with either 50% quartz or an upgrade to almost 100% (he said 95%) quartz. Another PB said he uses plaster.

    3) pool equip - I've had one pb tell me that all he uses is Jandy equip except he uses a Rheem heater with the stack. He said hayward was good in 80s then pentair in 90s and Jandy is now the really best system. All PBs interviewed are going with any of these 3 brands from what I know right now. Preferences? What do I look for? Guidance?

    I want good quality + longevity + efficiency ...

    4) decking - I've been all over the place with this. I have interviewed one pb who wants to do all flagstone and his work is
    beautiful (and appears it is done correctly & sealed, used the right kind of stone) but cost is a killer. Then, I've had another pb tell me he would do flagstone as the coping but would not recommend it around the pool as decking because of all the joints and his concern with longevity of the deck (cracking in grouts/joints) coupled with that of a salt based pool ( and possibly the ill-effects of salt based on any decking). His recommendation is concrete & consider stamping, staining etc

    Who's right? Should you be worried about the flagstone? If I do stamped + stained or colored concrete, i might have slippery surfaces but cheaper upfront costs ... And should still look good.

    There's cost / budget issues here but also practical & functionality that I'm considering.... And trying to understand if there are those concerns with flagstone as well.

    Alternatives for concrete surfaces are Kool Deck, Smart Deck & SunDeck as well - however, at least one PB has told us that Kool Deck (at least) isn't good in OKLA weather because of the extreme temperature fluctuations that can occur. I'm in the process of trying to research that but haven't finished yet. The PB says that the Kool Deck will crack, split and start looking old/bad within X timeframe.

    5) inground cleaning - I've had a couple of PBs tell us about the infloor cleaners and they tend to be pretty positive on it. I have some reservation on them but considering. I haven't had time to search the forums for this use specifically yet but it's on my radar too! Opinions?
    Researching pools - future pool owner! (hoping for inground, gunite/concrete, 18'-22' x 38'-42' approx, hot tub)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    Two pumps: there are several advantages to having two pumps, but I prefer to get a single variable speed pump. The pool doesn't need a very large pump, while the spa does. If you run everything with one single speed pump you are wasting a lot of electricity when the spa is not in use. A variable speed pump is the best of everything because you can dial in the exact speed you want in the spa and turn it down very low when only using the pool.

    There are many choices of finish. All of them use plaster, but most have something added to the plaster to improve the look and help it last longer. Generally speaking pebble finishes last the longest, quartz medium, plaster shortest, but the actual lifetime depends a great deal on maintaining the proper water balance. There is no one best choice, you need to see how they look and what they feel like and what they cost and make your own decision.

    Pentair is my personal favorite for everything but high end automation systems (where I prefer Hayward), but really there is very little difference between the major brands. Picking specific models that work well with the pool is far more important than which brand you get.

    Flagstone looks great but there are definitely issues with lifetime and maintenance. Coated concrete usually does very well and is low maintenance. If there are problems with the coating coming off/failing then it is because it wasn't installed properly.

    In floor cleaning systems cost a fair bit and almost always have some maintenance issues after a couple of years. In areas with a lot of wind borne dust people love their in-floor systems because there really isn't any other way to keep the pool clean. In less dusty areas other approaches work well and cost a lot less.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Guest

    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    I always prefer 2 pumps, with the circulation pump being a variable speed and the jet pump being sized for the jets. The advantage of this (in my opinion) is that you can program the variable speed to do whatever you need it to (filter, solar, run pool cleaner, circulate spa, etc.) as needed, and when you want jets in the spa you hit that specific pump. If you just want to sit in filtered, heated and quiet spa water, turn the jet pump off! If you just use one pump and ask it to supply the pressure for the jets, you are still running it through the filter and heater, whereas with a dedicated jet pump it is just a straight shot from the spa to the spa!

    Jason is right on his plaster choice assessment, and what is right for you is the correct choice. How often do you want to re-do the finish and what do you want it to look like are the two main objectives for you to consider. Personally, I will never have a plaster pool again. I love the look and durability of the pebble products, and find the additional cost above plaster pricing to be worth it.

    Pentair has the market share in my area, and Hayward is seldom used here. The nice thing about Pentair is that if you buy 3 or more pieces of their equipment they provide 3 years of warranty. Typical warranty otherwise is only one year. Pentair offers the most choices in automation, and if you are a "propeller head" then you will really love them!

    Flagstone, even with sealing, will flake. If you add a SWCG, it has been my experience that they may contribute to the flaking in areas where the water makes contact with the stone. I have flagstone on my pool, and I seal it with Porous Plus 511 Impregnator and it still flakes. I happen to like the flagstone and am willing to accept that, but you need to understand what will happen and decide if that is something you are willing to accept also.

    I'm not a fan of floor cleaners. I would put in a good suction or return side cleaner instead. I happen to like The Pool Cleaner (www.thepoolcleaner.com), but there are many good ones out there. If you go with a pebble bottom, the wheeled cleaners tend to hold up better than the ones that "skid" across the bottom.

    As you can see, there are different opinions on all of this! Do your homework, try to weed between the real advice and the sales pitch, and you will be fine! Since those of us here have nothing to gain, you should be getting pretty good info and no sales pitch!

    Congratulations on taking the plunge

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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    Thank you Jason and Bruce. I appreciate the information very much and it's very helpful.
    Researching pools - future pool owner! (hoping for inground, gunite/concrete, 18'-22' x 38'-42' approx, hot tub)

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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    Jason, Bruce-

    Was reading another thread about his choices and other's input on choices for finishes ... and came up with this list:

    - pebble technology - http://www.pebbletec.com/
    - river rok - http://www.sgm.cc/html/swim/pool_finishes_riverrok.html
    - eco pool finish - http://www.ecopoolfinish.com/

    - then I found this: ultra poly one coat - http://www.polysolutionsinc.com/


    For the finish, I really want SMOOTH and LONG LASTING and willing to pay upfront for that. I am concerned with rough textures and feet hurting over time and that's one negative (for me) of going with the gunite/concrete pool. However, it seems like they are much better now than they were 30 yrs ago when I was having bloody feet!! (bad memories!)

    Is there a thread or a list of MFGs that are reputable and accomplish my main two goals. LONG LASTING = ?? I don't know what that should be - is 10 to 15 years reasonable for your pool finish to last that long?

    Sorry, I know this is probably asked/answered but I've been searching and I'm not sure I'm finding out the correct information.
    Researching pools - future pool owner! (hoping for inground, gunite/concrete, 18'-22' x 38'-42' approx, hot tub)

  6. Back To Top    #6
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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    You might want to consider Hydrazzo (www.aquavations.com) if you are looking for smooth and durable. As far as durability and future support, you will be hard pressed to find a better company than PebbleTec. Maybe their PebbleFina line would be a consideration for you.

    The others that you mentioned/linked I would personally stay away from. Nothing against them, but I would want a little more training/support/service for my money than I believe you will get from them or their applicators (in other words, I think they will sell to anyone and you will be pretty much on your own ).

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    I would avoid "ultra poly one coat". I have yet to see any paint like finish that lasts very long.

    Regular plaster should last 10 years if you keep your levels balanced. Pebble can last twice that long if properly cared for.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    Pebble Sheen is a little less "rough" (bumpy) . I am in the process of building a pool that will be using Hydrazzo but have not seen it in a complete pool as of yet. It has the same look as PT but with a polished finish. It seems to be a good product and our appicator is giving I think a 10 year warranty with it.

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    Flagstone can be VERY hot on the feet, and when it flakes can be very SHARP and cut the feets. It is very beautiful though. I had a friend in a very expensive house with a very expensive pool that we would have to turn on the sprinklers to cool off the flagstone so we could walk around the pool. On another occasion, the flagstone cut the living **** out of a little boy walking around with pruny feet, he had to have stitches. The pool build was a nightmare though, and the flagstone may not have been the wisest choice for them.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Researching Pool Info To Build ASAP

    oklapool2010 Did you end up contracting a pool? if so, who did you go with? I'm in OKC too and gathering info to eventually do an owner/build inground too. I'm finding it impossible to locate good subcontractors around here, maybe I could talk to the subs doing your pool?

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