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?