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Thread: Need help with making a decision....

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    Wantapool's Avatar
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    Need help with making a decision....

    Hi all!! I found this site a couple of weeks ago and I have been busy reading!! Everyone has great ideas and I love looking at all the pictures. Well now its our turn. My husband and I have decided to build a pool! ....actually I decided 2 years ago...and I finally convinced him . We are in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. We got quotes from 5 pool builders and have narrowed it down to two. We'd like to choose soon so they can get started with permitting and break ground before the end of the month .. so we can be swimming when it gets warm (hopefully!!). Since my husband and I are relative pool novices, I am asking for your opinions on these proposals.

    They are both for inground, gunite, free form pools ....

    #1:
    32' x 16'
    2HP 2 speed pump
    580 sq ft cartridge filter
    Aqualink swg
    2 skimmers
    6 return lines
    500 w light
    Polaris 360 cleaner
    Sunstone pearl finish
    2 weeks of pool service
    lifetime transferrable structure warranty
    lifetime warranty on pumps/filters
    All the pump, filters, fixtures, lights, fittings are from Jandy

    #2:
    18' x 28'
    1.5 HP pump (superflow?)
    24" sand filter
    Pentair saltwater system
    1 skimmer
    2 return lines
    500 W light
    Legend II cleaner
    Wededge Satin finish
    2yr warranty on Construction & Tile
    3 yr warranty on Pool parts
    5 yr on plumbing
    15 on finish

    (I didn't include the parts where it was the same for both.... like decking, tile etc..)

    If more information is needed, let me know and I'll see if its in the information or if I need to ask some more questions.
    With price being the same, which would you choose?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    I like the first one better, though there are more important criteria than the items on this kind of list. The most important thing is the reputation of the builder for doing a good job. It is extremely important to get references and check out how they have done on other jobs, far more important than the items on a list like this.

    I like the larger filter and the two speed pump. On the other hand 2 HP is too much unless you also have a spa. Being a two speed pretty much makes up for it, but ideally you want a smaller two speed. More skimmers and more returns is better (though not essential). No one gives a lifetime warranty on equipment that means anything, on the pool structure maybe but not on the equipment. Their claiming that kind of bothers me, though it isn't really a disadvantage.
    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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    SCEADU's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    Hello Wantapool,

    On the first builder , remember that here in Ga, lifetime is only 8 years by letter of the law. Also remember that our economy has been hit hard and the lifespan of a pool company isn't very good even if they have been in bussiness for years. Sylvan was here for a long time and they closed shop in December and left Atlanta. Ask the first builder the difference in price between a Polaris 360 and 280 and what is his waranty on the interior surface? On the 2nd, Pool parts? what about labor? Ask the 2nd to add another skimmer and see what his price is then. GET EVERYTHING YOU NEED ON THAT CONTRACT. CHECK THE BBB !!! BEWARE THE BIG DEPOSIT!!! I can't stress this enough to buyers in our market.

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    JesseJames's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    As pointed out above, a smaller pump means a smaller utility bill every month. Also, you might want to consider a few solar panels. They really warm the water up. Good luck with it!
    13K Gal., Plaster, SWG, Intellichlor IC 20, Sta-Rite 1 HP Pump, Sta-Rite PLM 300 Filter, Pentair LED, Solar, Screened Enclosure, Great White, TF-100

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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    While sometimes an indicator, the BBB can be bought off.

    Without the spa, a 2HP is way more than you need. The 360 boosterless sweep is kinda lame. The 280 or 3900 are better units with a booster.

    A 24" sand filter suggests Hayward. The internals are only 1.5" plumbing. If it's the 26" Pentair Sand Dollar, same issue and a 1.5HP is still too big.

    Except for the pump size, #1 seems to be the better design.

    Info needed:

    Rebar size and spacing
    Shotcrete or gunite? Thicknesses?
    Max electrical distance?
    Decking size?
    Pipe sizes? Spec Sched 40 pressure rated pipe, no flex pipe.
    Coping and tile options?
    Who is pulling the permits?
    Fencing?
    Payment schedules?
    Soils engineer's report if in a low lying area, hill, rocky or clay area? Making sure the ground is suitable is often up to you.
    Proof of insurance?
    How much is subbed out? Proof of their insurance too.
    # of pools each has built? Did you visit several built over different years?
    Removal of excess soil?
    Grading?
    Cleanup?
    Construction fence?

    If it isn't written, it wasn't said.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Wantapool's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    Thank you all for your feedback! ... this is such a daunting undertaking!

    Okay, I'll check on a smaller pump, but still keep it 2 speed. I asked about that and I really like the idea of what the 2 speed is for. And the cleaner .... why is boosterless "lame" ?

    I do need to check on the finish warranty for option #1.... according to the CLI site it has a 5, 10, or 20 ??? what is up with that?

    They both quoted 12" on center rebar.... only #1 stated #3 steel rebar though.

    Both have waterline tile included - 6" (or 6" of 3" tile --- any opinions about which is better/ why?)

    Both have shotcrete quoted at 4000 psi.

    Decking size is comparable in both - #1 has 600 #2 has 550 (just doing brushed concrete)
    We are going to get the fence installed.
    Both have that they are responsible for permitting, etc..


    #1 has electrical as "total plumbing and electrical run - no additional charge required" #2 has a 20" electrical run included.

    I don't know what kind of pipe but #1 states 2" .... #2 just states "PVC plumbing"


    As far as references go --- I totally agree , I take the BBB with a grain of salt b/c of the business I'm in (car repair) ... I do agree that they can be bought off. #1 gave me quite a list of references --- I checked with a few and all gave glowing reviews - one of which was built 11 years ago! #2 is basically going off their online reviews - which are good... but then again I know that they can be fabricated.

    Oh... about subs ---- #1 is in house and #2 has subs. Is there a school of though on which is better?

    My husband and I are leaning towards #1 .... I just need to make sure that all the things that aren't specifically spelled out in the proposal are written in the contract.

    We're so nervous about this.... but I don't want to back away just because there are some unscrupulous business people out there.... there are also some really qualified, skilled, honest people. Hope we pick the right one!

  7. Back To Top    #7
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    Pool cleaners with a booster pump have more power and tend to be more reliable, especially for larger pools (which yours is). On the other hand they do cost a little bit more to install and run, as the booster pump costs something and uses some extra electricity.
    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

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Need help with making a decision....

    Boosterless sweeps need a higher flow rate from the pump to be effective.

    20 inches or feet? I have to assume feet. Even still, that is very little. How much extra per foot of distance?

    What timers are included?

    The subs vs in-house is more a matter of insurance and QA. Make sure the subs have been with the PB for a substantial amount of time, not just a low bidder.

    3" tiles take to contouring curves more smoothly.

    What about coping? If you are doing a canterlevered, make sure a separation membrane is set so the pool and deck can expand and contract at different rates. If the membrane isn't set, the deck will crack where the two meet and let water in.

    Get the thicknesses of the gunite and decking.

    The top foot of the shell is called the bond beam. It needs additional rebar and should be stated how it's to be laid out. In should also be thicker, typically 10 to 12 inches!.

    12" on center of #3 is the minimum. I prefer to see it 9" on center or 12" with #4.

    Visit references with multiple aged pools and finishes. The helps sort the wheat from the chaff.

    Specify the hard pipe and no flex. It may cost a little more but termites can't eat it and it won't collapse.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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