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Thread: Want a new pool in Central Florida

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    Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Hi - I just found this site today after weeks of online research and am glad I found it!

    My family decided that we want to install a pool. I just found out through my research that March isn't the best time to come to this revelation though.... I have only lived in Central FL a few years and don't know anyone who has recently had a pool installed so I have no one to ask for recommendations.

    I'm hoping to find some honest straight talk on this forum - recommendations for builders, advice on who to stay away from, etc. I can't even find straight answers to the pros/cons of fiberglass vs. concrete and would welcome any advice.

    I have a few pool builders coming by this week for quotes so I would love some knowledge before even meeting the pool builders.

    Thanking everyone in advance!

    ETA - wanted to say that I have read the "Pool School" forums and found them amazing!

    Also, I read some great things about fiberglass pools (easier to clean, easier to maintain, less algae, less scrubbing, etc.) and all the builders I called are really trying to steer me away from fiberglass. The excuses are they're not strong (but I read it's as strong as concrete), that if rocks are left in the excavation hole it will damage the pool (and I'm thinking....if the builder did their job right why would that be an issue?? needless to say that builder got crossed off our list immediately), that the fiberglass breaks down over time and leave shards in your pool?!?!?! (which I have not read anywhere). Is everything I'm reading on the internet just propaganda by the fiberglass pool industry? That's what the pool builders I've called so far are trying to get me to believe

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    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indialantic, FL
    Posts
    323

    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    What part of "central florida"? I'm over on the space coast and have some opinions, and Karl is a relatively new member from my area who is having a pool installed. There are others here as well as on GardenWeb that have posted up about build quality.

    If you are on the space coast I wouldn't consider a fiberglass pool - although the physical product might be fine, my research on the build quality says avoid this type pool.
    Geometric 16X36', 16K gal, shotcrete, exposed aggregate plaster, acrylic coated concrete deck/cantilever coping;
    Pentair equipment suite (EasyTouch w/wireless, 2 Intellibrites, Intelliflo VS-3050, C&C 200 Filter, IC-40 SWG);
    Heliocol solar panels, Rocky's Roller, Blue Diamond robot

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    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Hi and thanks for your reply! I'm in Debary, Volusia County. Nearby towns are Sanford, Lake Mary, Deland.
    I've read Karl's "journey" and looked at his pics, it's all very exciting! I found numerous forums on GardenWeb but they were all very old posts, from around 2007. I'll check there again to see if I can find anything more recent, thanks for the tip.

    Some builders I'm looking at right now (and again, I don't know anyone who has used any of these builders): Artesian Pools (which I've read online is very expensive), Premier Pools of Central Florida, Exquisite Pools, All Seasons Pools. I think all have been in business for a while and none have bad BBB ratings. I know I can ask for references, but let's face it - they're not going to put me in touch with a dissatisfied customer

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    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Well, I heard from a lot of people that I should wait until July to get lower prices quotes, and apparently it's true because now I'm seeing "pool specials" popping up.

    Just wondering if anyone here as any personal experience with any of these Central Florida PB's - Bobs Pool & Screen (Casselberry), Pool Captain, Champagne Pools, Bill Coody Pools?

    Also, I'm considering solar panels. Can anyone tell me approximately how much I can expect to spend on the equipment needed for a medium sized pool (assuming 13' x 26' is considered a medium sized pool)?

    Honestly, any insight/advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by Queenie
    Also, I'm considering solar panels. Can anyone tell me approximately how much I can expect to spend on the equipment needed for a medium sized pool (assuming 13' x 26' is considered a medium sized pool)?
    Just my .02,..
    I originally thought I would need solar panels here near Atlanta GA. We kept it in mind while planning everything and I almost purchased some panels. The reality is that with our sport depth pool and sun exposure, we have not had any consideration of needing warmer water. I'm thinking now that a heat pump might be a better option to be able to cool the water if needed. I recommend that you buy now only what you really need and just leave yourself the ability to add the options you might later decide on.

    As for size a 13x26 to me would be more of a smaller pool. We are completing an 18x36 and when you have our family of 5 in there it does not seem even that big.
    So far, size would be the one thing I would have spent more on. (check out merl's post on pool size)

    The main things we did opt for that I like;
    2 speed pump with larger sand filter and 2" piping, (pays for itself)
    Spa/swimout steps, (nice to have good places to sit and relax)
    SWG (but this could be added later),
    Color Logic (LED) lights, very cool but also can be upgraded later.

    Hope this helps,
    best of luck,
    John
    "Experience is what you get, just after you needed it."

    Owner DIY build, steel/liner kit, 18x36 Deer Creek, sport depth, approx 17,500 gal,
    Aqua Plus SWG, 1 1/2 hp, 2 speed, 300# sand filter and twin Color logic 4.0s, MX-8 Cleaner.
    My DIY Pool Build

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    Brentr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    1,616

    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Welcome to TFP You will find lots of info here and like llbridges said search garden web forum too. You are about to embark on an exciting journey. Many people including myself will have personal opinions. For me and my wife, we asked the question, How are we going to use our outdoor space and what do we want to have in it This was an easy question for us because we literally spend 90% of outside. We also entertain every weekend so it was a no brainer to include a future summer kitchen aka Dolphin Bar and Grill , and a screened in room with slide out windows, aka Flamingo Lounge where we could enjoy during the winter.
    In regards to solar and heat pump, our pool is a very large investment and it would be a shame not to be able to use it year round. We like to keep the pool at 92 degrees and while many will say that is too hot, we love it and have actually turned on other friends to heating their pool. Of course we swim a lot at night time. Just with the solar we started swimming the second week in February and our last swim was November 30th last year. You can PM me with a contact number so we can talk off line if you wish. Look at out pool build in the sig bar
    6,000 gal, IG free form,Beach Series Antigua by Marbletite Pebble finish,Sheer Descent, IG Fountain, Dolphin / Mermaid Statues,Dura- Glas 1.5hp pump,Hayward Pro-grid DE4820, Aqua Rite SWG with T-Cell 15,Heat Siphon Heat Pump DX 5.0 109,000 btu, Pool Cage, 1800sq ft Tremron Estate Pavers,Aquatherm Ecosun Solar Panels 192 sq ft with GL-235 Controller,Pentair IntelliBrite, Apollo Magnetic Stirrer Our New Poolbuild, Jacksonville, FL yr 2009 Solar install Outdoor kitchen upgrade

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    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Absolutely correct by Brentr, choosing pool size, type (material), style, and accessories involve a plethora of personal choices.
    It is probably comparable to buying a car? Sports car vs minivan vs pickup truck. What do you want or need? Like the people who choose a sports car and a sedan, some choose a spa and a pool or combo.

    The good news is you are in the drivers seat, building new pool at a good time and with a great support network around here.

    Here at TFP, you can get lots of experiences and recommendations but and invariably you have to decide what is really best for you.

    I would say that your first choice might be to select or narrow down your construction type, i.e. fiberglass or gunite, etc.
    Then you can start interviewing the reputable builders in your area. I believe most builders specialize in just one type or the other.
    As you will read anywhere the installation and support by your PB will make or break your whole pool experience.
    It is a big job, you want someone you can work with and who cares that you end up happy.
    Their reputation should speak for this, but,..Instead of asking for references, you might ask for a list of the last 3 (or 5) customer names.
    You could check by county permits too. I called a guy off the county permit list to see what his experience was with DIY permitting and inspectors , etc,. He was glad to talk and was very encouraging.

    Due to possible slander accusations you might find people on here reluctant to torch their builder on a public forum.
    Like you did, put out a name (or a list), you probably should get some PM's if one is a bad apple.

    Keep us posted,
    Best of luck
    John
    "Experience is what you get, just after you needed it."

    Owner DIY build, steel/liner kit, 18x36 Deer Creek, sport depth, approx 17,500 gal,
    Aqua Plus SWG, 1 1/2 hp, 2 speed, 300# sand filter and twin Color logic 4.0s, MX-8 Cleaner.
    My DIY Pool Build

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    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Thank you all for your replies so far - it's truly appreciated.

    I know I'm asking a lot, but I met with 4 PB's in March and honestly it was just a very confusing experience and I gave up and decided to wait a few months when prices would probably be lower anyway. Every PB tells you something different so I don't know who to believe about pool size or what pump I need. For example, I have a slope in my backyard because we're on a lake; 3 PB's told me that I definitely needed a step-up (or retaining wall, if that's the right terminology), which I wanted anyway so I could have a waterfall feature, and it would cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500. The 4th PB told me my slope was very severe and I should expect to pay over $5,000 for the same step-up; that's a huge price difference! All 4 PB's were on my property doing measurements so how can 3 see a slight slope and 1 an excessive slope?

    I wish I had the money for all the big extras like a huge rock waterfall with a grotto, but I mainly want a gunite pool, SWG, screen enclosure, a few water features like waterfall, water arches or fountain spray, a swim bench area with a few jets, and LED lighting. My personal preference is to go as big as I can afford on pool size + deck. Then I have to decide if I'm willing to give up some of the pool size in exchange for something like solar panels to get as much year-round use out of the pool as possible (because I agree this is a very big investment) - but I still have no idea what solar panels cost.

    rv4hess - wow, I thought 13x26 was on the larger side We get a lot of sun in the back, but I also have a very huge tree that will shade a good portion of the pool. I'm not sure what a 2 speed pump is, but I've added it to my list of questions for the PB. I will search for merl's post as soon as I'm done writing this, thank you!

    Brentr - if you have the time I would love to get your insights, I'll PM you my info. Your pool pics are amazing - and those tiles are simply gorgeous!

    John - your idea of calling the permit office is great, I might give that a try on Monday morning.

    If anybody has any experiences with any PB in Volusia County or the Orlando area, please do not hesitate to PM me - I would be grateful for any insight! Thank you!

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indialantic, FL
    Posts
    323

    Re: Want a new pool in Central Florida

    Regarding solar - if you have a professional install of FAFCO or Heliocol, I would think you should expect around $5K, give or take a thousand - the amount of panels needed are based on the surface area of the pool. If you have a cage, solar or some other form of heat, is definitely helpful for extending the swim season. You also need to factor this into the size of your pump, so you're not buying another one later on if you think it likely to be installed (variable speed pumps would be of benefit here IMO).

    Regarding price difference on the sloop - you would have to see their engineered drawings to see why one was out of line with the others. Maybe his design differed enough to make a big wall necessary, and then maybe he just thought he could see how deep your pocketbook extended. Down in Brevard county most builders price out pools by the water surface area. If I might suggest a course of action, once you decide on a couple of builders for the final "competition" tell them you budget (if you haven't already) and let them propose alternates in pool size, deck, amenities, screen room etc.

    2-Speed pump - I think in July of this year (might have the deadline wrong) all builders will have to go with two-speed or variable speed - it's the result of a power saving law pushed through a few years ago. A cost/benefit analysis depends on how expensive electric is in your area. We have FPL and it's not all that bad, but I still love my variable speed pump with automation since I can tailor the speeds to be exactly what I need with solar on/off, high-speed skimming action, etc.

    Sorry, I don't know any Volusia builders. Asking your local inspectors is a good indicator, and maybe a pool maintenance company or two. And of course bug everybody you know. I also ran into an electrician that does service panel work and hooks up the electric at the equipment pad as a sub-contractor for a bunch of the companies. Strictly off the record of course, he gave me the names of several companies to avoid like the plague.
    Geometric 16X36', 16K gal, shotcrete, exposed aggregate plaster, acrylic coated concrete deck/cantilever coping;
    Pentair equipment suite (EasyTouch w/wireless, 2 Intellibrites, Intelliflo VS-3050, C&C 200 Filter, IC-40 SWG);
    Heliocol solar panels, Rocky's Roller, Blue Diamond robot

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