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Thread: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
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    Southwest Indiana
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    DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    I have been talking to every local pool builder I can find and have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to build myself in order to get the pool I want for the price I can afford to pay.

    I have been looking at Royal pools and have just about settled on a 20x40 inground with the under track cover. Several options (lighting, pump, filter, so on) and the price for the components seems very reasonable to me.

    I am comfortable doing 80% or so of everything myself but excavating the hole and preparing the pool bottom for the liner have me kind of uneasy.

    I have talked to a couple of the local builders and they are interested in selling me a turn key pool or nothing.

    I have talked to a local excavator and he didnt exactly say no .... but he didnt exactly say yes either.

    I have searched craigslist and there is nothing in my immediate area (smaller town in southern Indiana).

    I came across a service called "rent a Randy" by a different online pool depot but not sure about that.

    So ... advice on finding someone to excavate the hole and lay down the pool crete (or whatever) base?

    Anyone on here in the business of going to customer homes and helping with a build?
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Jun 2011
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    Central Pennsylvania
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    I had a local excavation company dig my hole and they were not living up to my expectations. So I called a local pool company and asked them who digs their pools and they gave it to me. I shouldve done that in the first place. I lost 2K on the first guy. Good thing I got rid of him, otherwise it probably wouldve cost 5k just to start over.

    Good Luck

    Tom
    1) 16X32 IG Vinyl 18,200
    2) Hayward 120 Sq.ft. cartridge
    2) Hayward Super Pump 1.5HP
    3) AquaRite Salt Water, Turbo Cell

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Welcome to TFP!

    Getting the names of good sub-contractors is sometimes easy, often difficult. Builders tend to be cautious about giving out their list of sub-contractors. On the other hand, some of them will. You never know.
    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: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    I did what you are doing... had a contractor friend dig it and a sub for many pool companies do the bottom. Was worth the $$$ I just started making phone calls to smaller pool companies, asking,getting names. I also got a lead from the manager at GOODALL pools.

    Any back hoe guy worth his weight should be able to dig one out. My deep end was tapered and round and my guy was good, but i had him dig out the whole pool to 3 feet, then i put up the steel, leaving the steps out, he then drove his mini hoe in and we dug the deep end. The reason i did this was because i did not trust my layout skills for a lagoon type pool and did not want to over dig.

    what area are you in?
    17,000 gal inground
    vinyl
    swg
    3hp 8 returns
    heat siphon heat pump

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Southwest Indiana
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Vincennes.

    I have one operator I would trust to dig the hole but he is covered up in work and cant say for sure if/when he could get to it.

    Just trying to get my ducks in a row here.

    I am looking to sub out the dig. Possibly bottom preparation. And concrete decking around pool.

    Craigslist has a bunch of places out of the Louisville area that offer "all pool services". Might call some of them and see about having one of their diggers come up.
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Coastalish 'down easter'
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Welcome to TFP!!

    The biggest problem with hiring an excavator to dig a liner pool is the slope angles (you NEED to make sure that they know what the finished product ought look like - even if you draw a picture and patiently explain it - some of them just don't get it - I've had a number of problems with this over the years)

    If you go to the Further Reading section of Pool School, you can find the DIY IG Liner Pool article for some tips.

    If you need more from me on this, I'm here to answer
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    I will say this site answers just about any question a person could ever have.

    Relevant information: Pool size 18x36 or 20x40. Steel wall inground with an under coping automatic cover. Sport bottom. Kids will want a slide. I might want a waterfall.

    A couple of very random questions ....

    1. A local builder said he actually used concrete for the pool bottom. Is that wise? What would be the advantages of using concrete instead of vermiculite?

    2. In the grand scheme of things a two pump system would not be a great expense. Would using a separate pump for the slide and waterfall be a wise move or should a person use a single pump?

    3. Is a 1.5 HP pump enough for a pool this size or is a 2hp recommended? Looking at the Hayward Super-pump line but very open to suggestions.

    4. How do you add additional returns to the walls? Drill a hole? Silly question im sure but gotta ask.

    5. How difficult are the under coping cover systems to install? Worth the money? Better options out there?

    6. Is a sport bottom standard or does a person design their own and have a liner built to the design?
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    I will say this site answers just about any question a person could ever have.

    Relevant information: Pool size 18x36 or 20x40. Steel wall inground with an under coping automatic cover. Sport bottom. Kids will want a slide. I might want a waterfall.

    A couple of very random questions ....

    1. A local builder said he actually used concrete for the pool bottom. Is that wise? What would be the advantages of using concrete instead of vermiculite?
    By saying concrete I believe he means mortar, just sand and portland, with no rocks.. Vermiculite is a softening additive that is better for your feet and liner but is more difficult to trowel smoothly. Waste and others have recommended that you stick with someone familiar with installing what you really want. i.e. if you press your concrete floor guy to do vermiculite it might not turn out as well (smooth) as you might expect.
    Our floor guy only used half of the vermiculite we had bought but was able to do a good smooth floor and we are happy with the results. To me it just feels like concrete.

    2. In the grand scheme of things a two pump system would not be a great expense. Would using a separate pump for the slide and waterfall be a wise move or should a person use a single pump?
    A single pump should be fine for pool and slide as a normal slide will only use a small amount of water, like a small garden hose flow. Unless you are planning a large waterfall I would use one 2 speed pump but plumb everything separately so you can isolate water flows, (or add a pump later if needed).
    3. Is a 1.5 HP pump enough for a pool this size or is a 2hp recommended? Looking at the Hayward Super-pump line but very open to suggestions.
    1 1/2 is plenty of h.p. There are lots of discussions on who's pumps are best but whatever you do make it a 2 speed with 2" in/outlets. Royal offered an upgrade to a Speck/Astral 2 speed for only $50. It was the best upgrade we made. They upgraded us to a 300# sand filter for no charge, definitely get the bigger filter (with the 2" inlet/outlets) too.

    4. How do you add additional returns to the walls? Drill a hole? Silly question im sure but gotta ask.
    Yes, you can use a 3" hole saw or carefully cut it with a (metal bladed) jigsaw. I would recommend added returns in the steps, Royal can install those for you.

    5. How difficult are the under coping cover systems to install? Worth the money? Better options out there?
    No experience there, hopefully someone else can help...

    6. Is a sport bottom standard or does a person design their own and have a liner built to the design?
    Royal offers a "sport" or "play pool" in most of their designs. We love our sport depth and were playing volleyball till after dark last night.
    BTW,.. 18x36 is good size pool but 20x40 would be really nice, especially with kids and a slide, etc. No one on here says they wish they would have made theirs smaller..
    For this size pools, I would also recommend 2 skimmers, 2 (Colorlogic) lights and, if you can, a swim out spa or lagoon. I realize the spa stuff may not be feasible with an auto cover, but we like having a place to sit and relax (with jets).

    The Aquaplus salt water system is a good option too, it includes automation for the pump, pool lights, and can control other aux features like water valves or deck lights.

    Whatever you do get some references on the guys you hire. Ask anyone nearby with a pool or check county permit records. I would even ask your county inspectors, (off the record of course). Believe it or not, your inspectors can be your best friend in getting a quality install. We have 1 jerk, but 3 great guys who are a big help. They have seen it all and can be a good resource for local codes and good ideas.

    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

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Jul 2011
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    Southwest Indiana
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Royal offers a "sport" or "play pool" in most of their designs. We love our sport depth and were playing volleyball till after dark last night.
    BTW,.. 18x36 is good size pool but 20x40 would be really nice, especially with kids and a slide, etc. No one on here says they wish they would have made theirs smaller..
    For this size pools, I would also recommend 2 skimmers, 2 (Colorlogic) lights and if you can a swim out spa or lagoon. I realize the spa stuff may not be feasible with an auto cover, but we like having a place to sit and relax (with jets).
    Yes, there seem to be drawbacks with an under coping auto cover. The steps must be within the profile of the pool is the biggest one I have identified. But with three children under the age of 9 an automatic cover I can keep closed and locked on a daily basis is one of my "must haves".

    There is a possibility of getting a corner step with a full short side length bench built into it but that gets into the "liner over the steps" kind of deal and Im not sure Im ready for that.

    Still doing a ton of reading and learning. I was set on getting started yet this fall but I am kind of leaning to a spring build to give myself a few months to make decisions and put in the exact pool and features I want from the start.
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    SW Georgia
    Posts
    298

    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    The hole was the hardest part of my DIY build. The local pool builder would not dig my pool and would not share their sub-contractors list. I hired a guy and my lack of experience and his lack of ablity everything got screwed up. I hired a new guy to fix the mess. Even at that I had alot of hand digging to do. I went with a sand bottom due to blowing the budget on the dig and I could do the sand at my leasure.
    35K IG Vinyl 20 x 40 self built pool, Hayward Pro Series High-Rate Sand Filter 31" 98gal/min, Hayward TriStar 1.85hp, Hayward 400btu heater, BBB method w/Hypo, Jazz light w/matching fiber optic rope lighting around coping w/syncronized color wheels. Concrete Paver deck.

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by swilk
    Royal offers a "sport" or "play pool" in most of their designs. We love our sport depth and were playing volleyball till after dark last night.
    BTW,.. 18x36 is good size pool but 20x40 would be really nice, especially with kids and a slide, etc. No one on here says they wish they would have made theirs smaller..
    For this size pools, I would also recommend 2 skimmers, 2 (Colorlogic) lights and if you can a swim out spa or lagoon. I realize the spa stuff may not be feasible with an auto cover, but we like having a place to sit and relax (with jets).
    Yes, there seem to be drawbacks with an under coping auto cover. The steps must be within the profile of the pool is the biggest one I have identified. But with three children under the age of 9 an automatic cover I can keep closed and locked on a daily basis is one of my "must haves".

    There is a possibility of getting a corner step with a full short side length bench built into it but that gets into the "liner over the steps" kind of deal and Im not sure Im ready for that.

    Still doing a ton of reading and learning. I was set on getting started yet this fall but I am kind of leaning to a spring build to give myself a few months to make decisions and put in the exact pool and features I want from the start.

    Welcome to TFP!!

    I've installed a couple 20X 40 IG liner pools with auto covers and corner stairs to accommodate them.

    Let's do lunch
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Jul 2011
    Location
    Southwest Indiana
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    Re: DIY inground contractor questions opinions

    Well then ... Im sure I will be tugging on your ear quite a bit in the near future.
    19600 gallon 18x36 IG vinyl liner over full length steel steps. 4'x8' sun ledge. Sport bottom 3.5-6.5'.
    Hayward equipment including SP3200 VSP, Pro Logic, T-15, S210S sand filter, 140k Heat Pump and Colorlogic light.
    Under track auto cover.

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