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Thread: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

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    Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Alright guys, I seriously need some advice here (and greatly appreciate any/all you give, even if it's burn it down and get out). My wife and I bought our house a few years ago. We are young, dumb, and naive. We didn't get a pool inspection, our inspector told us the wall wasnt that big of a deal, and we've had nothing but bad luck when it comes to other elements within the house. So now we are looking at the project below:

    Pool size: 35-40k gallons, 20' x 40' main + 10' x 40' laplane + 7 x 7 hottub
    Project details:
    - pool needs to be resurfaced
    - remove ~30ft from the laplane;
    - there are also some cracks that need to be addressed (i think?)
    - a pool company told me that I need to remove the surrounding stone and reset the edges
    - Replace the filter (it's a cartridge filter now, no where near big enough)
    - add a salt system (I've only had it for a year I'm already tired of dealing with algae blooms)
    - replace a 90' wide, 5'6" retaining wall that is falling apart

    As my wife and I really don't have the 35-45k that we are getting quoted to do the project (not including filters, chlorination systems) we are trying to come up with clever ways to save money.

    For the wall, we plan to build a new one about 2-3 feet from the existing structure. We will only bring in professionals on the initial lay and when we need to geogrid because it requires taking down half of the other wall).

    I've found some awesome deals on filters and salt systems on ebay from reputable companies so I'm square there. I can install them myself.

    Since I can't actually plaster myself and I'm not able to, or know how to, hire plaster people directly I came up with the idea of tiling the entire pool in glass. I found a way to actually get large quantities of it straight from the manufacturers in china, korea, etc. I'm seeing prices in the $2-$3 a square foot range for tile i'm finding online at $10-$15 square foot. As my roughly calculated square footage is 1800 then I'm looking at about $3k-$5k for tile which seems reasonable.

    Unfortunately pool companies are asking $10 a square foot to lay the tile which seems absurd to me. Is there really that much work in laying tile that justifies $10 a square foot? Is there anything different about glass pool tile in a pool vs a backsplash in a kitchen? I'm asking because I'm trying to figure out if I can pay some guys $10-$12 an hour in cash (I'm the deep south, that's decent money down here) and not have to worry about my pool falling apart in a few months.

    Also, the pool tile comes in several thicknesses. The cheapest of them is 4mm. It seems to be pretty common (at least in terms of what they are trying to sell) but they also have 8mm up to 25mm. Is there any harm in going with 4mm vs 8 or even 25? Does the higher thickness help with anything or is it purely aesthetic?

    I greatly appreciate any/all feedback. If you know of any other ways I could potentially knock some cash off of this project, I'm definitely listening. If you think that we shouldn't do anything I've listed, I'm also listening. Thanks!










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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Lets keep this a set of projects.

    1) Shortening the lap lane is not really in your interest, IMHO. While the finish and tile need to be done and thus are to be considered toast, the wall or walls, depending on your ideal situation would need rebar and re-shooting. This would be expensive, not so much from the concrete needed but more so from the addition of the rebar and forms needed to keep this shell monolithic. There would also be fill needed behind the new walls where water once stood. It can be done but it will cost you and you have mentioned that cost is a significant factor in your decision making. There may be plumbing issues too,

    2) The cracks in what appears to be a corner are not likely to go all the way through the shell. Corners are usually thickest there, concrete wise. I suspect they are just finish cracks and since the finish is toast anyway, it won't matter. If they do appear to go all the way through the shell, whether or not they have caused the rebar to split apart may require a significant repair though. Budget for this possibility but I would not expect to need any more than some epoxy filler and the money saved can be used elsewhere, say some nice outdoor furniture when it's done.

    3) I am sure the tile is included in the price given. I see palms in the landscape so I almost have to presume this is pool is open year round, although swimming will normally take place during the warmer months. That being said, ensure the tiles being quoted are from the same batch. Often times, Ebay tile isn't. Color differences can happen with different lots even though the tile is quoted as the same tile. Tiling a bathroom wall or kitchen back splash are somewhat different than tiling a pool. Unless you have done tiling before, I would urge you have this done for you. Although it can look sharp, glass is the last thing I want near a pool, especially cheap glass. Please, if you must use glass, let it be from a pool tile distributor and don't use the cheap stuff as you are likely to get what you paid for. Glass, when chipped, will be very hard to spot. Chips in the water are very hard to spot and have sharp edges both on the shards and the holes they produce. I would suggest a ceramic based tile as there tends to be fewer problems. A good plasterer will leave the tiling to the waterline too. It also gives you a choice of finish types be it plain plaster or a longer lasting high aggregate type.

    4) Although only briefly mentioned, I suspect the coping needs doing also. I don't see a canter levered undercut meaning the edges nearest the pool are mortared to the top of the shell, aka the bond beam. This means that because the pool and deck expand and contract at different rates. cracking will occur and water will penetrate. This penetration also cost you the waterline tile. Water got behind it and caused it to lose adhesion and fall off. The tile we know about but the coping is, I'm sure, a new issue for you. If you take a wooden bat and gently tap the top of the stones near (within a 12" distance) the edge and hear it's hollow, that means that water has broken down the mortar holding it in place under the bond beam. The solution is a 1/2" cut at the edge where the deck meets the pool shell, filling with backer rod and self leveling caulk. This allows the deck and the pool to expands and contract independently. Periodically, the caulk is replaced so that the seal that keeps water out is maintained. This helps protect the back side of the tile at the waterline from water too. Notice that in the pictures where the tiles popped off, that the backing shows air? There probably wasn't any when the tiles were first set. Water, believe it or not, is your pool's worst enemy. It is the universal solvent, as they say in chemistry. Once that and the sun are defeated, a pool will last a long time.

    5) Not mentioned but may be significant is the weight and shape of the slide. If there is no footer there to take the added weight and shift it away from the shell, it may be pressing against the shell, The shell is designed to hold things in, not out, The weight may be pressing on the shell. I would try to get the original plans from the town or county that OKed it. There appears to be a small variation in that edge's level from the pictures shown. Either way, I would lose the slide. It is something of a hazard based on the design. More modern designs have a significantly more concave shape for the sliding surface to keep people from sliding off the edges.

    6) Where is the existing plumbing and is it all PVC? What size is it? This can have a major effect on your equipment choices and whether some of it needs to be redone, added too, and so on. If it needs to be redone entirely, it may cost you the decking too. It can contribute to your algae issue too as dead spots are notorious for this and it wouldn't surprise me with a pool of this age.

    7) The retaining wall looks to have failed for two reasons. The first is settlement and the second is a lack of drainage, I would suggest digging back from the wall so both sides are exposed, removing what exists now, and replacing it with at least a 8" thick or more, pressure treated material (brick, cement, or wood) with drains near the bottom and then refilling with the removed dirt (compacted) and some gravel near the bottom for the drains. Make sure the drained water has someplace to go also. A drain at the bottom of the wall may be needed to carry that water away.

    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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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    PoolGuy - In the picture with the tile in the water, isn't that a caulk line on th eleft side between the shell and the coping? Wouldn't that indicate that it is cantilevered?

    Chanced - that's a beautiful (or will be when you're all done cleaning it up) yard and pool!
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    With a limited budget, the best thing to do is to divide and conquer instead of trying to get this all done at once. Some of this stuff is beyond the typical DIYer's abilities (i.e. pool replastering), but others are. Figure out if you have the time and friends to help you do some of this work yourself. For example, the retaining walls can be redone using architectural slump stone or stackable retaining wall blocks. See here:

    http://www.lowes.com/cd_Lowes+Video+Cen ... rwL44RXCbE

    They are using interlocking blocks, and I've built walls with these in a very short period of time. It's important to put some time into the base, which should have gravel and sand. The advantage of these kinds of walls is they are very strong, but can move a bit without crumbling like a standard concrete or masonry wall.

    I think using tile for the entire pool surface would be an expensive and ultimately disappointing choice. It's slippery and likely to crack or release over time. In addition, it would be slippery and likely to cause people to have trouble while entering and coming out of the pool via the steps. Plaster is the way to go and there are several choices from bright white to pebble sheen surfaces.

    I agree that the slide should be removed. It really just looks like a rock pile and detracts from the look of the pool. Maybe you can throw some of the rocks around the bottom of the retaining wall to control drainage. Also, you might want to pressure wash the deck and those masonry walls. A general cleanup of the hardscape would help to brighten things up back there. But, it's a very nice yard and really has potential. Except the plastering, there are many things you can do yourself, esp. with a couple of friends helping.
    38K in ground pool with attached spa. Current equipment: Easytouch 8 (521150) with IC-60 SWCG with web control by Autelis, 1x Pentair IntelliFlo 011018 pump (for filter), 1x Pentair 2HP WhisperFlo pump (for waterfall), 2X Pentair IntelliBrite 5G 12V lights, Pentair MiniMax400 NG Heater, Pentair SMBW2060 DE filter. Zodiac Barracuda MX8 cleaner on dedicated cleaner line. Lighting/home automation controlled by Insteon/ISY-99i.

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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    I don't think i read how old the pool or how old the retaining walls is?

    If you are on a limited budget as you state, why not "kick the can down the road" on the retaining wall project. I'm wondering how long it has been in that condition, and how long it will remain like that. Unless i'm mistaken, that wall that is damaged is on the side of the pool opposite the house, correct? Supporting the soil for the palms, slide/rock pile, and that side of the pool. So if you forgo the slide, get rid of the palms, you could go back with a straight line retaining wall from the rock bridge to the other brick lamp post, and it wouldn't been seen from the house. That would make for an easier DIY job, or potentially cheaper paid job, although you'd have more demo.

    Now the Pool experts here can comment on the ramifications to the pools structure if that wall fails all of the sudden, i have no idea about that. If you did do a retaining wall much closer to the pool, and excavated close to that far side of the pool, i don't know what would happen to the pool in that case either, maybe you'd have to drop the water level to that of the excavation.

    Another idea would be to knock the top off the damaged wall, like top foot or foot and 1/2, and then build a new wall out of the interlocking blocks mentioned above a few (2-3)' off of the damaged wall. The fill in over the old brick wall and behind the new wall. That way you wouldn't have to get rid of all that brick, break it all up, and haul is all off, you just bury it. And wouldn't have the risk of an unsupported side of the pool.

    I like your back yard, love the integrated lap pool. Is there a stair case or stepping stones that lead down to the pool that aren't pictured above?

    What would you see in the distance if you removed the slide and palms?

    You could also turn that area where the palms and slide are into more patio space, don't know which way the sun goes at your house.

    Love the stone bridge too!
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    I like the palms - they just need to be cleaned up. I also agree with removing the slide - make a deck space there and put in a portable fire pit?
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Chanced, I think you a diamond in the ruff right there! It's going to be allot of work but it can be done! Anything outside the pool I would do myself. So the retaining wall can be done by yourself with some help from friends and family. Also you might check craigslist for parts and even tile. Also materials for a retaining wall. Allot of lots of stuff up for sale and can be had for cheap! Ebay isn't always then answer for deals. I was the general contractor for my pool build and I figured I saved 10-15K doing it myself! Pool builders are very expensive so if your wanting to get more savings deal directly with plaster companies. You can ask them who they like finishings work. This will give you a good starting point. I guess the next question is, does it leak? If it doesn't your in the clear! If it does you need to find out from where, the shell or plumbing? Not sure where you live but a pool that size I would say 5-6k for a replaster. That's including tile and coping(depending on the type). That's what I would guess. Pool companies 12-14k! It may seem like your at the bottom of the mountain but with a little sweat you can get to the top!! There are allot of talented people on this site, so you are headed in the right direction! Look at Spillmar on this site, he has designed and built his own backyard oasis. Most all of it done by himself!! This shows it can be done!
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    That is not a canter levered deck. Its a stone deck with grouted lines and no expansion joint. Some people don't like the look of the expansion joint and are willing to suffer the consequences. dollar wise, safety wise, and time wise. I think it is silly to think that way but who am I? I have a local PB who is known for this. The people he sells to don't believe me until it's too late.

    A canter levered deck would be concrete or stamped concrete with finished edge. It would ride over the bond beam thereby keeping it separated from the pool. A membrane is normally set between the two so they can slide independently.

    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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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Wow, thanks for all of the awesome comments and suggestions so far! I'm going to try and be as diligent as I can answering all of the feedback and questions. Before I do though (don't want it to get buried in my responses) I have a question that I'm having a hard time finding online.

    When it comes to remodeling a pool and laying glass pool tile on a previously plastered gunite pool, do I need to first remove the plaster? Is there any other prep work other than acid washing, power washing, and sanding down rough areas?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    1) Shortening the lap lane is not really in your interest, IMHO. While the finish and tile need to be done and thus are to be considered toast, the wall or walls, depending on your ideal situation would need rebar and re-shooting. This would be expensive, not so much from the concrete needed but more so from the addition of the rebar and forms needed to keep this shell monolithic. There would also be fill needed behind the new walls where water once stood. It can be done but it will cost you and you have mentioned that cost is a significant factor in your decision making. There may be plumbing issues too,
    So this part has been confusing for us. Some of the pool companies we've had come out have said that it would be more expensive while others claim it would be cheaper due to reduced tiling/plaster needs. If I go the full-tile route with a few hourly guys laying the tile, I imagine it would be more expensive to redo the lap lane. I need to find out by how much though.

    It isn't really visible in the pictures but the lap lane pretty much goes all the way to the fence. On the other side of the pool is a stone patio with a drop off and a ramp down. In both cases, access to the remaining portion of the backyard is not accessible by machinery or vehicle. Setting aside how it really isolates a large portion of the yard, I think not being able to move the retaining wall blocks down by some sort of motor-powered vehicle would really add a great deal of time to the labor of rebuilding the wall itself. I only plan to have one paid person helping (a family member that needs the money) so the cost may not be an impact but timing will.

    We are rapidly approaching summer down here in the South East (it was about 80F today) and I'm really concerned if this project drags on into 98F w/ 90% humidity. Hauling anything in that kind of weather is miserable.

    I'm going to have some concrete guys come out next week. Is there anything in particular that I should really stress?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    2) The cracks in what appears to be a corner are not likely to go all the way through the shell. Corners are usually thickest there, concrete wise. I suspect they are just finish cracks and since the finish is toast anyway, it won't matter. If they do appear to go all the way through the shell, whether or not they have caused the rebar to split apart may require a significant repair though. Budget for this possibility but I would not expect to need any more than some epoxy filler and the money saved can be used elsewhere, say some nice outdoor furniture when it's done.
    Okay, sorry but I neglected to mention a pretty significant fact about the lap lane! The original owner actually added the lap lane later after the pool was built. I'm not sure if the concrete will be as thick as it should be because of this.

    Is there anyway for me to determine if it goes all the way through other than just removing the plaster around it?

    Some of the pool companies listed "leak detection" on their quotes but I am assuming that is likely pipes. Is this something that I can do as well by the way?

    Here's another shot of a different area (these are from late summer.. the pool is swamp green right now or i'd take more)



    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I am sure the tile is included in the price given.
    Nope, that was labor only. If I wanted tile included, it has been jumping up to about $20-30 sq/ft for the lowest grade porcelain.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I see palms in the landscape so I almost have to presume this is pool is open year round, although swimming will normally take place during the warmer months. That being said, ensure the tiles being quoted are from the same batch. Often times, Ebay tile isn't. Color differences can happen with different lots even though the tile is quoted as the same tile.
    Will do. I'm actually ordering made-to-order straight from the manufacturer so I hope this won't be a problem. I'll be sure to specify this though. I really appreciate this heads up - I hadn't thought of that and that would have been absolutely heartbreaking (kinda hard to return half a pallet to china).
    [/quote]

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Tiling a bathroom wall or kitchen back splash are somewhat different than tiling a pool. Unless you have done tiling before, I would urge you have this done for you.
    Yea, this is the one thing that we are going to hire out completely. The guy we are considering just does tile work but I'm not sure he's ever done a pool. I'll gauge his comfort level and go from there.

    I'm trying to find an affordable way to acquire epoxy mortar to make the job easier and sustainable long-term. Unfortunately all I'm seeing thus far is small batches that cover 180sqft or so for $35, which I can hopefully avoid. If it comes down to it though I think I'm still going to pay the extra. From everything I've read it's the way to go due to it being waterproof, non-shrinking, and a bit more "forgiving."

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    Although it can look sharp, glass is the last thing I want near a pool, especially cheap glass. Please, if you must use glass, let it be from a pool tile distributor and don't use the cheap stuff as you are likely to get what you paid for. Glass, when chipped, will be very hard to spot. Chips in the water are very hard to spot and have sharp edges both on the shards and the holes they produce. I would suggest a ceramic based tile as there tends to be fewer problems. A good plasterer will leave the tiling to the waterline too. It also gives you a choice of finish types be it plain plaster or a longer lasting high aggregate type.
    I understood and I'll definitely take that into consideration. There are actually glass tile going for like $5/sqmeter from some chinese manufacturers but I plan to avoid them like the plague. The manufacturers I'm looking at sell to the distributors pool companies and online sites are buying from. They make glass tile specifically for pools (not sure how it's different, but apparently is).

    This does bring up a question that I'm having a hard time finding an answer to:

    Does the thickness of a glass tile matter at all? The tile thickness ranges anywhere from 4mm to 25mm (they go even higher, but 4 and 8 seems to be the most common). Would a 4mm piece be more likely to break or have an undesirable appearance over an 8mm tile or is it just generally a difference in finished look? I suspect the 4mm tile ends up looking a lot more like the mortar and tile are continuos while the 8mm+ provide a clear distinction between mortar and tile.

    Any advice there would be greatly appreciated!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    4) Although only briefly mentioned, I suspect the coping needs doing also. I don't see a canter levered undercut meaning the edges nearest the pool are mortared to the top of the shell, aka the bond beam. This means that because the pool and deck expand and contract at different rates. cracking will occur and water will penetrate. This penetration also cost you the waterline tile. Water got behind it and caused it to lose adhesion and fall off. The tile we know about but the coping is, I'm sure, a new issue for you. If you take a wooden bat and gently tap the top of the stones near (within a 12" distance) the edge and hear it's hollow, that means that water has broken down the mortar holding it in place under the bond beam. The solution is a 1/2" cut at the edge where the deck meets the pool shell, filling with backer rod and self leveling caulk. This allows the deck and the pool to expands and contract independently. Periodically, the caulk is replaced so that the seal that keeps water out is maintained. This helps protect the back side of the tile at the waterline from water too. Notice that in the pictures where the tiles popped off, that the backing shows air? There probably wasn't any when the tiles were first set. Water, believe it or not, is your pool's worst enemy. It is the universal solvent, as they say in chemistry. Once that and the sun are defeated, a pool will last a long time.
    Ahh, okay. So what do I do about the stones afterward? Do I put them back, cut them, replaster? Could I possibly go with a border instead of the stone all the way up to and over the pool's edge?

    Thanks for that call! I'll go out and beat around the pool this weekend!

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    5) Not mentioned but may be significant is the weight and shape of the slide. If there is no footer there to take the added weight and shift it away from the shell, it may be pressing against the shell, The shell is designed to hold things in, not out, The weight may be pressing on the shell. I would try to get the original plans from the town or county that OKed it. There appears to be a small variation in that edge's level from the pictures shown. Either way, I would lose the slide. It is something of a hazard based on the design. More modern designs have a significantly more concave shape for the sliding surface to keep people from sliding off the edges.
    Woah! We definitely never considered the fact that the slide itself may be causing damage to the pool. Removing the slide has actually been something my wife and I have seriously been talking about. This certainly adds weight (no pun intended ) to that discussion. Looks like it's going to be going! Thanks!


    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    6) Where is the existing plumbing and is it all PVC? What size is it? This can have a major effect on your equipment choices and whether some of it needs to be redone, added too, and so on. If it needs to be redone entirely, it may cost you the decking too. It can contribute to your algae issue too as dead spots are notorious for this and it wouldn't surprise me with a pool of this age.
    Piping:
    2" PVC. The filter & pump are under the deck, heater is right beside it. The piping seems to run all under the stone decking around the pool.


    Filter:
    We have a lousy cartridge filter (sorry, I'll have to get the model number later.. it's too dark to see) that is no where near enough for the pool. I was having to clean it a *lot* and I really regret listening to a CS agent from one of the online pools. I should have just bought a sand filter, which is what we had until our pool service blew it up by vacuuming without the skimmer basket in.

    Pump
    3HP.. not sure of brand, again will need to look when there's light.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    7) The retaining wall looks to have failed for two reasons. The first is settlement and the second is a lack of drainage, I would suggest digging back from the wall so both sides are exposed, removing what exists now, and replacing it with at least a 8" thick or more, pressure treated material (brick, cement, or wood) with drains near the bottom and then refilling with the removed dirt (compacted) and some gravel near the bottom for the drains. Make sure the drained water has someplace to go also. A drain at the bottom of the wall may be needed to carry that water away.
    Yep, that's exactly what happened. You can't really see it in these pictures but if you were to walk around and look at it, you'd see dark spots in between the 7 major cracks. It appears to be where water is pooling. Unfortunately, that has me concerned.. the stains are rather large. I just hope the water isn't coming from the pool itself.

    That's also what we plan to do. We are going to go back 2-3ft and up about 3 before knocking down the existing wall. Hopefully it'll be high enough to hold the trees and slide in place until we finish the rest of the way up. I guess we'll geogrid at around 4ft, giving a foot of depth between the grid and the remnants of the wall. I'll probably also drill holes in at the bottom of the current wall to allow for future drainage.

    Scott - that was an awesome response, thanks man!

    Quote Originally Posted by carlscan26
    Chanced - that's a beautiful (or will be when you're all done cleaning it up) yard and pool!
    Thanks! We hope that we can turn the back yard around. This past year we took on the front yard. There were 4 massive oak trees that were preventing anything but moss and some scraggily plants from growing, causing serious erosion issues, and because 2 were right up by the house, foundation and moisture problems as well. We took out 3 of 4 of the trees, had it plowed up, and put down 12 pallets of sod. I really had no idea how grueling laying sod really was. I'm not sure I'll make that mistake again



    Quote Originally Posted by CraigMW
    With a limited budget, the best thing to do is to divide and conquer instead of trying to get this all done at once. Some of this stuff is beyond the typical DIYer's abilities (i.e. pool replastering), but others are. Figure out if you have the time and friends to help you do some of this work yourself. For example, the retaining walls can be redone using architectural slump stone or stackable retaining wall blocks.
    When it comes down to it, we are just going to have to spend the money on things we can't do. The fact that I can't do plaster or know where to find the plaster guys directly is what led me to tile. Finding out all of the benefits of it over plaster, really liking the look, and most importantly knowing that i can save a 100% - 1000% markup really appeals to me.

    We plan to do the wall ourselves and may bring in friends to help over a weekend or something. Ultimately though, this all has to be done this year and preferably before it gets miserably hot. There's a good chance we are going to have to move and either selling or renting in this condition won't be fun at all. The reason I'm trying to minimize cost is simply we won't see the return at all. We are already going to loose our shirts on this house, throwing another $40k after bad doesn't seem like a good idea.

    [quote ="CraigMW"]I think using tile for the entire pool surface would be an expensive and ultimately disappointing choice. It's slippery and likely to crack or release over time. In addition, it would be slippery and likely to cause people to have trouble while entering and coming out of the pool via the steps. Plaster is the way to go and there are several choices from bright white to pebble sheen surfaces.

    I've done a good bit of research on this and a lot of the sources I've read have suggested glass tile, if used in conjunction with epoxy resin/mortar, is one of, if not the, best surfaces you can get. Granted, I could have been reading sales material but I'm hoping that since it's from a number of sources that it'll be true.

    I'm pretty sure the tile I'm looking at is hard to chip and if it does crack, it'll crack like a windshield but I'm definitely going to check on that. There's also "non-slip" glass tile for areas where you want to make sure there's good traction. I may do the entire floor in it but planned to ask here first. I guess this is as good of time as any

    - Has anyone used glass tile on the floor of their pool?
    - Did you use non-stick or did you go with traditional glass?
    - Is it slippery?

    [quote ="CraigMW"]
    Plaster is the way to go and there are several choices from bright white to pebble sheen surfaces.
    I've gotten a few quotes in pebble sheen and it is crazy expensive; it basically doubles the price. I've also read so many poor reviews from people that absolutely hate it because of a poor install job that I'm going to stay far away from it.

    Thanks for the questions and thoughts man!

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    I don't think i read how old the pool or how old the retaining walls is?
    I believe it was built back in the 70s around the time the house was built. The guy that owned the house and built the pool owns one of (perhaps the) biggest pool construction companies in town. I called them first.. they have been the most expensive (i guess fixing your own work isn't as fun..)


    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    If you are on a limited budget as you state, why not "kick the can down the road" on the retaining wall project. I'm wondering how long it has been in that condition, and how long it will remain like that. Unless i'm mistaken, that wall that is damaged is on the side of the pool opposite the house, correct? Supporting the soil for the palms, slide/rock pile, and that side of the pool. So if you forgo the slide, get rid of the palms, you could go back with a straight line retaining wall from the rock bridge to the other brick lamp post, and it wouldn't been seen from the house. That would make for an easier DIY job, or potentially cheaper paid job, although you'd have more demo.

    Now the Pool experts here can comment on the ramifications to the pools structure if that wall fails all of the sudden, i have no idea about that. If you did do a retaining wall much closer to the pool, and excavated close to that far side of the pool, i don't know what would happen to the pool in that case either, maybe you'd have to drop the water level to that of the excavation.

    What would you see in the distance if you removed the slide and palms?
    Heh. I went through that same exact thought process. Here's what I've found along the way:

    One crack (not pictured, but the worst) has gotten noticeably worse since we bought the house ~1.5 years ago. The wall between it and the other crack is literally at an angle and is becoming alarming. While I've had a few wall guys tell me that they don't "think" it'll take the pool with it if it falls, I really don't want to risk it. It's exceptionally critical because there's some really low-level land at the bottom of the hill that the pool is built into that was recently converted into a subdivision. I think my pool would flood around 3-4 houses and maybe drown 1 little dog. While the dog does have a tendency to bark all night long and there have been nights where I've wished the pool to go, I really don't want the fluffy punk to float away.

    So I decided I'd just take down the palm trees and the slide, elevating some pressure and risk of collapse, remove the wall slowly, and build a new one over time. That was until a landscaper swung by and told me the trees, due to their size, age, type, and shape are worth about $10k a piece and he'd gladly haul them away for me if I wanted. Needless to say, they're staying.
    Another idea would be to knock the top off the damaged wall, like top foot or foot and 1/2, and then build a new wall out of the interlocking blocks mentioned above a few (2-3)' off of the damaged wall. The fill in over the old brick wall and behind the new wall. That way you wouldn't have to get rid of all that brick, break it all up, and haul is all off, you just bury it. And wouldn't have the risk of an unsupported side of the pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo
    I like your back yard, love the integrated lap pool. Is there a stair case or stepping stones that lead down to the pool that aren't pictured above?


    You could also turn that area where the palms and slide are into more patio space, don't know which way the sun goes at your house.

    Love the stone bridge too!
    Thanks! I really need to get better pictures of the area around the pool.. I'll do that tomorrow. Anyway, so the house is right behind the little brick ledge is actually just bare concrete that looks awful. Beyond that is our deck/porch (elevated, filter/pump under) and to the right of it is a patio. Unfortunately, it is not fluid at all. There are brick trim everywhere, where the AC units are can't grow grass (or at least I don't think it can, there isn't a whole lot of light there due to the placement of the patio, and house), and the concrete. I'm really thinking about removing the ledge and some of the stones so I can put grass where it can actually grow and go with the route of stepping stones.

    It needs a lot of work and TLC, but I think it can be awesome someday.


    Thanks to everyone that has taken time to respond. You guys truly have been great!

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    That is not a canter levered deck. Its a stone deck with grouted lines and no expansion joint. Some people don't like the look of the expansion joint and are willing to suffer the consequences. dollar wise, safety wise, and time wise. I think it is silly to think that way but who am I? I have a local PB who is known for this. The people he sells to don't believe me until it's too late.

    A canter levered deck would be concrete or stamped concrete with finished edge. It would ride over the bond beam thereby keeping it separated from the pool. A membrane is normally set between the two so they can slide independently.

    Scott
    I personally don't like the look of the deck at all . I hate the fact that the stones are plastered together. I've gone as far as to risk life and limb by suggesting to my wife we rip it all out, sell the stones on craigslist, and put down a legit deck. I'm still alive but needless to stay, I need to find a new solution (for at least the short-term).

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Quote Originally Posted by carlscan26
    I like the palms - they just need to be cleaned up. I also agree with removing the slide - make a deck space there and put in a portable fire pit?
    Yea, I really didn't (and don't) know how to take care of them. I cleaned up one but it looks really scraggily now. If I manage to keep the trees then I'm going to hire an expert to come show me how to properly take maintain.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Chanced, I think you a diamond in the ruff right there! It's going to be allot of work but it can be done! Anything outside the pool I would do myself.
    Heh, yep!

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Also you might check craigslist for parts and even tile. Also materials for a retaining wall. Allot of lots of stuff up for sale and can be had for cheap! Ebay isn't always then answer for deals.
    Oh, when it comes to some stuff ebay can be awesome. poolproducts.com actually has a subsidiary company set up specifically to deal with competition on ebay. (I figured it out once I realized their warehouses were in the same location). The rep admitted to it when I questioned her and she said that they'll even take a loss on stuff if they feel people are getting a lot of business just to build clientele for their prime business. At the same time a lot of the people that sell on ebay are very small companies buying wholesale and flipping for high profit margins.

    I usually check craigslist every night. I've gotten some small jobs done off of it and have bought a lot of stuff from it. I've already found a guy to deliver the fill dirt ($75 x 20ton as long as I buy 5!) but I hadn't thought of using it for the blocks. I'm going to setup an alert for them. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    I was the general contractor for my pool build and I figured I saved 10-15K doing it myself!
    Man that is really encouraging to hear.


    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Pool builders are very expensive so if your wanting to get more savings deal directly with plaster companies. You can ask them who they like finishings work. This will give you a good starting point.
    How did you find the plaster companies? Did you just look them up or did you know people?

    I really want to get one of their quotes because I know for a fact all of the pool companies except for maybe one or two are subbing it out to them and marking it up like CRAZY.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    I guess the next question is, does it leak? If it doesn't your in the clear! If it does you need to find out from where, the shell or plumbing?
    Well, we were having to fill it up pretty regularly over the past summer but I guess that could have been from the massive heatwave we had. It seems to have found a comfort level and hasn't dipped past it but when we had the water half way up the tile, it would move pretty quickly.

    Is there anyway that I can test for leaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Not sure where you live but a pool that size I would say 5-6k for a replaster. That's including tile and coping(depending on the type). That's what I would guess. Pool companies 12-14k!
    Wow, yea.. that would be awesome if I could get it at that rate!

    Here is one of the cheaper estimates I got:

    Leak Detction(recommended)- $350
    Re-tile w/standard(354L.F)- $5,310
    Glass tile (labor only)- $3,540
    Cut/Remove & Reset stone coping- $3,075
    Re-plaster (White) $14,000
    Retaining Wall $12,000

    so if I could get it done for 5-6, I'd be enthusiastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    It may seem like your at the bottom of the mountain but with a little sweat you can get to the top!! There are allot of talented people on this site, so you are headed in the right direction! Look at Spillmar on this site, he has designed and built his own backyard oasis. Most all of it done by himself!! This shows it can be done!
    Heh, I'll be honest.. finding this site and getting the kind of feedback I have been has helped a lot. I've been reading so many articles, going over foreign tile manufacturer's sites, trying to determine what i can and can't do, etc that it has been really overwhelming. Having you guys go over my ideas and reconfirm some; raise concerns on others; and even more importantly, raise awareness of things I didn't know to check for.

    Thanks so much guys!

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    not sure what happened with this post, but it looks like it was essential a quote of my post above. I'm sure I had responses in it but i can't differentiate so I'm deleting it.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Join Date
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    1,129

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    [quote="chancedHere is one of the cheaper estimates I got:

    Leak Detction(recommended)- $350
    Re-tile w/standard(354L.F)- $5,310
    Glass tile (labor only)- $3,540
    Cut/Remove & Reset stone coping- $3,075
    Re-plaster (White) $14,000
    Retaining Wall $12,000

    [/quote]

    You can perform your own leak testing - search the forum (sorry I don't have alist of links for this topic) there's lots of great info on how to do this yourself. I think in a nother recent post PoolGuy indicated $350 was about 3X what it should cost.

    For the re-tiling I assume that's water line tile only? What is the glass tile labor for?

    Cutting, removing and resetting the stone coping - that addresses PoolGuys concerns. I just replaced all of my coping (about 105 LF) for about $3K for labor and materials - 60% was labor. Hopefully you'd be reusing the same stone but it still has to be pulled out (more labor) so I actually think that $3K for that is a good price given how much coping you have. That's assuming they pull it up, repair the bond beam, and layit down as PoolGuy described with an expansion cut and deck-o-seal (or similar). As I'm writing this out, all of that for $3K sounds like a steal actually.

    You have two great DIY approaches for the retaining wall. If you have the space, I would do the build a new one in front of the old one - especially since you have a line on cheap fill. Put in good drainage and knock out the old wall, etc. but there's a great place to save some money. I'd pick this one for several reasons but most importantly because it would involve less risk of catastrophic failure while you're working on the new wall (what could happen if there's a huge storm and you have all that area exposed? )

    Please continue to explore the plaster option working directly with the subs. I just don't see that being more expensive than tile. Search on this site too for tile pools - there's a build thread of like 30+ pages from a guy in Sweden I think who did a beautiful DIY build with a full tile pool only to rip it all out after one year and is currently trying to get it retiled. There are also some other threads and posters (solarboy in Portugal) who have discussed tile pool installs too. My point is that tiled pools can be beautiful but unless done with the proper experience and materials knowledge they can end up a huge mess.

    Good luck and keep us posted! This thread is shaping up to be the next spillmar or Lershac saga (look them up and read their build threads )
    15,600 Gallon, 16' x 32' In-Ground Vinyl Pool
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  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Chanced, I think you a diamond in the ruff right there! It's going to be allot of work but it can be done! Anything outside the pool I would do myself.
    Heh, yep!

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Also you might check craigslist for parts and even tile. Also materials for a retaining wall. Allot of lots of stuff up for sale and can be had for cheap! Ebay isn't always then answer for deals.
    Oh, when it comes to some stuff ebay can be awesome. poolproducts.com actually has a subsidiary company set up specifically to deal with competition on ebay. (I figured it out once I realized their warehouses were in the same location). Their CS rep admitted to it when I asked about the coincidence. She said that they'll even take a loss on some sales just to build clientele for their prime company. At the same time a lot of the people that sell on ebay are individuals or small companies buying wholesale and flipping for high profit margins.

    I usually check craigslist about once a week. I've gotten some small jobs done from it and I've bought a number of non-material products from it. I've already found a guy to deliver the fill dirt ($75 x 20ton as long as I buy 5!) but I hadn't thought of using it for the blocks. I'm going to setup an alert for them. Thanks!

    It's funny, I actually had planned to sell my excess tiling (because I have to buy it in bulk to get it directly from China) on craigslist but it never crossed my mind that someone else may be doing the same. Hah!

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    I was the general contractor for my pool build and I figured I saved 10-15K doing it myself!
    Man that is really encouraging to hear.


    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Pool builders are very expensive so if your wanting to get more savings deal directly with plaster companies. You can ask them who they like finishings work. This will give you a good starting point.
    How did you find the plaster companies? Did you just look them up or did you know people?

    I really want to get one of their quotes because I know for a fact all of the pool companies except for maybe one or two are subbing it out to them and marking it up like CRAZY.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    I guess the next question is, does it leak? If it doesn't your in the clear! If it does you need to find out from where, the shell or plumbing?
    Well, we were having to fill it up pretty regularly over the past summer but I guess that could have been from the massive heatwave we had. It seems to have found a comfort level and hasn't dipped past it but when we had the water half way up the tile, it would move pretty quickly.

    Is there anyway that I can test for leaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    Not sure where you live but a pool that size I would say 5-6k for a replaster. That's including tile and coping(depending on the type). That's what I would guess. Pool companies 12-14k!
    Wow, yea.. that would be awesome if I could get it at that rate!

    Here is one of the cheaper estimates I got:

    Leak Detction(recommended)- $350
    Re-tile w/standard(354L.F)- $5,310
    Glass tile (labor only)- $3,540
    Cut/Remove & Reset stone coping- $3,075
    Re-plaster (White) $14,000
    Retaining Wall $12,000

    so if I could get it done for 5-6, I'd be enthusiastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by maxepr1
    It may seem like your at the bottom of the mountain but with a little sweat you can get to the top!! There are allot of talented people on this site, so you are headed in the right direction! Look at Spillmar on this site, he has designed and built his own backyard oasis. Most all of it done by himself!! This shows it can be done!
    Heh, I'll be honest.. finding this site and getting the kind of feedback I have been has helped a lot. I've been reading so many articles, going over foreign tile manufacturer's sites, trying to determine what i can and can't do, etc that it has been really overwhelming. Having you guys go over my ideas and reconfirm some; raise concerns on others; and even more importantly, raise awareness of things I didn't know to check for.

    Thanks so much guys![/quote]

  16. Back To Top    #16
    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    North Georgia
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    For tile specific questions you may find http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/for ... ?forumid=1 a wealth of knowledge, again you may not. They helped me tremendously with my tile floors and bathrooms, but as i only frequented the site in search of knowledge for that, i didn't come across any(many) pool tiles/hot tile threads. However, after a quick search....

    The second post in this first link is a wealth of information...

    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/sho ... iling+pool

    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/sho ... iling+pool

    http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/sho ... iling+pool

    Careful if you start reading over there, you won't be able to stop, and once you see some pics of mosaic pools you'll be finished.....
    18'x43' Sport Pool
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  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    To clarify, when I said "Lose my shirt" regarding the house, I just I meant that we would lose a lot of money *if* we had sell due to relocating. I didn't mean that we'd lose the house itself (we are fine and fortunate, but thank you for your concern ). As of right now, we arent certain we will be relocating.

    If it the loss in value is as bad as we think, we'll just rent the place out until the market stabilizes. In either event, I still want to get the backyard fixed. At this point it's probably more for the gratification than the home's value. At the same time, I can't knowingly throw too much money into the pit.

    Sorry for the confusion!

  18. Back To Top    #18
    maxepr1's Avatar
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    DFW
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Chanced, not sure where you live but start off buy using the internet and find the plaster companies in your area, here in DFW there are only a few. From there you can ask the plaster company for references for tilers and flat work guy's. Then start taking bids! Remember the quote you are given is always negotiable! Try buying all the materials on your own, this will save you money! At the time I was taking quotes Texas moss rock was $1000 per ton! I bought it and had it delivered for $130 a ton! And I got to pick every piece! I ordered 8 tons of rock! Thats big savings! Look up the "Bucket Test", you'll need to do this to check for leaks. 12k for a retaining wall sounds steep! Not sure what your looking for but I would do that myself.
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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  19. Back To Top    #19
    maxepr1's Avatar
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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    Fixing up the yard will defiantly increase the value of the house! A pool is a slippery slope though, it only has value to people looking for a pool!
    40'x19' IG Diamond Brite 29K 4' Waterfall/Dive Rock FNS60 DE Inteliflo VS 2hp Whisperflo pumps Aqualogic(P4) SWG TF100 Tester


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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Really need advice on a very large remodel project

    For the decking around the pool, I would really need to see it and test it. I would likely cut a 12.5" out line around the pool, remove the stone on top of the bond beam, and then either replace it with 12" long coping bricks or try to shave 1/2" (+/- 1/4") off the outside edge of the stone. A 7" grinder with a diamond blade is enough of an outline. It won't be perfect but with the caulk in between, only you will know of any imperfections. That would leave a half inch gap to be filled between the bond beam and the rest of the decking. I use either sand or backer rod and self leveling caulk so each can expand and contract at different rates. The height is adjusted using mortar between the stone and the bond beam. Mixing mortar, chipping mortar off surfaces are pretty stress free. Setting the stones of bricks, cutting the bricks for curves might be a bit more nerve racking. If you are able to remove the old mortar, you can likely save the stone and material costs of new brick. The setting of them is dependent on the use of bubble levels of various sizes.

    As for the tile thickness, thicker is better usually, The thin set mortar is almost always white or gray and defines how far out from the sealed gunite wall it will be. It should be about 1/2" out. I can't stress enough using a pro for this and I still don't like glass near a pool. Its the #1 reason I don't offer my customers Beadcrete finishes either. Being in the South is different than NJ however. Using a tile pro with pool experience is strongly encouraged by me. I am just not comfortable otherwise. Remember, the waterline will be 1/2 exposed, 1/2 submerged at a minimum and that can lead to issues. It is why I use pool rated tile, not regular tiles like you find on the floor, bathroom, or back splash of a home.

    The wall, if you can get some help, would need to be dug to the base. There you can see if the footer used broke or not, Lose the existing wall and rebuild it, I suspect the footer is fine but is an easy fix if it isn't. 6" square pressure treated lumber (use the good stuff. HD land Lowes won't carry it because of it's cost), a chain saw and spikes. A few drainage ports with perforated pipe and gravel for the back side and it's done. Just back fill and sod it . Done. Lots of money to be saved there!

    The finishing of the pool should be done by those have the skills. You don't. These guys do it daily.

    HTH,

    Scott

    Farming out what you can't do will save you a good chunk
    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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