Just decided on my pool builder, after 6 weeks of interviewing pool builders (5 different ones) and more importantly reading through hundreds of threads and thousands and thousands of posts on here.
40 x 30 x 20 True L Vinyl Lined Steel Walled Fort Wayne Pool
Location: West Michigan
$40,300 Original Price
Concrete Decking 8' on ends and 4' on sides
Sta-Rite Sand Filter 24"
Sta-Rite 1 1/2hp Pump
336,000 BTU Heater
Solar Cover and Reel
1 LED Light (Sam brand)
Xtream Slide by Inter-Fab
1 PVC Ladder
Winter Safety Cover (LitePro I believe made by Fort Wayne Pools also)
Salt Water System (IntelliChlor by Pentair)
Sanmray Crystal Liner featuring Ultraseam by Davinci/Fort Wayne Pools
Tiger Shark Self Cleaning System
Hand Vacuum, Vacuum Hose, Wall Brush, Leaf Dipper, Thermometer, Test Kit, Starting Chemicals
Plumbing Polypipe: Main 2" then breaks to 1 1/2"
The $40,300 was the original price when he came out and quoted me before finding this forum and reading up on some of the changes I should make and/or options I wanted.
Here are the options I decided to go with (All opinions welcomed):
$400 - Sta-Rite 3hp Variable Speed Pump
$250 - 406,000 BTU Heater (Raypack)
$300 - Sta-Rite 300 sq ft Cartridge Filter (PLM300)
$800 - LED Light (Sam Brand) 2 total now
$300 - 1 extra skimmer and 1 extra return (2 skimmers and 4 returns total now)
$1,400 - 48" shallow end steel walls
$1,000 - 8' Diving Board with Fiberglass Stand
$500 - Basketball Rim setup with 2 pole anchors (Inter-Fab)
$700 - Upgrade to Turbo Twister Slide (SR Smith)
$100 - Concrete Cantilever Edge
$3.50 - per sq ft for extra concrete decking
$9-$11 - per sq ft for stamped concrete
Free - Change polypipe to 2" Rigid PVC. Each skimmer and the dual main drains together to have individual lines back to pad.
$46,000 - New Grand Total
Payment schedule as follows:
10% due on contact signing ($4,600)
50% due on digging hole and placing rough structure of pool ($23,000)
20% due on delivery of filter and installation of deck ($9,200)
20% due on completion ($9,200)
He said the last 2 payments are almost always within 1-2 days of each other. As once they get to that stage they go until it is finished.
Original payment schedule was 10/50/35/5, but I negotiated the new structure.
FYI, for them to do the same exact pool in Gunite would have been $7,250 more. But the installation would have taken longer too, by 2-3 weeks. We are building the pool on a part of the yard that has an extreme slope as of right now. We have a graduation party on June 22nd. I have to try and schedule the pool guys, landscaping guys, fencing guys, sprinkler guys, retaining wall all like clockwork to make this happen. As of right now, the hole is scheduled to be dug and walls put into place around the 15th of May, then I am having the retaining wall guys come in and put a retaining wall almost the length of the backyard, and they will need alot of the fill from the pool for this. It will be located directly to the right of the pool. Once the retaining wall is built the whole right side of my backyard and 80% of my front yard can be landscaped and have sprinkling installed. Then the pool company will come out first week of June and complete the pool and decking. Then hopefully we can get the landscapers back in and do the 20% of the front yard to the left of my driveway and that side of the garage leading to the pool. Although it won't be necessary by party time if we don't make it, as the majority of it will be complete.
I will try and post some pictures of my yard currently and how the house sits on the property too, soon.
Here are a couple questions I still have:
1. What do you think of the quote overall as far as pricing?
2. Is 300 sq ft good for the size of the cartridge filter in relation to the pool size?
3. Sam Brand LED Lights. I don't remember every coming across that brand when reading though all the threads, is this a good brand or should I ask for something else?
4. Likewise with the heater, I may have seen Raypack mentioned a couple sparingly times, but don't remember it too often. Good brand?
5. I read alot of reviews on different slides, and heard some complaints about the Interfab slides not feeling really sturdy, so that is why I upgraded to the SR Smith slide, even though aesthetically it looks much worse. Anyone out there with either of these and your thoughts?
6. Tigershark vacuum. From the literature I have on it, it looks like it does not get hooked up to a suction line at all, but rather vacuums the contents inside the unit itself, and I assume I empty it manually? Is the type of system preferred to the kind you hook to a suction line?
All of the 5 pool builders I interviewed did a couple things that seem to be not so popular on this forum. All builders were unrelated and the distance between each was over 15 miles and furthest 2 were about 70 miles apart. Each of them were from a different city/township.
7. Polypipe. They all use polypipe, the builder I went with offered to switch to 2" rigid PVC at no extra cost and no complaints whatsoever. He was the pool builder most interested in building the pool we wanted versus the pool the pool builder wanted. I'm just kind of wondering since they all independently use it, if maybe it is better for the Michigan winters???
8. Backfill. They ALL backfill with sand, even 3 that I interviewed over the phone that I decided not to come onsite as I wasn't impressed. The builder I chose and my other choice both compact in 10"-12" lifts. Until it is built up to elevation. I should mention my whole lot is COMPLETELY sand. My yard is a dune, and across the street is a huge 120+ foot dune and directly on the other side of that is Lake Michigan. So I am probably about 1,000 feet from Lake Michigan, although new view unfortunately. All homes, basements, driveways, etc are built like that around here. I don't think I will have any problems at all, but reading through the forums it seems as if this is akin to slapping your momma. My basement floor has no cracks, and that sand wasn't even compacted at all. I have a 70+ foot driveway with absolutely no cracking, my old house built in 1999 that I lived in for 8 years had a 45 foot long driveway with no cracking. My father has a pool built in 1996 that has no cracking also. Am I setting myself up for failure?
Please give any and all comments/criticisms on any aspect of my project. I would appreciate as much feedback as possible.