Hi, all! This is our second season with our 40-years-young IG gunite pool in Oklahoma City. When we purchased this house, we thought the pool would need a facelift in the next several years, and began to plan to save up for 5 years to accomplish the reno. Well, season two has started and our pool seems to have decided that 5 years is too long to wait and it wants attention now!
We had two different pool companies come for repair/pool school last year when we first moved in and they didn't really want to give definitive bids but ballparked $25K and $50K as renovation figures as a number pulled from you-know-where. When I fainted at $50K, the PB said that we have a $100K pool setup so really, $50K is a bargain. Ahem. Well, we decided on the 5 year plan and put a pin in it, to swim and live with the pool a while to see what we want out of the yard before doing anything drastic.
It's been a year and we've been doing some thinking. In springtime, we thought "if we can just get this retaining wall fixed, we could last another 3 years." Now, nearly July, we've come to the realization -- as DH dragged the shop vac out to hoover up all the crumbing coping and rock retaining wall/coping bits, debris, at one point he was standing on the edge skimming and the coping literally crumbled from beneath his foot at an old patch point, and I got a five gallon bucket out to corral all the tiles that have been flinging themselves off the side, having noticed several spreading cracks in the plaster (we hope it's just the plaster and not the gunite) while swimming last week, and having our separate IG hot tub completely empty itself in three days with all the pumps shut off, and on and on --- we've decided we need to look at doing something sooner than later.
I'd like to get some ideas together this summer, since we have had no luck getting a builder to come look and tell us what is possible - several just don't call back, and one (a franchise) said call back in the fall, and standardize into an RFP so that we can compare apples to apples, when we presumably can get someone out to bid in the fall.
To organize our thoughts, I first would want to know if our fondest dream is even possible (you know, presuming money is no object and we hit the lottery between now and reno time) and then we can work on scaling back to reality as needed from there.
1. The biggie would be to reshape our pool to a simple rectangle from its crazy T-ish shape which would make it much smaller - we'd keep the deep end and wall off (somehow) parts of the branches of the "T" in the shallow end, maybe making the deep end more shallow so the fall off isn't so great (goes from about 4-8.5 feet really fast, maybe over 8-10 foot slope). The main drain has been abandoned at some point and is capped off - the robot knocked the cover off because the non-SS screws had rusted through and we can see into the body of the drain, there is a square-headed pvc cap like you'd see on a drain clean out, and a smaller pipe sticking in from the side, I think that one is connected to the skimmers.
Ideally we'd like an auto cover for safety and a rectangle would facilitate that, but even if auto-cover is out of budget we'd like some kind of cover for leaves, solar blanket, etc, and things are just so huge and unwieldy now it's not happening. Some kind of tanning shelf/bench, and big wide steps (we love our current steps, but they would be gone if we reshape the pool).
2. We'd like to incorporate the IG hot tub into the footprint of the pool, which would free up some of the rest of our backyard for lounge chairs, etc. In a perfect world, it would be able to be under the auto-cover (or any cover) and yet have some kind of spill/water sound thing that could help mask ambient noise in our neighborhood (traffic, kids playing basketball next door, pool pump, neighbor's five dogs barking, etc). If this is impossible, we are open to filling in the current hot tub and doing without or getting an AG sometime. But it seems wasteful to scrap it entirely because we've got two pumps, a blower and a sand filter for the current hot tub, all in good shape. The current problem is we must have a major leak in the main drain somewhere, because all the water has drained out mysteriously, with no pumps running.
3. Push back the retaining wall/add drainage. Two sides of the current shallow end are composed of crumbing rock coping/retaining wall combo. This is a PITA to work around when skimming/vacuuming the pool, plus heavy rains wash dirt and debris into the pool. I'd like to get those walls at least five feet away from the pool so we can comfortably maneuver poles around, and add some kind of drains (maybe channel drains in the deck or french drain behind the walls?) to route water away from the pool. We have a big bamboo grove behind the pool, which is great for privacy but a pain for pool maintenance, as it has a gravel mulch bed that makes it impossible to rake the shedding bamboo leaves out or blow them with the blower to clean them up before they blow into the pool. We'd install a bamboo rhizome barrier behind the wall, too, to keep the bamboo back.
4. The rest of the usual - replaster, re-tile, re-cope, re-deck, fix the lights, possibly a new electrical panel. Am trying to talk DH into some DIY on this, the most obvious place being the re-deck if we use pavers. There may be some demo (like retaining wall) that we could do, too.
5. The icing on top would be things like landscaping, building a pergola over on the end where the diving board is to visually separate pool area from the huge driveway for our rear-load garage and to provide shade (we think we will remove the DB since it seems even at 8.5 feet it's not deep enough for the use of DB - DH is 6 feet and he has to dive very shallowly to use it, and his fingers still brush the bottom. Visiting kids love it, so I'm torn about the removal, but would like that space on the deck back for entertaining), new fencing, regrading the lawn next to the pool, etc.) Many of these are things we could DIY and would come after the major reno.
Ok, this is reaching novel length, so on to the photos. Any input and advice would be appreciated. If anyone local has recommendations for a PB, please let me know, too! Thanks!
Current basic shape (most of these are from the real estate listing when we bought the house):
This was our first opening last year, but kind of shows the shape so I'm including it:
You can just barely see the IG hot tub at the bottom of this pic:
And at left (please avert your eyes from the tree stump carved into a raccoon - it's my least favorite part of the yard):
And in all its glory:
Privacy fence going in at this end - hopefully this week:
This year, you can see the tiles are missing and coping is crumbing and rock wall is even more degraded:
Partial equipment pad - can't see the heater for the spa or the sand filter for the spa, but you can see most of the three pumps and the pool sand filter and timer and blower for the hot tub:
This is an idea with elements of my dream pool: simple shape, incorporated hot tub, dark plaster - it's a little smaller than we would be able to have, but the simplicity is soooo attractive to me with my complicated pool!
Edited to change subject line as we commence our renovation!