I've been using TFP as a resource while building my own pool over the last few months. I thought I would share my project with the forum. Unfortunately I didn't find TFP until after I started this little project. Had I known then, what I know now I would have changed a few things but overall we are pleased with the results so far. For the most part it has been a positive experience. I used a local BYOP company to help with design/layout and some of the details.
I'll give a quick run down of my experience so far.
- I'm saving a lot of $$$. I don't have an exact total yet but I'm thinking somewhere in the 30% range or more possibly. Once I have my final total I'm going to try to shop the plan to a couple to builders to get an idea of just how much.
- It has been a fairly painless process. I used all licensed subs. All but one was great to work with. Since you are curious now the one was frustrating because of their lack of communication and follow up.
- I'm often asked if I would do it again. I certainly would.
- Did I mention saving $$$. I got a quote from a local builder for a pool that was smaller, had a man made rock feature/slide 1/2 the size of what we have and 1/2 the sq/ft of decking w/o travertine for nearly the same amount that this pool is costing us. We have 20' more linear length, deeper pool and higher quality finishes and features.
- Total control. I was able to make changes and tweaks on the fly. After excavation the swim out that leads to the wet steps stuck out quite a bit from the pool and water fall, also the planter was too big. After plumbing was in I shrunk the planter and brought the rock pad forms for the steps in. This made the steps curve in nicely behind the plantar and kept everything in proportion. I was also able to tweak the size and location of some of the shelves for the submerged rocks. I did this on the morning that the rebar guys showed up. Originally we were going to have 3 scuppers in the raised bond beam in front of the planter. After I couldn't find any I liked for a decent price I decided to do an 18" sheer decent instead. They took care of it with no issue and built it into the steel for me.
- Time, building your own pool takes more of your time. For me it was mostly only during the design phase. Scheduling and working with the trades is easy. There is a small community of pool trades here in Phoenix and they all know each other. From my experience, they work well together.
Regrets (so far):
- Not installing swim jets. I didn't even think about them until someone mentioned them to me the day before gunnite was scheduled to go in. I called the plumber to try and get them thrown in but they didn't have time with the short notice.
- Not putting in a heat pump. I've plumbed for it to be added in the future though. I only want one to extend the season a little.
- It sounds like the Trident maybe wasn't worth the money. I probably should have used that money to put the heat pump in instead. Hopefully the Trident will let me run the salt cell lower and extend it's life. Time may tell.
- Not finding TFP during my planning phase.
With so much natural rock I'm concerned about the calcium build up with the salt water. My waterfall guy recommended against salt water, but we like the feel of salt much better. Hopefully I will be able to control the calcium buildup so it doesn't become a problem. If it does become a problem I might be pulling the plug on the IC40. Also, I might add an IntelliChem to help keep things in check a little more in hopes to prevent as much calcium build up as possible.
We dug the pool in July and quickly got it through gunnite and the waterfall. After that we were nearing the end of summer and I couldn't make up my mind how to do the fence. Initially I wanted to build a ramada and tie the fence into it so it could be opened up completely when in use. Because of this, we didn't make any progress for a few months and we had other things going on too (new baby) that were more important. I eventually ditched the idea of building the fence in with the ramada and instead added a 3rd gate that allows more access and flow through to the pool area and eventually to where the ramada will be.
I have a ton of pictures, here are a few to start. Right now all we are lacking from being complete are installing the in floor collars, pebble and H2O. I'll take some updated pictures and post them in a few days. I also setup a camera to time lapse the construction. Once I get it all stitched together I'll post it too.