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Thread: Between two pool builders - please advise

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    Between two pool builders - please advise

    Greetings from Miami,

    First, I want to let you know how appreciative I am of all the information and expertise that is shared on this website and forum. I have been reading constantly and have learned so much already. Thank you!

    So, on to my issue. We started with 5 pool companies and have narrowed our selection down to 2. I feel comfortable with both builders -- good reputations, came recommended, etc. I felt both designers clearly understood our wishes and requests.

    The biggest difference between them is price. Pool Builder B is approximately 40% more expensive than Pool Builder A. Pool Builder B claims to have higher quality construction, higher quality equipment, longer warranties, etc. Because I have never owned a pool before, I'm not sure of this. For some basis of comparison, I went to Pool Supply World (online) to price out the equipment. The price difference is not 40%! PB "B" does offer additional extensive warranties on everything (compared to PB "A") and their standard decking and coping material is from Artistic Pavers, which seems to be high-end. Both builders are "certified" professionals of the specific line of equipment they offer and will not consider different equipment. (Jandy vs. Pentair).

    But, is the higher cost justified? I prepared a spreadsheet comparing the two offers. Any observations would be greatly appreciated!

    http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s...g?t=1390422513
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Nothing really jumps out to me.

    Kind of odd that B calls for a Hayward SWG and not Pentair, but that may not be bad since you do not appear to have Pentair automation which makes their SWG work a little better.

    Another note is 6 (+2) returns is a LOT of returns in a pool, many only have 2-4. Just means you will get less water through each, but as long as they are pointed correctly should be fine.

    2 thoughts:
    1. If you go with A, put the 2.5" plumbing on the spa suction and return line
    2. Seriously consider a larger filter, like around 300+ sqft ... less maintenance and better flow for the spa at what should not be very much in price difference.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    Thanks for your input.

    Regarding the Hayward SWCG, he originally was talking up the Nature@2 all-in-one mineral + salt water sanitizer. I declined that and I think he just threw out the Hayward name. He did mention that an in-line chlorinator and a remote control for the pump and lights would also be included. Does this justify the price difference?

    Could you explain the effect of the number of returns on the pool function? Pool Builder felt this was a distinct advantage (having 8 returns in total) and improved turnover rate (therefore run pump less) and better water temperature circulation. Is this an accurate description on his part?

    Thanks again for your feedback.
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    I've only built one pool so my experience is narrow. When we got our bids they were all very close - so 40% seems off to me. How do the prices compare to the 3 builders you don't want? That could indicate if one guy was low-balling and intended to cut corners or jack up the price later. Or perhaps the higher guy is scheduled pretty far out and not looking for work?

    In other construction we've had people come in 40% high before and I've never tried to understand it. We did some masonry work last summer and had comparable bids that were 100% different... I just laughed (at the high bidder and happily went with the low bid). But usually the variation is less and if the higher bid is attractive for other reasons I've gotten them to bargain - but usually for amounts within 10%
    7500 gal gunite/stonescapes, iAqualink RS-8, Jandy 2HP VS-Flopro, Jandy 200 sqft Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intellichlor IC-40, Zodiac MX-8, Fafco solar panels
    DreamMaker X-500 Spa

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    Turnover rate is a meaningless term, there is no minimum ... read this: pool-school/pump_run_time

    The in-line chlorinator is almost useless and not recommended for use. In fact with a SWG, why even have it installed?
    Definitely a good idea to avoid the Nature II

    The remote is probably $500 upgrade.

    My only point about the # of returns is that most pools do not have so many (very few have the deep ones, although there could be minor advantages to them). While my pool volume is less, it is pretty shallow so it has a large surface area ... I have 4 returns going through a single 1.5" pipe and it works fine.

    To save money on electricity, you want to be running the pump at as low a speed as possible. Having so many returns could be a disadvantage if the flow out of each is very low and you do not get much penetration into the pool ... you could help this some by having smaller eyeballs in the return.

    In the scheme of things nothing we are talking about is that important and certainly not a 40% difference in cost.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    davelinde -- Interviewing 5 PBs has been interesting. One, we immediately threw out based on background checks for license and company legal problems. That left 4 PBs. Two of them are "Honda Civic" type builders -- very generic designs and probably more "pre-packaged" deals. Not surprisingly, their prices are lower. The other two are "Mercedes" type builders -- certified designers, "only the best" decking, etc. They were both much more expensive, but their estimates were close to each other. We liked one PB from the Honda group and one from the Mercedes group.

    I'm grateful for your comments. I've read the link to pool school/pump-run-time a few times now.
    Also spoke to an electrical contractor friend who does work for pools. He confirms the comments made by jblizzle.

    We meet one more time with each PB this weekend. Armed with more information and better questions, we'll get a good sense of who we want to work with.
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    I recognize your 'builder B'. We had a bid from them as well. One thing that annoyed me about them was that we wanted a particular material our new build coping and deck. Their response was to say why that material was a bad choice and that we should go with an artistic paver from supplier X. The artistic paver was all that they wanted to offer. I later found out that supplier X is a subsidiary of your builder B.

    I didn't like feeling coerced into the style they wanted to sell and the non-disclosure of the relationship so I went elsewhere and am happy with the result. Apart from that, I do not doubt that they build quality pools.

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    you are right, Loriot! With us, they were upfront about that relationship. Disclosed it immediately. May I ask who you ended up choosing?
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    We went with Van Kirk & Sons. We love the design they proposed. They build a LOT of pools, both home and commercial. Family business, second + third generation if I am not mistaken. They seem to have a lot of very experienced long term employees and clearly have the resources as a company to do whatever you might dream up. They don't seem to do much advertising to speak of. I didn't know about them until a friend in a high-end community mentioned that he had a pool from them.
    Best of luck to you as you make your decision!

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    Re: Between two pool builders - please advise

    Thanks! We're most likely going with the other builder anyway. Currently performing due diligence before signing.
    Swimming!: 19x32 IG rectangular pool, 22,500 gallons; 3' - 6.5'; open spa w/ 6 jets; raised wall w/ 1 sheer descent and 2 minijets, 2 color-changing LED pool lights, 1 spa light; Jandy 2 1/2 HP 2 speed Pump, Jandy cartridge filter (320 SQFT), Diamondbrite Cool Blue

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