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Thread: MoCity Pool Build (formerly Pool dig / depth questions)

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    MoCity Pool Build (formerly Pool dig / depth questions)

    Started the excitement / terror recently. We're just past gunite, and nervous.

    We went with a sport pool, 3'6" - 5'6" -4'6" on the plans. Approx 36' x 20' with a spa on the shallow end. After the gunite was sprayed, and we got in the pool to check it out, we noticed that the 3rd/last step is very steep (18 - 20" step down) and the pool begins an immediate, rather steep descent to the 5'6" depth. We have two young boys, who are approx. 4' tall. If they step off this bottom step (near the house side of the pool), their heads will be under water. Not the 3'6" shown on the plans. If they step off closer to the spa, it's closer to 3'8" or 3'10". We understand that the pool has to slope, but certainly thought we'd have a small area where the kids could "hang" without being underwater. The plans seemed to show that. Supervisor said we could "level off" the area when we do pebble. We didn't buy it. Called PB and discussed options (he didn't agree w/ his supervisor). He said there are 3.

    1. Keep it as it is. We'll find "the pool is quite usable" when we get it filled.

    2. Have his gunite crew add a little area of gunite next week right off the step, trying to level out an area that is more useable for the boys - and others who will use our pool. No charge.

    3. Have his crew add more steel and gunite, smoothing out the entry, losing 6" in the middle, making the pool closer to 3'6" - 5' - 4'6". Cost to us around $1K.

    We're newbies. What would you suggest? If we want to stand firm on the original plan, is there any way to fix this without tearing it out, starting over? (Supervisor was not there on the 2nd dig-day. A new excavation crew came out on a Sunday as the first crew pulled up the service line/electrical on day one. So no one from the PB company was there to check the elevations / compacting). Seems to me that might be important. If we have the PB just add some gunite, is this a weak point in the pool? Can you add steel and gunite after the first gunite spray and still have a well-built pool? In other words, are these reliable options? I'm not here to bash my PB, I'm just looking for someone who has some knowledge, and no "dog in the fight".

    Are there any guidelines we can find / or are there building codes listing safe pool step limits? We are in Missouri City, TX.

    Thanks in advance.
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
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    TizMe's Avatar
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    What did the inspector say or is there one involved ?

    Do you have anyway of posting a picture so we can look at what your posting about? I dont know much about gunite pools but someone who does will be able to offer some advice as to what you would be able to do to fix the problem.

    If you can post pictures we love to watch pool builds

    Good luck !
    Les
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  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    By reading your post I take it your pool is not full yet. After you fill your water will be lower then the side of the pool about 6 to 8 inches. If that is not it I think you need to talk to your contractor some more and have the depth you contracted for.
    good luck Ric W.
    Ric W
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  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    No inspector. Not even the supervisor came by on the 2nd dig day. (To take a stab at some humor ... "we're in Texas. We don't need no stinkin' inspectors!")

    I'll try (first time) posting a picture to show you what I mean about the depth. Here is twin #2, looking grim about the water line being above his head.



    Here he is at another pool build...same builder, just another pool in the neighborhood that is seemingly AT 3'6" in the shallow end.



    And here is a photo of our pool after gunite.



    Now, if anyone has some ideas/knowledge about what can or can't be done in this instance, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks again.
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
    12" Raised Bond Beam w/ 6 ton Moss Rock Waterfall
    30' Moss Rock Weeping Wall, 39 sq ft Spa w/ stacked stone spillway
    Jandy equip pkg: 2 HP Stealth pool pump, 460 Cartridge filter
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    That is not right and it really looks like it is the builders fault. They should fix this for free. However, there are some limits to what they can do. You don't have all that much space for the 3' 6" depth to be in given where the middle is and how the steps worked out.

    One option is to add a wide "step" below the current bottom step at 3' 6" and then drop off vertically just before the middle. Otherwise you will need to fill in the middle a little as in their third proposal.

    Any correction needs to have steel in it and they should pay for it.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    stever's Avatar
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    First let me say -- COOL POOL! I love the spa at the shallow end steps. Great idea. The spillover can be a functional water-feature for those lounging on the steps.

    But Wow -- I don't know how they could do that without thinking it was not right. Thet looks like a 3:1 slope from the base of the steps. They probably started at 3'-6" before the steps were shot and then then the steps were placed, they were already past4'-0" deep.

    I agree with Jason -- there is not much space. What did you envision? If you drew a section through the pool, what would you want? Once that's determined, we can try to come up with a fix. If it worked with the pool length or not, the PB HAD to know the shall end was for kids and not pure swimming. To give you this pool was just not thinking.

    Jason's Idea of another step is a good one -- as long as that last step (close to the middle of the pool) does not pose a head-hitting problem.

    I guess if it was to be done again, the deep portion would have been further away from the steps....

    Steve
    Pool: 625 SF Free-Form In-Ground Shotcrete Pool w/7.5' dia spa.(8 jets), 24" raised bond beam (22,500 gal)
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    Rockcrawler's Avatar
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Just my opinion, that is way too steep, after the last step, when you look at your sons knees, one his higher than the other, not acceptable at all, and when the builder says you'll like it after the water is in, well its gonna be too late to do anything, I am sure that is not what "your" plans called for. I agree with Jason, even it out, but with more steel so that the gunite will bond together. YES the builder should pay, NO cost to you

    Another thing you could tell the builder is, to get to the steps to get out of the pool with water in it, you will have to swim to there is no way you can walk up the steep hill to the stairs
    13,000 IG Plaster, 2hp whisperflo pump, 48 sq in pentair DE Filter, 1 skimmer, 2 eyeball outlets, 200 sq ft solar panels on second story, Auto Pilot SWG-36, Polaris ATV Cleaner

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Thanks all. I really appreciate the feedback. (Keep it coming.) It's a scary feeling, as probably most of you already know. Good to have someone out there who confirms you're not completely crazy ... just mostly crazy for doing this in the first place!

    Yeah, it's a very steep slope. I think it'll be dangerous to have that just off a final, steep step. I like jason's idea, but I'm not sure how that would work. A straight "step" in nearly the middle of the pool could be a toe-jammer. I guess it could drop off, with a fairly steep curve, tho?

    I figured out a way to get the plan attached. Sorry it's formatted sideways.



    As to "what did we envision?" Initially, we planned on a more traditional pool, and the change to a sport pool came after the design stage. We're newbies and so maybe we should take some of the blame on this, but not knowing pool design, when the plan clearly shows 3'6" well to the left of the steps, we assumed the pool would start at 3'6". The pool builder has been here several times, and knows well that we are building this pool for the enjoyment of a family, especially the kids.

    Here's another view of the pool project.



    I'll try to keep updating the progress - or lack of ...
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Other than that crazy last step and the steep slope, it's a very nice looking pool! The biggest problem I see is that steep slope, I think it's going to feel very awkward for anyone (kids or adults) to try and stand in that half of the pool. In that regard I think option 3 is the only option that will help resolve that and I don't think you should have to pay anything for option 3. If they raise the center 6" it's still going to have a steep slope, but not as radically steep as it is now. Good luck!
    Our pool adventure... click here

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Hello - Your pool is a beautiful shape! I was wondering if you had made a decision about what to do. I am hoping all is well!
    18K gallons, 100' perimeter gunite pool w/ 18" raised 7 1/2 ft. spa and 6 ton rock waterfall, dark grey plaster w/ blue quartz
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Here's the latest -
    PB came by this week and shot some gunite (basically, our option #2) to see if we could reach a compromise on our depth / slope issue - without incurring any costs on either side. Here are a few updated photos:


    This is the new level & slope after the 2nd gunite... (note last step height & where skimmer hits)


    This is what it looked like before the 2nd gunite


    Here is the wider shot after the 2nd gunite, showing the new slope / height


    This was the original slope / step height


    Here are both boys at the far side of the shallow end, after the 2nd gunite (note ledge height for weeping wall)


    This is before the 2nd spraying of gunite.

    They raised both sides of the pool a bit. Initially, the PB had only agreed to try the one side, but while he had the gunite crew here, they tried to "soften" the step and raise the depth a little.

    It helps. Its still not ideal, but we'll have to decide by mid-week or earlier whether or not we want to press forward with option #3, which was adding some steel and gunite, but losing 6" out of the middle of the pool.

    Today, while standing in it, we felt like we could live with this. It's better, not ideal. PB is trying to make us happy, but obviously doesn't want to incur any more expense. We don't either. He feels its our cost if we go further with this (option #3). Obviously, we felt it should have been a 3'6" depth, but at this point, we just need to find a way to make this work. We feel that we'll be happy - overall - once we get the pool finished, filled and enjoying it. I think having water in it will help "soften" the slope, and that last step is much shorter now. The kids have a little bit of an area where it looks like their heads can be (just barely - now) out of the water. Again, not ideal, but ...

    Congrats to all of you who already have your pools up and running. Good luck to all of us who were jealous of you over this past holiday! Thanks again for the responses.
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
    12" Raised Bond Beam w/ 6 ton Moss Rock Waterfall
    30' Moss Rock Weeping Wall, 39 sq ft Spa w/ stacked stone spillway
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    mocity,

    Sorry to read about your woes. Such a creative design, cute boys, lovely site, and so much money to be messed up by such foolishness. I tend to put the blame on the pb... as with mine, it appears that your pb didn't provide you with a cross section drawing showing the depths and slopes. You know why? Because he didn't want to be held accountable to having to actually execute a plan. Now that things didn't work out the way you and he hoped they would, he has plenty of wiggle room, and no plan to be held to.

    Here's my 2 cents. Just FYI, I have a 7 year old daughter.

    You need to do whatever it takes to make your pool "right"... now. Whatever that is... now is the time. Now, what is right?

    Your boys (and their friends) need to have plenty of room to play. Your pool isn't deep enough anywhere for diving. How about working on the "other" end? How deep did you say the center was, and what's the priority of that depth? FWIW, my deep end is 6' (originally designed at 5 1/2), and I bet that section of my pool gets used 5% of the time. IMHO, 3'-5' is much more usuable for kids.

    I can't offer any advice on what needs steel and what doesn't.

    If I were you, I'd work with your pb to come up with a solution (money no matter), and then remind him that you hired him to be the expert pb (not you), and whatever price he comes up with... maybe do him a favor and split that with him. Whatever solution you come up with, do your best to document the most you can, in order to have the solution "warranted".

    Best of luck with whatever course you choose!

    Steve
    18,000 gallon gunite free form, with spa, 4x160, EasyTouch, SWCG, Pentair cartr filter, Colorlogic lights.

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    After writing all of the above...

    I went back and looked at your pics again, hmm... maybe you do have enough "shallow" end. There's really only one pic that shows the "opposite" side (the furtherest side from your house on the shallow end).

    I think you did gain much on the "redo". Was it enough? Obviously, only you can say.

    Sorry for pouring gas on your fire, if unwarranted. (especially given the cost of gasoline)

    Best of luck, and keep a close eye on everything else as you go!

    Steve
    18,000 gallon gunite free form, with spa, 4x160, EasyTouch, SWCG, Pentair cartr filter, Colorlogic lights.

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    The pool looks great - I would add more to the middle to even it out, I think you will be happier in the long run.

    One thing I do have a question about though, where is the bonding grid around the pool? Isn't the steel rebar supposed to extend out 3' around the pool edges?
    Nod
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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Nod,

    I think what you're asking about regards whether the pool "float" independent of the deck. Evidently, there's different schools of thoughts on this... which I've read both sides, but was too long ago to recall the arguements.

    and evidently, this builder graduated from the school that its better not to secure the pool to the deck with steel. it makes for a nicer looking build anyway, huh?

    I'm guessing if this didn't work, he wouldn't still be doing it.

    Steve
    18,000 gallon gunite free form, with spa, 4x160, EasyTouch, SWCG, Pentair cartr filter, Colorlogic lights.

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Quote Originally Posted by stevenbrla
    Nod,

    I think what you're asking about regards whether the pool "float" independent of the deck. Evidently, there's different schools of thoughts on this... which I've read both sides, but was too long ago to recall the arguements.

    and evidently, this builder graduated from the school that its better not to secure the pool to the deck with steel. it makes for a nicer looking build anyway, huh?

    I'm guessing if this didn't work, he wouldn't still be doing it.

    Steve
    Ah ok, I was talking more along the lines of what the electrical code required. Most pool builders just use the rebar for the equipotential bonding grid. I guess yours is going to use 1'x1' copper grid. That is going to be expensive with the cost of copper

    Anyhow pool is looking great!
    Nod
    16x32 IG, polymer panel Vinyl Pool w/approx 21k gallons of H20
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    ~~Nashville, NC~~

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Thanks all -

    Just wanted to give you an update as the feedback was much appreciated. As I knew, in the end it would be our decision, but ... well, most of you know ... it's a scary time to have to deal with problems all at once.

    We've moved on. We are staying with the re-do. We think everything will work out fine. Not the ideal, but this is where we are, and in reality, any fix would cost (someone) a bunch and only give us an extra inch or so where we really need it...and take away more of the middle
    (4-6" of our 5'6" middle depth) to gain that extra inch or so in the shallow end.

    Now, we're a week or so behind on progress pix, as they are out forming the deck today! What is the correct protocol to post progress shots. Do I start a new post, or just add on here?

    Again, thanks to everyone for the help.
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
    12" Raised Bond Beam w/ 6 ton Moss Rock Waterfall
    30' Moss Rock Weeping Wall, 39 sq ft Spa w/ stacked stone spillway
    Jandy equip pkg: 2 HP Stealth pool pump, 460 Cartridge filter
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  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Pool dig / depth questions

    Continue it here and rename your thread. "Mocitypool build" for example. Your pool is gonna be very nice.
    Dave
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  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: MoCity Pool Build (formerly Pool dig / depth questions)

    Beautiful pool... I think you made the right decision by just moving forward... I'm positive once water is in your pool and you're swimming, that extra inch will be the last thing in your mind. Not to mention that boys grow like mad and a year from now they'll have gained those few inches that'll make all the difference.
    My Pool:
    12K gal IG gunite with 7' raised spa, gunite waterfall, PebbleTec Caribbean Blue finish, solar heating & in-floor cleaning system

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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: MoCity Pool Build (formerly Pool dig / depth questions)

    Lots of progress in the last week. I'll try to catch you up with the latest...
    The rock crew spent Monday - Wednesday, with temps hovering in the mid 90's, building our waterfall, weeping wall, and installing the tile and coping.

    At the end of the day on Monday, here's what we had.

    Another view from pool level.


    Tuesday was mostly tile & coping, and some weeping wall.

    Another view, pool level.


    Here are our tile & coping choices.

    The tile, coping and moss rock together.


    At the last minute, during the waterfall build on day one, we decided to add two planters into the structure. Hoping it works out and looks good. (There is a small pvc drain-pipe in the bottom of the planter)
    Left side.

    Right side.


    Yesterday, a small crew finished up the waterfall. Not crazy about the "cap" rock. PB isn't happy with it, either. (Anyone care to venture a guess about how many tons of waterfall we have? Weeping wall? We're thinking we didn't get what we contracted for. Not exactly sure how to determine this... The rock crew mentioned the tonnage ... less than we had in the plans/contract).

    They also finished the stacked stone on the spa spillover.


    This morning, the deck crew surprised us (& the PB) by forming the deck layouts.

    Other direction.


    There are a few small nitpicky things we see that we want changed, but we're starting to really get excited. We're hoping to have the deck poured by mid-week. Thanks again to all who have replied & helped just by being contributors here.
    20,000 gal SWG Freeform Pool, flagstone coping
    12" Raised Bond Beam w/ 6 ton Moss Rock Waterfall
    30' Moss Rock Weeping Wall, 39 sq ft Spa w/ stacked stone spillway
    Jandy equip pkg: 2 HP Stealth pool pump, 460 Cartridge filter
    1.5 HP Booster pump 2 LED pool lights, 1 LED spa light,
    Aqua Link PS6 PDA Wireless controller
    400K BTU Laars LX1 Heater, Polaris 280 Cleaner

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