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Thread: Which upgrades to start with?

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Which upgrades to start with?

    I am new to the forum and have spend hours and hours learning a ton!!! Than kyou all-what a great forum! I thought I might have to hire someone to take care of our pool, but after reading-I'm fairly confident I can do it on my own and save some $$$! So...We are getting bids from several pool builders here in Houston and, unfortunately, can't have it all If you had to choose between the following upgrades, which ones would be at the top of your list?

    -Upgraded interior (plaster to quartz or pebble finish)
    -More decking
    -Upgraded decking from spray deck (I really don't like the look of the generic spray deck coatings) to stamped concrete or pavers
    -Water feature-water fall or raised wall with a sheer decent or 2

    This is my thought process, let me know what you think

    1) More deck (can always upgrade it in the future but hard to add on later)
    2) I'm torn between a water feature and the interior-the water feature would add enjoyment for inside the house and sitting outside…but the pebble finishes hold up longer…but I suppose I could plumb for a water feature and add later?
    3)Upgraded decking-although I think it adds a lot to the overall look, I suppose I could go back and upgrade in the future?

    Anyways, just wanted to bounce it off some people that had a pool and could share their choices with me!

    Thanks!

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Hey,

    So I found this forum last fall and decided I could build my own as well. It's tedious and drawn out (mine mostly because of weather and lousy contractors), but you can save a LOT.

    My price will come in similar to the lowest priced builder, and about 40% less than the highest priced. HOWEVER, I upgraded like crazy -

    Quote was for -
    700 sq ft freeform
    Gas heater
    Std lights
    Std equipment
    SWG
    No automation
    Sand filter
    No hot tub
    RBB with sheer descents

    My build:
    About 850-900 sq ft
    Intelliflo pump
    SWG
    Quad DE filter
    Aqualink RS8 Automation
    Added large spillover hottub
    Tanning ledge
    Upgrading to aggregate finish
    Color LED lights
    Robotic cleaner


    All of those upgrades would have nearly doubled the quotes from the builder. The hot tub alone was a $12000 add on. I was able to incorporate all of that and stay on budget, which hitting MAJOR rock and having terrible contractors.

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    My vote is for more deck and I think your thinking is right,. I have all total about 900ish sq ft of patio and deck, and I wish I had gotten more.
    If you are planning for pool parties and neighbor and family cookouts, you will need all you can get.

    Quote Originally Posted by PTHaines View Post
    I am new to the forum and have spend hours and hours learning a ton!!! Than kyou all-what a great forum! I thought I might have to hire someone to take care of our pool, but after reading-I'm fairly confident I can do it on my own and save some $$$! So...We are getting bids from several pool builders here in Houston and, unfortunately, can't have it all If you had to choose between the following upgrades, which ones would be at the top of your list?

    -Upgraded interior (plaster to quartz or pebble finish)
    -More decking
    -Upgraded decking from spray deck (I really don't like the look of the generic spray deck coatings) to stamped concrete or pavers
    -Water feature-water fall or raised wall with a sheer decent or 2

    This is my thought process, let me know what you think

    1) More deck (can always upgrade it in the future but hard to add on later)
    2) I'm torn between a water feature and the interior-the water feature would add enjoyment for inside the house and sitting outside…but the pebble finishes hold up longer…but I suppose I could plumb for a water feature and add later?
    3)Upgraded decking-although I think it adds a lot to the overall look, I suppose I could go back and upgrade in the future?

    Anyways, just wanted to bounce it off some people that had a pool and could share their choices with me!

    Thanks!
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

  4. Back To Top    #4
    skylar18's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Deck, Deck, and more Deck!
    43 x 19 Gunite Pool w/ spa and fire pit, 19,000 gallons, Pebble Sheen Aqua Blue finish, Jandy 2 HP VS E-pump, Jandy 580 sq ft Cartridge Filter, Jandy LXI 400k Heater, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG, 4 Jandy LED color lights, Aqualink PDA and Iaqualink, Polaris 280 with Booster Pump. Polaris 9550 Robot Cleaner. 1 HP Silencer Air Blower for Spa http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...NAL-INSPECTION

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Hi, I am in a similar boat, trying to choose what to do now and what later when deciding among the 4 bids that I have received. But, isn't adding more deck something easier to do down the road?. I was thinking it was just a matter of hiring a handyman/sub to extend the cement/acrylic which I think it would be easier because is away from the pool. I would think that adding water features or upgrading the interior would be much harder to do when the pool is already full of water and in use. Let me know if I am "mistaken".
    Thanks

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    I've never heard anyone EVER say they wished they'd have *less* decking
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    I'll go against the grain here. We wanted minimal decking for appearance mostly. We don't plan on having a lot of people next to the pool at any given time so we wanted more yard/landscaping around the pool. You can always add more later, but I think it will be hard to hide the fact that you did. Not that it couldn't look fine, but I think it will be noticeable to at least some degree. All that said, I would say put in a nice finish, water features, or whatever else you might like on, or in the pool. Adding those things later will be a major ordeal. You wouldn't want to have a season under your belt and think "Gee I wish we had gone with a better finish and a grotto." I know I am in the minority here, but that's my take.
    TFP Moderator
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  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Thank you for your replies! So many choices!

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    Readyforapool's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    My opinion would be go for the water features - like you said you can always add more decking or upgrade it later. I love sitting out there and listening to the waterfall, bubblers even if it's still too cold to get in. I close my eyes and I'm at the beach!
    Finally Done! - 21x34 IG, SWCG, depth - 3.6 - 4.6 - 6.6, Pentair IntelliFlow 3050 vs+svrs, 60 sq ft Pentair DE Filter, 400k BTU Heater, Polaris 280 w/.75 hp booster pump, Pentair EasyTouch wireless, 38 sq ft raised spa, wet edge Barbados quartz finish - ODK w/36 in Napoleon grill

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Consider the upgraded finishes. Replastering is not a small expense. I realize my experience is due to how large my pool is, but that $10,000 one-time cost to refinish ours hurt the pocketbook!

    Do I read correctly you took out the heater? We don't have a heater on our pool, and haven't regretted it. You are in an even warmer climate than we are, too.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    More decking is where it's at IMO
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Would anyone do away with the spa to have all the other upgrades? (Pool finish, water features and upgraded deck?)

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    My opinion will probably differ from others. I have no use for a spa. Our pool does not have one attached, but the house came with a very nice stand alone unit. I gave it away, never even fired it up.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    mrcarcrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by PTHaines View Post
    Would anyone do away with the spa to have all the other upgrades? (Pool finish, water features and upgraded deck?)

    Nope. never.

    Personally I love spas, I will be out in mine most evenings after work. There's nothing like a warm spa to help you relax away the day. (for me at least)
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Hard to say - it's all personal preference. But here are some of the "upgrade" type things we wanted to have.
    - Definitely have to have a spa for us. So easy to heat it up at a moment's notice to hang out in the spa when it gets colder, versus planning ahead to heat the pool.
    - We did expand decking beyond the minimum so we could have a couple different areas for lounge chairs and greater flexibility, and went with stamped concrete.
    - We did go with a mini pebble finish, versus just plaster.
    - We added lighted bubblers to our tanning ledge. I've seen pics of pools at night and without the tanning ledge lighted, that area is really dark. Since we have a large ledge, we wanted some light there as well.

    I would find it hard to choose between those items on your list. If I had to leave something off, I think I'd go with less deck, but still go with the upgraded deck. And design it in a way that there's a clean way to add onto it later when you have the money or inclination. Seems that would be easier than getting a bunch of deck you find out you don't like and then having to resurface or rip and replace. (But I am no expert here - so maybe resurfacing isn't a big deal).

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    I would say deck and outdoor space. We have an outdoor fireplace that is sheltered somewhat from wind and is covered, we spend many nights out there with a fire and friends over. That fireplace gets much more use than the inside one. An outdoor kitchen with fridge and storage is next but I have the deck space for it.

    I like a spa too but have a free standing one, always hot, always ready.

    I have regular plaster and like the smoothness. Plaster properly cared for can last a very long time.

    I am jealous about the lighted bubblers. Mine are not and I agree, that area is dark when the pool is lit at night. The lighted bubblers would be awesome.
    Blaine

    50' x 22' 27k gal shotcrete freeform, 2hp 2 sp Pentair Whisperflo, Pool Pilot RC-52 SWCG, Pentair TR 100 sand filter, Polaris 280, 2 Pentair Intellibrite LED lights with controller, french gray plaster, Butterfield U-20 "smoke"integral colored salt finish concrete cantilever deck on one side, flagstone coping on the other.

    My pool build:
    osage-hills-pool-build-t50526.html

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    FYI, my pool is not plaster, but is very smooth. After the finish was trowled in and cured, they came back and polished it. Mine may be more smooth than regular plaster even.

    I recently found the receipt for my plaster, it was done in 1997. It was totally shot, but I will admit the previous homeowners did not have CH at the proper level. Still something you have to think about though, be ready for when the plaster gets so bad you can't stand looking at it anymore.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    We chose to stop the bleeding by going with plaster, no spa - not an interest of ours and no water features. The expense we already had with the required retaining walls due to our slope was sizeable and made other decisions easier. But all of that only after getting much decking (our priority). I anticipate keeping perfect water quality and having my plaster last quite a long time. I'll let you know in 20 years how good that decision was. Then I'll fork over money for a re-plaster as appropriate. Then college will be paid for.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

  19. Back To Top    #19
    s9601694's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    Quote Originally Posted by PTHaines View Post
    Would anyone do away with the spa to have all the other upgrades? (Pool finish, water features and upgraded deck?)
    We went with no spa and put those savings in larger pool/water feature (10 ton waterfall)

    Its a very personal choice. My wife and I are simply not "spa people". Check out my build for some considerations: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...Pool-Conroe-TX
    See my POOL!
    Free form pool, 128 ft perimeter, max length 42ft, max width 38.5 ft, depth 3.5 - 8ft, Chilean Beach Gold Pearl Matrix, 13 ton moss rock waterfall, tanning ledge with 3 gushers, PV3 i, LED underwater lights, automatic water leveling system, 1424 sqft deck.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    cnatra's Avatar
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    Re: Which upgrades to start with?

    I would definitely go for an upgraded plaster finish (pebble of some kind) & then rank more decking as next on the list
    23k gunite, Stonescapes Mini Aqua Blue w/seashell, Pentair CCP520 cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Intelli-Flo VS pumps, Pentair Mastertemp 400, Pentair EasyTouch 8+wireless controller, Silencer spa blower, 3 Intellibrite LEDs, Pentair Racer cleaner, Pentair 320 chlorinator
    my build http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-north-Houston

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