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Thread: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, finished!!

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    1st pool, gunite, on a budget, finished!!

    We are wanting to build an affordable pool to go with our older 1940s bungalow style house that we love and have no intention of selling, at least for the next 10 years. Budget is an issue due to our home's value - we live in a small town where home values are around $100k. It just doesn't make sense for us to spend $50k on a pool for our house - we are trying to keep it under $35k and are paying cash.

    We did consider non-gunite pools, but for our family, a gunite seems the best option. I'm afraid we'd end up replacing a liner regularly, and the fiberglass dealer here is brand new. I read a lot of issues with install on this site that scared me.

    I have a quote back from a reputable local builder for a freeform pool at $32k. I questioned them on the size, but they said it was a larger small size pool. There's not a LOT of detail, and I will press them for more specifics when it comes time to sign the contract.

    I really have no idea if this is a good size pool for a family and friends. I know its probably not enough decking, and I may have them add more, depending on the cost.

    Thanks in advance to any and all who can offer any feedback, good or bad!!! Quote below.

    POOL SPECIFICATIONS
    Length: 33 Width: 216 Area: 415 s.f. Perimeter: 98
    Depths:4 x 8 (my request)
    EXCAVATION
     Layout, excavation, compaction, and forming of project per plans
    STRUCTURAL
     Engineered steel pattern for expansive soil (3/8 and 1/2 steel)
     8 minimum thickness, 5000 psi design gunite shell
     Lifetime Structural Warranty
    HYDRAULICS
    Totally Hayward System The most energy efficient system in the world!
     Hayward Star 1.5 H.P. Variable Speed filtration pump
     Hayward 30 Sand filter
     ANSI/ASME - Dual 8 main drains (Virginia Graeme Baker Compliant)
     2 Suction - schedule 40 PVC plumbing (filtration)
     Six returns with continous loop plumbing
     2 - Surface skimmers on pool
     Pool Miser / Autofill, and Overflow on Pool (I don't think I need this?)
     All valves high quality Jandy Neverlube
    ELECTRICAL
     Electrical bonding (grounding) of all conductive elements
     Electrical wiring of all equipment from available breakers (up to 100)
     1- 500 Watt Light in pool
     Pool 4-function electronic control system - I said I didn't want this, pool company said it would save money vs running lines to all equipment?
     Wireless puck remote to control features (includes freeze protection)
    DECK
     415 s.f. of 4 thick concrete deck (steel rebar, no wire mesh used)
     Broom finish (Other finishes are available)
    FINISH
     Cut cantilever coping on pool
     6 X 6 ceramic tile at waterline
     Polyvoid and Mastic at coping/deck joint
    ACCESSORIES
     Maintenance equipment (leaf rake, wall brush, test kit and thermometer)
     Start up and maintenance instructions (by an experienced pool technician)

    Deductable Options: (included in total bid)
    Pool Miser/Autofill $500 (owner supplies water) - Do I need this??
    Future Slide Stub up $247

    Thanks again!!!!!!!

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Welcome to TFP!

    I don't know why you need 2 main drains. A single is plenty, and really a lot of pools don't have one at all anymore.
    I would consider going LED instead of that 500 watt light. Pentair makes a good unit.
    Surprised they haven't included a trichlor puck feeder. Glad we don't have to tell you not to get one.
    Can you post the model number of the sand filter and the approximate volume of the pool? The bigger the better on the filter!

    If you travel much, or even a little, you might consider installing a salt system while you are at it. I don't see anything in your build that tells me that you would have issues. Some have problems with soft stone coping, but it looks like that's not what you are doing.
    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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    rodog123's Avatar
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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    I did not see a robot cleaner included. I would get the autofill (but thats just me) will fill your pool with water automatically if it goes beyond a certain level.

    36'X21' I think is plenty big. Check out my pool buidl pictures with similar dimesions.(see signature below)
    Completed 38'X21' IG Free form pool approx 18.5K gallons, sports pool w/spa and tanning shelf 3.5-5.5 ft. Jandy Cartridge Filter, Jandy stealth pumps, Jandy LXi Heater, I aqualink, Inline chlorinator. Click to see My Pool Build

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    The dual main drain most likely just means "anti-entrapment" main drain. If you are going to have a Main drain, this is essential, and I bet part of code requirements.

    I like the idea of autofil on a pool(no hassle of toting a water hose) Some don't (It will mask a leak until you get your water bill).

    Be glad you're in that 1/2 of the state. Pricing seems WAY lower over there.

    I would also suggest you spring for the LED lights. I absolutely love the ability to change the colors. You can also get a white only LED light...which should pay for itself i you run the lights very often.
    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

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Thank you all for the feedback!!

    RobbieH, we are definitely considering upgrading to a salt system, especially since we won't have any stone around the pool. With a 75 year old house, we already spend enough time maintaining things. Also, I've asked for the filter model and pool volume - I will post when I get confirmation.

    Rodog123, your pool is lovely, really, really lovely. Wow! Good catch on the missing pool cleaner - I purposely asked them to not quote a pool cleaner (I've got a large Amazon credit I can use to purchase one. )

    Mrcarcrazy, after reading these suggestions I think I have decided to forego the auto-fill in exchange for 2 LED's. The water hose thing doesn't bother me that much - we have a 1/2 acre lot and I have to drag my sprinkler all over it. And you are right, pricing is reasonable here - although some pool builders won't touch my budget. And some of the ones that I have talked to that will....well, I think that's a whole other topic.

    I am hoping to make my decision by the end of next week and this site has been so helpful! Thanks again everyone!!!

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Hi from over in Longview,

    Hope you dont mind me chiming in with my .02 cents

    I have an auto fill and dont like it. The auto fill hooks to the nearest water faucet with a washing machine hose. The faucet has to be on all the time and the water pipe in the wall in the bathroom makes that "running water" sound. Drives me nuts..
    Also if your faucet leaks, you will have a puddle and soggy ground under it all the time!
    500 sounds steep to me. The autofill assembly with washing machine hose costs < 100$ and 10$ worth of PVC pipe and maybe 1 hour of labor is all there is to the thing. (allll of this being said though, to be fair, the autofill does work as advertised).

    Definitely go for the SWG, makes chlorinating the pool sooo easy !!

    Returns - I dont like continuous loop returns, What that means is that each return is tied in to the same return pipe from the filter. Continuous loops do not give you any fleixibility with your returns. You wont be able to turn any of the returns on or off as you might (will at some point) want to do. You probably will not like that once you have the pool built and start learning all about the water works and what you can and cannot do with your water circulation. Especially since you have a VS pump.

    Since there are 6 of them, and you are budget conscience, you might consider splitting the 6 returns into 3 different sets with a valve for each set at the equipment pad.
    This would give you a good bit of flexibility such as changing the water current so the skimmer works better. Or adding a fountain or aerator to a return. If you cant control the returns, these type things may not work well.

    Ideally, 6 individually plumbed returns would provide the most felixibilty. But it costs a lot more. Specially for 6 of them

    Overflow - THIS- - I hightly suggest you get more info on exactly what this consists of!! Many PB will just stick a fitting on side of the pool and a 4 ft piece of PVC on the fitting sticking out into the yard. Guess what, the pool dont overflow so PB did what he said.... , but your yard floods!!!

    End result is exactly the same as an overflowed pool! and PB Says "well I dont have any responsibility for drainage or landscape".
    If the overflow is buried and goes to a storm drain, then thats great!. Do It! Or perhaps to edge of property where it can harmlessly drain downhill (and not flood the neighbors and you end up getting sued).

    Somehow, you will have to deal with draining the overflow from the pool or from your flooded yard. French Drain, Storm Drain, Drywell, Firehose to the storm drain at the street or whatever, but that water has gotta go somewhere.
    All of this needs to be considered up front and planned for now. Not something you really want to have to deal with after the pool is completed and you discover this is a real problem.

    Deck Make sure the quote includes the concrete guys cutting control joints in the concrete deck. If control joints arent cut in, and in the right locations, then the deck will eventually have uncontrolled cracks all over it and will be ugly and you will hate it and it will lower the value of your home if you ever decide to sell it. The control joints are essential in preventing this.

    EDIT: That 4 funtion control thing... dont know what that does, or how it has any effect on running lines to all the equipment. That seems counterintuitive to me.... (in east texas language, it sounds fishy).
    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 !!

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Divin Dave, thanks for your $.02!! I hadn't even think about the possibility of the pool overflowing. We share only 1 property line with a neighbor (house is on a corner lot and there's an alley behind it) so hopefully the builder can find somewhere for the extra water to drain. Also, I agree about the control system - it just doesn't seem worth it when I'm really having minimal equipment installed. And I will make sure the proposal includes control joints. Thank you again!!!

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Well, after much consideration and getting several bids, we have opted for the below. We ended up over our "max" budget a few hundred dollars, and I can see how easy it would be to exceed this by several, several, several thousand. Signing the contract was nerve-wracking, but it's done and hopefully we will have a pool to swim in this summer. I tried to list below only the items that were changed from above.

    Thanks to everyone for their feedback. Fingers crossed the next few weeks go smoothly!

    POOL SPECIFICATIONS
    Length: 34’4” Width: 23’5” Area: 507 s.f. Perimeter: 95‘ Depths: 3’6”’ x 7’6” (Excavation to be done in a way that the slope maximizes the shallow end)

    • 1 – Hayward 12v Universal LED Colorlogic lights in pool
    • Pool 4-function electronic control system
    • Wireless puck remote to control features (includes freeze protection)
    DECK
    • 559 s.f. of 4” thick concrete deck (steel rebar, no wire mesh used) •
    FINISH
    • 12” Bullnose brick coping on pool
    Future Slide Stub up
    Salt System (chlorine generator)

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Congrats on making a decision. Best of luck on progress.
    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

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    The excavation was done Tuesday, and steel and rough plumbing yesterday. So far so good. Apologies for the not so great pics - my phone (like my home) is pretty old.

    060514084519.jpg 060514084929.jpg

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    they're making good time. Take lots of pics.
    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

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Lookin' good! Keep the pics coming!
    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 !!

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    No more activity to report, although they got so much done the first few days I am not surprised. I am beginning to worry (well, I am worried) the deep end is not going to be long enough. I wish it were about 4'-5' longer. Looking at it in real life is so different than looking at a drawing. I'm afraid it's too late to make any changes though, and should probably just accept it for what it is. Just to be safe, I've asked for an estimate to change it - but since we are post dig and steel, I am sure it will be a fortune.

    photo (2).jpg

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    FWIW - when my pool was first dug, I was disappointed by the size; I thought it was too small. Now that the coping and tile have just been installed, it seems much larger and I am happy with the size.

    Hopefully you will have the same experience I did...
    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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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Making the deep end longer will make the slope from shallow to deep much steeper. So much so, you prolly wouldnt be able to stand on the slope, depending of course on how long the shallow end is. However, you might be able to tolerate a bit more lenght because you are 4 ft on the shallow vs the typical 3 1/2.

    To be honest though, like jro says, once its done and water in in it, you might be surprised between now and then. That extra 6 inches on the shallow will make a big difference and just make the whole thing seem much deeper I think. *wish I had done that* .
    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 !!

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Well, I decided to not make any changes and am happy to report Gunite was sprayed yesterday (yay)! We've had a lot of rain, so they had to pump out a ton of water and put plywood behind the rebar. The workers who have been here have been great and it looks like they could build pools blindfolded. Although I am glad they're not!

    Below are some pics from the work yesterday. Again, apologies for the bad pics, but I am attached to my old phone and hate to give it up.










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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    lookin good!
    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 !!

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    Making the deep end longer will make the slope from shallow to deep much steeper. So much so, you prolly wouldnt be able to stand on the slope, depending of course on how long the shallow end is.
    This is true about my pool. As it stands without water, the slope is a bit awkward. That's why in my case I'm going to install a bench on the deep end. The shallow end in my pool is 3.5' and the deepest point is about 6.5' deep, pool dimensions are 15x25.
    Currently remodeling a 1950's 15x25 14,000+ gallon IG concrete block pool myself. Old galvanized pipes, delaminating plaster, lily pad skimmer, no waterline tile, equipment pad too close to pool, etc. Follow my thread as I chronicle the remodel process.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Admittedly, in theory anyway, I like the idea of a steep slope in a smaller pool. To me, the slope serves a function that a drop-off could just as easily serve - getting to and from the deep end of a pool. That said, I know it's not the safest approach, and we are trying to err on the side of caution - my daughter is only 8, so we'll have lots of young children swimming for a while. So thankfully we made no changes to the design.

    On the subject of safety, I've already decided - initially - to not allow non-swimmers in the pool. And I plan on being CPR certified by the time the pool opens.

    Another subject entirely - I am looking at robot cleaners, and trying to decide between the Hayward Tigershark RC9950GR, the Dolphin Triton or the Kreepy Krauly Prowler 830. Does anyone have any suggestions, or are they all considered okay?

    Can I just say,

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: 1st pool, gunite, on a budget, does quote look okay?

    Looks good! Keep posting pictures. My pool is at the same stage. we're at a standstill after gunite.

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