I feel ridiculous asking about this but at last nights bid for our prospective new pool, the prospective builder (not a salesman) told us that in a typical vinyl lined in ground build with a vermiculite bottom, you can have problems with gophers digging up through them, weeds and grass and roots coming up through them, shifting and footprint damage which messes up the liner and a whole list of various other disastrous outcomes. He builds his pool bottoms out of concrete (and charges $4000 more for it) instead of vermiculite.
He also wants $3000 for an access fee. He says he can't dig our pool with a bobcat and has to use a gigantic backhoe. One other builder we spoke with wants $1200 for access but he says bobcat is fine. Another didn't mention anything about an access fee and will use the bobcat. We will have to take down the fence on one side of the house for this project.
This is the only builder we've talked to who uses concrete for the pool bottom. We have others who backfill around the walls with concrete but the bottoms are vermiculite.
I guess a concrete bottom sounds good in theory but are these issues for real? Or does he just need to sell his build? He uses Jandy products and is completely independent. Other builders from large companies are all affiliated with a build system such as Kafko. So I get the impression that this builder is old school which is probably ok but do we really need to pay more for this concrete bottom? We live in a suburban neighborhood...not the outback