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Thread: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

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    JamieP's Avatar
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    Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    We are in the research stage of trying to do a DIY vinyl pool in the Dallas area. Our maximum budget is $20K so we are trying to look at all of the facets of the project to get a realistic idea if that budget is even doable.

    We have a friend who used to work in the industry, installing vinyl inground pools, who has offered to do much of the work for us, installing the pool and doing the plumbing and electrical. Of course we want it done right, and we are confident he can do it. We live outside the city limits, so the only "official" involvement we need is a $75 building permit to ensure we comply with proper distances from the septic tank and sprinklers. That shouldn't be a problem.

    So it seems we need to find someone to excavate and do the deck. Our neighborhood has a lot of white rock and in talking to the neighbors, and from our own experience, it is fairly certain we will hit rock on the dig. We were hoping for an 8' deep end in either a rectangular pool or true-L. With the uncertainty of how the dig would go, I'm not sure how to best go about pricing the excavation part of the project. I have read that you should "use the subcontractors that the pool builders use," but how do you go about doing that? Will they just tell you if you ask them?

    I am willing to just look for excavators in the yellow pages, but do I need to find someone specifically experienced in digging pools? Considering the rock issue, how do you think I can get the most accurate quote ahead of time?

    Also, we are not looking for anything fancy for decking. With the simplest layout (poured and brushed concrete?) does anyone know a ballpark price for our area? Should this be done by someone experienced with pool decking, or can any concrete person do the job? What's the best way to find a good subcontractor?

    Thanks for any help you can give us! I'm sure I'll have more questions as my husband and I research further.

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    JamieP's Avatar
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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Here are a couple of pictures of what kind of rock is in our neighborhood. These were taken about a mile away where some new houses are going up. I think the rock is limestone. It seems like it must be pretty crumbly from the second picture where the smaller pieces have been used to grade the lot


    So, again, can I just start calling around for excavators or do I need to find a pool excavator? Do you think I'd be able to get a fairly accurate dig quote considering the rock?

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by JamieP; 08-08-2014 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Rotating pictures

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Sorry, I can't seem to get the photos to be right side up.

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    I would not estimate a dig price with that kind of limestone. Your best bet is to call excavators and ask them do they dig pools. My next call would be to rock quarry's or hauling companies...they should know the pool diggers. My first call would probably be to cement companies asking who shoots gunite in that area (even tho your thinking vinyl) and give them a call. Inquire about subbing your own gunite pool and then wonder around to pool diggers...I'll almost guarantee he knows several. And from perusing this board, you want to find one that does vinyl, the dig can make all the difference.

    If that's a dead end i would call pool stores or go by your local plumbing wholesalers and physically go in, ask for the owner/mgr and ask him your looking for a really good plumber that does alot of pools. (he'll know several) call the plumber and chat it up with him....BTW, do you know any pool excavators....he'll prob know the good ones.

    18x36 vinyl / sport pool 5.5' deep / 1.5hp Tri-Star 2spd / Hayward c3030 325 sqft cartridge / ~15k gal / TF100

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Thank you! That was exactly the direction I was looking for, and will keep us busy for a little while.

    Does anyone have any ideas for decking leads? Do we need to find someone experienced in pools as well? Ballpark prices of what to expect to pay for something basic? Thanks again...

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    jjwalker's Avatar
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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Same way with concrete finishers. Call or go by concrete companies....the big ones will have outside sales guys and ask him, he'll have a rolodex of them. Or find a really big concrete pour, in progress, and 9x out of 10 the concrete salemen will be there (just ask around) and he'll have good leads.

    If you really want to get down and dirty...(and I'm giving away all my trade secrets ) go by your local city hall, township, or wherever pool builders would pull permits and ask for the last 30 days of pool building permits, get addresses, and go ride the jobs and find subs. That goes for the excavators, plumbers, etc... But in this case the concrete companies would be your best lead....ask for the dispatcher if you call.

    It really goes without saying, just like interviewing pool builders, the more homework, footwork, and sweat you put into it usually the better product is the result.

    18x36 vinyl / sport pool 5.5' deep / 1.5hp Tri-Star 2spd / Hayward c3030 325 sqft cartridge / ~15k gal / TF100

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Wow! Thanks for that... It looks like we're going to be busy! (But I know it will pay off in the end, as you said.)

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    I've been tracking down experienced pool excavators and have a couple of good leads. I've also been doing a lot of research into what I can expect to find if and when we dig, and it's definite we are going to hit solid limestone about 1'-2' under the topsoil. (To see exactly what I'm talking about, check out this build thread... It's right around the corner from me in the same neighborhood: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...-in-Waxahachie!)

    My question is, since we would be doing a vinyl liner pool, does the fact that it would be sitting in limestone instead of dirt affect how it would be installed? The topsoil is clay which is very expansive, so I was initially concerned about backfill issues and read that a particular kind of gravel is the best way to go. But knowing now how high the limestone comes up, in this situation, could I get away with using sand that is really watered in to save some money?

    Also, is there anything special to know about how to form the shape of the walls during a dig in rock to prepare them for the vermiculite? How much, if any, do you overdig the bottom so you can spread the vermiculite?

    Those are my latest questions! Thanks again for any help you can give.
    Jamie

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    Re: Research phase of DIY Vinyl pool in Dallas area - Questions

    Any takers on helping me out? ... Please?

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    Vinyl liner pool kit decisions. Please help!

    It looks like we have found some subs who will be able to help us get this project done within budget, so we are in the "pick a pool kit" phase. So here are a few questions:

    1. I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations of steel vs. polymer. The guy at poolwarehouse recommends steel because its stronger, with a Line-x type coating if we are worried about rust. I don't think we want to go to the extra expense or trouble of the coating though. As I mentioned above, this pool will be set in limestone with a clay topsoil layer and back filled with gravel. Steel is cheaper, so if there are no huge red flags, that's good enough for us.

    2. We are interested in a SWG. How do we know what size to get? Can it be easily added later if we don't do it upfront?

    3. We want to go with a sand filter. I've heard bigger is better. Can you go too big?

    4. How do we pick a pump? We know we want a 2 speed or variable speed for the energy savings. Does this somehow have to coordinate with the filter size?

    5. I've heard talk of 1.5" or 2" plumbing. How do you decide?

    I've done a lot of reading on this site and have learned a lot, but the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know! Any guidance you can offer would be greatly appreciated. A pool has been a longtime dream, but we have exactly zero experience with owning or building one. Thanks!

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    Vinyl liner pool kit questions. Please help!

    I thought I should add that the pool we are looking into is a True-L, probably 16'x32'x24' or 16'x37'x24' with an 8' deep end. I'm not sure on the volume of either one yet though.
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    1. I would go with polymer. The steel will rust. It may not rust so bad where you are, but it will rust.
    2. You can add SWG later. Get one sized for 2-3 times your pool size. That way you won't have to run your pump 24 hours a day.
    3. Hydraulics 101 - Have you lost your head? has a table that lists the filter size that is needed. You can go bigger than what is in the table. For DE and cartridge filters it seems that people recommend getting about double the area that is in that table.
    4. If you have no water features that require high flow get a 1 hp two speed pump, something like a SuperPump, SuperFlo, MaxFlo, or FloPro, but not a WhisperFlo. I think your electricity rate is low, so a variable speed pump will not pay back the additional upfront cost. Run the pump on low except when vacuuming or back-washing.
    5. Bigger pipe will have less head loss, so 2" is better. But 1.5" will work.
    14k gal IG vinyl, Jandy Flopro 1 hp up-rated, 2 spd pump, Hayward 325 sq ft cartridge filter, Circupool Si-40 SWCG

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    Thank you, Sargent. In looking at the 2 speed pumps you mentioned, they say they are for different sized connections (1.5" or 2"-2.5", for example.) Is it the size of the pump's connections that determines the size of the PVC pipe you use in all the plumbing? So if I want to use 2" PVC then I have to pick a pump that fits with that size?

    I also read through that very thorough but heady hydraulics post you linked to. I'm sure it has all the information I need, but it was a little much for my poor brain to take in all at once! I'm sure my husband will be able to make more of it. And maybe when we get the particulars of our pool narrowed down, I can ask some pointed questions in the right forum to get more specific answers.

    Thanks again for your help.
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    My 1hp two-speed Jandy FloPro pump came with union connections that work with 2" or 2-1/2" pipe. For 2" you slip the pipe inside the union, and for 2-1/2" you slide the fitting inside the pipe. I used 2" pipe.

    Here is what I believe to be the case for the rest of the pumps:
    The Hayward MaxFlo and Pentair SuperFlo come with unions that will work with either 1-1/2" or 2" pipe. For 2" you slip the fitting inside the pipe.
    I don't think the Hayward SuperPump comes with unions. I think it is made for 1-1/2" pipe, but you can use an adapter to get to 2".

    It looks like your pool volume will be around 25,000-30,000 gallons, depending on what size you settle on. For a 30,000 gallon pool a sand filter should have a filtration area of at least 6.31 sq ft. So you might want to look at the Pentair TR140 filter or a Hayward S360T2. Both of those have an area of 7.06 sq ft.
    14k gal IG vinyl, Jandy Flopro 1 hp up-rated, 2 spd pump, Hayward 325 sq ft cartridge filter, Circupool Si-40 SWCG

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    Is there a specific reason you want a sand filter? They are the most convenient in that you don't have to clean cartridges or use DE to keep them running properly but they do "waste" more water and generally don't filter particles as fine as DE or cartridge filters. Check out this article in Pool School Pool Filter Comparison before you decide for sure. There are advantages for all types as well as disadvantages but knowing them upfront will make you happier in the end.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    We spent about $2000 on excavation it was half that before we hit rock. I found that once you found one sub they have contacts that do others. We went with steel walls, they may rust some over the years but have been used for decades and have held up well.


    18x36 Vinyl, sports depth, 8' Roman steps at each end. Hayward 1.5hp 2speed pump, catridge filter, 2 skimmers, no main drain, 3 SR Smith Treo LED lights

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    Thanks for the further explanation, Sargent. I'm still figuring all this out, but you've given me some good direction.
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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    Re: Vinyl Liner Pool kit questions. Please help!

    Hi JVTrain... Awhile back I had read the article you mention, and the convenience of the sand filter appealed to me. I should probably do some more thorough research though, especially into how much the "wasted" water would be costing us in back washing. Thanks for pointing out the article though. I should revisit it, and have my husband read it too so we can see what we think of all the options.

    Sseaman, I appreciate your letting me know the cost of your dig with rock. It looks as if mine might work out to be similar if I go with the excavator I recently spoke with. Nothing is in writing yet, but hearing about the rock situation over the phone, he said he could do the dig for $1800 flat rate, or $80 per hour, whichever works out cheaper for us. I like the idea of not having a huge price increase potential. The one other company I talked with was talking $2500 base rate for 7 hours then $300/hour after that. Ouch!
    28,000 gallon freeform, Stonescapes Tropics Blue Minipebble with abalone, 3.5' to 8.5' depth. 2 skimmers, 5 returns, dedicated vacuum port, Dolphin Z5 robot. All Pentair equip: EasyTouch 8, IC60 SWG, VS pump, 520 Cartridge Filter, 3 Intellibrites, 2 Color Cascade Bubblers. TurboTwister Slide and 8' Salt System Jump Board. TF-100. My Jan-Mar 2016 build:
    Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!!

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