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Thread: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Stepping out from the lurkers lounge, I would like to announce that we are starting the planning phase and beginning to interview perspective PBs. I would love your insights and lists of woulda/shoulda/coulda.

    We live in Amelia Island, Florida (north Florida - zone 9) with our five year old son. He's been in swimming lessons for two years and is a competent swimmer (and novice surfer!) so we're ready to start this pool phase. Our home is in a neighborhood, so we need to comply to HOA guidelines as well. So far, we have the following on our idea list:

    - approx 40 x 20 rectangular pool with faux stacked stone accent wall and waterfall
    (The stacked stone concept is to tie into the decor of our home)
    - attached hot tub (is that the right term?) with overflow waterfall
    - wading shelf on entry (6"-8" depth)
    - seating area in deep end
    - full screen enclosure
    - electrical/ pre-install to future outdoor kitchen area
    - no current plans for "kiddie" elements (slide,etc)
    - landscape screening for privacy to conform to HOA guidelines


    From reading the boards for the past month, I've found that I should strongly consider:
    - SWG, even if it means losing the "faux stone" look
    - mutliple Pentair systems to benefit from extended warranty
    - heating, particularly with the hot tub inside a screened enclosure
    - skimmer and main drain plumbed separately with cut-off valves


    Looking at my list through the lens of your past experiences, what additional items should I be considering? What woulda/shoulda/coulda items come to mind? Thanks in advance, all. CHEERS!!

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    Northrider23's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Hey txnole. Welcome to the forum. Looks like you've been doing some reading and that's a great start. What i had some difficulty with at first was comparing builders/pricing because everyone wanted to give me different, or their preferred equipment and options and obviously the price was very different. So we drew up a list with everything we wanted and which equipment we wanted and i made them all price my pool accordingly. About the faux stone & swg, there are saltwater sealers that you might be able to use if you want to keep the stone. We used all pentair equipment but I'm almost sure jandy and hayward also offer the extended warranty when buying multiple items (pump, filter, heater etc). One thing that we really like and glad we did is automation, but it does get pricey. Anyhow, I'm sure you will learn a ton from this site. Best of luck and keep us posted.

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Thanks, Northrider. Your pool looks great and we've shared your photos as one of our samples to our potential PBs.

    Great advice on the differing equipment brands/specs. We're seeing a bit of that right now and I appreciate your suggestion to have uniform bids. That will save some google time! Thank you for the tip!

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    I don't think your "faux stone" detail should preclude you getting an SWG. Depending on how the pool is designed, stone works perfectly well with a salt water pool. And, if your fastidious about cleaning and washing your stone-work, using stone sealants may not even be necessary (sealant products vary a lot by manufacturer and they can be just as much of a hassle as not using them and keeping your stone clean).

    As you can see from my signature, I'm a Pentair owner and I think they're system has been great overall. I find it very easy to use and it can be customized all the way from simple automation to complex Bluetooth/iPad automation.

    Some thoughts -

    Technically speaking, if the "hot tub" is attached to your pool, it is generally called an "attached spa" (makes it sound so snooty and high-brow!).

    If you've got nat-gas plumbed into the house, then definitely consider a gas water heater for the spa and pool and have the plumber/gas contractor run gas wherever you think you're going to need it. Gas runs can be expensive (> $15/ft) and most PBs only allow for a small allotment as part of the contract (typically less than 50 ft).

    I'm not a huge fan of slides, but the kids will go GAGA if you install one. There have been some pretty awesome custom ones built on this forum using natural stone and glass tiling (not some pre-built plastic job) and they can really enhance a pool build...but, as always, it'll cost ya!!

    Definitely do the skimmer and MDs separate (wish mine were that way).

    Cleaners - you forgot about this part unless you plan on vacuuming your pool yourself (bad idea, it gets really old, really fast!!). Lots of good electric robot choices out there if you have the money. I have a suction-side cleaner which just means an extra PVC run and three-way valve to the pump and I love my Kreepy Krauly. You'll find A LOT of passionate threads on this forum discussing in-floor systems. It's basically a bi-polar argument - people either love, love, LOVE their in-floor's or they HATE them with a passion. It's adds a big expense to the pool build but, if done right (and that's a big IF), they can be quite good at cleaning certain types of pools.

    Chemistry automation - if you go with a Pentair IC40 then I would seriously consider pairing it with an IntelliPH (muriatic acid feeder) as well. They're pretty cool and I wish I had an IntelliPH. Stay away from the IntelliChem systems that use ORP probes to control chlorine adjustments as the ORP technology is just too flaky right now and it will likely drive you nuts (sorry TFP INtelliChem users, but I have not heard many good things about ORP control).

    Pumps - if you're going to run the spa and pool off the same pump, try to get the plumber to agree not to use a blower (added expense and mostly unnecessary) but instead get a variable speed pump like a Pentair IntelliFlo VS. If the plumbing is done right, then blowers are almost totally unnecessary for spas. I would also run your waterfalls on a separate pump like a small WhisperFlo. That's the way I have it and I love that I have a dedicated pump for the water feature.

    Skimmers - make sure there are enough skimmers for the size of your pool and that they are positioned so that the prevailing winds blow TOWARDS them.

    Lights - Like in-floors, everyone seems to get passionate over lighting. I have a standard 500W halogen light in my pool and it is perfectly fine for me (I don't do much night swimming). Some folks will act like you are living in the stone-age if you don't have LED lights in your pool. LEDs are nice and they serve a purpose but I really feel the difference between LED versus Incandescent comes down to your own personal choices and circumstance...you'll be ok either way....

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Hi Txnole, we honeymooned on Amelia Island and have fond memories of the island. What a wonderful place to live.

    Your build sounds a lot like ours - geometric with spa, SWG, scupper wall, no faux rock, no slide. We decided to use glass tile on the scupper wall so we don't have to worry so much about the salt and stone. We are using a harder white stone called Tiramisu as accent on the scupper wall. We are installing an infloor cleaner instead of a robot but that is a fairly controversial decision around these parts

    Here is the link to my thread with all our specs. We just signed the contract. The only additional things we are adding now are auto lighters for the fire bowls and an acid dispenser to regulate pH.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...098#post718098

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Duplicate
    Last edited by aprillh; 08-19-2014 at 02:55 PM. Reason: Duplicate

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Have you decided to do a screened enclosure? Your post isn't specific...if you are, your cleaning needs will drastically decrease!
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Thanks, Sunny. There are some really great points there and I really appreciate you sharing. I wasn't aware of the intelliph unit, so that's definitely something to research. We've talked about robotic cleaners and we both agree that the robot should be the one working! I'm putting your entire post into my Evernote app!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks, April. I am subscribing to your post!

    - - - Updated - - -

    MELT - We are *definitely* doing a screened enclsoure. It's almost imperative here in Florida. While our bug situation isn't as bad here near the ocean as others, well... it's all relative. I'm really interested in your insights on the enclosure. Can you elaborate, please?

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    If I could do it again, I would avoid Jandy (Zodiac) equipment. They do extend the warranty if you own multiple pieces of their equipment but their customer service is horrible and their parts prices are extremely high. They are also very unwilling to help a homeowner diagnose a problem and will usually just tell you to call a pool professional. That's my 2 cents based upon my experiences and can't say if the other manufacturers are any different.
    Free-form concrete walls with vinyl liner, 18,000 gallon capacity, Jandy 1.5HP e-Pump, Jandy DEV48 DE filter (using cellulose media), Jandy AE2500 heat pump, Jandy Aqualink Power Center with 14-blade cell kit and Jandy PDA-P8 wireless control system.

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    I will second the automation. I love being able to control my filter, lights, and deck jets from my phone or IPad. Also, I know you mentioned stone, but if there is a decision for a concrete deck, I would suggest Pour-A-Lids for the skimmer tops. They are only about $60 and I think that they really add that finishing touch to a pool. Think about the placement of the equipment. I wanted mine out of sight so I put it under my deck. It is a bit louder than I realized it would be.

    And of course it goes without saying - A TF Tesk Kit!
    Steve ~16K IG Vinyl Pool, Hayward TriStar 1.5 hp, Hayward S244TE filter, Polaris 280 w/booster pump, Prologic PL-P-4, Hayward AquaConnect, 3 PAL LED lights, 3 Deck Jets, AquaComfort ACT 1100 heater and TF-100 Test Kit with SpeedStir.

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    OK. I'm definitely going to have to look into the automation. It doesn't seem that much more expensive, but we might wan to splurge in a few other areas. Can the automation peice be added after the fact?

    Also, for any that are still selecting pool builders, may I suggest this very nice guide: 15 Questions to Ask Any Pool Builder Before Signing a Contract

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    I can only speak for the Hayward equipment, but yes it can be added after the fact. I can also be found cheaper than getting it from the PB.
    Steve ~16K IG Vinyl Pool, Hayward TriStar 1.5 hp, Hayward S244TE filter, Polaris 280 w/booster pump, Prologic PL-P-4, Hayward AquaConnect, 3 PAL LED lights, 3 Deck Jets, AquaComfort ACT 1100 heater and TF-100 Test Kit with SpeedStir.

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    Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Pentair automation can be a bit tricky because there are different order options depending on what you want to do. If you think you'll start small and expand in the future, then you need to make sure you order the right Power-center panel with the correct "personality" option to it so that you can build on it. If you start with just their basic automation panel, you may not be able to build out from it. If your PB is a Pentair certified installer, they'll know how to spec the order so that you can have room to grow.




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    Readyforapool's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    LED lights and any decking other than brushed concrete.
    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

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Throwing this out there. Solar for heating with Heat pump back up. Electricity rates are cheap in Florida get a 2-speed pump. I recommend going with a SWCG it beats lugging chlorine. Robotic pool cleaner. Since it's covered your cleaning load will be easy. Get a shower outside by the pool, or if you got the extra money a half bath outside the main house.
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Wow. That suggestion for a half-bath just blew my mind. We absolutely need to do that! Thanks!

    For heating, the PBs are all over the board. One suggested a heat pump, two suggested placing a propane tank underground and going with gas heat. I actually like the idea of LP, as it would give us options to do a built-in fire pit. Solar plus electric? We have a great, southern-facing roof pitch.

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    We are in pretty much the same phase as you right now, still working out bids with contractors. So I don't have any woulda/coulda/shoulda for you (although I'm really interested in this thread for obvious reasons), I know that in past threads of this nature one thing that was always brought up was more decking. Apparently after it is all said and done, no one ever says, "Man we poured too much decking." So keep that in mind as well.

    I'm sure in a few months I'll have a few, "Man I wish I would've known XYZ."

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    bobodaclown's Avatar
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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    The half bath outside is what me and the wife have considered adding. We had a couple of pool parties and it would have come in nice. Now we've got twins, so in a few years we'll be biting the bullet and adding one. I wish I could talk the wife into screening it in. Here in central Florida once the sun goes down and the bugs come out it buffet in the pool for those buggers.

    We bought our house with the pool. I added the SWCG and 2-speed motor to existing pump. Looking to add the half bath in a few years then maybe screen it after that, oh and the Solar. (Right now we use the heat pump to extend the season about a month on each end.)
    17K Kidney Shaped Pool Concrete (Diamond Bright) Pool, 3/4 hp 2 speed 115V Sta-rite Duraglas PEA5D-180L/P2R5D-181L (Impeller C105-92PS Diffuser C1-216P), 1.5 piping, Pentair CC100 Filter , Heat Siphon 100K BTU Heat Pump Pool Heater, Flow meter Blue White Flowmeter Model No. F-30150P, Hayward Astrolight SP0581N, SWCG CalimarTitanium Edition TE45 , Dolphin Nautilus Plus with CleverClean, Lakeland Florida

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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    My one problem with outdoor showers and outdoor bathrooms is that they are just another "thing" to clean and maintain. And let's face it, if the half bathroom is detached from the house and out by the pool, then it becomes "out of sight, out of mind". Next thing you know, it's a roach and spider pavilion.

    Save yourselves the expense and just tell the boys to go "water" the plants when they have to use the potty. As for girls, well, I guess the bathroom burden is just the price you pay for being the fairer and lovelier gender



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    Re: Planning Stage - Need your woulda/shoulda/coulda

    Or another option is what we are doing. We have an existing half bath on an exterior wall leading into our backyard with a window. We are removing the window and adding a door. So swimmers will have direct access to a bathroom without going through the house. And we still have the same number of bathrooms to maintain. Of course this option won't be available to many, but might could with a few.

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