I am a worrier. Period. I know that. We just signed on the loan for the pool, so we have the financing. Now comes the hard part - decisions. Reading horror story after horror story literally feeds this line of worry. A pool is not a car where if you have some problems, you get it running and trade it in (hopefully for an upgrade). We are planning an 18x36 free form liner pool with a tanning ledge. No other bells and whistles (just won't fit in the budget).
Our yard has a slope which concerns me. Adding a retaining wall can drive up the cost but I don't want it "built up" on the low side and then put in for the ground to settle. Neither have come and taken measurements yet. (Yet they are both drawing me specs - how in the heck does THAT work?)
We have narrowed our PB down to two. One is a local contractor. He did a friend's pool and it is gorgeous. She has had it 6 years with zero issue. He has done about 30 pools; mainly a residential builder. He installs Fox pools with Pentair equipment and I don't know how to explain how he does the plumbing, but there are no joints. He "heats" the pipe and curves it around the pool (no, not flex pipe - I asked). He didn't seem to knowledgeable on tanning ledge (said he would have to check) and I think he plans to just put a fiberglass tanning ledge as an attachment. Says he can cut the slope enough to make the ground level, cut the side and lay the decking in a way that will handle drainage. He does NOT have a contractor's license. But he seems meticulous, has been a builder for years and years, seems to have a good rep, and says he has never been sued. LLC is in good standing.
Other choice is a professional PB and that is all he does. Has put in 2000 pools in 30 years. Kafko pool with Hayward equipment. Says he is licensed and bonded but cannot find a contractor's license listed for him on the state.gov website. Will build a custom tile tanning ledge with bubblers (have seen pics of custom stone/rock work and it is beautiful). He didn't seem concerned with the slope - also said he could cut it out and that a retaining wall would not be necessary. Have found good reviews - one or two neutrals - no negatives. He put in a pool for another friend - wife LOVES it and says they were great (it is a gorgeous pool)/husband says they nickel and dimed them to death and he would never use them (I know - get EVERYTHING in writing). He seemed kind of lackadaisical, almost amused, by my questions. I wasn't sure whether to take it as, "I've done this 2000 times so I know what I'm doing" or "I am telling you the answer you are looking for." Again - a worrier - may have read too much into it. LLC has been "revoked."
I literally had a 7 page questionnaire about structure, electric, plumbing, equipment, etc. PB 1 couldn't answer some of my questions (have to get back with me) - PB 2 actually filled it out.
From day to day, I go back and forth over which one I am leaning toward. Is that normal? If so, why does ANYONE put themselves through the agony of pool building?
I have never owned a pool but from my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong), that as long as the installation is done correctly, the majority of problems incurred are owner related (not maintaining pool/equipment) or manufacturer problems with equipment. It is all that pesky stuff under the ground that I want to make sure is DONE RIGHT.
Should that freak me out that neither seem to have a contractor's license? Both claim to carry liability insurance/worker's comp/etc. (I know - I will get copies). Both are working on drawings for the description I have given but have not seen either yet, nor do do have final bid from either.
Do you see red flags or green lights?
Should I just buy a kiddie pool at WalMart and use the loan to remodel the house and put myself out of this misery?