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Thread: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

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    deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    As we're nearing the end of this project, I thought I'd post a chronology of my build so we can all either delight together in its successful completion...or you can all soothe my battered soul when the shell collapses into a gaping hole leading straight to you know where.

    It might take me a day or so to get all posts up to where we stand right now, so bear with me.
    ____________________________

    Late Summer, 2008

    We started out the way most of us do, getting bids from respected local builders (and a couple nationals for good measure) based on an 800 square foot IG pool with attached spa. Prices were pretty consistent across bids, averaging about $60,000. Being dealhunters naturally skeptical about middlemen, we looked into building on our own. Neighbors one block over were also looking at pools and were in touch with a guy who proposed to help them owner build, so we 'signed on' with him to help us do layout and some of our labor.

    We wanted to use our original budget, so the pool size and features list expanded to fill that $60,000 (now including fence and the patio). We 'upgraded' to a 1000 square foot design painstakingly developed over a few months of hand-wringing and measuring. Thank gawd for Google Sketchup. I upgraded equipment, expanded decking and added a sun shelf and 25' of bench seating in the shallow end. We enlarged the spa to 9 feet.

    [center:3h0f7vn6][/center:3h0f7vn6]

    At this point we were trusting our layout guy more than we should have. Don't get me wrong...he has done a good job helping us...but I left too many crucial decisions in his hands due to my lack of knowledge on design. He also subbed some of the work on my patio and grading to another guy who messed almost all of his jobs up. That's a different post for a different day.

    We marked out the pool location, pulled permits and got to work.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    September, 2008

    Excavation went well, the skill of the crew in hand shaping the pool was fun to watch. The finesse of the guy running the trackhoe was amazing, too.

    [center:wy49kyvk][/center:wy49kyvk]

    The crew was polite and professional, and I would use them again. One mistake was made during excavation though, which you can see in this picture:

    [center:wy49kyvk][/center:wy49kyvk]

    The spa was marked too large while doing layout, so a second "inner" mark was made. The rightmost circle is the spa, and the innermost marking is the correct one. The trackhoe guy never got the message, and therefore he dug to the outer line making the spa foot too wide. This was not caught until the rebar was being placed. Nothing you can do...now we had a 10' spa. Cost for excavation and stone base: $4,100 (all costs are rounded)

    [center:wy49kyvk][/center:wy49kyvk]

    Rebar went in and shell plumbing went in.

    [center:wy49kyvk][/center:wy49kyvk]

    Looking at these pictures I see things I don't like now that I didn't know then…but again, once you pass a particular point, there's no going back without a huge expenditure and the issues are minor. Cost for rebar, shell plumbing and labor: $4,000.

    My electrician set conduit for the lights and bonded rebar for pre-shoot inspection. Cost: $1,000.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    October, 2008

    Next was the shell. This crew was also fun to watch, but was very unprofessional (foul language...loud...obscene gestures with the hoses while my kids were watching…). I would use them again but only after a talk with the owner. Cost: $11,800.

    [center:wylgy0qk][/center:wylgy0qk]

    The shell was the last step we had planned to do before winter. We popped the drain plugs in and filled with water to the break. I'm glad we stopped here because all I did over the winter months was research pool building. I came out far more knowledgable by the time we started work again. My layout guy wanted me to have all equipment ordered by November, but I'm glad I waited, did my research and bought online.

    [center:wylgy0qk][/center:wylgy0qk]
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    March, 2009

    Starting again in the new year was like starting a new project. I put my layout guy in more of a consulting role and took over getting subs and handling technical issues. Work was slower, but more deliberate and better thought out.

    We brought in a highly recommended mason to tile the pool and spa and set thermal cut bluestone coping on the spa wall. His price was on the high side of reasonable, but his work was excellent. Cost for tile and spa wall coping: $3,600.

    [center:2q256esn][/center:2q256esn]


    [center:2q256esn][/center:2q256esn]

    We did find that an area of the pool tile grouting was suffering from shrinkage cracks a few days after installation, so I called him and he was out no questions asked to repair.

    [center:2q256esn][/center:2q256esn]
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    April, 2009

    The mason gave me the name of a decking contractor he thought was excellent, so I had him come out and bid the job. He was competitive with the person my layout guy lined up, so we cancelled the former and hired the latter. I was wary of any sub the layout guy suggested.

    By this point our budgets were looking very strained. I had no equipment ordered yet as I was still researching and calling manufacturers. I knew I had to scale back somewhere, so we tried to redesign the deck to save some money.

    [center:3d9rnv15][/center:3d9rnv15]

    I moved some of the 'lobes' of the decking and eventually got to a more usable design while removing about 200 square feet. In a future phase I plan to create small offshoots of the deck using brick, and this 200 sq ft loss will be regained and then some.

    The deck pour happened on a day that ended up being cooler than expected, so work started briskly and then came to a standstill as we waited for the mix to set. We opted to go with a standard brushed cantilevered deck because we really liked it in our last pool, and the cost was towards the lower end of our options.

    [center:3d9rnv15][/center:3d9rnv15]

    We did have the concrete colored with an integral dye, and my opinion on the end result is mixed. We have a few small sections where the finish seems lighter then other parts, and the overall color turned out blotchier and lighter than expected. The contractor came back and said it was normal, so I have to follow up on that.

    [center:3d9rnv15][/center:3d9rnv15]

    If I could go back I'd probably go with a standard concrete, but as the deck ages and once I have actual landscaping, my opinion might change. I also plan on sealing it, which will also darken the deck a little.

    The deck crew was very professional and worked harder than any other crew I've seen. They even kept busy while the deck was setting by cleaning up around the pool, making pavers for me from the mix leftover (I cut Sonotube into 4" rings and they filled and floated them for me), re-leveling walkways long since buckled by dump trucks and digging equipment...and even cleaning out the dye buckets so my kids could use them for projects. Cost for 1000 sq ft of decking: $7,200.

    [center:3d9rnv15][/center:3d9rnv15]
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    April, 2009

    Most people in Eastern PA use a local pool equipment distributor just north of Philly. While their high volume item prices are competitive, the equipment I wanted were lower volume sales, so I did my larger purchases online. My final major equipment list is as follows:

    Jandy 2.0 HP ePump
    Jandy DEV60 DE filter w/multiport valve
    Jandy Lxi 400k btu heater
    Jandy WaterColors pool and spa lights
    Polaris (now Jandy?) 1.5 QT blower
    Jandy PS-8 controller w/subpanel power center
    8 gallon Liquidator
    4x jandy 3 way neverlube valves
    1x jandy check valve

    Cost for the above, shipped from California: $6,700.
    [center:35ej21xg][/center:35ej21xg]


    In order to save some money I decided to finish the plumbing myself. I was obsessing with efficiency, but TFP users steered me to a more practical outlook when I couldn't easily find 2" sweep els. I did decide to use some sched40 conduit els before and after the heater, more as an experiment than useful efficiency.

    Cost for els, sweeps, primer, glue and ball valve: $50.

    I did have an issue building the spa bypass portion of the plumbing. Being relatively inexperienced, I built this assembly in the wrong order and made my last fit difficult. In measuring the final piece, I miscalculated and made the pipe too short. I primed, glued and set the pipe, and realized I had made it about a half inch too short, leaving too little pipe in the valve sleeve. This would be marginally passable in a DWV situation, but was not going to work under pressure. I had to redo it. Luckily, I could cut the bad section out and replumb the valves with 2.5" pipe. It was hard to find those adaptors locally. Cost to fix: $20.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    Wow! Looks really good!

    You deck looks nice too. I dont think it matters how good the concrete guys are, its still a **** shoot on the color mix sometimes. I was going with the colored stamped concrete, but went with pavers and stone coping instead.

    One other thing. Was 100 sq ft at $7200 correct? That is REALLY expensive if thats correct. I've never seen colored concrete or stamped and colored for that matter much over $13-14 a sq foot. You paid $72 a foot? Tell me thats a typo!

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    Sorry...typo fixed.

    Yes, 1000 sq ft of deck at $5.50 per sq ft plus $7 per linear foot for cantilever and a charge for bonding grid.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    WHEWWW!!! Thats more like it. Ok, much more resonable!

    Pavers run about $20 installed, depending on the cuts. I had custom cut stone cantaliver coping installed for about $35 a lineal foot, which actually wast that bad i thought.
    Again, nice pool.
    BTW, ever think about salt water instead of a liquidator?

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    We decided against a chlorine generator for a few reasons...

    • We don't like the feel of salted water[/*:m:1ij5ewng]
    • Concerns over corrosion[/*:m:1ij5ewng]
    • Desire to reduce energy consumption rather than add it it[/*:m:1ij5ewng]


    The latter two are certainly debatable (how much energy is consumed transporting bleach?), but the former is not. We like the crisper feel of a non-salt pool.

    We actually have all of the Jandy SWG equipment (controls, power, etc) save for the cell thanks to a mix-up at the supplier. They sent us the Aquapure subpanel rather than the standard Aqualink and wrote it off rather than have it shipped back. So we could switch to SWG cheaply and easily if we wanted to.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  11. Back To Top    #11
    orthofish's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
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    Northern Middle Tn.
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    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    Dean, that is a beautiful pool.
    More pics please.
    Lynn

    16x38 FG, 20,400G, 1HP/2sp Tristar pump, Hayward 425sq ft cart. filter, Pro Logic4, SWCG, 3 returns, 2 main drains, 1 skimmer, 4 Pentair deck jets, Hayward Phantom pressure cleaner/booster pump, TF-100 of course :-)orthofish-s-pool-build-finally-t13179.html

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
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    Location
    West Virginia
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    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    I love how you put your names and prints in the concrete. And the paw prints at the end. SO cute! What a nice pool!
    WV Girl

    Custom "L" shape IG gunite pool, 36K gal., main drain, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, hayward heat pump, hayward 1.5hp pump with booster pump, ozonator, 4 cartridge filter.
    one dear hubby, two waterlogged kids, and lots of good times!

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    May, 2009

    I had my electrician run 240v/100a power from my house panel to the subpanel location. It was a pretty long run, so it wasn't cheap. Cost: $1,400.

    One thing missing from the equation at this point is gas for the heater. While I did find a gas line coming in to the house, it wasn't even on the utilities records. It had been dormant for at least 50 years and was too small to feed the heater. I have to get a new gas line run and a meter installed. Estimated cost: $2100.

    The gas company only runs lines to the meter, so I have to get a plumber in to run the line from the new meter to the heater. Cost: $600

    I also saved money by doing all electrical from subpanel to equipment and the associated low voltage control wiring. I mounted the subpanel on Kindorf unistrut and plan to place a low voltage junction and switched outdoor light with it once the pool is done and inspections are over. Cost for the steel, wire, conduit and terminators: $175.

    I installed the Aqualink and started the system up to set up and program. Was pretty simple, most people could do this themselves.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    June, 2009

    Plaster was set to be done a few days ago, but the weekend before I found a major issue. The skimmer line would not hold pressure. In honesty, it wouldn't even build pressure. I called the layout guy who did the plumbing and he came out to look. Not good. We ran water into the skimmers and it wouldn't hold. Water was bubbling up into the main drains from the stone bed below.

    So he set to work on digging out under the deck around the skimmers, chipping away the concrete surrounding them, and hooking up a new line to the pad.

    [center:3prycdlo][/center:3prycdlo]

    Lots of hard, dirty work, but he got it done in about 4 days. We now have the skimmers plumbed around the pool rather than under, which I prefer anyway.

    Since it was still possible to plaster even with the above issue, we did not cancel the plasterers. They arrived early on a cloudy Tuesday morning to start work, and just as they mixed their first batch of Diamond Brite, the rain started. Panic!

    [center:3prycdlo][/center:3prycdlo]

    They grabbed plastic and covered the spa while doing the work, hoping the rain will stop and the forecast would improve. The rain abated, they uncovered the spa and filled it up.

    [center:3prycdlo][/center:3prycdlo]

    Given the impending rain, I discussed the situation with the foreman. He said my pool was too big to cover, so he couldn't plaster while it rained.but he could get it done in 4 hours so if rain held off while he worked, they would be fine. However.he stressed that once he left, if anything happened to the plaster, it was out of his hands. The possibilities? If the rain was "dirty", we could get a ring. If the rain pulled contaminants or colorant from the deck or tile, we could get streaks. If the rain was harsh, we could get streaking and washouts on the bowl. Since we were filling via hose (no money left over for trucked in water!), we'd need a safe, rain-free period of at least 36 hours.

    We decided to stop work and find a better day. The crew left, handed me back my check until they could finish and we rescheduled for Thursday. That still looked rainy, but at least I wasn't getting bumped long and could try again.

    But at least the spa was done...
    [center:3prycdlo][/center:3prycdlo]

    Thursday came and it was pouring. I called the plasterer and left them a message not to even attempt to work today. They showed up anyway...and after a few frantic phone calls from my wife we sent them packing again. This time they got angry and told us they were not coming back for three weeks!

    After some very unpleasant phone calls I got them to reschedule us for next Monday. Of course that looks rainy as well...but what can you do. I'll update everyone then...
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    June 16, 2009

    Plasterers are back today and of course strong thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon. I'm afraid if I turn them away today they will never come back, so we're taking the gamble.

    I'm stuck at work until 11am, then I can go back and check up on things. I'll grab some pics and update then.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  16. Back To Top    #16
    dattia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    West Chester, PA
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    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    WOW! What a project... of course, it is going to be amazing when it is finished! Hmmm... Bethlehem is only about an hour from me.
    27' round AG
    Hayward Matrix 1 1/2 HP Pump
    Hayward S210T Sand Filter

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
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    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    WOW looks great! Can't wait to see the rest.
    FG Leisure Riviera Pool 30X15, 14 300 gallons, Sta-Rite 3/4 HP, Aqua Rite SWG, Kreepy Krawly.
    Beachcomber 360 Hottub, 345 gallons, UV Sanitization System.

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    Quote Originally Posted by deanrinehart
    March, 2009

    Starting again in the new year was like starting a new project. I put my layout guy in more of a consulting role and took over getting subs and handling technical issues. Work was slower, but more deliberate and better thought out.

    We brought in a highly recommended mason to tile the pool and spa and set thermal cut bluestone coping on the spa wall. His price was on the high side of reasonable, but his work was excellent. Cost for tile and spa wall coping: $3,600.

    [center:1jiv1ewc][/center:1jiv1ewc]


    [center:1jiv1ewc][/center:1jiv1ewc]

    We did find that an area of the pool tile grouting was suffering from shrinkage cracks a few days after installation, so I called him and he was out no questions asked to repair.

    [center:1jiv1ewc][/center:1jiv1ewc]
    Is that Belos Masonry? Mike did our pool last year and they were great. If that is him
    18K gallon IG pool and separate 1200 Gallon IG spa - Both have: Diamond Brite Plaster- Hayward DE Filter -Propane heater- renovated 8/2008

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    Yup...Mike Carabello. I have referred him to other people looking for tile/coping and none have been disappointed.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: deanrinehart's Bethlehem, PA IG Build

    June 15, 2009

    So plastering is almost done...just got this pic from my wife hovering over the site from a third floor window.

    [center:9s5u52ia][/center:9s5u52ia]

    You can see the three starfish tiles on the sun shelf and the tile diamond on the shallow end marking 15 meters directly opposite the pool light for laps. Between the main drains is a shell tile for the kids to dive for.

    Also visible is the new line to the skimmers that replaced the broken one somewhere under the shell.

    I got the light out for the plasterers and noticed that it's the wrong one. I'll have to install the light myself once I get the right one. Also found out the diving board stand I ordered to replace the white one my layout guy bought won't get here until tomorrow. Sheesh.

    Next they move the spa water to the main pool, fix an issue with the spa floor plaster and then the 3 hose fill starts. Hope to have the pool filled by bedtime tomorrow if all goes well.

    Looming to the NW is a storm, poised to hit us around 6pm. By then I'll be home to fight the elements and cover the sun shelf. I'll let you know how that goes.
    Owner built 32,000g Diamond Brite IGP with 1,300g spa, Jandy 2.0hp ePump, DEV60 filter, LXi 400k btu NG heater, PS-8 control, QT 1.5hp blower, WaterColors, Liquidator, PoolBlaster, Blue Diamond

    Lehigh Custom Pools

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