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Thread: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

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    First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Hello everyone. I am in the planning stages of building my own pool in Dallas and figured now is as good a time as any to get a build thread going. We actually don't even own the house yet, but are currently pending so fingers crossed everything will work out because the new house lends itself perfectly to a pool.

    A little bit of background first - my wife and I both grew up with pools and love escaping to them in the hot Texas summers, but our last two homes either didn't make sense economically or were too difficult of terrain to be able to build. We are in the middle of moving to a new house and it is a larger, flat lot with great access so we came to the decision that it is time to finally get a pool! We have a 1 year old girl and hope to have another child or two in the future so we will be looking at making this inaccessible for her without supervision.

    I am a construction manager for a custom home builder so I have the added benefit of having relationships with a few superintendents for some of the largest PBs in the area. I approached one of them about building the pool myself and he said he would be happy to give me a list of subs. I told him I would pay him a consulting fee for his help, but I'm not entirely sure how much to give to make it worth his while so he doesn't feel I'm taking advantage of him. Any thoughts here?

    Onto the fun stuff. Here are pictures of what we're working with:

    Pool Location:
    backyard.jpg

    Existing Deck:
    deck.jpg

    We have about 47' deep by 32' wide from the existing deck to the back fence and from the garage to the side fence. I'd like to keep a lot of the existing landscape so effectively we've got about 22' of width to work with.

    We both prefer the more traditional style versus freeform, which lends itself well to this space since it is a rectangle already. Current plan is to demo the existing deck and make it whatever decking material we choose. I have a contractor who can do travertine pavers for a pretty good price, but that might change depending on how much decking the design ends up incorporating.

    I'm still in the process of choosing equipment and finalizing the design and will share those once they're complete. Currently leaning towards a spa near the house with an adjacent sunbathing deck, a shallow end for volleyball/basketball, and maybe a deep end for jumping but haven't been able to figure out how that would work with the length limitations so it might end up being a sport pool depth. Current plans for dimensions are 18'x40'. There is a side yard that is about 25'x20' that we can preserve for green space so we can use up a lot of this existing space.

    I look forward to updating this as progress is made and welcome any suggestions!

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Dock,

    Welcome to TFP... A Great place for all your pool questions...

    Thanks for posting and good luck with your upcoming build...

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Caldera Spa.

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Greetings, Dock Ellis. I'm contemplating doing the same down here in Houston. Looking forward to your posts.

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    The first thing you'll need to do is cut that big tree down. You'll take a huge chunk of the root system when you dig the pool so budget a grand for removal off the bat. Be sure to verify your set-backs with the local municipality before you get too far into your planning. Are your utilities overhead or underground. Where are the services to the house coming from?
    17' x 30' rectangle pool, two 7' x 7' baja decks, 6' x 8' raised spa. Hayward 2HP VSP for features, filter and returns. 2HP single speed for 9 spa jets. 1HP blower for spa bubbles. In-Floor cleaning, Cartridge filter, AquaConnect automation, 400K BTU NG heater. Plaster is Stonescapes mini-pebble in Aqua Blue + abalone shell TF-100 Text from Neighbor -- They're digging your pool!

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Thanks for the responses so far!

    BigE, I had thought of the removal but forgot to budget so thanks for the heads up. It is a pecan tree. There is actually another pecan tree beside the existing deck that I am hopeful I'll be able to spare but I will ask the arborist when they come out to see what they think. Utilities should be good - there is an overhead line in the alley but luckily it is across the alley from us and there is a 10' setback from there so I should be covered on that aspect. The gas meter is behind the fence where the white post is on the first picture, and it comes into the house on that side so I am hopeful it is run right along the side of the garage where I'm planning on keeping the shrubs. Electrical enters on the other side of the garage so hopefully no issues there. I do plan on having USIC come out and do a locate though prior to everything.

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Don't forget sewer and water. Utility locaters usually don't include these when they stake. Also check on whether or not you have a restriction on impervious improvements as a percentatge of your lot size. You'll also want to consider drainage. Not just yours but any overland flows from adjacent properties. Usually these are identified as drainage easements on your plat. Lots to consider . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Dock Ellis View Post
    Thanks for the responses so far!

    BigE, I had thought of the removal but forgot to budget so thanks for the heads up. It is a pecan tree. There is actually another pecan tree beside the existing deck that I am hopeful I'll be able to spare but I will ask the arborist when they come out to see what they think. Utilities should be good - there is an overhead line in the alley but luckily it is across the alley from us and there is a 10' setback from there so I should be covered on that aspect. The gas meter is behind the fence where the white post is on the first picture, and it comes into the house on that side so I am hopeful it is run right along the side of the garage where I'm planning on keeping the shrubs. Electrical enters on the other side of the garage so hopefully no issues there. I do plan on having USIC come out and do a locate though prior to everything.
    17' x 30' rectangle pool, two 7' x 7' baja decks, 6' x 8' raised spa. Hayward 2HP VSP for features, filter and returns. 2HP single speed for 9 spa jets. 1HP blower for spa bubbles. In-Floor cleaning, Cartridge filter, AquaConnect automation, 400K BTU NG heater. Plaster is Stonescapes mini-pebble in Aqua Blue + abalone shell TF-100 Text from Neighbor -- They're digging your pool!

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Good luck! I am in the middle of an OB, also in the Dallas area. I thought about finding someone I could pay a small fee to consult, but after all the advice I get from this forum as well as a buddy who built his own, I went ahead and dove in (no pun intended). Although, if the price is right, a consultant may be worth the peace of mind. The process has been great up to this point. Was able to get an excavator who was digging a neighbors pool, found a company that did steel, plumbing and electric and a gunite company (referred from this forum) and just hired a tile and coping company. Bought tile and coping today and hope to have it installed early next week. You can also get great equipment deals on line (I used poolsupplyworld.com).

    Yard looks great!
    Owner Build in DFW - In-ground 13,500 gallons. Jandy 2 HP Variable Speed, Zodiac 1.5 HP Blower.Hayward 400 DP Propane Heater, Polaris Vac-Sweep 360, Pentair Quad 60 DE Cartridge Style Filter, Micro Fusion Pebble, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Thanks for all of the responses so far. Lots to think about.

    I need the help of TFP to spend my money, but in a responsible way! Budget is $40-50k so I am trying to temper my expectations (most of the pools we put in run from $70-130k. There is even an $800k pool in the community if you can believe that, the entire thing is glass tile).

    The two styles we are looking at are:

    Style 1:
    pool1.jpg
    I would basically copy this design but the view from the picture would be from the back fence looking towards the house (spa close to house). I would also remove the fountain on the right and obviously no cabana either. I think I can save some money on the pavers and go with a cheaper finish perhaps. I know this pool was around $135k but has a lot more decking, more extras that won't be necessary on the equipment side, and the cabana. Without those I'm estimating it would have been around $75-85k, which at around 30% profit would bring it close to the high end of my budget. The pool is 15'x32' not including the baja deck.

    Style 2 (inspiration from Summerhill Pools):
    summerhill2.jpg
    Wife wants a raised spa so that would be the only difference with this one. I think I could save some money on concrete decking costs with turf in between and the design is obviously more simple. If we stay modest on our tile and coping I think I could be around the low end of the budget. For this design we would probably do 18'x36' with a traditional depth profile from 4' - 7', with 3 LED lights (2 pool, 1 sauna) and 2 LED bubblers on the sun deck.

    I guess my main question is do you think these numbers are doable with Pentair equipment with automation? I should have a survey tomorrow so I can work on getting it imported to Pool Studio and have a design hopefully this week. Then I can focus more on materials and getting bids.

    Also, as always I am completely open to any suggestions on ways to hit my budget or any other designs I might be overlooking. Our main requirements are an attached spa (sorry Matt), a sun deck, and a small waterfall from the sauna to the pool in that order.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    If you install the equipment it is a one year warranty VS 3 years if a licensed electrocution does the work. Make sure to check with the maker of the equipment to make sure.

    I like both designs. I am hoping the turf is artificial as I would HATE to have to cut and care for real grass that close to the pool. You cannot go wrong with either one of them.

    I will try to keep the BLING under control LOL.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Dock, I definitely think that it's doable in your price range! The thing I would encourage you to do is before you shortchange your design for what you "think" would be cheaper is to design your dream pool within reason and start pricing it out ( I did the same thing and ended up adding a spa and automation and other extras). You will be surprised at the bids that come back and how they may be lower than what you think, then from there you can subtract things so it will make your build fall in your budget. Also know that if your doing and OB like myself you can ALWAYS negotiate the bids that come your way since you will be paying up front for the work once it's done. One piece of advice I received is DONT tell them your a cash buyer until AFTER you receive the bid that way you can go back and get a cash discount after you work their initial bid down.
    also on my build thread... the last post I described different bids I got and just as a point of intrest everything I asked for from the subs was top of the line. So I know there is even more wiggle room plus my bids didn't include the cash discounts subs offered me, it is a good starting and reference point. Unfortunately I don't know how to link my build or else I would post it here. Feel free to reach out to me for any questions
    Blessings

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Finally finalized my design and got permitted with the city. Does anyone see any potential pitfalls I'm missing? Currently getting bids, can't wait to get started!

    Pool Plan.jpg

    Not sure if this will show up or not. If not, here is a link to full size:

    https://goo.gl/photos/cPXapsFYEndG7Hnx8

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Can you go over the words and lines with a dark pen. I can see some of them but want to make sure I see all of them.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Anything for the bling queen!

    Close up.jpg

    Pool depth.jpg

    - - - Updated - - -

    Since I have the handwriting of an 8 year old, here is what I'm thinking:

    18'x36' with an 8'x8' 18" raised spa with overflow. The west side is raised 18" due to grade change in backyard, which I will likely wrap with stacked stone tile. That will have 3 sheer descents. 10'x7' sun deck at 9" water depth with 2 Pentair ColorCascade bubblers. Depth goes from 4'-8'.

    As of now I'm thinking 12x24" lueders limestone coping, travertine pavers for the decking, and haven't thought about waterline tile yet.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    That did it! THANKS! With my being a Kindergarten teacher I can read just about anyone's writing LOL including my own

    I like what I see so far. How many returns are you thinking and where?

    I would LOVE to pick out your waterline tile BLING to the max!! Glass, shiny, pretty!!!

    What about equipment? Any ideas yet?



    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Great design - looks good for the yard and has all the basics. I really like all of my Pentair equipment and I would never build one these days without the automation. I don't have a SWG, but have an ET8. That gives the two main valves to control Pool to Spa and Waterfall and it will operate two more valves, like your bubblers. If you need any more valve control I think you have to leave the "Easytouch" line and go to the Intellitouch where you choose what options you want in it. There is a documented way here on the site to add a relay and add one more automated valve control to an ET panel for a total of 5, but doesn't look like you need that with those plans. If you are already familiar with the panels and what you can and can't do to them that is good, if not and have questions I can answer some and lots of other good knowledge here on the site.

    In addition to valves the ET8 will give you 7 relays to turn things on and off with - lights, air for spa, cleaner pump, chemical pump, etc.
    Greg -
    11K gal, IG Pebble Sheen (Aqua Blue) with sun ledge and attached spa, Pentair Intelliflow 3050 VS/SVRS (3HP), Pentair ET 8 with Screen Logic, Pentair Racer with 3/4 HP booster pump, 400KBTU Pentair Mastertemp, Pentair 60 sq ft DE filter, J&J Intellibrite LED in spa, Zodiac Nature 2 (not used), Stenner pump/liquid Chlorine, build completed in August 2015

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    The Bling Queen!

    Oh Kim, I'm afraid that's gonna stick.
    TFP Moderator
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    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    The Bling Queen!

    Oh Kim, I'm afraid that's gonna stick.
    Oh believe me I have been called worse

    Kim (now where is my broom??)
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Love the large paver idea... instead of grass in-between, I would use mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus). It only grows about 4" high and you don't ever have to mow it. It is what is often used between pavers.
    15k IG gunite, built 1999, RiverBend Sandler, attached spa, Dolphin S200, Pentair Triton II sand filter, Wet Edge Prism Matrix in Constellation with extra ocean shells handcast, Pentair MasterTemp 400, my remodel

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Well, time to resurrect this one from the graveyard. The excavation (finally) got started this morning around 7:30. My father-in-law is there watching after everything while I work, look forward to getting some more pictures up tonight.

    Backyard Before.jpg

    Excavation 1.jpg
    36'x18' IG, SWCG, 4' - 8' depth, 18" raised bond beam, Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3HP main and feature pumps, 3 CMP 18" Sheer Descents, 2 IntelliBrite 5G color pool lights and 1 spa light, Pentair MasterTemp 400k BTU heater, Pentair CV Cartridge Filter 520sf, 2 Pentair ColorVision bubblers in 10'x7' sun deck, IntelliChem controller, EasyTouch 8 control panel

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    Re: First Time Owner Build in Dallas

    Looks good. Which subcontractors did you pick in DFW for Excavation, Plumbing, Steel, Gunite, etc?

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