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Thread: What would you do differently, if you could?

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    What would you do differently, if you could?

    Hi Everyone, three questions:

    I am getting ready to start my pool build in Atlanta next week and wanted to confirm a few things, you all are great experts.

    Based on the design (see below) I've received feedback from friends and others on this site to add another skimmer and 3 more returns.

    Question 1) should I also add another pump for the Spa and Bubblers? The PB told me that I would use the same pump but I just couldn't run the Spa and Bubblers at the same time.

    Question 2) since many of you have already completed your pools, I'm interested to know what you would have done differently if you could - so some friendly advice that I should consider before they start digging.

    Question 3) I'm not sure about the Flagstone coping - does anyone have a recommendation that is about the same price?

    Thanks much!

    3-D images are on this site: http://www.backyardtracks.net

    SPECS:
    Size, 16'5" x 32'
    Shape, Irreg Freeform
    Approximate Sq Ft of Pool, 426 Sq Ft
    Approximate Perimeter of Pool, 84'
    Depth of Pool, 3' - 6'
    Skimmer(s), 1
    Pump Size, Pentair Intelliflow 4x160
    Filter, Pentair Quad 60 DE
    Pentair Pool & Spa Controller, EasyTouch ICP (Indoor Control Panel) for 8 circuit systems, Built in Timing, Control & Freeze Protection, EasyTouch Wireless Controller for 8 circuit system
    Salt Chlorinator, Pentair IntelliChlor Salt Chlorinator
    Pool & Spa Heater, Pentiar MasterTemp 400k BTU Natural Gas Heater, Sufficient gas line from gas meter
    Pool Returns, 3
    Electronic Ignition Natural Gas Heater, 1
    Pool Cleaner, Pentair Legend Platinum, Pentair Booster Pump for cleaner
    Bubblers, 2 Foam Jets in Tanning Self with actuator to remote
    Coping, 136 linear feet of Oklahoma Flagstone
    Plaster, Pebble-Tec, Blue Granite
    6" Waterline Tile, NPT Pool Tile - Sierra Mountain Azule: SMS Azule
    Decking, 911 sq ft - Mortex Kool Deck – Color TBD

    Pool to also include:
    Shot-crete - 4000 PSI
    Steel Rebar Basket Tied On 12" Centers - 6" Centers Over 6' In Depth
    1 - White Pool Lights, Pentair Amerlite White 500w Pool Light
    1 Set Of Entry Steps, Tanning Shelf, 2 Benches in deep end
    Plumbing and Permits, electrical
    Maintenance Equipment; Telescoping Pole, Brush, Leaf Net and Test Kit

    Spa Specfications:
    7' Raised Spa with Overflow into pool
    6 Spa Jets Waterway Adjustable
    2 Main Drains
    1.5 HP Air Blower, Polaris QT Spa Blower
    1 - 100 Watt Spa Light
    Tile To Match Pool
    2001 model 16'x26'x52" AG, buried 2 feet
    pentair sand filter
    WaterCo pump w/2 speed motor
    Intex SWG

  2. Back To Top    #2
    DaveNJ's Avatar
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    520

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Run min. of 2" piping to every thing. I have Kool deck and like the texture and feel. That being said the dirt and sand lays in the crevises. Takes a little work cleaning it, hose or power washer. The Kool deck chips up in spots, around the edge. If your going to have a safety cover installed the deck will chip at all the anchor points.
    My plumbing looks very neat, but the valves and pump are connected with couplers and no pipe in between. This will make it very difficult to change or replace things down the road.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    IG 18x36 oval vinyl, Spill over spa, Northstar 2hp-2spd, 2.5" piping, S310T 500lb Sand filter, 400k gas heater, AutoPilot SWCG
    http://www.tftestkits.net/

  3. Back To Top    #3
    awarsoca's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    make sure they do an expansion joint between the deck and the flagstone. A real one, not one where they just groove the deck with the tool.
    Clint
    Pics of the build process
    34x16x25 Lagoon IG Vinyl 14,800gal (Oxford Tile/Glimmerglass 20mil)
    Pentair: Intelliflo VS3050 pump, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Clean and Clear 320 cartridge filter, LA01N 3/4hp booster pump and Polaris 280 cleaner

  4. Back To Top    #4
    donaldm823's Avatar
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    Cape Coral, FL
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    The expansion joint between the brick coping and the deck needs to be caulked. Many pool builders do not provide caulking as they want the concrete to settle for a winter season, they instead put a foam material in the expansion joint. This will allow water to get into the joint and potentially freeze with cracking if you live in the north. I caulked mine recently and it cost $800, so ask the bulider up front

    I was also going to recommend a variable speed pump-and it looks like you have the best on the market!!! So figure out min flow for the SWG and run the pool at that flow to save electric

    Lastly, invest in a good quality SOLID pool cover for your pool during the winter. Your pool builder may be able to get a a good fitting cover at a reasonable cost. Solid covers of quality may cost you $2000 but they are a great investment. Solid keeps the rain water out as well as dirt and also the sun. I open my pool to crystal clear water every year, where as my neighbor with a mesh cover, always has green as well as dirt and leaves
    Don SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter, Pentair SWG, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump (11018)
    FAFCO solar panels w/Pentair SolarTouch controller
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    wow, thanks for this great advice. i'll discuss with the PB today to ensure all of these items are covered. really appreciate it!
    2001 model 16'x26'x52" AG, buried 2 feet
    pentair sand filter
    WaterCo pump w/2 speed motor
    Intex SWG

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
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    The Woodlands, Texas, USA
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    I have the Pentair QT blower you are looking at and wish I had one of the blowers by AirSupply instead as it is still too noisy.

    Put a return over the most shallow step to help keep it clean and circulate the water. Add an xtra return in the deep end.

    For the deck, have them Seal the expansion joints against water with a concrete caulking product like Sikaseal.

    If it was my pool I would try the new LED lighting, but haven't personally used it.

    Good luck. We look forward to lots of pics.
    IG 24k plaster with overflow spa. Goldline PS-8 SWG. Tristar 0.75 HP filter pump, Polaris 280, large cartridge filter, 400k BTU NG Max-E-Therm HD, SR Smith Turbo Twister, Life Saver pool fence, ORP managed.

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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    I would second the LED lighting... if for nothing else the power savings and color change ability.

    There is a third choice in covers... the one in between mesh and solid... I have been considering, but have not heard any feedback from anyone hwo has used one... lighter weight than solid, cheaper than solid, but allows water to drain through while keep all sunlight out, so supposedly no pump necessary on top of the colver as with solid. Like I said, my only experience has been PB marketing at this point. Maybe someone else on here can provide more info about these covers.
    32K gal, gunite, French Gray DB, IntelliFlo VF, IntelliFlo, WhisperFlo, Quad DE 100 filter, IntelliTouch, IC-60 SWG, IntelliChem, Dolphin M5

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    My pool has natural rock that extends down into the pool as coping (I guess that is the term for it). It is a magnet for algae. No matter what I do, there is always a green tint on the part of the rocks just above the water, where it gets wet when the pool is in use. No amount of scrubbing ca get rid of it all. And the waterfall seems to be made of sandstone which is slowly, or not so slowly, deteriorating. I find sand below it all the time and I figure it will be leaking if it is not already. Since the waterfall faces SW, it gets blazingly hot and when it runs, which it must to keep it algae free, it picks up a lot of heat. So, I run it very early in the morning and rather late at night so as to not add too evaporation losses too much -- we are under water restrictions adn I feel guilty when I need to add to the pool. With the irregular rocks, I don't think that a pool cover is a real possiblity for me. So, to some investigating of what your rocks will do as coping.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    This has been really helpful - I have been pulling together my list of changes for the PB. Hopefully we'll sync up today or tomorrow.

    anonapersona, I was going to do a rock waterfall but I took it out for the fear of the same problems you are having. Do you think I'll have problems with the flagstone coping as well? If I change it what do you recommend?

    I'm really not sure about the coping and what would be comparable in the same price range. Anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks again everyone!
    2001 model 16'x26'x52" AG, buried 2 feet
    pentair sand filter
    WaterCo pump w/2 speed motor
    Intex SWG

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Add a second light in the pool and one in the SPA.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Quote Originally Posted by atlantapoolgirl
    This has been really helpful - I have been pulling together my list of changes for the PB. Hopefully we'll sync up today or tomorrow.

    anonapersona, I was going to do a rock waterfall but I took it out for the fear of the same problems you are having. Do you think I'll have problems with the flagstone coping as well? If I change it what do you recommend?

    I'm really not sure about the coping and what would be comparable in the same price range. Anyone have any ideas?

    Thanks again everyone!
    Well, know that the waterfall is often someone's favorite part of the pool. You might not have my evaporation issues. If the waterfall did not hold so much water when off, but was dry when off, it might not be an algae problem. Depending on your climate, you may want to use a waterfall to add heat or chilling to the pool by running it when ambient temperatures are favorable. And, finally, it is a great way to aerate a pool. And I do love watching the birds that come to drink and bathe in the top pool of water. The stupid little dove even comes over while we are in the pool, the rest of the birds are more careful.

    Our neighbor has a much smaller waterfall and seems to run it all the time. It is in shade mostly so it is a totally different issue, I guess. My waterfall is 15' or 16' wide and maybe 4' tall with 3 levels of spills and 4 separate paths by the time it reaches pool level. It is beautiful and looks great from inside the house when running, with little lights in the spillovers. I just worry about it's durability, from my fish pond days I know that the waterfall was always the most likely place to have a water leak.

    So, don't just eliminate the waterfall, but do consider if there are smart ways to include it. Durable rock would be the first thing. Sandstone is not correct, IMO. Minimzing standing water in it might be another, except maybe one for the birds if you want them.

    I really don't know much about rock, so you need to wait on some one who does around here.

    Anona, still a novice
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
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    Suwanee, GA
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Things I like:
    Pavers - some have settled a bit, bit correcting that is simple compared to cracked concrete. The pavers do get very hot though.
    Sun shelf - great for little kids
    Umbrella hole - great on super sunny days
    Slide - need I say more
    Two 500w pool lights - lights up the pool very well, could not be done with one.
    Pebble sheen
    two skimmers
    Two deep end swim outs - one one each side of the pool.

    Things I may have changed
    Stamped concrete coping has taken a beating - not sure how anything else would have help up though.

    Other:
    No spa - and I don't regret it.
    I have only 2 returns, and while they were building it, I though that would have been inadequate, but they push out a super strong stream, and circulation is great.
    Would have listed the heat pump as the likes, but you'll need a gas heater for the spa.
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    West Virginia
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    I second crabboy's advice and suggest a second light. We have an L-shape pool and our builder assured us that one light in the deep end would be enough, because the light would "bouce off" the opposing wall and into the other side. Not true at all. Our pool is pretty dimly lit on the shallow end, which is where the steps are. I wish we had added a second light. I think you will have dark spots as well, based on your drawings.
    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!

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Join Date
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Here are the only two shots of my pool at night. they were taken the day I filled it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Gary
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    NC
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    my pool is a bit smaller than yours and 1 skimmer works but 2 would have been so much better. My only suggestion as yours already has so much more than mine has.
    John
    15x30 inground vinyl pool. 1 hp hayward pump, 200 pound sand filter. 8 feet deep in the deepest part. 3 feet in the shallow. 4 returns 2 in the steps, 1 in the shallow end, and one in the deep, 1 skimmer (wish there were 2) and one Main drain. Only thing I wish is I had a more powerful pump, The jets never really put out alot of power. No frills pool. Has a light and thats about it as far as specail features go. BBB user ever since I opened this season thanks to TPF

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Thanks! I've been collecting feedback from friends and this forum so I'm going to propose a few changes to the PB on Monday. Hopefully he won't kill me with fees to change before the build. I think he already has A LOT of margin built into his proposal.

    1. Add another skimmer and 3 returns
    • A total of 2 skimmers and 6 returns. M ore returns=more uniform circulation = better water quality especially in the hot south

    2. Confirm Piping
    • Verify that everything will be a minimum of 2" piping – I remember asking this and thought this was a standard but would like confirmation.

    3. Expansion Joint
    • Make sure there is an expansion joint between the deck and the flagstone. A real one, not one where they just groove the deck with the tool.
    • The expansion joint between the brick coping and the deck needs to be caulked.
    • If not, this will allow water to get into the joints and potentially freeze with cracking.

    4. EasyTouch ICP -> Upgrade Light in Pool
    • Since we have an EasyTouch Wireless Controller, dump the EasyTouch ICP and instead get a IntelliBrite light. Not sure why we would need both.

    5. Light in Spa
    • Add a light in the Spa

    6. Spa Spillover and Pump
    • Make the spillover a bit bigger – it’s too small
    • Add a booster pump so we can run water features with the spa going.

    7. Bench
    • Add another small bench on the other side of the Spa

    8. Pebble-Tec/Sheen
    • Confirm color choice and that this is pebble-sheen: “Blue Granite”

    9. Reduce new decking by 150 sq ft,.
    • Reduce decking behind the Spa and cut in other areas to make shaped planters this will soften the look since there is so much “hard scape”.

    10. Prep for the future
    • Stub out a water line, drain for sink, and electrical conduit. When the time comes we’ll be ready for a little outdoor kitchen and we can move the gasline.
    2001 model 16'x26'x52" AG, buried 2 feet
    pentair sand filter
    WaterCo pump w/2 speed motor
    Intex SWG

  17. Back To Top    #17
    orthofish's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    Be sure and have your lights in the pool facing away from the house. I didn't, and the pool looks much better if you're standing behind the light.
    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

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    I would recommend having each skimmer and main drain on their own lines. It's also best to have each return on it's own line. This is better because it's far easier to handle leaks in the future, less expensive to operate due to lower head losses and offers more precise control of flow. Most PB's, at least in our area, do not run the plumbing like this because it costs more.

    I had my PB install six returns but compromised and only ran three 2.5" lines back to the pad. I also had him use separate 3" lines for each skimmer and main drains. For these upgrades I only had to pay an extra $250 or $300.
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

    Pool I built in my old house: my-new-pool-build-t4534.html

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    i have fiber optic lights, i have two on one side, wish i had put two more on the other side,, but it still looks very cool at night.. mine change colors on there own.. they are about $500 a piece, so i had to stop somewhere... good luck
    live in eastern washington state
    18x36, Vinyl inground 24k
    Hayward 1 hp filter pump
    1 skimmer/2 returns
    24" sand filter, polaris 280 with booster pump.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    kenmar's Avatar
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    Re: What would you do differently, if you could?

    * Take plenty of pictures... especially of the underground piping.
    When taking pictures of the underground piping, make sure you include a point of reference (pool wall, skimmer, landmark, etc)

    * Home run all piping back to the equipment pad.

    -Ken-
    20'x40' / 30,000 Gal / In Ground / Vinyl
    Pentair FNS 48 DE Filter / Pentair Challenger 1.5 HP Pump
    Jandy Lite2 400k BTU Propane Heater / Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TF-100 Test Kit / BBB
    Creator of SimplePool (BBB Friendly Android App) http://www.simplepool.net

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