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Thread: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

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    New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    **UPDATE - New PB selected (Anthony & Sylvan) in May 2018**

    Hi all,

    Thanks to all of the learning I've done on here in the past 5-6 months, we finally got to the point of making a well-informed purchase.

    Here are the details:

    The pool and spa fundamentals:
    -800 sq foot freeform gunite pool, 3.5' depth shallow end, 6' 9" deep end
    -Travertine (silver) coping
    -1/2" rebar throughout on 12" center, 8" walls, 12" footing, shoulder thickness 12"
    -2 floor returns, 2 wall returns, 1 return in sunshelf, 2" intake and return for pool and spa, 3" intake and return for water features, 2 skimmers, "Solar re circulation"
    -CLI Industries "Onyx" Quartz finish
    -100 sq foot sunshelf w/ 3 splash downs/"bubblers"
    -8' diameter spa w/ 8 jets and 1HP blower

    The other stuff:
    -Boulder waterfall - planned 18' wide, 4' high, 5' deep
    -Pentair 60 sq/ft FNS Plus DE Filter
    -Pentair Easytouch 8 automation w/ Screenlogic 2 (wireless) and spa controls; will control the waterfall, splash downs, pump, low voltage landscaping lighting, heater, salt system, pool lights
    -Pentair IC60 SWG (powered by ET8)
    -Pentair Intellipro 3HP VS pump (main)
    -Pentair Superflo 3HP VS pump for WF and bubblers w/ actuators for control
    -Pentair Intelliph (installed post-build)
    -2 X Pentair Intellibrite 5G LED lights in pool, 1 GloBrite LED in sunshelf, 1 Globrite LED in spa
    -Raypak 333K BTU natural gas heater (size is limited by our NG capacity)
    -Dolphin Cleaner (likely S300i or M400), will need to purchase on my own
    -Extra conduit/wire for low voltage wiring
    -Autofill with dedicated water line run
    -Mesh cover, specifics TBD will order as the pool gets closer to close time

    Landscaping/Hardscaping/fencing
    -1300 sq ft paver decking
    ~420 linear feet of black aluminum fencing, 54" in height, 3 X 5' wide and 1 x 4' wide gates
    -River Rock / Planting beds
    -Slab Steps coming down hill from driveway into patio area w/ paver landings x 2
    -Approx 45' long 18-30" high block retaining wall
    -Low voltage lighting in retaining wall, in/around waterfall, and pathways around stairs and deck
    -Final grade/seed and cleanup

    Considerations/Maybes
    -Vinyl Pavillion (phase 2 - spring 2019) roughly 14 x 16
    -Outdoor kitchen (phase 3) w/ NG grill, kamado smoker, ice chest and/or ice maker

    Timeline update / Milestones

    *Original PB*
    -12/10/17 signed contract with original PB
    -5/20/18 cancelled contract with original PB

    *New/current PB*
    -5/29/18 signed contract with new PB (transferred design to Anthony and Sylvan from old PB). Promised excavation by 6/29 and 8 weeks to completion.
    -6/24/18 permits approved via township
    -7/9/18 dig/excavation begin
    -7/10/18 excavation complete
    -7/12/18 steel/rebar complete
    -8/16/18 rough in plumbing and some equipment installed (main pump, filter, some valves)
    -8/21/18 - Gunite start/complete
    -8/27/18 - Plumber returns for remaining pool plumbing work - second pump and plumbing installed
    -8/28/18 - Notified tile selection is out of stock
    -9/3/18 - Plumber returns again to finish plumbing backfill and install heater. Alternative tile identified and selected
    -9/7/18 - Autofill box installed. Subsequent plumbing steps delayed due to weather
    -9/12/18 - Electrician arrives with all of the wrong equipment based on incorrect information given to him from the PB, unable to perform any work. Plumber arrives later and completes rough in for autofill/overflow line and gas run for heater
    -9/14/18 - Electrician arrives again with correct equipment and performs 'rough in' install
    -9/15/18 - Backfill around shell completed
    -9/19/18 - Coping completed for pool/spa
    -9/20/18 - Tile completed for pool/spa
    -10/1/18 – Notified incorrect light niche sleeve was installed in sunshelf
    -10/3/18 – Light niche corrected
    -10/4/18 – Remaining Electric work mostly completed (except for air blower in spa and salt cell)
    -10/8/18 – Hardscaping started – demo existing patio, new patio prep, stairs, some retaining wall, some drain work
    -10/11/18 – Hardscaping work stopped – engineering work required by township prior to decking installation was not completed – A&S contacts engineer to perform work and expedite to township.
    -10/15/18 – Township receives engineer’s work, but indicates there are discrepancies in the work vs. original plan, further delay expected
    -10/19/18- Township gives green light for decking
    -10/22/18 - Hardscaping crew continue paver decking
    -10/25/18 - Crew completes Pavers, retaining wall
    -10/31/18 - Crew begins waterfall build
    -11/14/18
    - Waterfall and final grade as well as some planting complete. Plumber arrives to work on punch list items but later that night noticed salt cell and PVC "T" are out of order, re-do required. Still waiting on electrical fixes as well.
    -11/15/18 - Receive first snow of the year, lots of water/mud runoff into decking area, need to re-do drainage
    -11/20/18 – Fencing complete, begin winterization of pool
    -11/21/18 - Pool shell winterized
    -11/26/28 - Complete landscaping with river rock

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    How exciting! I can't wait to see the design. Is it anything like you were looking at this summer?

    Waterfall-do you have a picture of what you want your waterfall to look like? It is a very good idea to have one to show everyone that might be working on it. This will make sure the waterfall being built matches YOUR idea instead of the builders 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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    How exciting! I can't wait to see the design. Is it anything like you were looking at this summer?

    Waterfall-do you have a picture of what you want your waterfall to look like? It is a very good idea to have one to show everyone that might be working on it. This will make sure the waterfall being built matches YOUR idea instead of the builders LOL

    Kim
    Hi Kim - Yes, pretty similar to what we were looking at over the summer. Since then we've upsized a little bit and added the spa after a fair amount of thought.

    The PB we're using is known for their water features - attaching a few shots of their work that we like. We're working to incorporate a bit of hard/soft (plants) and will be keeping the design a little lower, wider, and deeper with multiple streams of work.

    Edit: Having trouble with the files being too large, time to upgrade my account.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Good! We had one build where the PO's ideas did NOT match the PB's ideas at all It took quite a bit of work and it still was not really what the PO wanted but it was the best they could do without starting all over again.

    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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Had some trouble with the size of my attachments, just paid to upgrade to silver, but might take some time.

    Here is their site: Custom Pools in Bucks Co, Montgomery Co, and Lehigh Valley | Signature Quality Poolsūüíß‚Äč



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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    THANKS! I am sure our IT guy will get you all fixed up as soon as he seen your request. I can't wait to see YOUR pool design. That waterfall is WOWER!

    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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Would you want to be able to use the hot tub in the winter? Then you need a stand alone hot tub as your pool will be closed and not in service in the winter in PA.

    A water spigot by the pool is a great idea for adding water to the pool (short hose dropped over the side) or water pots of flowers near the pool. If you're trimming costs you could even do without the autofil as you'll have water available near by to top off the pool.

    Maddie
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    THANKS! I am sure our IT guy will get you all fixed up as soon as he seen your request. I can't wait to see YOUR pool design. That waterfall is WOWER!

    Kim
    Well that was quick, new status now in effect so I can post attachments. I should have some preliminary concepts this week. I don't see us getting much sleep over the next few months, haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    Would you want to be able to use the hot tub in the winter? Then you need a stand alone hot tub as your pool will be closed and not in service in the winter in PA.

    A water spigot by the pool is a great idea for adding water to the pool (short hose dropped over the side) or water pots of flowers near the pool. If you're trimming costs you could even do without the autofil as you'll have water available near by to top off the pool.

    Maddie
    Hi Maddie - I don't think the plan would be to use during the winter months.

    As far as the spigot and autofill - my PB is going to get his plumber out here so we can get some numbers for running the water line. It's not a super long run and my builder said he wouldn't charge for the trenching so it's pretty must just the plumber making the connections and cost of the line(s) hopefully.

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Welcome to a fun experience! Fun and stressful and fun. I recommend trying to enjoy the chaos, otherwise it will drive you crazy.

    On your waterline to the pool...you do have to be careful to allow for an easy water evacuation method on the waterline running to the spigot. It's not an item that a company closing your pool (if you use one) would normally think to do. They will focus on your pool lines. We have a waterline running from our house to the pool which is 75' away. It's all downhill. The waterline itself is below the frost line except for where it exits the garage and when it comes above ground at the pool. We extended the line to be one continuous downhill line with a valve to open at the end below the pool area spigot. The pool spigot is just a vertical 2' pipe and spigot. So to evacuate it, I close off the source inside our (non-freezing) garage. Then I open up a valve in the garage which allows air to enter the line at the high point. Then I open up the drain valve at the bottom of the line and to the spigot. It drains by gravity with the air lock broken. Otherwise, I would need to make sure and blow out that line since some of it is above grade. But I highly recommend having a line there. I wouldn't bother with an autofill as we get a lot of rain during the summer, but you will certainly have to top it off from time to time. It also doesn't hurt though they can fail and can also mask leaks. I like to know exactly how much water my pool uses. And I also like to manage it's use. Meaning, if the pool is a little low, and a line of storms is coming, I like knowing that I can use rainfall directly to refill the pool. Instead of having rain fall, percolate to the level of my well, then paying electricity to pump it back up to the surface. Or in the city water case, having the rain fall, drain to a reservoir, be treated, then pumped to my house.

    Are you doing a diving board? I saw you have an 8' deep end so thought I'd ask.

    Various electrical outlets around the pool. Amazing how often kids need to charge their phones - because they use them constantly I suppose. I saw you have a centered one for the robot which is great. Think about your sound/music needs by the pool and how that might affect wiring. Also if you have good wireless internet by the pool for automation, or if you want a hardwired internet line.

    Solid covers are fine. They are also amazingly heavy. I like to install and remove/store the cover myself so having a mesh (although tight mesh) cover does keep the weight down. I also open to crystal clear water each spring. So having a solid cover is not the factor that will get you clear water. I can give more insight there if interested. Nothing wrong with solid covers though, weight and needing to have a cover pump on them are the only downsides I see.

    Ensure gas service is sufficient size to now support your heater and gas grill (and firepit right and ceiling mounted gas heaters in your outdoor structure right!) Ha! We love spending other people's money.

    Cartridge will also work fine as you are considering it. The size you mention is certainly sized well (meaning oversized). I also always use hair nets over the skimmer baskets which is a huge help in keeping the debris load down. During pollen season you will want to check/change them much more frequently than otherwise needed. Several times a week likely, but it's a breeze to do and dirt cheap. I also have very furry dogs that swim so virtually no hair gets to our filter. Our main drain covers are the rounded Hayward type. These do just cause the sunk hair to clump and the robot (Earl) picks it up.

    But further on the drain cover, I highly recommend this type of drain cover. This link is for the top that accepts the plaster for a match. But it fits into an A&A drain which is the second link. These covers are flat and take in debris which rounded covers with small circular holes don't. Though your M400 will take care of all debris anyway. Some of the other Dolphin's (S-series for example) might have trouble on rounded drains. Though the M400 with middle brush won't.

    http://www.poolfittings.com/channel-pebble-top/

    http://aamfg.com/product/avsc-heavy-debris-removal/
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking | Merlin SmartMesh winter safety cover
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Hi Bmore - thanks for the detailed thoughts! A few comments/follow up questions:

    -Water line: for us it would definitely have the potential of sloping downhill as well. I talked to the PB as well and he seemed to think we should be fine with a drain valve on both sides without having to blow air to winterize. I'll discuss with the plumbing guy next to determine feasibility I suppose.

    -Autofill: From what I understand there are many different forms of this from a basic valve to electronic controls (Jandy Levolor as an example). If the cost to add is marginal over just the water line we'll probably go for this if it's reasonable.

    -Diving board: no board but we are planning a diving rock on or near the waterfall.

    -Outlets/low voltage: I'm a big audio guy so having a proper setup and wiring for equipment, power, and speaker is pretty important. I'm hoping to nail down these locations during the final deck/landscape design. Fun stuff!

    -Cover: Good call, I was going after some feedback from the PB, but since we'll be removing/installing ourselves (Wife and I) weight could be a significant factor. I'd prefer not to have a pump but hey if we do we have extra outlets around, haha.

    -Gas: I know we'll be upgrading the gas meter but will need the plumber to determine if we need a separate gas run to go to the grill or if we can T into the main run.

    -Filter: Certainly leaning toward the cartridge as to not have to deal with DE but open to more opinions here.

    -Drain cover: Hadn't even thought of that yet, thanks for sharing. Will discuss with the PB, I know he uses a 'fancy' type of drain.

    Keep the thoughts coming guys, thanks!

    BTW builder said the engineer should be out here this week to do our survey and site planning. Woot!

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    The PB and I have been going back and forth with tweaking the design - we started in 3d and made some big changes and wound up back in 2d for the time being. Attaching here the latest 2d rendering showing the pool, spa, and waterfall potential placement in relation to the existing patio and deck. Looking at adding 900-1000 sq foot of patio with the pool in addition to 300-ish existing sq ft of patio and about 800-900 of deck. We'll be adding in the proposed landscaping detail as well as lighting, skimmer/return placement, etc soon as well.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    I really like all the hard surface you plan to have. I added a very small shed near our equipment pad. I see you have a shed near your decking which will be nice. One comment is that I find myself going to the shed all the time to retrieve or store pool goods, piddle with whatever pool related take Iím working on. My point is to make sure you have good access between the two. I see that the pool deck doesnít go up to the shed but it might be nice if it did. Carrying floats, etc. is cleaner/easier if you donít have to go through grass or stepping stones.

    We keep towels, sunscreen, a bathing suit for me, our robot, floats, etc. in there.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
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    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    What did you end up doing with the spa? flush or raised? Remember that if it is raised your sight line from the house and seating area could be blocked.

    What will be on the back side of the pool? You do NOT want grass that close to the pool. You will want to be able to walk there in some way for brushing and cleaning in the future.

    Make sure you have a light by the equipment. You will thank me the first time you need to go out to do something in the dark.

    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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    I really like all the hard surface you plan to have. I added a very small shed near our equipment pad. I see you have a shed near your decking which will be nice. One comment is that I find myself going to the shed all the time to retrieve or store pool goods, piddle with whatever pool related take Iím working on. My point is to make sure you have good access between the two. I see that the pool deck doesnít go up to the shed but it might be nice if it did. Carrying floats, etc. is cleaner/easier if you donít have to go through grass or stepping stones.

    We keep towels, sunscreen, a bathing suit for me, our robot, floats, etc. in there.
    Good call, I may want to try to work in a pathway/walkway to the shed entrance. I do plan on storing quite a bit in there - the shed is 12x32 with electric, wifi, cable, heat/insulation, etc and will probably keep my audio gear in there for the pool stereo, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    What did you end up doing with the spa? flush or raised? Remember that if it is raised your sight line from the house and seating area could be blocked.

    What will be on the back side of the pool? You do NOT want grass that close to the pool. You will want to be able to walk there in some way for brushing and cleaning in the future.

    Make sure you have a light by the equipment. You will thank me the first time you need to go out to do something in the dark.

    Kim
    We didn't officially change it yet in the contract but I think we're going to wind up going raised. There isn't much of a possibility of blocking the view from the house though as the deck and main level of the house is 11' off the ground where the pool will be.

    The back side of the pool will be boulder extensions on either side of the waterfall followed by a planting bed/mulch and some lighting. Good call on the light by the equipment! That will be easy to work in since the equipment will be right behind the shed. Here are some shots of the yard as-is (attached) - ignore the layout of the pool in the pics as this was a very old rendering.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    That yard is just screaming for a pool! Just think of how much time you will save not having to mow that!

    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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    That yard is just screaming for a pool! Just think of how much time you will save not having to mow that!
    Kim
    We agree, we've been living here for 7 years or so now and many times we've looked out the back yard and thought a pool would work so well back there.

    Other tweaks/thoughts so far:

    -PB is going to swap out the 1.5HP superflo to a 3HP intelliflo pump for the water features to ensure there is adequate flow to the WF and 3 X bubblers in the sunshelf. I also discovered there is no speed control from the easy touch with the 1.5HP version so another reason to switch out.

    -As you can see from the pics, the side of the yard where the driveway is will require a small retaining wall is as (21" in height). This is already factored into the landscaping budget, although I've been toying with the idea of raising the bond beam in that area as an alternative. This would require 25' or so of raised beam to marry up to the boulder extensions from the waterfall. Cost wise shouldn't be too different - thoughts?

    -Considering shifting the waterfall a little toward the deep end in support of the diving rock

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    New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    115v outlets, speaker wire, domestic water taps, gas feeds etc - for shower or wet bar... now is the time.


    Design wise, I like 100% view of pool & spa from the entire pool area for uninterrupted supervision.

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Retaining wall with the decking going from the pool to the wall would be nice because:

    -more seating on the decking or on the wall

    -would be easier to walk around the pool to do brushing and such.

    -momma bear worry-IF someone got "in trouble" on that side of the pool could they get out as easy? With that much raised beam it would be quite a ways for them to get to an area they could hold on to and/or get out at.

    Trying to think why to do the raised beam.......................ummmmmmmmm..........welllllllllll lllllllll............maybe someone could help on that one.

    Any way to draw up both ways? I do have a hard time seeing things in my head.

    Waterfall-6 of one, half a dozen of another. Both places would work. Do you think there is much chance anyone would try to jump off the water fall? You know the people in your life that will be using the pool...................me? I had to make sure all ladders were put up and out of sight when my Brother in law came over or he would have been on top the pool house and jumping in to a 54" pool

    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: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolguyinCT View Post
    115v outlets, speaker wire, domestic water taps, gas feeds etc - for shower or wet bar... now is the time.
    Design wise, I like 100% view of pool & spa from the entire pool area for uninterrupted supervision.
    Shower...hmm man this really can get out of hand. We do have a bathroom right inside the door in the basement, and ideally we convert that to a full bath with shower stall at some point. We are actually changing the flooring in this area in early 2018 to be 100% waterproof so no issues as to those walking in looking to change or shower.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Retaining wall with the decking going from the pool to the wall would be nice because:

    -more seating on the decking or on the wall

    -would be easier to walk around the pool to do brushing and such.

    -momma bear worry-IF someone got "in trouble" on that side of the pool could they get out as easy? With that much raised beam it would be quite a ways for them to get to an area they could hold on to and/or get out at.

    Trying to think why to do the raised beam.......................ummmmmmmmm..........welllllllllll lllllllll............maybe someone could help on that one.

    Any way to draw up both ways? I do have a hard time seeing things in my head.

    Waterfall-6 of one, half a dozen of another. Both places would work. Do you think there is much chance anyone would try to jump off the water fall? You know the people in your life that will be using the pool...................me? I had to make sure all ladders were put up and out of sight when my Brother in law came over or he would have been on top the pool house and jumping in to a 54" pool

    Kim
    Kim - good call with the potential climb out/rescue issuesin the deep end. That alone is enough to justify keeping it accessible IMO. I think we'll stick with the decking as planned. Thanks!
    i
    As for jumping off the waterfall - absolutely need to plan for that haha. The PB suggested a diving rock as part of the structure, we'll be sure to put that on the right side of the WF toward the deep end. I know we'll have 20' length of "shallow" area in the pool followed by 26' of transition to deep (3' to 1' ratio) so plenty of deep water.

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    Re: New contract / New build - SE Pennsylvania, Gunite free form pool and spa

    Potentially may move the spa (new rendering attached) to create a little more space between deck and water area. We are now planning for a raised/spillover spa for sure. I think I like this placement better anyway? Thoughts? Also lighting and skimmer placement added in.
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