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Thread: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

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    Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    I am determined that this is the year we take the plunge and while I am open to all types of pools (fiberglass, gunite and vinyl) I only want the kind of pool builder who will have my children swimming by may or june. We all want the same things, I know. An honest builder who works within a reasonable time frame and stands behind his work should problems arise. I was hoping some of you could steer me in (or away if necessary!) the direction of someone you have used.
    We don't have a huge budget here. We ideally want a pool no deeper than 5.5 feet....maybe the kind that gets deeper towards the center....and we do like some of the ledges around the pool for lounging and playing. The kids would LOVE a slide. We have a big yard so it should be a relatively large pool or it will look like a pond. We want to do the things that can't be added later...like lights, and wait on expensive extras like landscaping. No spas. no waterfalls.no grottos necessary....just simple and beautiful.
    All advice and ideas greatly appreciated.

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    South Central NJ
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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    The style you are looking for is called a sports pool. This style doesn't lend itself to a slide for a couple of reasons.

    First is depth. While many makers may only want a 3-1/2 foot depth, IMHO that is TOO shallow for the safe operation. Kids will go head first no matter what you say.

    Second, if you have a sports style pool, the slide will wind up towards the middle, often interfering with volleyball.

    Where in central NJ are you? I can PM you several names.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    That would be great! We are in Hopewell township just outside Princeton and across the river from PA. I see what you mean about the depth. I am not married to that idea but I do want to avoid the sharp drop off that I remember as a kid.
    I saw some nice work online from CLC pools in Princeton.... do you know anything about them? What about swim-mor?
    I have also talked to Leisure pools. The installer was great, seemed really experienced and willing to help us keep the price down by eliminating unnecessary fluff. I like the idea of having a pool complete in 2 weeks or less but we really have to decide on Fiberglass, Gunite or Vinyl. If I am choosing purely for freedom of design and beauty I would go with gunite.... but we will have to see how it stacks up against the others in cost. I imagine it might be more expensive the question is how much? And can we afford it/justify the cost difference. There are so many choices it makes your head spin....Any help, expertise and opinions are welcome and very much appreciated! Thanks for your reply

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
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    South Central NJ
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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Very few builders can/will do it 2 weeks. For the most part, those that do are telling you what you want to hear, not telling you what is realistic. Between permits, inspections, gunite curing times, kit and liner ordering time, unexpected events like heavy rains, wash outs, and other acts of God and Nature, can throw a schedule into the bit bucket, not all of which is in the control of the builder and make this almost impossible. It also can lead to shortcuts being taken. Rarely will a builder talk about some of the issues that can slow a job and the impact. Just as a small example, hitting water or large boulders during excavation will impact your budget. Often, after a build phase care is a weak point. Some forget to suggest watering a shell or deck during it's first week, plaster finish curing care, etc.... Good thing TFP is here and that you are too, before hand. Fore warned is fore armed.


    Scott
    Going into the process is best served to homeowners if they decide specifically what they want. One of the 1st things is budgeting with a 15% dollar overage expectation for the complete project. Things to decide include pool type, decking, fencing, landscaping, etc... Time frame, in the grand scheme of things, isn't that important. A pool will last years and years. A few weeks of additional build time, when looked at it from this perspective is not that big a deal and will usually result in a better product in your backyard.

    Liner pool builders are very competitive and most build a nice liner pool. They tend to take their time going from phase to phase. Gunite builders have wait times. Most build a decent pool but some are better than others. Not all fiberglass pools are the same and neither are their installers. While all look nice usually for the 1st few years, some years down the road, the shortcuts some take will rear their ugly head.
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Sorry, I wasn't very clear about that whole "2 week" thing. Leisure pools gave me that time frame and that was construction only for a fiberglass pool. Not 2 weeks from contract signing but 2 weeks from the time they actually dig the whole, drop the pool in and pour the deck. While that sounds nice I realize that this will be a huge feature in my yard for many years which is why I keep coming back to gunite. We really want to be happy with the look of the pool. We want it to suit the house and the land and we HOPE to make smart choices when deciding what is truly important. It is easy to be seduced by all the bells and whistles out there and as a first timer it gets overwhelming. Example...I know it will be cheaper to put in concrete decking. Is it my first choice...no. I really would like some sort of natural flagstone or quality paver...... Concrete will crack over time and pavers or stone is much easier to repair.... but in this case is it worth the added expense on the front end? So I really am interested in any advice you want to dole out. What would you spend the money on if it were you? What do you think are the key elements to do initially and what can wait to be added later? Help!

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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Ok, my 2 cents. Like i never have an opinion

    You said you wanted a basic pool with maybe a tanning ledge and swim out and were not interested in waterfalls, groto, etc. Now, if you want the fancy shapes, grotto, fountains in the pool, etc, then a gunite is the choice, but since you dont want all that, IMO, vinyl is the way to go.
    I would not spend the money on a gunite pool thats similar in design to what you want. The modern package/liner pools that are made now are a really good buy and will last for years before you need to do much to them. You can get them in basic shapes, kindney, and even free form and lagoon. The walls are made of galvanized steel and the construction process is much faster and simpler than gunite. If you do the right kind of coping, (a hard stone of some type) use stamped concrete or better yet, pavers for decking, a vinyl package pool will look as good as any comparable gunite, IMO. The worst you would have to do in 7-10 years is replace a liner for ~3K.
    The maintence is MUCH easier than gunite, IMO. The startup is simple. They dont use a lot of acid like gunite, dont require the calcium to be controlled and monitored like gunite, dont really show stains near as bad, dont require as much brushing, black algea is non-existent, require no acid washing, and..you get the point. Vinyl pools are easier to care for and are less expensive to maintain over the long haul. Plus, you will pay double for a comparable gunite over vinyl.
    Fiberglass? I dont like them.

    I dont sell vinyl pool, or any pools for that matter. So my opinion here is unbiased in that regard. When I put in a pool, I looked at both kinds and a vinyl pool was a no brainer.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Did you happen to go with the colored steps?
    I think both gunite and vinyl have there pros/cons.... in the end I think the absolute key is going to be finding the best pool builder. A vinyl can be lovely (and difficult to id as vinyl) if it is installed well..... in the end it will come down to the dollars and cents and what we can justify spending. I am really terrified of having my whole summer hijacked by some jerk of a builder.... names people! give me names!

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Some things to be aware of with a package pool:

    Liners last an average of 10 years. Some last more, some less. Watching the chems is a huge factor in life expectancy. The liner measure, manufacturer, and installer also have a lasting impact.

    Walls can be plastic, stainless or galvanized. I don't think that anyone still uses wood but I do see concrete walled liner pools still being built here.

    While there are no curing periods requiring one time special startup procedures, the chems needed and maintenance needed are the same. BBB is just as valid. Some tools like vacuum heads and scoop nets are different. All pools need to be brushed periodically.

    A pool with a salt cell or using bleach will still need acid to lower the pH rise to the proper level. Those with tablets need pH and Alk increasers. BBB, as I said before, is still valid. Calcium is less important with a liner pool but all else is the same.

    Algae and molds, green, black, whatever color they be, happen to all pools. When black strikes a liner pool, it's usually coming from behind the liner and bleeding through. Iron, copper and silver can stain and be difficult to remove, often, while normally harmless, is unsightly and may require a liner change if it really bugs you.

    Areas with high water tables or at risk for them, even if it isn't high at construction, should have a dry well/sump to keep it at bay when the pool needs to be lowered/emptied. This applies to all pool types. The only time to do it right is at construction.

    I don't sell pools either. I just fix them and play the game fairly and honestly.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    We do have a fairly high water table in this area...however, we have a dry basement so I'm assuming it could be worse. We definitely we be looking for some way to remove water from below and around(?) the pool. The first(and to date, only) contractor discussed that with us. He said he would install a dry well at the deepest point that we would be able to check visually and also some sort of pipe or tube around the pool where we could drain water if needed (I am explaining it badly). We talked about the pressure plugs(?) at the bottom of the pool but he does not recommend them. He feels that small debris can keep them from closing again properly and giving you a tight seal....sounds logical to me...is it? Opinions?

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Hydrostatic relief valves are a PITA. When a dry well or sump is build, they are not needed but plugs are. Gunite pools should always have hydrostatic plugs, which are removed/replaced when a gunite pool is emptied are a must, even with a dry well.

    The valves can get debris jams and the gaskets will deteriorate over time. Both situations are leak causes down the road. Sometimes hard to find because they are usually under the drain cover.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    You really have to make the decision of what you like based on looking at some pools. We did this when we were planning out our pool. I always wanted a gunite pool...but always thought the gunite would be more expensive, so settled for a vinyl pool design. Our pool builder priced out both for us and the gunite came in lower than the vinyl. The pool builder said with price increases in the steel and vinyl products that gunite was more economical at this time. Yes, I was excited and we did go with the gunite. You can't beat the look of the gunite compared to vinyl...though there is nothing wrong with vinyl...if that is what you want. We went with a free form shape, quartz plaster and concrete colored deck, dive rock, sun shelf, and swim out in the deep end and couldn't be happier! As far as maintenance goes..every pool has their different level of maintance...it's up to you to decide how much you want to do! Or not do! Good luck on your decision!
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Yes, you are right. I plan on getting multiple quotes and pricing out all types before we make a decision. I would love to see a picture of your pool. Are you in my area? And were you pleased with your builder? Is there anything you would have done differently? As far as the day to day care of the pool...I know they all require some, right. And since I have 3 children (not including assorted neighbor kids!) everything in my life requires EXTRA cleaning time! I imagine the pool will be the same : ) Keep the advice coming!

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    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...







    Here are a few pictures of the pool...now keep in mind that the pool was finished in Oct 09 so we didn't have grass or any landscaping done. We are waiting for the spring to do that! We are outside of Valley Forge in PA so I can't recommend our builder for your area. We did however stay away from the Big 3...I'm not naming names but I'm sure they are in your area as well. We went with a builder with the best reputation...not the cheapest but as they say..you get what you pay for! I got almost everything I wanted...had to do away with the spa...we couldn't justify the expense for the limited amount of use. I will say however..with kids (I have 4) you might want to reconsider the depth of your pool. Kids want to dive in...all the time and why not just go deeper and avoid any accident that might occur! We went with an 8' depth and got a little more than that...it will be worth it in the long run. Good luck with your decisions and you better sign a contract soon if you want to be swimming by May! Any questions just ask...or if you want to see any pictures of the mess that will occur in your yard...I can post that too!
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Thanks for the pictures! It is really a beautiful pool and your neighborhood is to die for!
    I have a couple of questions...
    1. Do you know the size or square footage of your pool? Are you happy with it?
    2. The diving rock is very cool...did your homeowners insurance consider that a "diving board"?
    3. What color is your pool? Is that a colored plaster?
    4. Do you remember how much your fence cost you?

    I really am so happy to get some feedback for such an enormous investment. As for the BIG 3.... I think I am only familiar with 2 of those! (AS, BH...and ?... I have no idea) but the company we are most interested in is a local family run.

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Thanks for the compliments! I really do love my pool and my neighborhood! Beautiful Chester County!
    Our pool is 715 square feet....21x40 free form ....3.5'-8'depth. So far happy with the size, we really didn't get to use it last year expect for the boys jumping in and out very quickly! Water was way too cold...even with the heater on!
    The jump rock is still considered a diving board...you still can get hurt using it! But it's what I wanted. I didn't like the look of a white diving board and wanted something that was part of the landscaping.
    Our pool is a quartz plaster...called Maui Gem made by Pyramid Cements....color is called "Shark Skin". It is really beautiful in the sunlight. You can see all the different quartz crystals. It was a lighter gray but when it becomes wet it looks dark gray...something I wanted...a dark pool, almost pond like.
    The fence is Jerith...it cost us about $5300...but we only have 1 gate. Some people like 2 gates but @ $500 a gate I decided to just get 1!! I already had gone over my budget! You really need to shop around for the fence. I had 3 estimates and 3 different prices....so went with the cheapest guy.
    Good luck with all your decisions...have you decided on Gunite or vinyl yet?
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Thanks for all the info. When I showed my husband he asked "Why don't we live there?" He heard you have much lower taxes! I reminded him that we weren't aware of that when we moved.
    At this point my husband (and me too) really prefer the gunite for a multitude of reasons. We have wild kids, a puppy, a large deer population and I can see us destroying a liner...which would be heartbreaking... especially if it happened in full season. We like that it is so custom and permanent. As for the deep end we are a bit torn. We have a friend who has 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) He says he wishes they had not done a diving pool because the kids really congregate and play in the shallow end. I understand this because I was the same. I really didn't use the deep end very much and I hated that sliding into oblivion if you got to close to the drop off. My children are much more adventurous than I ever was (their father's genes) so I do wonder if in the end we should add a diving board. It may also turn out to be determined by our homeowners insurance.... I know we can't have a trampoline, for example. The hard part is the money! You could so easily spend a fortune.. or at least your annual salary... on this kind of project. We don't want to be too cheap and regret it but we also don't want to pour too much money into an improvement which will not add monetary value to the house. Historically we have not stayed in a house more than 3 years and we are coming up on number 3 now but with the market the way it is I think we will be here for quite some time.
    So... is there anything you would do differently if you could do it all over again? Do you have 1 light or 2?

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    I can relate to your $$$ issues...it is a huge investment...and one I'm told you don't get back when you sell. So my advice would be if you even have any thoughts about moving...I wouldn't build. We are staying put..that's one reason we decided it was time to build a pool...plus 4 growing kids giving me gray hair in the summer...they need more entertainment than I can provide!
    I don't know if there would be anything different I would do...sure I can think of ways to spend money by adding a spa, waterfall, rocks...etc...I could go on and on. But in the end you just want to swim! I probably would of added more decking around the pool and a larger fenced area but I had to stay within budget or have no pool. So I had to make some sacrifices if I wanted pool furniture! LOL
    I would think hard about your pool depth...kids love to dive in and having only 6' would make me worry too much when the kids have friends over. Our pool doesn't have that drop off. I know what you are talking about. My neighbor had a vinyl pool and they have the "drop off". Our is just a gradual decline into the deeper water. We do have a sunledge...about 12" deep for the little kids to play on or for adults to sit in the pool without actually going in. That might be something to think about. With gunite you can make that as large or small as you like.
    I'm surprised your insurance won't allow a trampoline...they are everywhere around here...I don't like them but that's just me. Could it be that you have a homeowners association that doesn't allow it?
    We have 2 lights in the pool...one in the deep end and one off to the side of the sunsledge. Oh and I don't know about the lower taxes..ours go up and up and we send our kids to Catholic school so it's like a kick in the gut twice! Good luck!
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Well mamasproject, you did succeed in talking me into a diving pool! We still haven't signed on the dotted line but when we do there will be a deep end. Can I be really (really) nosy and ask a rough figure of your pool cost? My husband wants something to compare our quotes to and I want to drag as few PB out here as possible. In our case the landscaping will wind up even more than the pool but that is another story....I can relate to the private school bills. We just got off that merry-go-round last year and wow is it a load off financially! Of course, I still wring my hands with maternal guilt but the kids really love their new school (they even like taking the bus...who knew?)
    Any help is appreciated!

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Rocklin, Ca
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    467

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Congratulations on deciding to go with a diving pool. I know I sleep better knowing that someone is less likely smack head first into the bottom of my pool.

    I would recommend talking to many PB's before you make a final decision. You will learn something from each one and also get a feel for who is blowing smoke. In the end you will have two or three that stand out from the rest of the group. Make sure you read this article in Pool School.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...a_pool_builder
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

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

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Pool Builders Central New Jersey...

    Swim2010...I don't mind sharing our pool price...though some people may say we paid too much. Like the DH tells me, but I wanted a builder who had the support of a staff of service techs and a store to purchase items at. Also, many, many pools built in our area were built by the pool builder I selected!
    Soooo.....we paid around $58,000 which included everything except the fence and landscaping. And I didn't have to deal with the subs...it was a well scheduled and organized event.
    Good luck with your decisions and keep us updated on the progress! Once our landscaping is done I will post some new pictures!

    Oh...and on the advice of the previous poster...

    pool-school/picking_a_pool_builder

    great info...I did all that and didn't even know that link existed! Google every builder you meet with!
    28,000 IG Free Form Gunite with quartz finish
    Pentair Quad DE filter, Intelliflo VS+SVRS
    Polaris 280, Sta-Rite 400K Heater-Propane

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