18x48 Coleman Vista 2 Build - Doing (most) everything wrong

merc123

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2019
65
Georgia
This is my first time doing an AGP and it seems I've done alot wrong, but time will tell for sure! :)

1st thing that we did wrong was we built up instead of down. We built up ALOT. I brought in fill dirt and topsoil (another no-no) and we put around 1.5 tandem loads of dirt into the area. I also did not get a compactor. I used my tractor instead. We lightly watered, drove over, scraped, water, drove, scraped. We repeated this process alot, for days. I would compact it until the tractor barely left track marks. It got to a point that even when wet the tractor would barely leave an imprint.

The natural soil I have is clay with very little top soil if any, the fill dirt is clay and the topsoil had some organic matter, but not alot. It had quite a bit of sandy, silty dirt that was easy to spread, but once packed turned to concrete. It even sparkled in the sun.

Once it was all said and done with, it took a 3 pound sledge for me to pound a rebar into the dirt and good luck digging anything with a shovel more than 1/4" deep. I had to use the tractor to pull the rebar back out as it only bent when I hit it sideways with a hammer to loosen it. Water also hardly absorbs into it any longer. It's very much like concrete. I'm hoping all of this has helped with compaction enough. Time will tell and experience will probably tell me more. :)

IMG-2547-cropped.jpg

This was after we built up and begun to level the 12x12" pavers. I'm just not finding out they may crack since they're only 1" thick. Digging these was a nightmare. At this point the dirt was virtually impervious to a shovel. We had to pick axe the dirt to loosen it enough to shovel and even used the backhoe teeth to soften it.

IMG-2623.jpg

We tried several ways to level the pavers from the 14' board you see with a level, leveling block to block, string with a line level and also leveling every other block across the frame with an 8' 2x4 and level. I didn't have tubing or I'd have tried a water level.

The best way we found to do it was actually using my temp gun laser taped to a piece of metal tubing, fitted over a piece of rebar with a 1x2 wooden base for it to sit on. Then we used a 48" drywall T-square on each block and "shot" the measurement. We also made sure we leveled the metal tube each time we shot the measurement with a line level taped to the top. We also called one block the "control" block. We knew it was 15" so any time we weren't sure about another block we would refer back to that control block. We figured out the next day that the tape relaxed and the temp gun moved around the tube. We were at 17" on a measurement of a paver we leveld the day before. Back to the control block, we were at 16". It took us a bit to figure out I had to rotate the temp gun back to the position and we used the control block to "calibrate" it any time anything was out of whack.

We were meticulous much to my wife's chagrin on this part. 1/4" wasn't good enough. We made sure every block was 15" high on all 4 corners and center of the 12x12 paver.

Transit.jpg

He we're testing fitting and taping the 1/2" foam insulation. The pavers are inset into the ground to avoid shifting and the foam is going to be above those. We used Gorilla tape. Originally we started with the silver which was about 1-1.5" wide and laid 3 overlapping strips on the seams. It was around $8/roll. The wife accidentally bought the wrong tape, Gorilla Black Tough and Wide at $14/roll. We liked it better. It seemed stronger and the wider tape gave us more holding power. It took almost 3 full rolls to tape the seams.

Gorilla Tape: https://amzn.to/2WN5TEa

IMG-2990.jpg

Here we have moved everything off the pavers and I put my "weed barrier" down. This is a pallet wrapping heat shrink I got, free, some time ago and put it to use here. It's very thick, 6-8 mils, and should provide long lasting weed barrier protection and help avoid washout of the dirt. I covered it with rock and unfortunately before I put it down, didn't think to wash it. So I'm washing the mud and dirt off of it, which is a mess. Eventually we did clean off the weed barrier and had a clean surface we put the insulation on top of.

IMG-7206.jpg

Here's the hard piping going in. I did do this after putting the pool up so I had a reference point. I'm not very imaginative and have to see it. I've stubbed it for now while I'm waiting on a few 40mm to 1.5" conversion adapters. I had to use the backhoe to dig it, which is nervewracking next to the pool. I've only partially covered it so I can "leak test" the underground joints once the parts come in.

You can see how much we built this side up to make it level by looking at my trench near the pool. The other side is only a few inches of dirt but this is about a foot or so.

IMG-3107.jpg

Hard pipe plumbing and skimmer done! I used the GAME 40mm to 1.5" pipe adapters so I could retain the use of the flex hoses. I didn't see any reason to try to hard line all the way to the pump inlet/outlet itself. I left a stub on both sides so I can Tee off the lines if need be. I plan to build a solar heater and tee off the return line.

IMG_3191.jpg

Rock is temporary and not touching the liner.
IMG_3187.jpg

The intake side has two inlets. Both the skimmer and intake are on shut off valves so I can operate them independently if the need arises. The intlet is rated at 45 GPM so it's a little short of supply for the 3000G PH pump. I used braided vinyl hoses for the fittings so there was some flexion when the kids get a little rowdy in the pool. The smaller 1/4" intake hose is hose clamped to the inlet fitting. You will need two near at the pool and you will need to trim the rubber piece. The first clamp closes the rubber around the inlet fitting and the 2nd goes over the hose and tightens the hose to the inlet fitting. I electrical taped them so the metal doesn't rub the pool vinyl. The tubing fit snugly over the 1/4" pipe so I didn't use a fitting, just hose clamped it directly to the PVC.

On the Hayward skimmer I swapped out the hose fitting it came with for one from the parts store. I wanted to be able to tighten the tubing down and not leak and wanted something stronger than the thin fitting they had.

You can also see black foam at the base of the liner to protect from the rocks. This is insulating pipe foam. We got 6' sections and cut them in half. Not sure how well it'll hold up to the sun/moisture.
IMG_3188.jpg

On the return side I left a vertical stub with a threaded fitting and shut off valve. Originally I was going to use this in case I wanted to add a fountain or waterfall later but figured out that it works perfectly with my Intek robot vacuum and I don't have to worry about unscrewing the plastic cover inside the pool to hook up the vacuum. No more wet arms. When I'm done with the stub I have a threaded cap that I put on it to keep debris out of the stub.

On the return I used the "factory" return and flex hose with the GAME adapter.

IMG_3189.jpg

That pretty much sums up the pool setup at this point. I'm still working on the space itself.
 
Last edited:

merc123

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2019
65
Georgia
Not exactly the way we recommend...


The real test is in how the pool holds up. Keep us informed how it goes.

Have you read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry?

You have a good test kit - Pool Test Kits - Further Reading

What is the quality of your fill water?
I have read them but will need a refresh. I also have the Pool Math app. I'm going to get the TF-100 kit I believe it was. I had a small inflatable Intex for the kids last year which broke me in nicely that I have no idea what I'm doing with pool chemistry. I plan to ditch the floating ducky with tablets and use liquid chlorine. CYA was my downfall last year, I didn't understand it.

My water is city water. It had quite the smell of chlorine when I was putting it into the pool. I know the PH is usually high so I have some pH down. It does have alot of minerals in it as it leaves water spots on the car if you don't dry it.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,041
Northern NJ
pH down is dry acid. The best way to lower pH is with Muriatic Acid.

Dry acid can be used to lower pH. However dry acid contains sulfates which will accumulate in the water. Dry acid should not be used in plaster pools or pools with a SWG.
 
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merc123

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2019
65
Georgia
Just got done SLAMing the pool. I used 2 gallons of 10% chlorine to get it where it needed to be. Overnight FC loss was 0 and I've dropped from 20.5 FC to 14 since 6:45 AM. My CC is remaining steady at 0.5. Only thing right now is total alkalinity. It's pretty high at 160. Love the TF100 test kit with stirrer.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
18,041
Northern NJ
TA level makes no difference in your pool. Don’t waste your time or chemicals on TA. You just need correct TA value for PoolMath to calculate acid doses to reduce pH.
 
Last edited:

sammckin

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2019
361
WV
This is my first time doing an AGP and it seems I've done alot wrong, but time will tell for sure! :)

1st thing that we did wrong was we built up instead of down. We built up ALOT. I brought in fill dirt and topsoil (another no-no) and we put around 1.5 tandem loads of dirt into the area. I also did not get a compactor. I used my tractor instead. We lightly watered, drove over, scraped, water, drove, scraped. We repeated this process alot, for days. I would compact it until the tractor barely left track marks. It got to a point that even when wet the tractor would barely leave an imprint.

The natural soil I have is clay with very little top soil if any, the fill dirt is clay and the topsoil had some organic matter, but not alot. It had quite a bit of sandy, silty dirt that was easy to spread, but once packed turned to concrete. It even sparkled in the sun.

Once it was all said and done with, it took a 3 pound sledge for me to pound a rebar into the dirt and good luck digging anything with a shovel more than 1/4" deep. I had to use the tractor to pull the rebar back out as it only bent when I hit it sideways with a hammer to loosen it. Water also hardly absorbs into it any longer. It's very much like concrete. I'm hoping all of this has helped with compaction enough. Time will tell and experience will probably tell me more. :)

View attachment 138473

This was after we built up and begun to level the 12x12" pavers. I'm just not finding out they may crack since they're only 1" thick. Digging these was a nightmare. At this point the dirt was virtually impervious to a shovel. We had to pick axe the dirt to loosen it enough to shovel and even used the backhoe teeth to soften it.

View attachment 138469

We tried several ways to level the pavers from the 14' board you see with a level, leveling block to block, string with a line level and also leveling every other block across the frame with an 8' 2x4 and level. I didn't have tubing or I'd have tried a water level.

The best way we found to do it was actually using my temp gun laser taped to a piece of metal tubing, fitted over a piece of rebar with a 1x2 wooden base for it to sit on. Then we used a 48" drywall T-square on each block and "shot" the measurement. We also made sure we leveled the metal tube each time we shot the measurement with a line level taped to the top. We also called one block the "control" block. We knew it was 15" so any time we weren't sure about another block we would refer back to that control block. We figured out the next day that the tape relaxed and the temp gun moved around the tube. We were at 17" on a measurement of a paver we leveld the day before. Back to the control block, we were at 16". It took us a bit to figure out I had to rotate the temp gun back to the position and we used the control block to "calibrate" it any time anything was out of whack.

We were meticulous much to my wife's chagrin on this part. 1/4" wasn't good enough. We made sure every block was 15" high on all 4 corners and center of the 12x12 paver.

View attachment 138474

He we're testing fitting and taping the 1/2" foam insulation. The pavers are inset into the ground to avoid shifting and the foam is going to be above those. We used Gorilla tape. Originally we started with the silver which was about 1-1.5" wide and laid 3 overlapping strips on the seams. It was around $8/roll. The wife accidentally bought the wrong tape, Gorilla Black Tough and Wide at $14/roll. We liked it better. It seemed stronger and the wider tape gave us more holding power. It took almost 3 full rolls to tape the seams.

Gorilla Tape: https://amzn.to/2WN5TEa

View attachment 138470

Here we have moved everything off the pavers and I put my "weed barrier" down. This is a pallet wrapping heat shrink I got, free, some time ago and put it to use here. It's very thick, 6-8 mils, and should provide long lasting weed barrier protection and help avoid washout of the dirt. I covered it with rock and unfortunately before I put it down, didn't think to wash it. So I'm washing the mud and dirt off of it, which is a mess. Eventually we did clean off the weed barrier and had a clean surface we put the insulation on top of.

View attachment 138472

Here's the hard piping going in. I did do this after putting the pool up so I had a reference point. I'm not very imaginative and have to see it. I've stubbed it for now while I'm waiting on a few 40mm to 1.5" conversion adapters. I had to use the backhoe to dig it, which is nervewracking next to the pool. I've only partially covered it so I can "leak test" the underground joints once the parts come in.

You can see how much we built this side up to make it level by looking at my trench near the pool. The other side is only a few inches of dirt but this is about a foot or so.

View attachment 138471

Hard pipe plumbing and skimmer done! I used the GAME 40mm to 1.5" pipe adapters so I could retain the use of the flex hoses. I didn't see any reason to try to hard line all the way to the pump inlet/outlet itself. I left a stub on both sides so I can Tee off the lines if need be. I plan to build a solar heater and tee off the return line.

View attachment 140596

Rock is temporary and not touching the liner.
View attachment 140593

The intake side has two inlets. Both the skimmer and intake are on shut off valves so I can operate them independently if the need arises. The intlet is rated at 45 GPM so it's a little short of supply for the 3000G PH pump. I used braided vinyl hoses for the fittings so there was some flexion when the kids get a little rowdy in the pool. The smaller 1/4" intake hose is hose clamped to the inlet fitting. You will need two near at the pool and you will need to trim the rubber piece. The first clamp closes the rubber around the inlet fitting and the 2nd goes over the hose and tightens the hose to the inlet fitting. I electrical taped them so the metal doesn't rub the pool vinyl. The tubing fit snugly over the 1/4" pipe so I didn't use a fitting, just hose clamped it directly to the PVC.

On the Hayward skimmer I swapped out the hose fitting it came with for one from the parts store. I wanted to be able to tighten the tubing down and not leak and wanted something stronger than the thin fitting they had.

You can also see black foam at the base of the liner to protect from the rocks. This is insulating pipe foam. We got 6' sections and cut them in half. Not sure how well it'll hold up to the sun/moisture.
View attachment 140594

On the return side I left a vertical stub with a threaded fitting and shut off valve. Originally I was going to use this in case I wanted to add a fountain or waterfall later but figured out that it works perfectly with my Intek robot vacuum and I don't have to worry about unscrewing the plastic cover inside the pool to hook up the vacuum. No more wet arms. When I'm done with the stub I have a threaded cap that I put on it to keep debris out of the stub.

On the return I used the "factory" return and flex hose with the GAME adapter.

View attachment 140595

That pretty much sums up the pool setup at this point. I'm still working on the space itself.
Pretty epic build!
 
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