1993 renovation Tulsa, OK, seeking input!

Ourad

Silver Supporter
Jun 25, 2019
41
Tulsa, OK
Well I've been creeping around these build threads long enough, I figure its about time to update this old tub. Would appreciate any input with the design we are working with. This is just concept, we haven't completely worked out how to actually execute any of this. Meeting with the builder in a month or so to finalize everything.

Existing pool
17'5 x 36 pool, 4'ish in the shallow end, 8.5' deep. Constant slope. 32kish gallons.
Spa is a half moon 6x12ish.
Semi functional Caretaker in floor system without a debris sucking capable main drain, (thus rendering the entire operation pointless).
2 pool 1 spa skimmer, 1 pool main drain, all plumbed separately. Main drain in spa plugged, presuming an old leak.
No pool wall returns. (y)
970 sq ft of deck w cantilevered coping

1. The scupper wall behind the spa in the design is getting axed. Looks pretty, but it looks like it would be a pain in the butt to keep clean, and pretty pricey. Probably going to raise the spa a couple feet to provide some seating over there. Most of the landscaping is placeholder, and the rear retaining wall is not going to get changed.

2. The pool has an auto cover, which worked for about 7 months after I replaced the cover. Unfortunately the cover was incorrectly sized, and now its shrunk a bit and under too much tension for the 30 yr old motor pulley system to handle. I have a discount on a new one since the installer screwed up, but it's still a solid 10k addon. Unfortunately, the new design doesn't really work with an autocover. I imagine having a partially uncovered tanning ledge would look strange, although not particularly dangerous because there would be a foot or so overlap of the ledge. I would have to either leave the wall between the pool and spa up, or square off the spa and do a longer cover. I don't love either of those options. The cover also just seems like something else that can break and cost money down the road. Then again, I already have the hole and electrical for the cover...

I'm curious how reliable those who do have covers find them, or regrets about getting/not getting. I like the heat preservation benefits, but then again I could just buy a solar cover later. For the brief period of time the cover worked, keeping it clean of debris was almost as annoying as just scooping stuff out of the pool or letting the robot get it. You can't really blow it off very easily because everything just collects next to the track under the coping.

3. Scrap or update the infloor? I would never put one in a new pool based on what I read here, but the plumbing is already there, so again, seems like it might be silly to not update it. Also I believe some have mentioned in floors might make more sense in a deeper pool rather than a sport pool? Sounds like it would be a few grand for new heads/sleeves/valve, and I would have to update the main drain to a debris cleaning one with a leaf canister, assuming that can be done on a 2" pipe (I think the current drain canister systems recommend 2.5" pipe). I feel like my warrior SE does a pretty stellar job...but my wife complains about his constant presence in the pool, and I'm not inclined to put him in and take him out all the time.

4. I would have been fine keeping the deck, but I received mixed responses from builders on whether it could be resurfaced adequately or whether it all just needed to come out. Since I want some wall returns and some lights, I figure I'll just tear the whole thing out. Debating between the paver/turf as shown, versus some sort of checkered stamped concrete. Open to any opinions on the paver/turf setup in a pool environment.

5. I was thinking 4 wall returns, where should they go? The skimmers are on opposite corners of the pool, NE and SW.

7. Tanning ledge in the design comes a foot or so into the pool, which would make it about 8 feet from the apex to the edge. I'm not sure I want to sacrifice my shallow end for more ledge, and if I made the ledge flush with the edge of the pool, it would be just shy of 7 feet which seems like it should be big enough. This would also eliminate any issues integrating the ledge with the steps, as currently the 1st step is too shallow for a ledge height (4.5 inches from waterline), and the 2nd step is too deep for a ledge height (16 or so inches), so there would be a weird half step to the ledge if they connected.

8. Should I replace the 27 year old skimmers while I'm doing everything? Not sure what a skimmer lifespan should be, but 27 years seems like a pretty good run.

9. Thinking we will ditch the diving board, and may bring the deep end up a bit to 7.5 or 8 ft, and try to get a little more shallow end. I'm not sure how hard it is to make minor slope adjustments. Do you have to do new rebar and gunite everywhere to add a few inches to the floor, or can you just put the plaster a little thicker or something?

Well that went on longer than I meant it to. Thank you for any input those with more experience can provide!
 

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Nikilyn

Well-known member
Sep 3, 2018
243
Gilbert, AZ
I would keep the diving board. My MIL had one and all the grandkids loved it and so did her 6 grown sons. They would do competitions to see who could get the biggest splash 😂. It was a sad day when she moved. My, now grown, kids still talk about it and miss the diving board since not many have one now days.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,208
Central California
1. I would incorporate a standalone spa into a pool visually, with clever stone work, a sort of faux in-pool spa, before building/adding an actual in-pool spa, but that's just me. I'd want all that multi-jet all-over massaging and fiberglass-contoured seating over a concrete bench with a half-dozen weak bubble dispensers.

2. I've never had a cover, so can't really compare, but I'd rather look at my pool than cover it. As you pointed out, I'd also rather let the skimmer and vac do their jobs than be constantly battling leaves and a cover.

3. Ditch the infloor and the drain. Just abandon all that old plumbing. With modern cleaning systems, neither are necessary. I just plastered over my drains in a remodel. Picture your pool floor without any toe-stubbing, vac-tripping, unsightly drain covers and plumbing fixtures in it. Ahhhhh. And the safest drain (in terms of entrapment) is no drain. With enough returns, circulation will be more than adequate. A drain provides very little in the way of circulation, and is no longer the best way to clean a pool.

4. Lighting sounds good. Pair that with some landscaping lighting for a stunning nighttime scene.

5. I can't think of much I'd want less than grass running through a pool deck, if that's the proposal. Real grass? Mowing it? Getting the clippings in the pool? Half of it dead or dying from the salt water? Tripping over it? Not seein' it...

And I appreciate the attempt at symmetry, but it is at the expense of the chaise lounge area. That looks silly to me, with the chaises hanging off into the landscaping, and no comfortable way to walk around them. That deck should be 3' to 6' wider, with plenty of room for the lounges and plenty of room to walk around them. If the symmetry is all that important, then that could be achieved visually with some clever deck inlay design, or something like that.

6. Position of the returns should be determined by a pool hydraulics engineer, or someone with a similar skill. There is a science to it. The idea is to get a slow whirlpool going to rotate the water past the skimmers. Prevailing wind comes into play, too.

7. I like the two-bench idea. No particular reason.

8. I'm not a fan of in-pool ledges, so no comment.

9. Seems prudent to replace the skimmers. Consider adding an auto-leveler well. Pentair makes one. I have a PoolMiser which I like a lot. I wouldn't own a pool without an auto-leveler (auto-filler and overflow control in one, connects to pool via equalizer tube).

10. I like a deep end, and would leave the depth as is.

11. I like all of the equipment upgrade plans, except the Stenner. Pentair's IntellipH works hand-in-hand with their IntelliChlor and has some niceties that you won't get with a Stenner. They have a well-thought-out system for pouring acid into the hopper. The IpH uses the IC's flow switch and power supply to keep the acid from injecting while the pump is off, and the IpH shuts down the IC's chlorine production while its injecting acid so that both are not occurring at the same time (acid and chlorine combine into a very nasty gas byproduct). The Stenner and IC combo won't afford any of those built-in safety measures (though they can be achieved with some DIY work-arounds). To be fair, the Stenner could be set up to dispense acid year-round. The IpH will stop working if the IC stops working due to cold water temps (around 50°).

Just one guy's opinions... whatever you decide, you certainly have the makings of a fantastic remodel! 👍
 
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Ourad

Silver Supporter
Jun 25, 2019
41
Tulsa, OK
That's a good point on the deck size. It's one of those things where I've always seen it that size and shape, so I just assume "that's the deck" and should put it back the same way, even though i can actually do whatever i want once its torn up. I think the symmetry is worth keeping but might have to look at ways to expand the sides a bit.

Agree with you on the spa for the most part. I don't really want to manage two bodies of water though, and I like the spillover, although I could just build a wall in front of the spa with a fountain to mimic it. Don't think it will convince the wife.

Hadn't thought about scrapping the drain as well, I guess I don't really use it ever unless I need to drain the pool, good point.

That would be artificial turf, not real grass. I have a buddy with a turf business so I would probably get a decent deal on it. From what he tells me it is not as toe stubby as it looks, because the blades are soft and flop over when you walk over em, and the turf base is level to the paver, so despite it looking like a trip hazard it is apparently not. Still considering some lightly colored stamped pattern too.

Forgot about the autofill but yep thats in the cards. Didn't think about the intelliph interaction, seems like definitely the way to go with pentair everything else.

Appreciate your input! So many good tips and tidbits on these build threads, it's great.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,208
Central California
Thanks for being gracious about my barking (I just re-read my post and realized I was none too polite). Just wanted to get you thinking about options. You mentioned the faux spillover... that's exactly how I would do it, but you bring up the downside: managing two bodies. But there are two sides to that, too. You get to manage two bodies. If you like to soak year-round, then that's where the stand-alone could shine, especially if you like to keep it heated all winter. With an in-pool, you have to dump all the heat at least once a day, so that pool water circulates through the spa (to sanitize it). Though there might be a plumbing work-around for that, not sure. Tough call. I just like all those jets on feet and back and neck, etc.

Artificial turf, cool, that would make a big difference. And there are several ways to drain a pool, that are at least as good as using a main drain...
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
6,515
Central MD
That will be quite a transformation. And an autocover on a '93 pool! Does it still work well or will it need replacement? On the deck, I do agree on the right side. I'd consider adding a second semi-circular ring behind the chaise (or for the chaise), to enlarge that side by 4-6'. It's beautiful, but I'd go with that bit of function over form. Is the change of surface also OK for older folks or folks with any mobility issues a concern? I think it looks cool but would probably consider duplicating the look with a fully hard surface and color/texture/pattern variations.

I might consider a somewhat more comfortable version of the benches facing the pool. That area is great to incorporate seating and tables, but just not sure if that's my first choice. Though I could warm up to it as is.
 
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Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,208
Central California
On the deck, I do agree on the right side. I'd consider adding a second semi-circular ring behind the chaise (or for the chaise), to enlarge that side by 4-6'. It's beautiful, but I'd go with that bit of function over form. Is the change of surface also OK for older folks or folks with any mobility issues a concern? I think it looks cool but would probably consider duplicating the look with a fully hard surface and color/texture/pattern variations.
Similar thoughts we're having. There is also the issue of cleaning those grass inlays. The interesting look of both the cross hatch and symmetry of the chaise area could all be done with stone work. You'd be able to achieve form AND function.
 

Ourad

Silver Supporter
Jun 25, 2019
41
Tulsa, OK
So surprisingly the cover mechanism on the pool still worked after 27 years, it made a lot of grinding noises and sounded like it was about to break all the time, but it did the job. Unfortunately the installer measured it too short so when the cover shrunk a bit over winter it became too tight to pull out. They gave me a fairly generous replacement offer but like Dirk said, I really like seeing the pool not the cover, So I’m leaning towards just abandoning it and filling in the hole.

My in laws just had some pavers and turf put in and per their report it’s very smooth to walk on, not at all bumpy. I’ll probably go see some in person before we finalize it. I wouldn’t mind doing it with patterned concrete though. Definitely going to look at adding some deck space to the sides.

The landscaping and furniture in the pics is all placeholder, we haven’t made it quite that far yet. Not sure how we are going to do the bench, I’d really like some sort of hinged or removable lid with some storage under it for all the pool toys and other stuff to go, and some cushions on the seat/back to make it more comfortable. I have no idea how to go about finding something like that though. I guess we could just put some comfy chairs and deck chests up against the wall on either side of the stairs too.

I like the idea of the smooth pool bottom w no drain or infloors though. I guess you just have some returns aimed down near the deep end to circulate things a bit?