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Thread: New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

    All,

    we are planning to build a pool this spring in Princeton, NJ. It is currently snowing, 4 inch and growing, so I am getting in the mood for spring ! We have two young children so it is more of a fun pool, although we will (rarely) do laps.

    Here is what he have planned – I am just looking for advice and comments from you all !

    We have gotten quotes from 4 builders and we are in the last stage of making them comparable. 2 builders are national chains (guess who … ), and the other are two local builders. The range of pricing we got was a bit surprising, so was the range of expertise (should I say opinions for some of them ?) of the pool builders. Once we have the final quotes we'll be checking references ... the BBB (as in better business bureau, not bleach, borax and baking soda ) comes up pretty clean for all of them.

    Here are the specs …

    Freeform gunite pool, 746 sq ft, 115 linear foot perimeter, 46 ft long, with a tanning ledge in the shallow end and umbrella sleeves in the tanning ledge (great idea by one of the builders).

    Quartz (how do AnsylBrite and 3M compare ?) or smooth pebble finish

    Upgraded plumbing – 2 ½” direct plumbing for drains and returns (upgraded from standard 2”) – this reduces the resistance (head per ft) by about 50% (!). I had to be assertive with the builders to get this into the quote.

    2 Anti Entrapment main drains
    2 or 3 returns

    Solar heat – I am thinking of installing Helicoil myself. The conveniently available continuous roof surface is about 400 sq ft with with east-south-east orientation. Not ideal, but it still should help extend the pool season.

    Intelliflo pump

    450+ sq ft cartridge filter with Nature 2 cartridge in filter

    No SWG because of the risk of issues with the natural stone coping/decking

    6” Glass tile at the water line

    Travertine coping (1 ft wide)
    Travertine decking extra 3 ft around the pool and some seating areas, total of about 1000 -1300 sq ft
    Since builder are asking $20-$28 per sq ft of travertine pavers installed, I am tempted to have the pool builder install the crushed stone base and code-required bonding grid and I’ll set the pavers. Gothicstone provided a quote for nice travertine paves and coping. Does anybody here know of masons who are more reasonable I their pricing – I am not looking forward to lugging around tons of stone but I’ll do it if it saves me thousands …

    Aquabot T2 - we have lots of huge deciduous trees around the back yard – hope it can handle it. I want to avoid a power hungry noisy booster pump for a Polaris 380 or similar

    2 Jandy ColorLogic LED lights

    Maybe a raised beam with a 6’ Jandy sheer decent and light. However, the additional charge for this is more than we are ready to pay. We are asking the builders to run the plumbing only so we can add the feature at a later time.

    Automation – Goldline PS8 and PDA remote + solar heat control – I hear it can control the Intelliflo.

    Solid pool cover (or MAYBE SmartMesh)

    Any advice, options or recommendations for a really good pool builder in the area would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Patrick
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Hi, Patrick,

    Welcome. How deep is your pool? The current trend is to eliminate main drains if you don't have a diving depth. Not a really big deal either way but I think I would save the money unless you have a deep end.

    Nature 2 - You will find little positive about it on this forum. Most folks feel it is of little or no value.....even without an SWG.

    Aquabot - Like you, I have a ton of leaves to deal with and have not yet found the best solution. I am considering a robot but I really haven't determined which one will be the best for leaves.

    Two returns is good.....three is even better.

    You'll never regret the money spent on 2.5" pipes....they're like filters....bigger really IS better.

    Sounds like a VERY nice pool.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP!

    That all sounds really good except for the Nature2. You don't want to be putting copper into the pool, which is what the Nature2 unit does. Copper can cause unsightly stains that are difficult to remove and while it can help against algae, which you can see, it doesn't provide significant protection against bacteria and viruses, which you can't see, and so provides a false sense of security.

    Getting an IntelliTouch automation system would give you more control over the IntelliFlo compared to the PS8. I have heard good things about the Blue Diamond cleaning robot compared to the Aquabot.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Thank you both !

    The good thing about the Nature2 is that it's so easy to remove from a cartridge filter ) All 4 builders recommended it but now I am not so sure I want it ... I'll search this forum about it.

    I intend to continue with the BBB method - it worked so well on my last pool 32x16 vinyl IG with a sand filter on Long Island, NY.

    I like the IntelliTouch but all the remote controls seem so awful or overpriced - are there any better ones coming out ?
    I'll check out the Blue Diamond robot ... in my last pool I always dove for the leaves with a net. Help the pool cleaner out )

    The deep end will be 7-8 foot so I suppose I'll need main drains after all.

    Patrick
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

  5. Back To Top    #5
    donaldm823's Avatar
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    Contractors

    Quote Originally Posted by pauster1
    Thank you both !

    The good thing about the Nature2 is that it's so easy to remove from a cartridge filter ) All 4 builders recommended it but now I am not so sure I want it ... I'll search this forum about it.

    I intend to continue with the BBB method - it worked so well on my last pool 32x16 vinyl IG with a sand filter on Long Island, NY.

    I like the IntelliTouch but all the remote controls seem so awful or overpriced - are there any better ones coming out ?
    I'll check out the Blue Diamond robot ... in my last pool I always dove for the leaves with a net. Help the pool cleaner out )

    The deep end will be 7-8 foot so I suppose I'll need main drains after all.

    Patrick
    Sounds like a great pool. Anthony & Sylvan built my pool here in Philly area and I was very pleased with the quality of work. I tracked the work closely (like a Project Mngr)(I am retired so at home all day) and as a result sped up the build. I was filling in 6 weeks and the work quality was excellent. (I also hit solid granite, but worked thru the issue-check their prices if you hit rock, as it cost me an extra $2500 per day for 3 days).

    Pool equip provided was good quality. Went with a 60ft3 DE filter and am very happy with it. I use a Polaris 360 and it cleans Ok, but I have few trees nearby. I use a solar cover and gas heater (400KBTU) but yes it cost $6 per hour-need it in May-June and Sep-Oct at generally an extra $100 per month on those months). Have had the pool for 2 seasons and have no issues. A&S prices were slightly higher than a local pool builder but decided the use of a national builder was worth the small extra cost (you get a lot of contractor problems down here that do not stand by their work and are slow). I removed my Nature 2 as I found it was not needed and was an unnecessary $100 expense each year for the cartridge insert. I also installed a SWG (Autopilot) last year and just love it. You will find adding the Chlorox gets bothersome.

    Looking back-my one change would be to buy the new Pentair intelliflo variable speed pumps as my pump is a 2hp and could use a low speed for normal filtering and save on the high cost of electricity up here. Running the pump 10hrs per day cost $100 per month.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    IMHO,

    Lose the umbrella sleeves. Future trip hazard. If you keep them, never buy umbrellas with wooden shafts, they swell and get stuck.

    I like the over sizing of the plumbing. Expect the costs to go up substantially. The added return is a good idea.

    Don't use travertine. It'll chip or wear, especially with a safety cover on top in the winter. It's too soft a material for our area wide range of temps. I've seen this happen more than once.

    If you really want a cartridge, I suggest the Pentair Quad DE.

    Since you are going with am Intelliflo, use the Easy Touch controller and IntelliBrite lights. It'll extend your warranty on the equipment to 3 years. The Hayward does not give you the control of the pump I think you looking for.

    I concur with the others about loosing the Nature cartridge.

    I've never seen salt hurt stone. An Intelichlor is something you won't regret. Neither will your eyes or the kids eyes or their friends eyes.....
    The white residue some get is invariably calcium deposits.

    A Legend cleaner can be given the boost in flow required from the Intelliflo pump. Hardly a bump in power requirements.

    If you are going to put the sheers in and the volume of water exceeds the capacity of the Intelliflo and you need another pump, put in another set of bottom drains, leave room at the equipment pad for the additional pump and a small cartridge filter so pebbles and stuff don't get stuck in the sheers.

    If you raise the bond beam, don't go more than 18 inches if want a Safety Cover that is considered safe that doesn't require eyebolts drilled in the front for the cover to attach to. Max of 3 steps on each side too.

    Don't do the deck yourself if you haven't got the expertise. It doesn't take much of an Oh S**t to make up the difference.

    If you stick with the travertine deck and then still want a safety cover, be sure the installer doesn't use a hammer drill on the travertine. A core drill will keep the tiles from breaking. If we lived in a more temporate zone like Texas, Arizona, et al, travertine is great!
    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.

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Sounds like a great pool so far! The only things that caught my attention were the "Jandy colorlogic LED lights" - Hayward makes the ColorLogic line, Jandy makes the Jandycolors lights, which are halogen. I personally prefer the hayward colorlogic, which is what I assume you meant.
    Second - for a variable speed pump it would be a good idea to match up the panel with the pump. So either an intellitouch (which I personally hate, but they work fine) with and intelliflo, or an aqualogic ps8 (my favorite) with a variable speed tri-star.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Thank you thank you thank you !

    Yes, I meant the LED lights ... I'll check on the Legend cleaners, too.

    I think I can protect against chafe from the cover by putting thick burlap or something between the cover and the travertine. I think that getting good quality stone makes all the difference. I have done a 2" bluestone paver walkway before. It's hard work. but making the money to pay someone do it for me is, too.

    What other natural stone would be a an option in NJ ?

    The Sheer descent needs about 50 GPM for 6' if I recall the specs correctly, an IntelliFlo should be able to easily handle that.

    What's a good wireless controller for the IntelliTouch ?
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Umbrealla sleeves a tripping hazard ?

    PoolGuyNJ,

    you said umbrella sleeves were a potential tripping hazard ... how so ? I thought they were basically a 1 1/2" or so tube embedded in the gunite, flush with the plaster.

    Of course we wouldn't stick a wood shaft in it ... agreed !

    Patrick
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Setting travertine pavers yourself

    PoolGuyNJ,


    can you please elaborate on the challenges of settin ghte pavers ? If you have a properly compacted sub - base, what are the things to watch out for ? As I said I have set pavers (in a dry sand/cement bed on compacted crushed stone) before ... but maybe I am missing the finer points of how to do it correctly.

    And advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks !

    Patrick
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

  11. Back To Top    #11

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    As for the trip hazard, I've seen kids stub their toes and fall in uncovered holes designed for umbrellas, B-Ball hoops and V-Ball nets.

    I have seen heaves from frost, void formations, improperly pitched decks that drain towards the pool, and just about anything else that can go wrong, happen. Also remember that any holes in the deck, such as those for your umbrellas or safety cover must be core drilled, needs drainage and that anything that gets inserted in those holes can cause chipping.

    If you think you can do it well, more power to you.

    If you have an attached spa on the pool, get a second pump for the sheers. Then you can run them along with the spa. You can't balance suction lines easily when the destination water is going to separate bodies of water.

    Your decking choice is a very personal decision. I personally like the look of canter levered concrete. It looks pretty and is the most durable.

    I just noticed you included solar heat. It's not going to extend your season. It will generate a lot of head loss. It will spring a leak at some point. It is a pain in the butt to properly winterize.

    A gas fired heater is more effective at extending the swim season, introduces less head loss and is less likely to leak in it's first 5 years of life. Keep the chems balanced and that period is a lot longer.
    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.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Here is the plan ....

    Here is the plan for our pool ...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

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    All right, the contract is signed. <sigh> I got a decent and realistic price IMHO after some negotiating.

    I obtained quotes from four pool builders - 2 national chains, two local companies. Checked the BBB, talked with references - one of whom was extremely helpful on all the option and equipment choices and even invited my family over (but that makes more sense when the pool is open).

    These open items remain:
    - tile choice
    - 3M Quartz - which color ? (we are currently thinking the standard blue, with 60% aggregate in the mix - PB says some builders use less)
    - Automation system for the IntelliFlo - see below

    Here is what we have decided on, feel free to comment
    - Pool as drawn, 746 sq ft, 115 lin feet perimeter, up to 7 feet deep. I am guesstimating 28K gallons.
    - 6' Sheer descent in a 18" raised beam with fiber optic light bar
    - 2 Hayward LED lights
    - HelioCol 480 sq ft solar heat (most likely, I am getting alternative quotes)
    - Pentair InteliFlo VF
    - Goldline Aquarite SWG
    - JetFlow infloor cleaning system
    - Hayward Phantom with booster pump (or can I use it on the IntelliFlo ?) - I thought about the Aquabot but we have many huge decidous trees nearby, mostly maple, and I am worried the Aquabot may not be able to cope with the leave and debris load. I hear Phantom can be tricky to adjust but once it works it works great.
    - Upgraded to 2 1/2" plumbing to lower dynamic head by over 60%
    - Hayward 450 sq ft cartridge filter
    - Hayward VacAlert as required by local code - although the IntelliFlo has that function built in. Curious how it will interact with variable speed, i.e. suction - but PB said he'd figure it out.
    - Travertine coping and decking. PB to to the coping and compacted gravel base with bonding grid for 1000 sq ft of decking, yours truly to set the pavers. I am not looking forward to lugging around tons of stones, but at $12+ per sq ft for the installation alone I will. If I find a reputable contractor to do it at a reasonable price I'd be thrilled to outsource this ! My friendly PB agreed to try to get me better pricing on the material (Gothicstone light colored Travertine)

    Now for the big remaining question - automation system that can:
    - control solar by thermostat (1 valve actuator)
    - control sheer descent (1 actuator)
    - pick one of the three speeds (filter, solar, waterfall) programmed into the IntelliFlo, maybe add a fourth for the in-floor (and yes I have read that the VS might do better with some in-floor systems because it is unlike the VF not too smart for its own good)
    - control the Hayward LED lights
    - control the waterfall lights
    - I would like a decent remote control like the Jandy or Goldline PDA style but will use
    an indoor wall panel if necessary.

    That's it, really. (for example, I don't need to change the SWG settings on a remote)

    Does not sound like much, does it ?

    My choices appear to be

    1) IntelliTouch - which should work best with the IntelliFlo. But the wireless remotes are clunky and/or expensive !

    2) Goldline - nice because it would be one enclosure with the SWG controller.
    It could be talking to the IntelliFlo via an IntelliComm so all it needs to do is put a voltage (any)
    on the four ports of the IntelliComm - which will then tell the IntelliFlo which program to choose.
    This would use three relays (aux ?) of the Goldline.
    Nice remote.

    I called Hayward/Goldline tech support and explained that this might be possible. I am not sure if the tech I spoke to
    was unwilling to help, unable to understand the approach or knew that for some reason that he was not able to
    articulate in spite of my insistence - but he said it does not work. Weird.

    3) Jandy PS8.
    Pentair Reps installed it with the IntelliComm/IntelliFlo combination for a PB's show pool - works great I hear - and in other forums I have also heard it works well.
    Nice remote.

    So if anybody can help me figure out the pitfalls with any of the three choices I'd be grateful !

    Cheers,

    Patrick
    So far lots of mud, moss and grass in my back yard (in that order). Planning a pool build for spring/summer

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Having had a solar heating system for five years, I have to disagree with NJ Poolguy on the benefits and hassles of the system. For five years, I have not had a leak. Winterizing is the loosening of two pvc pipe connectors next to my filter to ensure all the water is drained out of the pipe. If installed correctly, the panels and all pipe on the roof will drain itself. I do not use a solar cover because I am too lazy, but I still swear by my solar panels. I get up to a 10-15 degree difference in temperature (compared to my neighbor's pool) in a very short time in April/May. the recovery from rain also is much quicker. The solar adds about 4 psi to my system and I find I have to backwash after about an 8 lb rise in pressure rather than 10, but this is minor.

    I stopped using my Nature2 after two seasons and never noticed much of a difference. Some people swear by it and it really does not add much copper to the pool. (That is a major question of it, how does it actually keep the water clear when it does not add much copper or silver to the pool water?) However, I can't tell you whether it really did anything.
    Chris
    19,000 vinyl pool, solar heat, .75 hp tristar, 48 sq ft de filter

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

    How did your pool come out?

    I am currently in the situation you were a few months ago!

    I am planning to build a pool next spring. I will probably go with Anthony and Sylvan. Did you use Nature2?
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

    Hi,

    yes, we have been swimming for 4 weeks now. I am completing the stone patio around the pool (1000 sq ft total), added the salt on Friday, everything works great !

    I ended up with Blue Haven and I am quite happy with the job they did ... soon I should have pictures to post ! I have a Nature2 cartridge somewhere (it is supposed to go into the Cartridge filter) but after reading on it here I decided to not use it for now.

    I used a Jandy PDA PS8 with the IntelliFlo and also the Jandy SWG. It is so cool to be able to see gpm and power consumtion of the IntelliFlo and the Salt ppm reading on the remote )

    Solar works great. It also keeps the house cool , saving on AC cost ...

    So what are your plans ?

    Patrick
    Completed July 2008: 25,000 gal IG gunite, 3M "Smoke" Quartz, 6' sheer descent w/ fiberoptic light bar, 2 Hayward ColorLogic LED lights, IntelliFlo VF (running at 160 watts to filter - yeah !), Jandy PDA PS8, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG (running at 15% :o) ), 8 "Jet Flow" returns, 450 sq ft Hayward cartridge filter, 480 sq ft HelioCol solar panels, Hayward VacAlert, Hayward Phantom Turbo, BBB method, TF-100 Test kit (of course !)

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

    See this thread with my information:

    planning-my-first-pool-lots-of-questions-for-you-t8723.html

    I was going to call BlueHaven also, but I am tired of all the PB's coming out in the evening.

    I think I am also going to go with the Jandy SWG.
    4th Year Pool owner in Sinking Spring PA
    46'x23' Free Form Concrete (34,000 gallons), Aqua Blue Pebble Sheen Finish, Pentair IntelliChlor SWG
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Pentair D.E. FNS Filter, Pentair MasterTemp heater.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: New pool in Princeton, NJ this summer

    Yes, we got tired of the negotiations etc - we went through the whole process with four builders. It was time well spent, I learned important stuff from everyone !
    Completed July 2008: 25,000 gal IG gunite, 3M "Smoke" Quartz, 6' sheer descent w/ fiberoptic light bar, 2 Hayward ColorLogic LED lights, IntelliFlo VF (running at 160 watts to filter - yeah !), Jandy PDA PS8, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWCG (running at 15% :o) ), 8 "Jet Flow" returns, 450 sq ft Hayward cartridge filter, 480 sq ft HelioCol solar panels, Hayward VacAlert, Hayward Phantom Turbo, BBB method, TF-100 Test kit (of course !)

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