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Thread: New Pool Specs - Need Advice

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    New Pool Specs - Need Advice

    After spending several months lurking on this board and interviewing several pool builders, my dh and I think we have found the builder we like, with the design we like. What we are not so sure about is if we’re getting a good deal or not. So I thought I might post the specs here and get some of your opinions. We would really like any opinions on specific equipment and also the cost. It all seems so expensive! I guess our main concern is that this builder seems very wary of giving us a line item cost. He has everything lumped together and we are having a hard time deciding what we need to cut out, as we would like to be about 10K cheaper so we can afford landscaping, poolside furniture, etc. We would love to know if anyone sees any red flags jumping out at them as well. We are in Houston, Texas if that helps. Thanks in advance!

    Pool Specs:
    36’ x 34’ gunite pool
    3’6” x 6’ deep
    Interior Surface Area: 453 sq ft
    Pool/Spa Capacity: ~17,693 gallons
    6 hour turnover
    Returns: 6 + 2
    Drains: 3
    Pool Lights: (2) Pentair 500 Watt
    Coping: Flagstone
    6” height frost proof waterline tile
    Pebble Sheen finish
    518 sq ft of spray decking

    Spa Specs:
    Spa Dimensions: 7’ x7’
    Spa Drains: 3
    Spa Jets: 8 Directional (2” water and air headers)
    Spa Raised: 18”
    Spa Lights: (1) Pentair 100 Watt
    Exterior Wall: Stacked Flagstone

    Pentair Clean & Clear Plus 520 sq.ft filter
    IntelliFlo Variable Multi Speed Pump
    (4) Jandy 3-Way Posi-Seal, Neverlube system valves
    (2) Swim-Quip Surface Skimmer
    (6) MDX & SDX, (3 pool, 3 Spa) main drains
    (7 + 2) Directional Fittings, 1 ½” reduced from 2” return
    Pentair Legend pressure side cleaner
    Pentair ¾ HP booster pump
    Pentair 400,000 BTU heater
    Pentair IntelliTouch w/ wireless indoor remote & wired spa side remote
    Silencer 2 HP air blower
    Frog XL Pro Chlorine and Mineral dispenser sanitation system – We’ll probably change this to a saltwater system. PB says he will do that at no additional cost.
    Paramount Ozone generator

    Water Features:
    34’ long raised beam that is 24” tall. There will be five copper scuppers that come out of the beam to form a waterfall. There are also two bubblers on a small tanning shelf, with an umbrella stand.

    Maintenance Equipment:
    (1) 16’ telescopic aluminum pole
    (2) 50 ft vacuum hose
    (1) vacuum head
    (1) 18” wall brush
    (2 ) Leaf nets
    (1) 4-1 test kit
    (1) floating thermometer

    1 year warranty in swimming pool
    Lifetime warranty on gunite
    10 year warranty on Pebble Sheen
    3 year warranty on equipment

    Price: $55,682.00

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    TG, welcome to TFP!

    I've never been in the market for a pool, but others that have been (both recently and in your area) may chime in to give their thoughts.

    Anyway - loose the Frog system for the SWCG!!!! Just make sure that the flagstone coping won't be unduly harmed by the salt!

    The only thing that 'glares' at me is the equipment package - why 2 vac hoses and if they're giving you 2 vac hoses and 2 leafnets why aren't thaey also giving you 2 poles and 2 vac heads???

    The test kit they are giving you probably sucks - you'll do a lot better with a good test kit and it will be some of the best $ you spend on your pool!!

    I've made my advice quick and to the point but if you want me to expound on anything I've said, simply ask and I'll go into more detail.

    Again, welcome to TFP and we all hope that you have a Trouble Free Pool!!!
    Luv& Luk

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Thanks for the quick reply waste. I don't know why the 2 vacuum hoses...I'll have to ask the PB about that. If anyone has any other questions please ask away. I have specifics on plumbing, rebar, etc. I just didn't want to post a novel.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Pleasanton, CA
    One thing I didn't see was the pipe size. Plumbing design is extremely important to energy efficiency so I would suggest spending some time to make sure they get it right.

    Your starting off on the correct foot with the large filter and the Intelliflo. Large filters and large pipes make for efficient plumbing.

    For the spa, you need large pipe to handle the flow rates for strong jets. Multiple parallel runs of smaller pipe can be just as good or better than a larger single run. For example 2 x 2 1/2" or 3 x 2" lines will have less head loss than a single 3" line. It will help to equalize the flow to each jet as well. 4 x 2" lines to a pair of jets each would be an ideal setup and allow for extremely high flow rates. These lines would be brought back all the way to the pad into a manifold.

    For the pool, I would again recommend separate lines (with separate valve control) from the main drain pairs and each skimmer all the way back to the pad. 2 1/2" is ideal but you can get away with 2" as long as they are separate lines to each port (a single line for a pair of main drains is fine).

    With 8 returns, I would suggest you have 4 loops with 2 returns per loop and home runs from pad to pool. Each loop should have it's own valve control. This should provide more than enough flow if running at higher RPMs and have very short turnover if you ever need it to clean up a mess or when opening the pool.

    Your PB may think this is overkill but I don't think you will be sorry in the long run.
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  5. Back To Top    #5
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    You must have the dimensions wrong. 36' x 34' would have more gallons than that and more surface area. Price is sensitive to size, so I am guessing that the gallons and surface area are right and the dimensions are wrong.

    This is a medium to high end pool, Pebble Sheen, automation system, IntelliFlo, lights, flagstone, scuppers. All of those add to the price. Pebble Sheen is probably the largest expense you could do without here if you really need to cut, though it is wonderful to have. Likewise, stone work adds up quickly. Given all that the price sounds like it is in the right general ballpark. Keep in mind that there is quite a bit of price variability between builders and I would expect that you could easily get quotes that were both higher and lower. The key issue is feeling comfortable with the builder and getting good recommendations, particularly good recommendations. A bad builder can cost you thousands of dollars in problems later.

    I would drop the ozone generator, they are of debatable value and certainly not worth it for an outdoor pool. Ozone has some value indoors, but even then is questionable. The mineral system should be skipped as well, either going to do nothing or cause problems.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6
    mas985 - here are the plumbing specs:

    2.5" schedule 40 PVC for the suction off of both skimmers. The main drain will us 2.5" as the suction. The spa will have 3" schedule 40 PVC for the suction and the return line. The air line on the spa will be 2". PVC schedule 80 terminates at all pump connections. The returns to the spa will be run in a loop. The loop will be 2.5" schedule 40 PVC. The loop will have 1 1/2" headers going into the wall of the pool. Small water features will operate on 2" schedule 40 PVC. The larger water features will have the plumbing sizes adjusted accordingly.

    JasonLion - you are correct. The dimensions should be 32 x 19.

    Thanks for bearing with me on all of this. DH is the engineer, and I'm just the housewife who handles the money, so a lot of this is just too technical for me to wrap my brain around. DH will be reading over my shoulder though, and he should probably understand everything you are stating.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Rockville, CA
    Sounds like you are getting a pretty fair deal. I paid significantly more and got what is likely a comparable pool... a little more here and a little less there. In what state are you located? One thing you want to explore are the digging fees. My builder hit rock about three of four feet down, and I spent well over five thousand over the original estimate for two extra days of digging. Check the language in the estimate for this item.
    20K inground gunite w/ Aqua Logic automation and chlorination Sta-Rite 400 K natural gas heater and cartridge filter 2 HP pump 1.5 HP spa bubbler for spillover spa 1 HP dedicated Letro Legend cleaner
    H2O: two parts Heart and one part Obsession. ~Author Unknown

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Forney, TX
    It sounds like a reasonable deal for the Houston area. It's not a fantastic deal, but it's not overboard either. We just completed a 400 s.f. freeform pool- 12000 gallon, Pentair equipment & cleaner, grotto, 11' x 3' waterfall, 350 s.f. decking, multiple mosaics, SunTouch automation for 35k. But we don't have a spa, plus you're doing a more expensive control system, deeper/ bigger pool and a lot more decking. I'd say the price is right where you would expect it to be with a quality PB. Unfortunately (well, unfortunate when it comes to pool prices anyway!) the recession has not hit TX and our PBs are not "hungry" enough to cut great deals.
    Our pool adventure... click here

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Thanks again for all the responses. I think we have decided we're going to go ahead and bite the bullet. Hopefully all will go well, and I'll be posting some photos of my build in a month or so.

  10. Back To Top    #10
    SeanB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Missouri City (suburb of Houston, TX)
    Okay, I know I'm going the wrong direction here, but are you comfortable with that amount of decking? 518 sq ft is more than just the 3' perimeter around the pool and may be exactly what you need for your yard, but are you going to have enough room when you have lots of guests?

    I only ask because our pool is similar in size. Just before the build started, we decided to add additional decking, increasing to just shy of 700 sq ft. Yesterday we heated the pool and had family over for Easter. We were really glad we had the additional space as it was all being used - either by the kids milling around the pool or the adults sitting outside watching and talking. Again, not that you are not getting enough, but just remember that it will never cost less than it will now to add additional decking. At 55k, you might be able to get him to include another 100sq ft.

    On the price, that sounds about right for our area with what you are getting.

    Oh, and before I forget... Welcome to TFP!
    TFP Founder

    My Pool: 13K gal IG gunite with 7' spa, Pentair Cartridge Filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Polaris 280 Cleaner, TF-100 Test Kit w/ salt test.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    SeanB - I know the decking doesn't sound like much, but we are working with limited space. We have an 8ft easement in the back, and hardly any space on the sides. We do have a covered patio already in place that isn't in that estimate, so although it isn't ideal, we think we'll have plenty of room to entertain. The PB is really giving us as much decking as we can do without it looking like concrete heaven out there. We plan on using the easement area for landscaping. Thanks for the suggestion though.

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