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Thread: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
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    Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Hi, all. I posted a while back about having a wood-walled AGP installed. Well, after spending much time on this board and another pool forum reading the many posts, I think an IGP will be a better investment. The thing is, by the time I add on new decking and other peripherals, the AGP was coming in close to $10K. My fuzzy logic says for a little more than twice that amount I can get an IGP. Again, because of my yard size and shape (as well as budget), I am looking at building (gunite) or installing (fiberglass) a small rectangular pool. The pool is substantially similar to the pools in the photos here, except I want the entry to include a five-foot baja shelf: http://flickr.com/photos/14747954@N0...7605746991241/.

    I would like to pay cash for my pool, as I am trying to live debt-free. Of course, in paying cash I will have to come up with more money . . . which translates to more wait time. I'm patient, so that's okay. But here's the thing: I spoke with one pool builder who indicated that if I wanted to complete my project (complete backyard redo, including installing pool, new fence, island and landscaping), he could "stage" my project into phases whereby I pay at the completion of each phase of the project. For example, if fencing is $5K, I pay $5K when he completes the fence. A few months later, I can have the forms placed, dig the hole, place the rebar and shoot the gunite. According to this builder, gunite can sit empty for years. Is this true? My biggest concern would be an empty gunite pool popping out of the ground. Or would a hydrostatic valve take care of that? While I certainly wouldn't take five years to complete my build, it is quite possible that it may take me a year or so to come up with the cash to pay for the project. I've read posts on here about owners' pools unintentionally taking two years or more to build. What I want to know is would I be asking for trouble if I waited six months to a year after shooting gunite to finish the pool.

    I have drawn the pool that I want and intend to obtain bids from several builders. What I have included is:

    12'x23' I.D. (14'x27' O.D.) rectangular pool with five foot square Baja shelf entry stair;
    Two foot perimeter ledge (for my furkids);
    13' raised beam (3'x4'x18" - 3'x5'x24" - 3'x4'x18") with one three foot sheer descent;
    351 s.f. concrete decking (two foot pool perimeter; remainder used to join two existing 10'x10' concrete patios;
    Cast stone coping;
    Noble Titanium waterline tile in dark blue;
    Pebblesheen in French Gray or Wetedge Matrix Pearl in Mystic Blue;
    Appropriately sized two-speed or variable speed pump (Hayward or Pentair);
    Large Hayward or Pentair cartridge or sand filter;
    SWCG with Automatic controls (Aqua Rite or Intellichlor);
    Automatic pool filler/leveler;
    Automatic cleaner;
    Light (at least one, but not sure yet);
    Appropriate numer of drains, returns, jets and skimmers.

    I don't know enough about hydraulics to know what would be the proper sized pump, but I know that I want the most energy efficient pump, filter and controls that I can buy. While my budget is pretty tight, I want to make sure I get the best equipment I can. I believe I can get this pool in gunite for about $20-25K.

    If I go with the fiberglass pool, one installer quoted roughly $30K for the "Elegance" pool, which includes site visit, planning assistance, all permits and HOA approvals, excavation, removal of soil, an ultra quiet WhisperFlo pump, a salt chlorination system, an automatic pool sweep, your choice of sand, cartridge or DE filter, deluxe skimmer, pool returns, high performance LED pool lights, waterline tile, all plumbing, hookup to 240v electrical service, automatic equipment controls, equipment pad, 350 square feet of concrete deck with a single color Spray Deck surface application, start up chemicals, cleaning kit with brush, leaf skimmer, pole, vacuum head, hose, tester kit, site clean up, pool clean up, and “pool school. This dealer is a Pentair dealer, and a Pentair filter, pump, salt chlorination system and pool sweep are part of its standard package, which adds a three-year extended warranty. The same builder quoted $25K for the Leisure Pool "Tuscany 23."

    Another fiberglass installer quoted me $28,640 for the same "Tuscany 23" Leisure Pool using Hayward products, but their package [b]did not[b] include the SWCG, permits, electrical hookup or some other items.

    At any rate, whether I go with gunite or fiberglass I intend to have a pool in my backyard, and am planning and budgeting way in advance. I hope to get my project started in December. I would appreciate any feed back.

    To make it easier to answer, here's a recap of my questions:

    1. Is it safe/advisable to allow a gunite pool to sit empty for six months to one year?
    2. Would you advise against building a gunite pool in "phases?" If so, why?
    3. Based on the size of this pool (approx. 10,300 gals.), what would be the most energy efficient equipment with automatic controls, and what size?
    4. With large dogs, is one pool better than the other (gunite v. fiberglass)?
    5. For bidding purposes, have I left any equipment/extras out of my list?
    6. What would you add?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Francine


    FWIW, I'm in Cedar Hill, Texas (16 miles south of downtown Dallas)
    Patiently waiting for an in-ground oasis.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    You can leave a gunite shell sitting for a long time if there are holes in the bottom to allow the pressure to equalize. The holes don't get plugged until just before the plaster/pebble goes on. You may have some code issues about having a hole in your yard, hopefully having a fence will be sufficient but check your local regulations.

    The most energy efficient pump is a variable speed pump like the IntelliFlo. It costs quite a bit more up front but less to operate.

    You need to allow some money for landscaping. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but you will want some grass at a very minimum. You didn't mention lighting. Lighting is not required, but it is nice to have. One good option is to have the electrical run so that lighting can be added later.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Jason raises a good point about the safety aspect of this.

    You are talking about having a big hole in your yard for 6-12 months.

    How deep are you planning to make the pool?

    My pool is 8 foot deep, and when I had it drained for a few days this spring, its looks pretty far down when you look over the edge from the deep end. I kept the kids away from it for the few days it was empty. 6 months is a long time to keep your kids away from it. We don't have a fence though, we have a safety cover. If you have a fence around the hole, it might be OK.

    One other negative aspect to consider, things will tend to go to the lower point. In other words, whenever it rains, you'll get water in the hole. Wind will blow junk into the hole. It will take some work to keep the hole from getting gross. Depending on your water table level, the holes in the pool shell will keep it from floating, but ground water could accumulate in your pool (I think, a high water table is just a concept for me, since I live in LA ) Since you can't circulate the water, it could easily turn into a swamp.

    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Thank you for responding, Jason.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    You can leave a gunite shell sitting for a long time if there are holes in the bottom to allow the pressure to equalize. The holes don't get plugged until just before the plaster/pebble goes on. You may have some code issues about having a hole in your yard, hopefully having a fence will be sufficient but check your local regulations.

    Good to know. So, if I take the "phased construction" route, I would be okay as long as I am in complicance with building/safety codes. My biggest concern with going this route would be paying $7-8K for a shell only to have it pop out.

    The most energy efficient pump is a variable speed pump like the IntelliFlo. It costs quite a bit more up front but less to operate.

    I want my pool quoted using either a Pentair Eco-Select (IntelliFlo pump, waterfall pump, Clean and Clear cartridge or Tagelus sand filter, IntelliTouch controls, IntelliChlor SWCG, Legend II automatic cleaner) or a Totally Hayward (Tristar Energy Solution pump, Tristar waterfall pump, S200 sand or or SwimClear cartridge filter, Tiger Shark or Phantom Turbo cleaner, Pro Logic controls and AquaRite SWCG) equipment package. I don't know whether one is better than the other, but it seems to be a matter of builder familiarity with equipment. So, I'll go with the one with which the builder is most familiar and readily able to service. I'm still undecided on sand vs. cartridge, but I think the fact that I have swimming dogs will affect that decision. For the most part I want high efficiency and low maintenance. I know the equipment will come in higher than standard equipment, which is why I'm trying to plan and budget way in advance.

    You need to allow some money for landscaping. It doesn't need to be anything fancy, but you will want some grass at a very minimum. You didn't mention lighting. Lighting is not required, but it is nice to have. One good option is to have the electrical run so that lighting can be added later.

    I have included landscaping in my budget, but that is separate from the pool build. I figured an additional $2K or so to start, but I will be completing a lot of landscaping on my own. The biggest landscaping expense will be six palm trees and new sod to replace the horrible Bermuda grass that's currently in my backyard. As far as lighting is concerned, I indicated one light, but I don't quite know how many is enough for the pool size. While I like the look of fiber optic lighting, it can get a little pricey and I don't know enough about reliability of that type of lighting. I get confused when trying to determine the difference between LED, halogen and incandescent in terms of what difference it will make if it's just light under water. I'd appreciate any feedback -- I'm still trying to figure out the lighting.
    Again, thanks so much for responding. My goal is to put together a total package and then shop it among several PBs to obtain the best pricing.

    Francine
    Patiently waiting for an in-ground oasis.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Hi, Randy. Thanks for responding.

    Quote Originally Posted by randytsuch
    Jason raises a good point about the safety aspect of this.

    You are talking about having a big hole in your yard for 6-12 months.
    I've not yet decided to go this route; at this point it is just an option.

    How deep are you planning to make the pool?

    The pool will be a play pool: 4.5'-6'-4.5'.

    My pool is 8 foot deep, and when I had it drained for a few days this spring, its looks pretty far down when you look over the edge from the deep end. I kept the kids away from it for the few days it was empty. 6 months is a long time to keep your kids away from it. We don't have a fence though, we have a safety cover. If you have a fence around the hole, it might be OK.

    I don't have kids, but I do have five four-legged ones. LOL! I currently have a six-foot privacy fence with locked gates, but it is being replaced with an eight-foot privacy fence which will be completed before the pool build begins. But safety is a big consideration when thinking about phased construction.

    One other negative aspect to consider, things will tend to go to the lower point. In other words, whenever it rains, you'll get water in the hole. Wind will blow junk into the hole. It will take some work to keep the hole from getting gross. Depending on your water table level, the holes in the pool shell will keep it from floating, but ground water could accumulate in your pool (I think, a high water table is just a concept for me, since I live in LA ) Since you can't circulate the water, it could easily turn into a swamp.

    Great points to consider! I know that if I go the phased construction route, stagnant water may become a problem. But, depending upon construction timing it may not be. I've even considered finding a way to rig a safety cover over the empty hole IF I decide to go that route.

    Randy
    What's most important is that I get a quality pool built. I have not decided that I will do the phased construction -- it's simply an option that's on the table. I am single and have a limited budget for this project, and I do not wish to finance it if at all possible. My brother taught me a while back to adopt a philosophy of "if I can't pay cash, I don't really need it." The only things I owe anyone for are my house and my SUV. Everything else is paid for, and I'm hoping to pay off my Disco within the next year or so, if feasible. I have learned to wait for things I really want -- and I do usually get what I want -- so if I must wait in order to get the pool I really want, I don't mind doing so. Once I know what the real costs are by obtaining realistic bids without a bunch of markups for extras, I can decide what works best for me. I am considering several PB's in the DFW area, based on reviews on this board and GardenWeb, as well as my own research. My theory is that if I submit my drawing with required equipment to several PBs, I will get a more realistic bids and can choose accordingly after reviewing those PBs' work product, checking with the BBB and inquiring here. I should clarify that one PB I spoke with on the phone mentioned phased construction as I indicated to him that I have several projects to be done -- new fence, pool build, new pergolas, landscaping and more. My nature is to question everything, so I was curious as to whether his stating that a gunite shell could sit empty for a while was true or not. Now, I will admit that phased construction appeals to me strictly for financial reason. I can afford an addition $8-10K per six months for "extras," and going that route would allow me to complete my entire backyard redo in about a year or so. However, I also work with trial lawyers and am currently working on two cases involving pool builders in very high end subdivisions, so I am leary of unorthodox (at least to me) construction methods and want to make sure that in the interest of economy I don't fall into a trap with a crappy/shady builder who may or may not be in business six months from now. Sorry for the confusion.

    Thanks again for responding!
    Patiently waiting for an in-ground oasis.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    I actually meant above water yard/patio lights, not underwater lights. You already listed one underwater light, which I wasn't talking about.
    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

  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    I actually meant above water year/patio lights, not underwater lights. You already listed one underwater light, which I wasn't talking about.

    Ahh! Good looking out, Jason! I hadn't even considered patio area lighting, other than perhaps adding lighting to the ceiling fan in the to-be-built pergola. I do have lighting on the side patio already, but thought I'd use some metal solar lights for ambient lighting around the pool deck area. I assume that these would be safe to use since low-voltage lighting requires at least 10' from the pool? Otherwise, I guess that's something else I need to add to the mix. Thanks for the reminder.
    Patiently waiting for an in-ground oasis.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Francine,

    I would advise against the pay as you go route. Why not just leave your yard as is while you save up all the money? If you do it in steps you have paid for something that you can't immediately enjoy. I would take what ever money you have now and invest it even it's something safe like a CD. I don't see any advantage to the pay as you go route but I do see many downsides.

    Here in California PB are a bit less expensive in the winter. Maybe it's the same in TX.

    Good Luck to you.
    11000 Gals, Intelliflo, Sta-Rite Cartridge, Polaris 360

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

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Is this doable and, if so, advisable?

    Quote Originally Posted by cobra46
    Francine,

    I would advise against the pay as you go route. Why not just leave your yard as is while you save up all the money? If you do it in steps you have paid for something that you can't immediately enjoy. I would take what ever money you have now and invest it even it's something safe like a CD. I don't see any advantage to the pay as you go route but I do see many downsides.

    Here in California PB are a bit less expensive in the winter. Maybe it's the same in TX.

    Good Luck to you.
    Hey, Cobra. The "pay as you go route" was just an option about which I was curious as to whether or not it was feasible, practical or possible to do. I will definitely be using the traditional build method; I was just curious as to why someone would suggest such a thing. (Perhaps that particular PB was looking at the prospect of any business is better than no business when I mentioned that I had several backyard projects, but was not yet prepared to begin my pool build? ) Anyhow, I guess I should have separated my post into two parts to avoid confusion. You've read my mind in terms of investing my funds until I'm ready to begin the project. I hate to think of paying $35 or 45K for a $20-25K pool if financing, when I can pay cash for the pool, and pay myself interest. LOL! As I mentioned in my earlier post, I have no qualms whatsoever in waiting until I can pay for project at once. And I believe that there is an "off" season in Texas, as well. Presumably, I may receive better pricing during the slow season. At this point, I am just trying to configure my pool in such a manner to obtain the best bid and construction. I am following a couple of builds rather closely, as the PBs were highly recommended and are on my short list of PBs.
    Patiently waiting for an in-ground oasis.

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