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Thread: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

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    Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    I live in South Texas. Swimming weather is usually from March/April thru October/November. We are considering an inground pool. We are leaning towards a salt water fiberglass pool. I would like to have the vacuum that runs automatically along the bottom. A friend of mine pays for a company to test his water and add the appropriate chemicals weekly. He said it was right at $50 a month for that service. The questions I can think of are as follows. If you can think of something I'm not asking, please throw it in.

    1. I am assuming I can run the pump/filter a few hours at a time, maybe on a timer or something? Any guess on average electrical costs per month?

    2. I love working around the house, mowing etc. How much time will I be spending cleaning the pool? An hour a week? 30 minutes a day? Winter versus summer?

    3. I would like to keep the initial installation costs down by just getting the pool/filter/pump, etc with a small concrete walk around it. I will then add decks, landscaping, etc. How hard will it be to someday add my own small rock waterfall or similar structure? Or should I have it built when the pool is installed?

    4. In my researching around the web, I'm really leaning towards fiberglass. I don't need a custom pool that gunite would offer. Is this what others think?

    Thanks and hopefully in a year or so I can post a pic of my Texas Riveria!!

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    revstriker's Avatar
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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Hi. I'll give you my take on pools. I'm in North Texas btw:

    Most pools I have seen around Texas are gunite/plaster (or some other finish). You probably have more options as far as shape and size with this. Labor is also pretty cheap in Texas so I think they are pretty competitive. A lot depends on where you live and where the fiberglass pool factory is.

    My pool is regular chlorine and I use BBB to maintain it. I decided against a SWG because I was getting a natural stone coping. Although this may not be an issue, I'm more than happy with my decision.

    To your points:

    1) Pumps are normally run on a timer. You can set your timer to run when it's best for you (I run mine 8 hours in the summer during the day). In some places, rates are less in the evening. Some people run their pumps 24/7. A 2 speed pump can save you money (mine is single speed).

    2) I have an automated vacuum which I leave in most of the time. I spend about 20 minutes a week giving it a quick brush, and emptying the skimmer baskets. I don't have many trees around my pool, so once a week works good. In the summer I normally take 5 minutes each day to test my water and to add any bleach and/or acid. (I test CL and PH). I fun a full set of tests normally once a week in the summer.

    3) In my opinion, you should get as much deck as you can installed when the pool is installed. It's much easier, and most likely more cost effective to have it done at the same time. As for a water feature, if it's something you might want to add later, it might be a good idea to have the plumbing (if needed) run for it when you have the pool done.

    4) As I said above, I think this depends on location and budget. In some places, a fiberglass pool may be the best option, and in others, gunite might be the best choice. I know where I live, gunite was the easy choice.

    Good luck!
    10K White Plaster Pool Built in 2007. Hayward Pump and DE Filter, Hayward Navigator, Liquidator (Removed due to issues), Solar Blanket, BBB user.

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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hang10er
    I live in South Texas. Swimming weather is usually from March/April thru October/November. We are considering an inground pool. We are leaning towards a salt water fiberglass pool. I would like to have the vacuum that runs automatically along the bottom. A friend of mine pays for a company to test his water and add the appropriate chemicals weekly. He said it was right at $50 a month for that service. The questions I can think of are as follows. If you can think of something I'm not asking, please throw it in.!
    Welcome from a fellow South Texan!

    Hope you're not planning to use the pool service. . . it's not hard to learn it yourself, and with the resources available here, you can likely do a better job than they would.

    Autocleaner and SWG are very helpful labor-saving devices. I don't have them myself, but other folks here can make recommendations on their preferences.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hang10er
    1. I am assuming I can run the pump/filter a few hours at a time, maybe on a timer or something? Any guess on average electrical costs per month?
    Yes, you can certainly run the pump on a timer. I think most people here do that, many doing a 4-hours during the day, 4-hrs night split. Typical daily run time seems to be 8 hours. I couldn't guess on average cost b/c it varies depending on so many factors.
    2. I love working around the house, mowing etc. How much time will I be spending cleaning the pool? An hour a week? 30 minutes a day? Winter versus summer?

    Depends on how picky you are. With an auto-cleaner, very little time. "Five minutes a day" is a slogan to live by on this forum! Even with an auto-cleaner, tho, you should brush regularly. I'd say an hour a week is a good estimate.

    Seasonal differences depend on whether you winterize and close your pool. I would suggest you NOT close it! When the water temp drops, chemical reactions slow down, so you might test just a couple of times a week instead of every day. Or less often, with the SWG keeping your chlorine stable.


    3. I would like to keep the initial installation costs down by just getting the pool/filter/pump, etc with a small concrete walk around it. I will then add decks, landscaping, etc. How hard will it be to someday add my own small rock waterfall or similar structure? Or should I have it built when the pool is installed?

    My pool came with the house, so I haven't experienced a build. Other folks will have to address that.

    4. In my researching around the web, I'm really leaning towards fiberglass. I don't need a custom pool that gunite would offer. Is this what others think?

    I have fiberglass and like it, but it is very slippery. I would suggest you make sure to have some sort of finish or appliques (don't know what to call them) added to it to provide a better grip for the feet. Especially on steps!

    Fiberglass is a very attractive, long-lasting surface. However, it is more prone to staining than other finishes, so if you have metals in your water, you might want to reconsider.


    Thanks and hopefully in a year or so I can post a pic of my Texas Riveria!![/quote]

    I look forward to seeing it!
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Don't set yourself on a particular type of pool until you talk to builders. If you can find a builder who everybody recommends, just do whatever they say. If they want to build it out of Silly Putty and paperclips, let them. It is very hard to get a good pool builder.

    Your builder can help you plan a water feature, and can advise you if it's feasible to do it later. At least plumb for it and allow space. I highly recommend planning the whole yard, even if some of it is years down the road. The way to do that is to think about who will use the pool and when.

    5 minutes a day is about right, plus a half hour to an hour on the weekend.

    You can pay a pool company, but I gaurantee you could train a slow-witted monkey to take care of a pool and he'd do a way better job than about 90% of the pool services. This forum is full of people who paid through the nose and still got green, nasty water, but now have clear water doing it on their own. It is EASY!

    Some things you might not anticipate, and some of my personal opinions:

    Easy access to a bathroom without traipsing through the house? We built cabana with a bathroom that we hadn't planned for, and I had to replumb quite a bit of the pool. You'd be surprised how quickly kids need to go when they hit the pool.

    Equipment: Do you want to hide it? Enclose it?

    Most people don't allow enough deck space. 3ft is like walking a tightrope, and 4ft is barely adequate for walking on when cleaning. Around 12ft is required to comfortably walk around lounge chairs. See your builder's concrete work before signing.

    To satisfy your insurance company and city, you'll need a fence. Pool fence is specialized and it can be hard to convert. Know where you stand.

    Automatic covers are nice and save you the hassle of rolling a solar cover. About $6K though.

    Bigger isn't better when it comes to pumps. Get the smallest pump that will do the job.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Wow...you folks are great. I appreciate the replies. Couple of things...what is SWG? I'm guessing Salt Water....something...I can't figure out the "G"!!

    On the concrete/gunite pools...I've read that they need to be replastered every so many years..that is what has me leaning towards fiberglass. Yet a lot of ya'll still recommend them? I know they can be customized to almost any size/shape.

    Anyone have experience with Leisure Pools? They are originally out of Australia and manufacture fiberglass pools. They have a factory in San Antonio and I'm just 2 hours away in Corpus Christi. A local company installs their pools.

    Again, thanks for the fast replies. I'm sure I'll keep coming up with questions. Installing a pool is big committment and I am glad I've found this forum. I've been asking everyone I can find who has a pool their opinions.

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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    "SW(C)G" stands for salt water (chlorine) generator.

    Re: plaster or other finishes, this is not from my personal experience but from LOTS of time reading in this forum. ANY pool finish can be ruined within months (or even weeks!) with poor water maintenance. OTOH, any pool finish can last years and years with the excellent water maintenance that you can learn to do EASILY with the information found in this forum!

    I believe plaster finishes are usually rated to last about 10 years, with fancier stuff like Pebble-tec and Pebble-sheen rated at 20-30 years. However, (re-read last paragraph)! Paint is a problematic finish b/c, although there are some excellent pool paints capable of lasting many years with appropriate application, the "appropriate application" is very difficult! If there is even the tiniest bit of moisture present (like dew!) on the pool surface being painted, the paint won't adhere properly and will start peeling within a year or two.

    HTH and good luck!
    ~Jules~

    My pool: INDOOR 13x27 rectangular fiberglass, built ~2001, BBB, TA-60 sand filter, Hayward two speed pump (1 hp/0.33 hp), 3/4 hp booster pump for solar heater
    Taylor K-2006 test

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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Hi Hang10er!

    I can't be of much help yet. But I just wanted to let you know that we are putting in a fiberglass pool this fall. We are also going with SWG. We originally signed our contract for a San Juan pool, Manatee model, but after reading the warranty for San Juan we are in the process of changing our minds. We think we are going to go with Leisure Pools, and we are looking at the Riviera and Tuscany models. My husband likes the blue colour of their pools and they seem to have a great warranty.

    Anyways good luck with the research process. I am new here too and have found this forum to be a great resource of information.

    Kim
    FG Leisure Riviera Pool 30X15, 14 300 gallons, Sta-Rite 3/4 HP, Aqua Rite SWG, Kreepy Krawly.
    Beachcomber 360 Hottub, 345 gallons, UV Sanitization System.

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    SeanB's Avatar
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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    First, welcome to TFP! You've already gotten some great advice. As far as the fiberglass / gunite debate, meet with builders who do both types and see which option suits you better and which will give you the better price. With a relatively close supplier, I'm guessing fiberglass will be the cheaper option. I've heard very few complaints from those who have them.

    As giuletta said, in a properly maintained plaster pool, the finish can last for 10-15 years. The cost to replaster will vary by area, but costs around $3,000, I believe.

    My only caution on holding off on deck work is that you can fully expect it to cost more to add decking later than if you do it now, especially with the continued increase in fuel prices. If you can't do it now, then you can't, but if you can stretch the budget to include all you decking, you'll come out cheaper in the long run. Also, I have yet to hear anyone say they wished they had gotten a smaller deck. We've found that the time we spend around the pool has been as much fun as the time we spend in the pool and having a nice sized deck has been a big part of that.

    hth.
    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.

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    Re: Planning on a pool, advice/suggestions being taken!

    Thanks again everyone.

    KIM! Let me know what you think of your Leisure pool. You mentioned the colors and warranty and both of those things attracted me to them. They have something in the gel coat that really seems to make the water sparkle. Plus the colors are unbelievable. I can't imagine trying to pick one! We are a year off before we're ready to start...Good luck with yours.

    Let me know how long installation takes.

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