Belldiver's Pool Build

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
After spending most of last year interviewing with various local pool builders and doing hours and hours of research online, and getting tons of good info from TFP and it's members, I decided to self contract this pool build. I just wasn't satisfied with the PB's I met or the prices they were asking. I also didn't think it was all that difficult to hire out the subs and I'm a construction oriented person. I have a friend that is self-contracting a pool build and is about three months ahead of me. I get to see the quality of the subs work before deciding to use them or not. I'm not sure I would self contract for a very complicated pool as a first timer, but it's really just a big hole in the ground. Find the good subs and let them do what they already do for the PB's. From what I've heard repeatedly, the PB's don't spend much time on the jobsite. I spent every minute onsite asking questions and making sure things were how I wanted them.

We started the dig on Monday. I didn't think the weather and my very soggy yard would allow it in February, but we've had a nice month so far. I live in South Louisiana and was worried about the water table, but once we got past the soft 2' of topsoil, we hit good solid clay all the way down to 9'. Not a drop of water. Might get a day of light rain before we can shoot the gunite, but still scheduled for Thursday. The crew that did all the digging/rebar also helped with the plumbing rough in. I plan on finishing the plumbing myself. I'm just waiting for the electrical inspector in the morning and we'll be ready to shoot.

Basic features of the pool: Freeform IG-gunite, roughly 16'-20' wide x 38' long, 3 1/2' to 8' deep, 9" tanning ledge, several 18" benches, raised planter with three small sheer waterfalls, 4 deck jets around perimeter of deep end, 2 Colorlogic LED lights, 2 skimmers, main drains(double), 6 returns, Polaris 280 cleaner, autofill/overflow. Undecided about pool finish, but likely will be Diamondbrite Tahoe Blue. PoolPilot SC-60 SWCG, Probably Pentair Whisperflow pump (not sure on this one) and cartridge filter. 1 1/2" supply and 2" returns.

Here's a drawing I made with Google Sketchup. It's a free download and works great once you get the hang of it. You can even export your drawings into Google Earth. The pool has been modified just a little from this first drawing, but it gave me a great vision of what I would be building. I can zoom in/out from any angle and even view the pool from inside the house through my (virtual) living room windows. Everything was drawn to scale. I will also have to add the half-gazebo to my roofline and screen it all in. Probably a project for the fall.



Here are 3 pics of the open hole with rebar cage and rough plumb and electrical...





I'll keep tabs on the costs after the shoot later this week so some of you out there can compare. They're estimating 50-60 yards of gunite. It's a fairly large pool. It looks bigger in real life than it did on paper...heh. 300 sticks of 3/8" and 1/2" rebar and the other various supplies.

Thanks for all the information and advice leading up to this TFP!

Jim
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
32,859
Sebring, Florida
I like the work!! Very professional looking. If the gunite guys and the hole and rebar guys are not the same, double check the alignment of all fixtures, skimmers, etc. just to be sure everything is exactly square and plumb.

I've heard of gunite folks saying "not my fault" and rebar guys saying "not my fault, either". If it's the same sub, there's little doubt as to responsibility.

Probably worried over nothing.....those pics look as good as any hole and rebar I've seen.
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
The same crew that dug the hole, did the rebar and offered to help me with the rough plumb. They will also be shooting the gunite. I'm satisfied with how it all came out so far. Just need another two dry days, but it's supposed to rain a little this afternoon. We may end up waiting a couple days and just pumping the water out that fills in. All but the top two feet is hard clay, so I'm not too worried about cave in, just the mess. I'll be double checking the plumbing today since I have the time.

Thanks...
 

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
Belldiver, Looks great! Thanks for the info on the Google Sketchup, too! What a nice tool to have for planning stage. Looking forward to more pics and info on your build! :)

Good luck.

Joyce
 

Vegasmom

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 16, 2007
300
Looks great, Jim. 8' deep end, wow! You got little cannonballers running around? :wink: I look forward to following your progress, too. I'll take notes because if we ever do another pool (God help us) we're doing it ourselves. You may have noticed our build hasn't gone so well. I wish you the best of luck and plenty of dry days! :)

Karin
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
Yes, the 8' deep end...

I am, and all of my friends are commercial divers. I couldn't NOT have a deep end. I'd be worried about their alcohol intake and diving into a shallow pool...

As far as I know, we're still scheduled to shoot gunite tomorrow. They don't seem concerned about the light rain we may get this evening. Right now I've got plastic sheeting over all the dirt walls so the water runs straight into the bottom gravel.

This really hasn't been painful yet. This isn't a very complex pool, just large. I'm not to the small detail items yet though...

Jim
 

Vegasmom

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 16, 2007
300
Yes, the 8' deep end...

I am, and all of my friends are commercial divers. I couldn't NOT have a deep end. I'd be worried about their alcohol intake and diving into a shallow pool...


I can't help but have an image of shirtless treasure hunters..I just saw the movie Fool's Gold. :pirat: Hitting the bottom of a pool head first would definately sober you up!


As far as I know, we're still scheduled to shoot gunite tomorrow. They don't seem concerned about the light rain we may get this evening. Right now I've got plastic sheeting over all the dirt walls so the water runs straight into the bottom gravel.

Raining here, too. That's OK, PB isn't coming back out til I pay him. Which I'm not ready to do just yet.


This really hasn't been painful yet. This isn't a very complex pool, just large. I'm not to the small detail items yet though...


Well, you're ahead of the game in that you've cut out the rotten salesman that would have told you anything to get you to sign a contract. :?
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
The gunite crew showed up at 6:15 this morning. It started pouring down rain at 6:30. I was not thinking this would be an ideal day to shoot the pool, but they wanted to wait a couple hours to see if the rain would stop. They put the pump in the bottom of the clay hole to keep most of the water out and I had covered the pool walls with plastic the evening before.

At 7:30 the rain stopped. We pullled the plastic and pump, ordered the first concrete truck and went about our business. There was a tornado watch and severe weather alert for my area...but not much showing on the radar. I kept my laptop out in the garage near the pool site so we could monitor the squall lines. We got lucky today. Most of the rain stayed just east of us. It only rained twice (fairly hard) for about 5 minutes each time. The guys just through the plastic back over the wet gunite and pumped the water out of the bottom. It worked like a champ. Everything went great and I now have a completed shell in my back yard. Here are a few pics of the shoot and the shell...

Beginning the shoot...





And the (semi) finished product...you can see the raised planter w/niche for the three waterfalls, the tanning bench and other benches and I had them put two ledges in the deep end 4' deep. It definately looks bigger in real life than it did on paper...





I'll tally up my total costs to date later tonight or in the morning.

Enjoy...

Jim
 

Butterfly

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 30, 2007
10,045
South Carolina
Wow, and I thought it looked big before the shoot! Guess it might be time for you to change out your signature 'cause you are definitely off the market for an IG gunite pool! :)

Thanks for sharing.


Joyce
 
G

Guest

LOOKING GREAT , i love the fact that your the boss. look how much faster your moving. cant wait to see the finished product. but at the rate your going, by the time i get back from a florida vacation next week, you will be swimming in your own perminent one. :shock:
 

crabboy

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 24, 2007
628
Suwanee, GA
man that's a big pool. It kinda looked big in the first two pictures, but once you see the gunite guys standing in the deep end you really get the sense of scale. Very nice.
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
OK, here's the cost up to now.

The pool dig was 910 sq ft plus the raised planter w/waterfall niches. The actual square footage inside the bond beam is right at 790-800 sq ft. 48 yards of gunite, 290 sticks of 3/8" rebar, 30 sticks of 1/2" rebar in the bond beam, 2 main drains, 2 skimmers, 6 returns, autofill/overflow, 3 Polaris waterfalls, 4 deck jets, 2 Colorlogic 2.5 lights, PoolPilot SC-60 SWCG, Polaris 280 robot w/booster. Those items are included in the price. Here's the breakdown...

$2200 Rebar and misc. plumbing/construction supplies
$1200 Excavator
$3850 Hand digging, rebar tie, rough plumb based on 910 sq ft
$6250 48 yds gunite
$4000 Shoot & form gunite shell
$5500 All pool equipment stated above plus various extras

$23000 Total to date including all taxes

The following is my best guess at my remaining costs to get the pool operational. As estimates rarely go down from the original, I'm sure I'll have a few surprises...hopefully nothing too shocking...

$1000 Main pump + filter
$1500 Finish plumbing + pressure test and hookup to equipment
$1500 Finish electrical
$5000 Fencing
$5000 Brushed concrete pool deck w/drains, 1100 sq ft
$3000 Tile/Coping based on roughly 130 linear ft
$5000 Diamondbrite plaster
$1000 Various pool supplies

$23000 Additional expense
$23000 Costs to date

$46000 Total estimated cost for this pool to be operational and fenced.

I'm counting on an additional $5000 or so for landscaping around the property and a few palm trees, but I'll space that out over the rest of the summer/fall.

I hope this helps any of you potential self-contractors/DIY out there!

Jim
 

ktdave

LifeTime Supporter
May 8, 2007
888
Katy, TX
Great so far! and a good price for what you are getting! Looks like owner/builder might be something to consider in the future.

GOOD LUCK!
 

Belldiver

Well-known member
Sep 7, 2007
344
Lafayette, Louisiana
Rollin Thunder said:
but at the rate your going, by the time i get back from a florida vacation next week, you will be swimming in your own perminent one. :shock:
If I had a land based job, I have no doubt I'd have this done in 6 weeks. I already have the subs lined up to do the work, but I want to be present for every phase of the build. I'm back offshore now and I work a 28/14 schedule. I won't get the next couple steps done until Mid March. My target date for completion is late June. Just in time for the heat of summer...