Build Updates - Crazy Seattle Pool Project

TerranGuy

Member
Jun 30, 2021
19
Seattle, WA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Hello all,

I've been slowly building an above ground pool and now that winter is around the corner I'm desperately rushing to complete everything. I'll post updates in here and tons of pictures. I'm not going to ask any questions, but if you see me doing something awful please say something before I ruin all of my work! The goal of this project - how many features can we cram into an above ground pool at a reasonable price? Unfortunately, labor rates sort of destroyed the reasonable price goal.

The pool is a 24' round Saltwater Aurora. It'll be semi-buried halfway down per the manufacturer's warranty. It'll have a 6' deep area thanks to a 25 Gauge Expandable Overlap All Swirl Liner (ordered as an upgrade with the pool). I calculate that it will hold about 16,500-17,000 gallons with the deep end factored in. I added the Gladon XL Round Peel N' Stick Foam Pool Cove to the order.
The pump is a CircuPool SmartFlo Variable Speed (1.5 HP).
The filter is a CircuPool CJ-2750 Cartridge Filter. Purchased as part of a bundle with the pump. It is actually a Waterco Opal XL that CircuPool resells.
The saltwater cell is a CircuPool RJ-30 Plus Salt Chlorine Generator. (Please don't buy from this link, instead go to the RJ-20 and click the "Add RJ-30 for $10 promo" which I'm pretty sure never actually expires. It is just a game they play on the store website.)
The heat pump is a Raypak Crosswind 65-I. I did originally try to go through a local authorized reseller/installer but they were incredibly rude to me over the phone and told me that Raypak only made heaters for below ground pools. It is admittedly undersized, but due to my unique install location under a deck (YES, I know! More on that later) I absolutely required a side discharge design. I will also be insulating the pool walls and floor, as well as using a clear Sun2Solar 1200-Series Solar Cover. Next year I may also add a solar heating system to assist the heat pump. I wanted to keep the bills as low as possible.
Since the heat pump cannot handle the maximum GPM of the 2" loop/pump, having a proper flow meter was essential. I've purchased two H2 Flow Controls FV-C Control FlowVis which double as a a check valve. I highly recommend these units but they are a bit more pricey then even buying a flow meter and check valve separately.
My sacrificial anode is a CMP Pool Defender which also doubles as a proper pool bond!
Finally, my valves are all 2 and 3 way Pentair lube-free valves. I really like the Pentair brand, and if I ever do a below ground pool for my next house I'll probably go with Pentair. I especially think their UltraTemp ETi Hybrid Heaters look really cool, but that has nothing to do with this pool project.
The winter pool cover is a Robelle Olympus (which I've already ordered due to long lead times).
The pool steps are Confer's 4-Step Curved Grand Entry Stair w/Add On Steps (but the extremely small deck I'm planning to build for them to attach to probably won't be finished until next year).
Oh yeah, I'm also mounting a Philips Hue Lily XL Outdoor Spotlight on my deck close by to shine down into the pool for a lighting effect. Originally I explored the remote controlled battery powered aquatic lights, but I couldn't find any made by a reputable brand with good reviews. I gave up after a few hours of searching. I also use Philips Hue everywhere else in the house.
Excavation was done by Elk Heights Excavation - they normally do MUCH larger jobs but are happy to assist homeowners when they have a gap in their schedule.

Rough Expense List:
Pool: $5,500.00.
Heat Pump: $2,500.00.
Water Pump, Filter, and Salt Cell: $2,500.00
Excavation of 110,000 pounds of dirt + Polymorphic Sand: $6,000.00
Stairs: $500.00.
Concrete pad installed via construction company, help installing pool support Pavers, recycled concrete delivery, trash hauling, mechanical area Pavers (installed myself): $2,500.00.
Pentair Valves (3x): $120.00
CMP Pool Defender: $70.00
H2 FlowVis (2x): $130.00
Electrical (six circuits including another project): $2,000.00
Sidewall Insulation: Not Yet Ordered
Floor Insulation: Not Yet Ordered

Current Total: $21,820.00

I'm reasonably hopeful this is still less than what a 17,000 gallon underground pool in the Seattle area would have cost me.
 
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TerranGuy

Member
Jun 30, 2021
19
Seattle, WA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
So where am I right now? *inhales sharply*

Excavation was completed a few weeks ago, but life got busy. They did a pretty good job leveling the ground, but it took me a lot longer to install the pavers at the right level than I thought, and I discovered that some areas were about an inch lower than what they should have been. So I've been desperately trying to figure out the safest way to add an inch to these areas to properly support the bottom rails. I spend days trying to find stone dust / crushed stone / decomposed granite. I've given up, and I'm instead going to use 3/8th minus recycled concrete, and I'm going to rent a compactor to make it rock hard. This is probably my biggest hang up and fear right now.

Excavation-1.jpg

Here is the deck that overlooks the pool. This is where the spot light will be mounted. Eventually I will build a very small deck for people to get in and out of the pool, and a paver's path connecting the deck stairs, the existing patio, and the small pool deck together. All of my pavers are Camino and Camino Slim Stone from Western Interlock.

Excavation-2.jpg

The electricians are actually my neighbors and working on my project when they have time in-between running their normal electrical business. We've had to run conduit from the garage along the back of the house to add the additional circuits, but I'm also including a few for a bath renovation I'm planning later. My backyard is a disaster. Obviously the polymorphic sand has been delivered.

Backyard-1.jpg

I added a concrete pad and then a sand base, and installed pavers myself because I wanted the electrical area to look nice. Everything is permitted so I need to make sure everything follows code, including installing a emergency shut off. You may see the heat pump and wonder what the heck I'm doing. Well, I've met all of the side clearances per the manufacturer's manual except for the side vent. I'm going to cut a hole in my fence and duct it from the heat pump to the other side of the yard. This will ensure that none of the exhaust gets recirculated.

Mechanical-1.jpg

This entire project is now a race against time. The winter rains have begun, I have a few days left of clear skies thanks to a brief reprieve, and the pine needles have begun falling. I'm not even sure if I will be able to run the salt cell and balance the pool chemistry. I may not be able to close down the pool until late October.

I'm also trying to figure out the best way to insulate the interior walls of my pool. I am also thinking about using foam board at the bottom of the pool, plus a liner protector on top of the 3" polymorphic sand base, because I'm paranoid. I'm also wondering if I can use the foam to help reinforce the sides of the deep end so the sand does not shift.

A cubic yard of the crushed concrete is going to be delivered in my driveway tomorrow. So I should have sides leveled and the pool partially up by this Saturday before the rain starts again. Once I get the pool halfway filled, I can use whatever polymorphic sand is leftover to bury the pool, and then mechanically trench the hard pipe to the mechanical area. It's a shame, I wish I could find grey schedule 40 pipe to match all of my grey/black fittings. ;)
 
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Tcadwall0

Gold Supporter
May 19, 2021
117
Charlotte, NC
Pool Size
12900
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
Site pictures?
---edit - nevermind - you added while I was asking ---
 
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Tcadwall0

Gold Supporter
May 19, 2021
117
Charlotte, NC
Pool Size
12900
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
Most people that I know with AGP's that have a deep section have it in the middle. Is it possible to put it on an "end" and not end up with wrinkles? Just curious.
 

TerranGuy

Member
Jun 30, 2021
19
Seattle, WA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Most people that I know with AGP's that have a deep section have it in the middle. Is it possible to put it on an "end" and not end up with wrinkles? Just curious.
Did you just give me an excuse to re-upload some of my diagrams? Why yes you did! ;)

I don't believe it is possible to add a deep end without putting it in the center of an AGP. This is due to the overlap liner and it is also required to follow the international pool codes requested transition for shallow to deep areas, though I don't think that code was ever written for AGPs.

Pool Design-2.png
 

Tcadwall0

Gold Supporter
May 19, 2021
117
Charlotte, NC
Pool Size
12900
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
That makes more sense than what I was picturing with the term "deep end". It is still the middle, but offset toward a side. Very interesting.
 
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Dirrby

Gold Supporter
Oct 26, 2020
57
Poway, CA
Pool Size
800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Nicely done so far! I'm looking forward to seeing it all come together. I dont have any advice to give but I'll certainly follow along and root for ya!
 
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TerranGuy

Member
Jun 30, 2021
19
Seattle, WA
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
I'm working today and tomorrow on shoveling / leveling out recycled concrete.

PXL_20210923_221417694.jpg

I'm also about to purchase the following:

1.) Insulation for the interior wall - SmartSHIELD -3mm 48"x50Ft Reflective Insulation roll
2.) Floor insulation - Owens Corning Foamular NGX F-150 1 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. SSE R-5 Rigid Foam Board

I'm trying to decide if I need a vapor barrier / vinyl protector for the floor or not since I have the polymorphic sand. I'm planning on 1" of the XPS board and 2" of polymorphic sand.