Design/Plan/DIY Build NorCal pool

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Hello. My wife really wants me to build a pool and now that I am back living and working in Northern Californa (Hayward, in the East Bay Area) I must proceed and fulfill her desire. Note I am really excited too.

I have been on this forum for a few years now but things in life (having to move for work etc) have delayed this moment until now.

The idea (that came from my wife and was validated on this forum) is to buy an "in-ground vinyl liner pool kit" and perform the build myself. I am not saying I'll do everything on my own, I will hire subs for some parts.

The pool will be primarily used for swimming, as my wife routinely drives a long way to swim for hours. We also have three children that might enjoy it. I will instead have fun with the maintenance and cook for them on the BBQ area we are also building.

Our primary requirements are, in no particular order:
  • no fences of any sort.
  • auto cover primarily to maintain temperature but also as a safety device and to prevent deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, to go for a swim without our permission
  • fastlane or similar device to swim a lot
  • a deep end for the kids to enjoy - although we are not planning for a diving board now
  • solar heaters, even if I'll have to delay the installation of those to next year I think as I need to re-do the roof first
  • nice RGB lights
  • state of the art plumbing and equipment, I tend to be annoyingly meticulous in this regard
  • very energy efficient, everything is so expensive in this state it really pays off

I have attached a preliminary plan that show the pool position relative to the house and the immediate surroundings. I live on the hills so the flat area comes at a premium. We feel like 36' x 18', 3'4" to 8' deep pool is a good size. This plan was several years in the making and I had input from talented professional landscape designers; however, I strongly value the input of assiduous pool users and owners that might catch some practical issues.

https://www.poolwarehouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/18-X-36-X-6-RADIUS.pdf is a common dig profile for this kind of pool, it would end up being just shy of 24,000 US gallons.

I have a vague idea of the main pool equipment, discussed in another thread:
  • Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump - 011028
  • Pentair IntelliChlor IC60 Complete Salt Chlorinator System
  • Pentair Clean & Clear Plus, 520 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter
Plumbing with 2" PVC pipe all around. I still have to come up with a detail plumbing plan.

Any advice or comment on what I have written so far is very welcome.
 

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manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
By the way, I already spoke to the city about this project and they were not familiar with these "vinyl liner" pools - not very common in this part of the country. It's not going to be a problem as long as I bring them a stamped engineering report for the state of California and pay around 2000 US dollars in fees. So far the discussion has been just informal, I'll see how it goes.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
43,203
Tallahassee, FL
About time! LOL Lets get this party started!

Yeah you need to START with 4' then go to the 8'. This will allow for a full crawl stroke and good flip turns. It will also allow for a good game of Watermelon ball (look it up........best game in the pool EVER!).

Kim:kim:
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
623
Alamo, CA
  • no fences of any sort.
  • auto cover primarily to maintain temperature but also as a safety device and to prevent deer, raccoons, opossums, skunks, to go for a swim without our permission
Auto-cover is good. "No fences" maybe not. I'll assume you'll have neighbors in Hayward. Without a fence, you have an "attractive nuisance" which will subject you to liability if a neighbor kid drowns in your pool.

Review the updated CA pool safety rules (easy to read version) and here (official version). If you plan to get your pool permitted (which you should if you might ever sell the house), you will need some child safety barriers. The auto-cover counts as one. A fence with self-closing gates would count as another. Absent a fence, you would need another safety feature such as the incredibly annoying door alarms on every door in the house that opens to the yard with the pool.
 
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manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Define "Swimming Fast Lane" If a lap pool your shallow end is to shallow for flip turns.
It is an hydraulic-actuated device that generates a water movement fast and large enough that a person can continue to swim while staying stationary, difficult to explain in simple words, let me post a link:


I know there are people that have installed a device like this with an automatic pool cover
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Yeah you need to START with 4' then go to the 8'. This will allow for a full crawl stroke and good flip turns. It will also allow for a good game of Watermelon ball (look it up........best game in the pool EVER!).
Unfortunately the shallow end depth is constrained by the design of these pools, where the primary structure is formed by panels that are typically 42" tall. There might be options for 48" panels however I need to look into that, thanks.
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Auto-cover is good. "No fences" maybe not. I'll assume you'll have neighbors in Hayward. Without a fence, you have an "attractive nuisance" which will subject you to liability if a neighbor kid drowns in your pool.

Review the updated CA pool safety rules (easy to read version) and here (official version). If you plan to get your pool permitted (which you should if you might ever sell the house), you will need some child safety barriers. The auto-cover counts as one. A fence with self-closing gates would count as another. Absent a fence, you would need another safety feature such as the incredibly annoying door alarms on every door in the house that opens to the yard with the pool.
Oh the law changed in 2018. I spoke to the city after that date and they were willing to waive fencing requirements if the auto-cover had the proper safety certification. We are not willing to install a fence around the pool or self closing doors so we need a way out of that. Obviously there is already a fence on the property lines with the other neighbors. Thank you for pointing this out, I'll do more research.
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Not sure how to send a question to the Moderator. Bear in mind I do not want to go against Your authority, I'm just asking about policy. As in this section of the forum people did not know what a fastlane even was, I felt a more specialized section would be a better place to ask. My aim was to keep this thread relatively clean and only report the results of specialized discussions, also for the sake of future users searching for the same thing. What is best? People that know about fastlanes would probably be more luikely to click on a thread called "fastlane what should I know" than "pool in East Bay". Thanks. Also, please let me know how to reach for individual messages, if acceptable. Thank you for the relentless work.

MOD NOTE: It is best to keep all things related to a build in one thread.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,801
Northern NJ
Search works pretty well here to find things within threads. Here are a few threads with comments about Fastlane...







 
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manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
My current plan is to have the pool equipment on the lower side of a retaining wall, about 2-3ft below the water surface - I know of people that have pool equipment underground. Any special consideration for that?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,801
Northern NJ
My current plan is to have the pool equipment on the lower side of a retaining wall, about 2-3ft below the water surface - I know of people that have pool equipment underground. Any special consideration for that?
You need to put valves to shutoff water on your suction and return and any water feature lines so that you can work on equipment without the pool siphoning.
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
You need to put valves to shutoff water on your suction and return and any water feature lines so that you can work on equipment without the pool siphoning.
I thought valves were standard issue also with an equipment pad level with the pool? Or these are extra. Thank you
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
I don't understand about valves being "standard issue"? Can you rephrase your questions?
Certainly, sorry for the poor form. What I meant is, I thought it was good practice to install shutoff valves on return and suction no matter what, even if the equipment pad is level with the surface of the pool. I was expecting that, on the equipment pad, all lines had a valve anyway; therefore I wanted to make sure we are referring to the same valves. I hope it's clearer now.


I will design a schematic of the plumbing next. I have obtained prevailing wind data to place the skimmers.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
12,801
Northern NJ
Nothing is standard on a pool and should be assumed. We have seen all sort of strange things done. Specify everything exactly as you intend it to ensure no miscommunication with whoever is doing the work.
 
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manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
About equipment: I mentioned above I'm leaning towards Pentair:
  • Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool Pump - 011028
  • Pentair IntelliChlor IC60 Complete Salt Chlorinator System
  • Pentair Clean & Clear Plus, 520 Sq. Ft. Cartridge Filter
What automation system should I consider; I see Pentair has Intelliconnect, Easy Touch and IntelliCenter and it's quite difficult to understand for somebody that hasn't used them before the differences between models even consulting the manufacturer's website. I wish there was a table "Wikipedia style" that lists features, interfaces and the protocol they use, etc.
In an ideal world I would connect the automation with Ethernet to my house network and control it through some sort of web-interface, no internet access (cloud) required. Not sure what is the current state of these solutions. I have read several discussions on this topic and sounds like Intelliconnect is the low end solution; Intellicenter might be the top of the line?
 

manoweb

Well-known member
Apr 14, 2017
119
Hayward CA
Another issue I am dealing with is that in a thread like:

The owner @lazygirl1978 mentions she has benches on the deep end. I believe that is a wonderful idea but so far I have not found a vinyl kit that has those benches. This is a show stopper I need to find a solution before I can proceed. I'd love to see detail pictures of benches like those and understand how they are formed in a vinyl liner pool with autocover.