DIY - Poolwarehouse build

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
Hi all!

First post. Long time lurker!

We bought a new house 3 years ago and sadly couldn't bring our pool with us... This summer we decided to pull the trigger on a new pool. As some of you have figured out, the cost with a pool company turns out to be "a bunch". I came across the Pool Warehouse site and then this site when I was checking them out. After several months I finally have my wife on board with the "what one man can do, another can do" mentality!

So! I'm doing the 18' x 43' 28' True L. Pour over tanning deck in the L. Turnbuckle brace with deck supports. Cantilever coping. 20 MIL liner. 6' deep end (with a decent sized boulder set in the deck next to the deep end for cannon balls). 8' swim out lined bench. Pump (see question below). 30" hayward top mount 2" sand filter. 2 aqua genie skimmers and 1 return. No drain. Hayward Aqua Plus 40k gallon salt system. 2" plumbing kit with sacrificial anode. 1 LED light. 400k BTU Hayward Universal H series propane heater. Foam padding.
Salt water system. Variable speed pump. Aqua genie skimmers. Swim out bench. Propane heater. Maybe 4 deck jets. (our old pool had a waterfall and we LOVED the sound)

Subcontractors
  • Excavator - Using a guy I like that's done work for me before. Loose estimate is "about $2,000".
  • Electrician - Using a guy from church. He own's a company with his dad. This will be side work at half the normal rate.
  • Plumber - Using my normal plumber. He'll do the propane lines for the heater, consult with me before I start and then double check my work.
  • General labor - my kids and all their friends!
  • Decking - my eldest and I. He does concrete work for a living.
  • Pool base - I'll use pool crete and see how my son and I do.
  • Liner - Thinking about hiring this out. $100 or 200 seems doable?
  • Fill dirt goes to my farmer neighbor. (Apparently farmers always need fill dirt for wash outs.)

There's obviously some more details but those are the biggies.

I'll post pics as I go.

Happy to hear any thoughts or advice you may have!

Thanks!
Bryce
 
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ckwinters

Well-known member
May 29, 2018
57
Carlisle, PA
We did a Pool warehouse true L in the 16x41x26 size with two aqua genies and two separate returns. I think you do want more returns even thought the aqua genies has them built in as well. We also have step returns and each return is plumbed separately. The aqua genie built in returns are aimed down and keep the lower water well mixed. I've been really happy with those skimmers.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
40,664
Tallahassee, FL
FUN TIMES! A new pool!!! I would love to see where this will be going!

I LOVE L shaped pools. The best of both worlds with the foot being for play and the leg for swimming and diving under water.

I am not sure you can find anyone to put to hang a liner for $200. I hope I am wrong. How old are your kids? If they help the liner hanger you might get a better price or a worse one depending on how *helpful* the kids might be LOL

Kim:kim:
 

jeflogan

Gold Supporter
May 23, 2012
94
Urbandale/IA
My wife and I hung our pool liner and we had some complicated steps, tanning ledge, and a bench. It was really easier than I thought.
 

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
It's dig day!!!

Finally...

I updated my signature with what I settled on.

Timeline so far
8/15/2019 - Pulled the trigger with Pool Warehouse. We went back and forth forever on dimensions, liner, etc. What a pain... I'm happy where we landed but I'm sure I'll regret something later!
8/30 - Spent the weekend dropping and chopping 2 mature trees that were unfortunately in the deep end of my pool. A Cherry and Hickory. I hated to do it but they had to go. I've got a guy taking some larger pieces of the Cherry in trade for some live edge pieces that I'll make something with. I cut the rest into 2-3" slices. Once they dry out I'll bust them up with a maul and sell on FB for smoking BBQ! My math says I could end up making $500-1,000. We'll see though.
9/3 - Marked everything for the dig. I measured off the far corners of my house to get a parallel line and then worked off of it. Used the Pythagorean Theorem (the only thing I remember from HS math) to check the diagonals. I was within an inch on everything so the overdig should be good enough. Went 36" on the side of the pool that will have the most PVC runs and behind the swim up spa. 30" everywhere else.
9/5/2019 - I've spent a few hours every day for the last 3 weeks figuring out every detail as best as I can. I'm kinda sure I have the next 10 days +/- planned out well. Starting the dig today. (I'll post pics later.) Ended up hiring an excavator for $2,500. I've got a 4' drop in elevation from corner to corner. We'll split the difference and set the pool 2' above the current low point. I'll have quite a bit of grading that comes after the dig which he included in his price. I'm not unhappy with the cost. (Assuming he hits his depths!)
****NOTE - Poolwarehouse has a tech line for DIY folks. They are INCREDIBLE! I highly recommend you pick their brains on every detail. They're happy to help and very knowledgeable.


Here's the guys dropping the trees. I posted on FB that I needed them on the ground and I'd handle removal. Ended up paying $50/tree which I'm good with since there was a slight lean towards the house. (Hen house in the background. That'll need moved to get the fence in...)
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
40,664
Tallahassee, FL
That is quite a good price for the dropping of those trees. Good job using their skills, saws, AND insurance just in case anything when wrong. Neat idea for the remaining wood. I hope it works out like you think!

What will you do about the stumps?

Glad to hear the company has been so good to you! It is always nice to hear when something like that goes well!

Kim:kim:
 

mguzzy

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2015
614
OV, CA
9/3 - Marked everything for the dig. I measured off the far corners of my house to get a parallel line and then worked off of it. Used the Pythagorean Theorem (the only thing I remember from HS math) to check the diagonals.
If there was anything I consistently reuse from HS geometry... its that darned 3-4-5 right triangle...!
 

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
That is quite a good price for the dropping of those trees. Good job using their skills, saws, AND insurance just in case anything when wrong. Neat idea for the remaining wood. I hope it works out like you think!

What will you do about the stumps?

Glad to hear the company has been so good to you! It is always nice to hear when something like that goes well!

Kim:kim:
I thought so! The facebook quotes were all over the place. A few at $700'ish total. Several at $500 total. Plenty at $50/tree. The $50/tree guys actually started blasting the $700 guys in the comment section for charging so much! Lol

For now, the stumps are dumped in the woods. I'll deal with them later...
 

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
Day 2

Yesterday went mostly ok. We didn't get started until 3'ish and then the stumps proved to be pretty stubborn. It took about an hour to get them out. By that time, my PERFECTLY placed over dig markings were totally gone... I worked to remark while the digger started on the side we knew for sure. I've got a 3' drop from one corner to the other so I'm splitting the difference. We'll raise the low side and cut into the high side. I'm still trying to decide if I want to do a retaining walls on one/both sides or grade. I'm leaning towards grading on the low side and a retaining wall on the high side. I'll talk to the excavator this morning to get his input.

There's a few things I'm not happy about already... I stood with my laser level all day waiting for him to get to depth. He was about 6" away when I went in to get dinner for the kids. Came back 30 mins later and he was almost a foot too deep... I blasted him (in a firm but nice way) and made it clear I needed undisturbed dirt or concrete. In this case $100 of concrete to fix his mistake. Hopefully he's more careful today... He also complained that it took his driver too long to get to the fill dirt dump site so he want's to make a pile in my woods. His driver only made one trip and drove into a big hole and ripped the mud shield bracket off the truck getting out. We'll probably argue a little today about where the dirt should go. He already pulled the "if I'd known it was so far away I would have charged you more" card...

****TIP - MY NEIGHBOR IS A FARMER. I ASKED IF HE NEEDED ANY FILL DIRT. HE SAYS FARMERS ALWAYS HAVE WASHOUTS AND ALWAYS NEED FILL DIRT.

Also - I talked to my electrician today. He'll try to stop by to spend some time with me. My plan is to pull the wire and mount everything. My electrician can come back later to make the connections. I've got the Hayward Aqua Plus SWG which is also a 100 amp subpanel. I'll mount it on the interior wall of my garage and then connect a few GFI's on the other side of the wall where the pad will be. Run conduit and wire for the light. I'm also strongly considering running conduit and wire to a junction box on the far side of the pool. There's always an iPhone that needs charging (Android guy here) + who knows what I might want out there in the future that would need electric. If I run that line, I'll leave a string in it so I can pull wire later if needed.

Here's some pics end of Day 1 pics.
 

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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
704
NY
2 skimmers and one return? You need at least 5 or 6 returns for that big of a pool.
I see this a lot here. Maybe older pools with underpowered equipment and small plumbing need it. I don’t. I have a 20X40 with 2 returns in the shallow end and 2 skimmers in the deep end. I have a 3HP pump and 2.5 inch plumbing which is enough to make white water rafting on floats. On high I can clear any floating debris in under 5 minutes and at a trickle it still does just fine. The Lazy L would create a dead zone with my setup so of course an small extra return or 2 there would help.
 
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DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
I see this a lot here. Maybe older pools with underpowered equipment and small plumbing need it. I don’t. I have a 20X40 with 2 returns in the shallow end and 2 skimmers in the deep end. I have a 3HP pump and 2.5 inch plumbing which is enough to make white water rafting on floats. On high I can clear any floating debris in under 5 minutes and at a trickle it still does just fine. The Lazy L would create a dead zone with my setup so of course an small extra return or 2 there would help.
I ended up adding some. 2 skimmers, 3 returns (1 in the L) and a swim up spa (6 jets). Planning on 2" PVC to go with my VS pump. PW assured me I'll be good to go. I'm tending to agree.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
704
NY
I ended up adding some. 2 skimmers, 3 returns (1 in the L) and a swim up spa (6 jets). Planning on 2" PVC to go with my VS pump. PW assured me I'll be good to go. I'm tending to agree.

That looks good. It does no harm to have too many and I have certainly overkilled many a thing at my own house so I’m not necessarily one to talk. I was just pointing out that people tend to be skimmer and return happy here. (And there’s nothing wrong with them wanting their piece of mind to sleep well at night).

Good luck with it all. It’s a monumental project and working at many a construction site, I thought I was well prepared for it, but when the mountain of dirt was in my own backyard it still was overwhelming to see.
 

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
Day 3

We got everything pretty close to 42" yesterday. Ran into an issue when my back yard turned out to be all clay. I'd planned on using the fill dirt to raise the low side 17". There seems to be different opinions about using clay as fill dirt. Enough so that I decided against it. That'll give me a 33" retaining wall on the high side rather than 17". I'm fine with that though since it's a better butt height!

I've learned that excavators seem to enjoy digging deep.... I'm having to keep a close eye on him...

TIP*** I realized to late that we should have graded the site and then dug the pool... Now we're working around our hole to grade. Just not as simple. I must have watched a dozen videos on digging a pool. Not one of them talked about grading the site first.

We'll finish the hopper when the digger gets back from lunch. I'll start on the wall after.

Sitting under a tree watching my kids play in the big hole and realizing what a great idea this pool was! :)
 

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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
704
NY
That was a great time. The happiness and endless imagination of what was to come was enjoyed by the kids and also mom and pop. Standing in the dirt just taking it all in. Enjoy the moment my friend. And it only gets cooler from here.

And as much as my dog loves the pool, he liked the hole even better. The water slows down his Zooms too much.
 

DrawlGuy

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2019
45
Ohio
Day 5

Today's Monday and I'm on hold until the dig is done... The excavator took yesterday off which I'm good with. Saturday would have been a 3 day dig. I wanted it done to build walls over the weekend but it's tough to tell a guy he has to work on Sunday!

He over dug by 2-8" everywhere... Most spots are about 4" too deep. I'm currently trying to decide what to do. I think the best options are to drop the grade of everything around the pool, back fill with 3/4 gravel or back fill with the clay fill dirt. I like the gravel idea since it'll be easier to have everything EXACTLY 42" but I don't like the extra expense. I'm learning that the clay back fill should be ok since the frost line is about 30" in my area. I'll talk to him when he gets here and make a decision.

Planning to order concrete for the collar, gravel to back fill the walls and set up the lower bond inspection today.

No new pics since it's basically a hole that only looks slightly more pool-like than my last pic!
 

Chickinvic

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2017
204
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
2 skimmers and one return? You need at least 5 or 6 returns for that big of a pool. I would also recommend a main drain too.
We have 2 returns and one skimmer (20 x 40 vinyl inground pool). Works very well. Had the main drain filled in. Actually, when you get your liner redone here in Ottawa almost all the companies fill in the main drain now. We never used it anyways - it was just something to vacuum around in our pool.
 

jeflogan

Gold Supporter
May 23, 2012
94
Urbandale/IA
Day 5

Today's Monday and I'm on hold until the dig is done... The excavator took yesterday off which I'm good with. Saturday would have been a 3 day dig. I wanted it done to build walls over the weekend but it's tough to tell a guy he has to work on Sunday!

He over dug by 2-8" everywhere... Most spots are about 4" too deep. I'm currently trying to decide what to do. I think the best options are to drop the grade of everything around the pool, back fill with 3/4 gravel or back fill with the clay fill dirt. I like the gravel idea since it'll be easier to have everything EXACTLY 42" but I don't like the extra expense. I'm learning that the clay back fill should be ok since the frost line is about 30" in my area. I'll talk to him when he gets here and make a decision.

Planning to order concrete for the collar, gravel to back fill the walls and set up the lower bond inspection today.

No new pics since it's basically a hole that only looks slightly more pool-like than my last pic!
We over dug ourselves and used the 4" concrete blocks and shingles to get our level.