Fiberglass build in NoVa

chazas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
89
Manassas, VA
EDIT: Details of final pool design and contract (NOT with River Pools) are at post 52. Construction starts in earnest at post 66.

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Hey, all. I’ve been around here (and the predecessor forum) for close to 2 decades - I’ve built 2 gunite pools but haven’t had one for 5 years at this point. I’m now single, in a new build spec house in Manassas VA with a small yard and pondering a pool build over the winter. My ex was an architect who designed the prior pools but I’m on my own this time.

For whatever reason I really want fiberglass. I got a preliminary estimate from River Pools, a local vertically integrated installer and manufacturer - the salesman/designer is coming out in about a week for a site visit and there is no fixed design yet other than what I’ve told him I want, so nothing is final. Specifics so far:

D24 pool, which is as 12x24 rectangle with a Baja shelf - $35,000
Arctic shimmer (white) finish instead of standard Maya shimmer - $2000
2 bubblers on shelf - TBD, expecting around $1200
Pentair salt generator, model TBD - $1900
Pentair color Microbright LED lights (2) - $0
Electrical - $3800
Waterline tile (probably a white mosaic) - $2600
Pentair gas heater, model TBD - $3800, plus plumbing
Pentair ScreenLogic2 automation - $1000
Brushed concrete decking (including poured cantilevered coping) - $9/sq foot at 600 feet estimated - $5400
Retaining wall allowance, need still TBD - $8000
Dirt hauling - $1000
10 outdoor light fixtures tied to pool automation - $2500
Total so far - $68,200

Seems like a lot, since everything adds up once you start adding “extras,” especially since I haven’t started factoring in landscaping, needed fence modifications, etc. I’ve already done some value engineering, like using brushed concrete to match the existing small patio and using precast pavers to connect them, using a gas heater rather than heat pump after running some numbers, etc. The outdoor lighting package is “extra” but pricing doesn’t seem out of line for a professional install. Aesthetics are important so the waterline tile and (despite my best efforts to convince myself that I could live with the standard blue) an “upgraded” finish are not really negotiable. Nothing I can do about the retaining wall until we get into a more detailed design. I could eliminate the bubblers, but I really like the idea of making the pool a water feature too. Their similarly sized model without the Baja shelf runs the same price, so there are no savings to be had there. Am I missing anywhere else that’s reasonable to cut corners?

I am pondering getting at least one competing bid. On the other hand, I don’t have the energy or patience for a difficult experience, and these folks are very, very highly regarded, on local message boards, reviews, etc. They send their own crews. Also, there just aren’t a lot of fiberglass installers as far as I can tell near here. I just was a a friend’s house who has one from one of the others and the install issues are still ongoing 3 years later. I don’t have time for that. My first build was in Hawaii and was a disaster from start to finish, ending in a lawsuit. My second build was nearby in Arlington, and turned out well, but I just reread my emails with the president of the company (one of the bigger local ones) and now remember why I don’t really want to work with them again.

W/r/t the last paragraph I guess I’m just venting. If anyone has a recommendation for a local NoVa pool builder they’d trust for a competing bid, please message me.
 
Last edited:

jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
436
Houston, TX
A couple things stand out as a FG pool owner.
Heater. Get the largest one available. I have 400,000 BTU's heats spa quickly and heated the whole pool in under 2 hours one day by mistake.
SWG, get one rated for pool vol x3
Filter, did not see a model, go at least 2 cartridge or even 4, you will not clean it as often.

Tile, the tile will stand proud and be exposed by 3/8" along the bottom. do you really want that?

I went FG for quicker install, longer warranty. I had install issues and dealing with the pool company lawyers as we speak still. Knnowing what I know now about the 2 main points above leads me to post that info.

John
 

chazas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
89
Manassas, VA
Thanks. I do understand about the tile, I visited River Pools' "pool park" which is a demo location next to their factory where they have several pools installed. I noticed that, it didn't bother me. My thought was, (1) if it's clean and modern it will look good and help avoid the "bathtub" look, and (2) if there's ever oxidation of the gelcoat it won't be as noticeable. But maybe I don't need it. Understood re: SWG and large (or double) cartridge, been there done that. Will ponder the heater.

Getting them to specify actual equipment models is next on my list. I also will ask why ScreenLogic2 rather than Intellicenter.
 

pool123*

Active member
Aug 28, 2019
40
Aldie, VA
I'd love to hear if you find any other quality installers in NoVA. We are in Aldie, VA. Never had a pool before but wanted one for years. We've pretty much decided on fiberglass. We visited River Pools pool park on Monday and have the salesman coming out this afternoon for a site visit. It's so expensive though and with no experience installing a pool, we'd love a competing quote but I'm having trouble finding another well regarded company to ask for one. One thing about River Pools that may or may not be industry standard (since we know nothing!) but concerned us nonetheless--- they want a relatively small deposit but insist on full payment of the entire balance before they will offload the pool from the truck. I understand why they do this but as a consumer who has no intention of ripping them off I'm not real excited about the prospect of paying them $100K or more before they do anything...
 

chazas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
89
Manassas, VA
I'd love to hear if you find any other quality installers in NoVA. We are in Aldie, VA. Never had a pool before but wanted one for years. We've pretty much decided on fiberglass. We visited River Pools pool park on Monday and have the salesman coming out this afternoon for a site visit. It's so expensive though and with no experience installing a pool, we'd love a competing quote but I'm having trouble finding another well regarded company to ask for one. One thing about River Pools that may or may not be industry standard (since we know nothing!) but concerned us nonetheless--- they want a relatively small deposit but insist on full payment of the entire balance before they will offload the pool from the truck. I understand why they do this but as a consumer who has no intention of ripping them off I'm not real excited about the prospect of paying them $100K or more before they do anything...
We haven't got that far. Not happening with me, that's very disappointing to hear.
 

pool123*

Active member
Aug 28, 2019
40
Aldie, VA
We haven't got that far. Not happening with me, that's very disappointing to hear.
We actually went to visit them with a friend who also wanted a pool. When the salesman told us this we resisted strongly-- our friend flat out said she wouldn't do it-- but the salesman wouldn't back down at all. He said he understood our concern but that that was their policy and non-negotiable. He was just fine with letting two customers who are ready to write a check now walk out the door.
 

pool123*

Active member
Aug 28, 2019
40
Aldie, VA
Seems to me like that price is more than a gunite pool. Have you checked those out? My gunite pool was right around $60k on the quote.
We haven't checked out gunite yet because our understanding is that they cost more and take more time to maintain. However, if the price was significantly less to install, that would alleviate some concern.
 

chazas

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
89
Manassas, VA
We haven't checked out gunite yet because our understanding is that they cost more and take more time to maintain. However, if the price was significantly less to install, that would alleviate some concern.
It's just a messier and longer build, they don't really take more effort to maintain. There are differences but IMO net/net probably not that much of a difference.
 

pool123*

Active member
Aug 28, 2019
40
Aldie, VA
Yours is beautiful and looks larger than a fiberglass pool. Was the landscaping, pool fence or anything else included in your $60K or was that just the pool?
 

jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
436
Houston, TX
Here is a current pic of the water line corner at my spa, all FG pools have tapered walls to release from a mold. I do not think you could get a nice clean tile run with these radius. Tile or not you still have to clean the water line.

John
 

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jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
436
Houston, TX
I'd love to hear if you find any other quality installers in NoVA. We are in Aldie, VA. Never had a pool before but wanted one for years. We've pretty much decided on fiberglass. We visited River Pools pool park on Monday and have the salesman coming out this afternoon for a site visit. It's so expensive though and with no experience installing a pool, we'd love a competing quote but I'm having trouble finding another well regarded company to ask for one. One thing about River Pools that may or may not be industry standard (since we know nothing!) but concerned us nonetheless--- they want a relatively small deposit but insist on full payment of the entire balance before they will offload the pool from the truck. I understand why they do this but as a consumer who has no intention of ripping them off I'm not real excited about the prospect of paying them $100K or more before they do anything...

See if Leisure Pools has a dealer near you. we did staged payments, completion points. I think these pay all at one time should be a huge red flag on that builder. They cannot cover the labor and materials so you could get hung out to dry...

John
 

pool123*

Active member
Aug 28, 2019
40
Aldie, VA
See if Leisure Pools has a dealer near you. we did staged payments, completion points. I think these pay all at one time should be a huge red flag on that builder. They cannot cover the labor and materials so you could get hung out to dry...

John
Thanks- I'll do that!
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,453
Chapel Hill, NC
One thing about River Pools that may or may not be industry standard (since we know nothing!) but concerned us nonetheless--- they want a relatively small deposit but insist on full payment of the entire balance before they will offload the pool from the truck.
BIG RED FLAG. I would never agree to this. By all meany pay for work done to that point (excavation, prep, pool, etc) but NEVER pay the complete amount until the job is completely finished.
 
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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,453
Chapel Hill, NC
I am pondering getting at least one competing bid.
Can't help with local builders in your area but definitely get a couple more estimates, if only to let them know they don't have you over a barrel. It will also give you some insight into the going rate in case you worry you paid too much.