Finishing up west of Austin *Plastered and Filled*

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Hi, I've been browsing for a while, and actually got started here learning how to keep our spa clear. We are just getting started evaluating a bid for this. I'll take all the advice I can get, but have a few specifics to follow up on below. I'll plan to post pictures as we progress through the project.

Size and Shape
Dimensions14'x29' with a 7'x14' ledge off one side
Depth3'6" to 6' deep (current drawing shows 3'6"x6'x4'6", but we've revised this - I know lots of people recommend 4', but with my wife being very short and our kids still being young, I haven't been able to convince to go any deeper)
BenchFull length on both sides

Structure
Bond Beam(4) #4 horizontal bars continuous
Walls and Floors#4 rebar spaced 10" on center
Gunite12" Bond Beam-8-10" Walls/Floors
FinishPebbleTec/Sheen/Fina
CopingLueder

Equipment
PumpPentair Intelliflow VSF
Cleaner PumpPentair Booster
FilterPentair Clean and Clear 520
Auto FillPool Miser
Main drains2
Skimmers2
SanitizationPentair 320 tablet chlorinator

Paramount Ultra UV-Lamp 230V (planning to take this off based on previous reading)
CleanerPentair racer pressure side cleaner
ControlPentair Easy Touch + Screen Logic Bundle

Lighting and Features
Lights2x Pentair Intellibrite 5G Color LED 120v-100c
Pentair Globrite LED w/ Bubbler
Water featureRaised beam grotto w/ 48" sheer descent (grotto interior ~6' of length with bench)

Plumbing
Drains2x 2.5" PVC
Skimmers2" PVC
Sidewall drain3" PVC
Returns4x 2" PVC

Again, looking for feedback on any of it, but have the following specific questions:
  • Definitely going to ask about SWCG. My biggest concern here is if they want to void some significant part of our warranties based on this (it's Texas), in which case I'll deal with adding chlorine manually each day. If we do go with SWCG, does it make sense to leave the inline chlorinator in for potential rare usage, or should we take it out entirely?
  • Any specific thoughts on the return placements given the layout and the benches? I was considering adding a 5th return inside the grotto to help keep the bench clear.
  • I had not heard anything about lueder coping prior to seeing this bid, and the only other post I've seen about it sounds like it's not great regardless of SWCG or not. Wanted to double check if anyone has specific experience here as well as anything in particular I should ask about.
  • We were considering adding heat in some form to extend our season a little bit. From what I've read so far, it sounds like a heat pump would probably be enough given we're relatively warm here. What I haven't been able to understand is if the heat pump will help us cool in the really hot parts of the summer, or if that's an additional piece of equipment. Also interested in anybody's experience around heaters if you live in this part of the country.
  • What are people's experiences with the different PebbleTec finishes? What are the tradeoffs between the tec, fina and sheen?
2020 Peck 4_003.jpg
2020 Peck 42d_001.jpg
 

Mendy48

Bronze Supporter
Apr 27, 2018
928
Midland, MI
Hello!

I was just going to ask you to go with a SWCG pool. If you do this, you wouldn’t need a Chlorinator to my understanding.
As far as the return jets, 4 seems to be okay, but if you’re considering 5th one, then I’ll let an expert chime in here shortly about that. I’m not sure about whether a 5th one would make a difference.
I have no experience with lueder coping, I’ll let an expert chime in shortly.
I live in Michigan and a pool heater does come in very handy. We swim in the early spring and down to the fall. Are you planning on getting a solar cover for your pool? Apologies if you mentioned this already. However, if you are getting a solar cover, it would help keep your pool warm in tx. However living in your area, that won’t be a problem. I definitely need a heater in Michigan and if I were living in tx, I don’t know if I’ll get a heater. However knowing how I am, I’ll get one just incase I need it. Lol.
I’ll also let an expert chime in here with your last question.

good luck. Stay safe.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: I'm going to have to let some of the others chime in with opinions about some of your questions. I don't heat since after about 6-7 months I'm ready for a break. But if you get the SWG, you won't need the inline 320. I don't know what it is about some builders or locations and salt, but you can always add it later on your own if it becomes a sticking point in the contract. Have a nice weekend., :swim:
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Thanks for the welcome!

I haven’t looked that closely at solar covers yet, but may be an option. Measuring by when we go to the neighborhood pool today where water temperature feels comfortable (probably just warm preference here), we are probably closer to a 5 month season (May-September). Would want to stretch that more like late March-early October if possible. Spent some time doing my own research on the heat pump, and it does sound like it could potentially help keep the temp down as well when it’s really hot in July and August. Anybody have experience with how effective that aspect of it is?

On the SWCG, how involved of a change is adding that after the fact? How much needs to be accounted for on the equipment pad?
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
496
Austin, TX
Hello from Austin. I would go with IntelliCenter instead of EasyTouch. IntelliCenter is Pentair’s latest automation product. Just like you wouldn’t buy a 10 year old iPhone, you shouldn’t go with their old technology. It should be around the same price too.​
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Thanks, good call out. I felt like I had seen some threads in the past voicing disappointment with Intellicenter, but looking back for them it looks like they were mostly from when it first came out.
 

jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
496
Austin, TX
Thanks, good call out. I felt like I had seen some threads in the past voicing disappointment with Intellicenter, but looking back for them it looks like they were mostly from when it first came out.
I love mine. There are some minor bugs, but it’s more than worth it. Just like most tech items now, every time Pentair releases a new update, it downloads and installs it automatically
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
We've ended up switching to a different builder after seeing a second bid. Designs are very similar, but the new builder did put their own spin on the concept. This builder uses Jandy, so I'm listing the updated equipment below. Pre-construction meeting this week and hopefully start digging late next week!

Equipment
PumpJandy ePump 2.7hp
Water Feature PumpPentair Booster
Filter460 SQ FT CV
SanitizationJandy Nature2 Fusion Salt 1400
CleanerNo cleaner provided - will buy something directly
ControlJandy RS-PS4 w/ iAqualink
Heater / ChillerJandy JE300TR heat pump chiller combo

Lighting and Features
Lights4 x 30W Nichless Color LED (2 in wall facing away from house, 1 in wall of ledge facing away from house, 1 in bench under grotto)
Water feature3'6" x 9'5" overhang with a 6' rain descent, steel reinforced
2 x 24" sheer descent
2 x bubbler
FinishCL CrystalStones Onyx

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rumcglot

Silver Supporter
Feb 13, 2019
100
Texas
I think a lot of people here will steer you away from the Jandy Nature2 Fusion Salt 1400 because it'll add unwanted "minerals" to the pool. From my point of view, I'd get rid of it because it adds some other cartridge you're supposed to buy regularly. It combines the convenience of a salt system with the re-occuring purchase desired by the pool store.
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
I’ve seen that mentioned quite a bit. I planned to not let them install the mineral cartridge at start up (this is what I’ve seen recommended to others that have it going in). Is there any issue with doing it that way?
 
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rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Had a variety of availability and weather delays, but finally got to start digging this week. Hit solid rock just a few inches below the surface. We're on our 6th day of excavation and seems like we still have a bit to go.

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Nikilyn

Bronze Supporter
Sep 3, 2018
798
Gilbert, AZ
Pool Size
17000
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
10 days? Wow! I’m glad to see they were able to leave that tree. We have one we are hoping we don’t have to take out that is about the same distance from the pool. Seeing yours gives me hope.
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Yeah, fingers still crossed that it survives the whole ordeal. After seeing what’s under the ground I don’t know how it’s managing to grow there at all.
 
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JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,317
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Wow, 10 day$ to dig. That is an interesting backyard and appears to be already dug down. Is it in the side of a hill or something, and do you have any drainage issues?
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Almost the whole lot is cut into the hill. I think the very front where our driveway hits the street might have been about ground level before the developer dug into it. The extra privacy back there with the hill closing is in on two sides is really nice. There are two French drains running just outside our fence, one along the back and one along the side. Those have managed to do a decent job with drainage so far, although when we get any really heavy rains it can spill over into the yard a little. The wall along the back of our pool in the designs has the extra purpose of helping keep any runoff from the hill out of the pool, and I think we’ll probably need to do a little bit of extra grading down the side closest to the hill to keep water running toward the front of the house.
 

rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Week's been busy so haven't had a chance to post until this morning, but gunite went in on Tuesday. Wasn't expecting it until today, so it was a really pleasant surprise to see them getting started when I got back from taking my kids to school.
IMG_7048.jpeg IMG_7051.jpeg IMG_7052.jpeg
 
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rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Been a while since I last posted. We have had some progress (tile, coping, decking), but then things stalled out for a really long time. The factory that built the custom water feature in the middle had a fire at one point, delaying getting the feature itself. When the hard freeze hit Texas back in February, that tied up plumbers and parts for quite a while as well. Also took a while for the plumber and the steel guy to get on the same page for the water feature, so we had some rework there. Excited that we finally have a date for plaster next week! Equipment and electrical got wrapped up last week, water feature is supposed to be finished up today, and rest of the plumbing by end of the week. We are still short a valve needed for the heat pump, so that will be left out of the plumbing until later. Here are some pictures of what's happened in the mean time.
 

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rpeck

Gold Supporter
Jun 5, 2020
14
Austin, TX
Well, had some additional setbacks. Work didn't happen according to schedule, so plaster is now set for Saturday. Due to the valve shortage following last month's heavy freeze, the plumbing is only complete to the extent that water can be circulated. The water features are not plumbed at this point (and we don't have an ETA). Maybe that'll be possible a month in when the heater is ready to be plumbed in as well. Beyond those challenges, they came to finish hooking up the center water feature and put coping in on top. The end result there is pretty rough. Not anywhere near the clean rectangular shape from the designs we were shown, and the cuts on the stone are sloppy as well. I'm not sure if addressing these is going to push plaster back further or if they'll try to figure out how to work on it with the pool already filled. Feels like we've been so close for so long.
 

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