First pool build! Excited but apprehensive. Bid included

nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
We're in the final stages of selecting a contractor for our pool and want to make sure we're not overlooking anything or that we're not being naive about other things. We're located just west of Houston and with all of the research I've done, I'm getting to the point of analysis paralysis (and newly introduced confusion and second guessing!). I've attached the pool bid we're thinking of going with and would appreciate it if someone wouldn't mind giving it the once over for things we may have missed. We're doing a kitchen, landscaping and a pool in one shot to be done with the whole project. I think one of the outstanding questions I keep going back and forth on is quartz or pebble for the plaster. We do have young children, so comfort on the feet as well as durability are on our minds. I've learned a ton from lurking, and it was enough to push us over the edge to building our first pool. Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
481
Houston, TX
Since you are asking I will give my .02 worth.
Ditch the chlorinator tab feeder and get a SWG system. The myths of SWG eating every part of you pool is a myth.
I personally do not like one line in the contract.
Buyer is responsible for all elevation changes above and below normal grade, easements, property lines, and location of equipment.
Why? The builder should know where the easements, property lines and best placement for equipment goes. Just my .02.

John
 

Spookie

Silver Supporter
Dec 20, 2014
67
Highland, CA
“analysis paralysis”. Yes, that’s the worst. When you think you have finally narrowed your choice down and then you see something that contradicts what you thought would be your best choice.
Anyway, maybe consider an auto fill.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
997
Prosper, TX (DFW)
A couple of things:

- Pentair Glowbright have a proprietary niche so you are stuck using them when you have to replace the light. I would search on here about Glowbrights, and consider swapping the spa light to another one of Pentair's lights like you have in the pool.
- The in floor cleaning system - Those are typically costly and not everyone is happy with how they clean and/or maintenance issues with them. Do your research and consider a robot cleaner, as they typically clean better, are cheaper, and you dont have to run your pump while cleaning (they plug into an electrical outlet).
- I see you have the pool builder doing the landscaping and low voltage lighting. You can do that separately for likely much less, but I get the ease of rolling it all in with the build.
- See if they will upgrade the filter to 520 from the 420. Bigger filter = less cleaning time by you
- You only have 4 jets in the spa, this seems low to me. Its hard to tell without a drawing, but if it is a square you typically have 2 jets per side.
- As others have said, consider salt for chlorination as that is much easier to maintain. If I'm low on chlorine, I literally pull out my phone and turn up the output.
- Lastly I dont see anything in there about repairing sod, sprinklers, fencing. Make sure the builder is going to pay for the damage they do, so you arent hit with unexpected costs to put your yard back together

Good luck with your decisions and if you pull the trigger, keep the pics and updates coming.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: Well, I'm no construction expert, but I see others have already provided some very good input. We have several industry experts who may reply over the weekend as well. "Apprehensive" .... yeah, I don't blame you. I would be too for $83K+. Definitely stick close to this thread to ensure the builder has your best interests at heart. Best of luck to you, and have a nice TX weekend.
 

johnpkaiser

Bronze Supporter
Aug 12, 2019
90
San Antonio, TX
A big take away from my build was not letting the pool builder decide something for you or to push you into a compromise. Your family has to live with the end result. Your pool company sales team will be long gone after you finish.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
17,157
Bedford, TX
NW,

Installing a EasyTouch "lite".. Unfortunately, they taste like lite salad dressing and are just about as useless. Their only good quality is that they are cheap. But, they only have 4 total programs/schedules. They do not have a load center for all your circuit breakers. If you install the lite version, you will be very disappointed and your pool builder should just be ashamed...

Cheap'ing out on your automation will mean that you will cry every time you use it, instead of only crying once, when you pay for it.

Also keep in mind that the EasyTouch 4 only has 3 actual relays that can be controlled by the user. If you use one to control your pool light and one to control your waterfall pump and one to control your pad light you are out of relays. What about the spa blower? What about other things you might want to control in the future? If you want to have the light in the pool and in the spa be different colors or have a light show, you will need a relay for each light.. Three relays are almost never enough.

The EasyTouch is old technology, just like the In-Floor cleaning system (IFCS). Sounds to me like your pool builder is just stuck in the past. I would recommend ditching the IFCS, and using the savings to buy either an EasyTouch 8, or better yet one of the new IntelliCenters, for almost the same price.

I too recommend an integrated saltwater system and cleaning your pool with a robot cleaner.

Good luck with your pool build,

Jim R.
 

nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
Since you are asking I will give my .02 worth.
Ditch the chlorinator tab feeder and get a SWG system. The myths of SWG eating every part of you pool is a myth.
I personally do not like one line in the contract.
Buyer is responsible for all elevation changes above and below normal grade, easements, property lines, and location of equipment.
Why? The builder should know where the easements, property lines and best placement for equipment goes. Just my .02.

John
Thanks for this advice! This was another one of those items that we keep going back and forth on. Most everyone I know has a standard chlorinating system. I have only swam in one SWG and I didn't think to ask the owner about the maintenance and his thoughts on the system. I'll do some more research on that as well!

Thanks for pointing out that blurb in the contract. I'll make sure I address that as well.
 

nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
“analysis paralysis”. Yes, that’s the worst. When you think you have finally narrowed your choice down and then you see something that contradicts what you thought would be your best choice.
Anyway, maybe consider an auto fill.
Thanks, that was one of the items that was left out when the new contract was sent over. Our city actually requires it, so it will have to be in there (and I want it anyways). As much as I love standing out there with a hose...
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,470
Northern NJ
Why does your contract say “special dig”?

I agree with all said above...

- Get a regular ET or IntelliCenter (which is Pentairs latest model automation. Do you buy 10 year old cars?)
- Get a SWG
- Get a robot instead of the IFCS
- Get MicroBrite lights instead of GloBrites
- Get larger filter

You may find things in here interesting...


 

nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
NW,

Installing a EasyTouch "lite".. Unfortunately, they taste like lite salad dressing and are just about as useless. Their only good quality is that they are cheap. But, they only have 4 total programs/schedules. They do not have a load center for all your circuit breakers. If you install the lite version, you will be very disappointed and your pool builder should just be ashamed...

Cheap'ing out on your automation will mean that you will cry every time you use it, instead of only crying once, when you pay for it.

Also keep in mind that the EasyTouch 4 only has 3 actual relays that can be controlled by the user. If you use one to control your pool light and one to control your waterfall pump and one to control your pad light you are out of relays. What about the spa blower? What about other things you might want to control in the future? If you want to have the light in the pool and in the spa be different colors or have a light show, you will need a relay for each light.. Three relays are almost never enough.

The EasyTouch is old technology, just like the In-Floor cleaning system (IFCS). Sounds to me like your pool builder is just stuck in the past. I would recommend ditching the IFCS, and using the savings to buy either an EasyTouch 8, or better yet one of the new IntelliCenters, for almost the same price.

I too recommend an integrated saltwater system and cleaning your pool with a robot cleaner.

Good luck with your pool build,

Jim R.
The IFCS is the main analysis paralysis point for me and is a source of conflict with my wife. I think we may be stuck in the old way of thought and are assuming that we'll be dedicating a ton of time to cleaning and not enough time enjoying the pool. I recall horror stories many years ago if how many hours a day people were spending cleaning their pools and dealing with the mess of flexible tubing attached to their floor cleaners. Our pool is geometric and fairly simple thanks to a large utility easement and overhead utility lines. With me working from home, I may just want to jump in and call it a day. I'm assuming based on your recommendation (and the recommendation of MANY others throughout the forum) that technology has come a long way and I shouldn't be preparing for such a tedious schedule?
 

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nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
Why does your contract say “special dig”?

I agree with all said above...

- Get a regular ET or IntelliCenter (which is Pentairs latest model automation. Do you buy 10 year old cars?)
- Get a SWG
- Get a robot instead of the IFCS
- Get MicroBrite lights instead of GloBrites
- Get larger filter

You may find things in here interesting...


The special dig was an annotation in their system to let them know we wouldn't need a small machine to come in through the yard. We have an empty lot next to us so they'll come in through there. Saves us a bit of money!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,470
Northern NJ
Consider getting an autofill so you don’t have to top off the pool from evaporation every day or two.

Consider an overflow line so your pool does not overflow in a big storm or you end up outside in a storm trying to pump out water.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
44,940
Tallahassee, FL
FULL STOP please. There are quite a few things I see that raise some red flags for me.

-The elevations changes mentioned above-what does this even mean? More details needed
-plans and permits-what does "Special Dig" mean?
-saw cut of the concrete NI which means Not Included. Even if you are putting something on the decking it still needs to have saw cuts or such to help control the cracks.
- Ez Touch Lite (4) w/ App-This is NOT a good one. It is too small and does not work very well. I am going to call in @Jimrahbe as he knows this stuff better than I do.
-Equipment-you need to know all of the model numbers so we can make sure they are what is best for your pool. What you have listed is too general.
-You WANT/NEED an over fill line! You will thank me the first time you have a big rain and the over fill line keeps your pool from overflowing instead of you having to run out to set it up to drain in the rain/storm.
-Electric Subpanel-NI.........then how will your equipment get power?
-Light by the equipment pad-this is a MUST have for safety. Is there any kind of light in that area already?
-Prior To Plaster: - $4,154-NOPE!! The last check should be after EVERYTHING is done to YOUR satisfaction!

I am sorry if this is a downer but I have helped build a pool or 100 here at TFP. I just went through your contract line by line and picked out the trouble spots. I want YOU to get the best bang for your buck and what is needed for a great pool! :hug:

Kim:kim:
 
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nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
FULL STOP please. There are quite a few things I see that raise some red flags for me.

-The elevations changes mentioned above-what does this even mean? More details needed
-plans and permits-what does "Special Dig" mean?
-saw cut of the concrete NI which means Not Included. Even if you are putting something on the decking it still needs to have saw cuts or such to help control the cracks.
- Ez Touch Lite (4) w/ App-This is NOT a good one. It is too small and does not work very well. I am going to call in @Jimrahbe as he knows this stuff better than I do.
-Equipment-you need to know all of the model numbers so we can make sure they are what is best for your pool. What you have listed is too general.
-You WANT/NEED an over fill line! You will thank me the first time you have a big rain and the over fill line keeps your pool from overflowing instead of you having to run out to set it up to drain in the rain/storm.
-Electric Subpanel-NI.........then how will your equipment get power?
-Light by the equipment pad-this is a MUST have for safety. Is there any kind of light in that area already?
-Prior To Plaster: - $4,154-NOPE!! The last check should be after EVERYTHING is done to YOUR satisfaction!

I am sorry if this is a downer but I have helped build a pool or 100 here at TFP. I just went through your contract line by line and picked out the trouble spots. I want YOU to get the best bang for your buck and what is needed for a great pool! :hug:

Kim:kim:
This is the type of stuff I was looking for! We don't know what we don't know. I definitely want to be the most educated consumer I can be.
 
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JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
997
Prosper, TX (DFW)
I'm assuming based on your recommendation (and the recommendation of MANY others throughout the forum) that technology has come a long way and I shouldn't be preparing for such a tedious schedule?
Yes, if you stay on top of things you shouldn't have a tedious schedule at all. In fact, in the last hour, I:
- Backwashed the filter - monthly at most, N/A for your cartridge
- Emptied the basket on the robot cleaner - weekly
- Did the full battery of TF100 tests - weekly for me
- Oh yeah, and I made breakfast for the kids and coffee for me, which took most of the hour :)

Bottom line, you will have to maintain your pool. I go out there daily to empty the skimmers and do the daily FC and PH tests, but that can be done in about 5 mins. Outside of that, I try to do more on the weekend, but as you can see from above its maybe an hour total a week. As long as you maintain it, you shouldnt have the long drawn out cleanings you are envisioning.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
17,157
Bedford, TX
I recall horror stories many years ago if how many hours a day people were spending cleaning their pools and dealing with the mess of flexible tubing attached to their floor cleaners.
NT,

Welcome to this Century... :mrgreen: There are huge differences between the old water powered cleaners that need hoses and were left in the pool most of the time, and today's Robot cleaners..

Here is a quick look see...

I spend about an hour a week "working" on my pool.. This includes testing, adding chemicals, cleaning the skimmer baskets, running my Robot that cleans the floor, walls and water line tiles, etc. This does not cover the two days I spend each year when I clean my cartridge filter and do other routine maintenance and inspections...

I do not consider working on my pool as work.. :mrgreen:

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

nuke_twidget

Member
Feb 29, 2020
21
Houston
Alright, I can deduct $7k from the price for the in floor, SWG is $1695, and going to the Intellicenter is $2300. The Pentair 520 and microlights are no additional charge.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,470
Northern NJ
SWG is $1695,
Are they quoting the IntelliChlor IC40 SWG? You want the SWG to be 2X your pool volume. So for your 15K pool a 40K SWG cell is appropriate.

You want the Pentair IntelliCenter bundle with the IC40 because that integrates the SWG power center in the IntelliCenter and not a separate box. Confirm your builder is installing the bundle and not two separate units. The bundle is a lower price then the two units separately.