Help with new pool design (SoCal...south OC)

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,001
Laughlin, NV
Maintenance depends primarily on type of filter. All filters eventually need to be taken apart. Sand the least often, followed by cartridge (if you get the biggest possible) then DE. You will need room to access it. You also need to get to the pump lid fairly often to remove items that bypass the skimmer basket. Very popular now is the hybrid DE filter that uses special cartridges with DE. You do not back wash it but break it down to clean. Your goal would be something you only need to clean once a year.

Depending on pump type and speed they can be very loud to hush quiet. My VS pump at 1600 rpm is barely noticeable it is on. A one speed pump is typically quit noisy.

Good luck.
 
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dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
Wow...I started this thread on August 10, 2017...and we're FINALLY about to break ground! What a tortuous process this has been. Supposedly Tuesday we start excavation. I'm hoping to take lots of pictures to show the progress/transformation. Super nervous but also very excited.

Our final design was similar to last drawing uploaded. We decided to put the pool equipment along the left side of the house, below were the outdoor shower is on that drawing. It'll be a tight squeeze over on that side of the house but seems the lesser of evils...the idea of having to somehow lift the deck to get at the equipment didn't sound like a great option.

Did I say nervous? Terrified is probably more accurate. And on cue, it rains for the first time in many, many months...figures!
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
No going back now...excavation should be more or less complete today, steel will start next week.

IMG_9588.jpg

From 3rd floor balcony:

IMG_7474.jpg

Architect's measurements were off so we lost a foot in width (14' instead of 15' but it is what it is). We decided to go 4' on both ends and 5' in the middle. There is a bench along the two walls of the pool (the house side so you can look out at the view and the firepit/spa side). We decided against the infinity edge; just too many cons to doing so.
 

WalkerTribe7

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2018
85
Mission Viejo, ca
That looks great. Are you doing an owner builder or pool company? We are in the same area and still looking for quotes on shotcrete and tiling. If you have someone you recommend, would love their info. Good luck with the build.
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
That looks great. Are you doing an owner builder or pool company? We are in the same area and still looking for quotes on shotcrete and tiling. If you have someone you recommend, would love their info. Good luck with the build.
Should have done an OB but chickened out. I have another post about my shotcrete experience, it was not good. Shotcrete day - another quasi panic

...BUT, I've come to believe that there is no such thing as a "good shotcrete company". I'd hazard a guess that most shotcrete companies are probably capable of doing good, high quality work. But if you don't make them do so, then they won't.

One of the builders we were considering that I had a ton of faith in (in terms of expertise) said he wasn't surprised that my job was done very poorly but he said he uses the company that did my job frequently -- he said they are actually pretty good. But mostly because he's told them his expectations of how the job needs to be shot and holds them to it. He said it does cost more to do the job right and you need to hold them to that expectation.

So, unless you are going to learn how to shoot it properly so you can make sure they do it well, I'm not sure you can expect more than a 'normal' (read: poor quality) job. If you want some basic tips, read through that link above as I posted some of the things I learned re: the "right" way to shoot shotcrete. And so you know, there IS a "right" way to shoot it...don't believe anyone that says otherwise. There are two trade groups re: shotcrete and they collectively publish the way to do it properly.

The excavation crew was awesome. I can't say they are always awesome, but of all the people that have worked on the project so far, that is the one I'd hire again in a heartbeat. They protected the space to make sure nothing was damaged, they cleaned up after themselves every day and they did a great job from my, uneducated, perspective. The only mistakes weren't theirs -- the PB didn't explain some of the things very well so they over excavated in one area and under in another...but again, not their fault.

Unfortunately, I don't know who that company was but if you really want to know, PM me and I can try to figure it out.

I also wouldn't use the plumbing company my PB worked with...again, I should probably be blaming the PB as much as the plumbing company, but he pretty much let them do what they wanted so they deserve a fair share of the "credit". PM me if you are interested in their name. Again, I'm sure if you direct them how you expect things to be done, they'd probably be fine, much like the shotcrete scenario above.

I probably come off super-upset with my PB. While I'm not thrilled with everything, I actually like the guy and I think he's trying to do things right. I just think the way I work and my expectations are different from his and so we end up having conflicts. But he's helped out in a million ways and I'm sure if I were doing an owner build I'd be even more freaked out than I otherwise am/have been! But I think with this site you have some great resources to help you through the process. I wish I had people I could super-confidently recommend. If you really feel prepared to know/demand what you want -- and how you want it done -- I bet all the people working on my project would probably be ok.
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
Re: SoCal...south OC build thread (start page 2)

One more quick shot of tiles this morning, showing more of the view. I really gotta take down that little tree on the slope. That post on the left is also being eliminated also — extending the covered patio all the way across so it will be a clear view.

 

WalkerTribe7

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2018
85
Mission Viejo, ca
Wow, just reading through your shotcrete story. Did you have a Dept Inspector? We are required to hire one to come down and look over our shotcrete (has to be a neutral third party) that is supposed to either do periodic inspections during the process or stay during the whole time, then do a final inspection.

We are owner builders, however, I have a guy helping us through the process. He has helped lots of owner builders and just gives us a lot of advice when needed, he gave us a list of subs to contact but I always like getting multiple bids. Then he shows up during some of the portion of the build like excavation to ensure it’s being done correctly. The only sub he really pushes us to use is his plumber, who isn’t cheap but we’ve been told is one of the best. I’ve been thankful that he is giving us our equipment and scuppers and everything at his price (we are paying the invoices directly). Fingers crossed it works out. We’ve started some excavation because we had a large hill that needed it, but pool dig will start after this rain. And like you, we will have a raised bond beam. Ours is 36” at the tallest.

What area are you located? We are in Mission Viejo.
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
Re: SoCal...south OC build thread (start page 2)

Having help should really smooth it out for you.

I’m in RMV — that new development by Antonio & 74/Ortega Highway.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking an inspector is there to make sure the job is done right. That sure as heck wasn’t my experience.

We had a guy here the whole time. He didn’t do anything. Maybe others are different but I highly doubt it. They are there to collect a paycheck and take a sample, which will have no bearing on the actual strength of the shotcrete because it won’t be taken from where they did a crappy job.

You can protect yourself from the worst and most common mistakes pretty easily. I wouldn’t rely on your advisor to do this for you — he probably doesn’t know how to properly shoot a pool any more than the ‘inspector’.

1) require plywood structure for the raised bond beam and weir wall(s). It can’t move when shotcrete hits it — it should be rock solid. The stuff they will put up otherwise will deflect inches... they are going to tell you “this is how everyone does it”, blah, blah, blah. Don’t fall for such a lame, albeit true, excuse. It will cost more for the structure to be built this way but it’s a requirement for properly shooting shotcrete.

2) shoot the floor first — at least in the area they are shooting...in other words it doesn’t have to be the entire floor first, but the area they are going to work on, shoot bottom up.

If you don’t shoot the floor first, they will let all the trimmings, excess and rebound just fall and be used in the structure when it is not allowed to be used. If the floor is shot first, it is easy for them to see and remove trimmings, excess and rebound properly...virtually impossible to do this if the floor isn’t shot first.

3) make sure they actually remove the stuff mentioned above and don’t just smooth it out over some other area...they should be hauling wheelbarrows of useless shotcrete out throughout this process.

These last two recommendations will also increase cost because it means more shotcrete and more labor to haul that out.

The other primary rules are related to not letting areas sit and then be returned to...they can do that but need to properly re-wet the area before returning to it to shoot more.

Maybe your inspector knows this stuff, which would be great. Your best bet may be to ensure the inspector is onsite before anything starts and reminding him you expect him to do his job and make sure they are doing it right. He should be taking timings of when they leave an area and when they return. Making sure areas are properly re-wet before they return to them if it’s been too long. He should inspect the framing for the bond beam to ensure it won’t move. He should make sure they aren’t using trimmings, excess, or rebound and instead hauling it off. But I doubt they will do any of that if you don’t set that expectation,

Again, since you are hiring everyone, set these expectations on all of them. Get quotes from shotcrete crews stating these expectations. Choose your inspector setting these expectations.

If you have it shot this way, it will last many, many decades unless we get a major quake or something.

Properly shot shotcrete is so strong it is practically waterproof.

I’d also suggest making your plumber draw up a plan — and post it here. You’ll get lots of great input. One thing I’d personally check out is how much plumbing will be in the walls...personally, I’m a fan of minimizing plumbing within the shotcrete...it’s fine to go straight through the wall, but avoid lengths running inside the wall...that’s supposed to be shotcrete not pvc.

Fwiw, even if you do none of this, it’ll probably come out ok and unless you are there a long time, it’ll be someone else’s problem. That’s just not how I like to have things done.

Anyway, that’s my $0.02.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
Coming on this late but loving the tile. So sorry about the mess with the shell. I did give input on that thread just did not realize you had this one going. SO glad I found it.

Here is hoping things go smooth from now on :hug:

Kim:kim:
 

meischa

Silver Supporter
Aug 14, 2018
5
So Orange County, CA
I'm also in South OC and planning for a build, maybe I should advise the builder not to use Gold Coast?

Also I read comments to separate the pool and spa, mine will be together and I see yours is also, so I wonder why it isn't liked.

Anyway my pool will be only 13' wide by 26'. We are also on a hill so we can't add much width or spend a fortune on caissons, as it is now we will build a cantilever deck.

Best wishes for a great backyard experience.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
pool+spa combo=MANY different opinions. If they are joined it is much harder to heat just the spa when you want to keep it ope to use it and have the pool closed.
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
I'm also in South OC and planning for a build, maybe I should advise the builder not to use Gold Coast?
I dunno. The PB that I trusted the most, someone that wrote articles published in journals about shotcrete, said Gold Coast was actually a pretty good crew but said you have to tell them how you want the job done and hold them accountable to doing it that way. I really think the burden will be on you to make sure it gets done right -- if you don't do that, I doubt you'll find any crew to shoot it properly and would end up with a pool shot pretty much like mine was...probably not the end of the world, but not what it could and should be either.

I'd recommend stating your requirements in whatever documentation you provide to the shotcrete sub for bids. Use the guidelines I mentioned above. Do the same with the inspectors -- see if maybe you can find an inspector that actually paid attention during the hour of the course where they actually covered proper shotcrete application process...and make sure they know you are holding them accountable to ensure the job is done right.

Also I read comments to separate the pool and spa, mine will be together and I see yours is also, so I wonder why it isn't liked.
Not having a pool yet, I'm definitely not the guy to ask about the combined/separate pool/spa issue. I wanted to keep them separate but that wasn't part of the original quote and when I tried to pitch the idea to the PB, he and his plumber railed against it saying I'd need double the equipment and it would really complicate maintenance. It didn't feel like a battle I'd win (ie, he would have charged me way more than it was worth to me) so I dropped it.

Anyway my pool will be only 13' wide by 26'. We are also on a hill so we can't add much width or spend a fortune on caissons, as it is now we will build a cantilever deck.

Best wishes for a great backyard experience.
Your pool sounds a similar size to mine. We are right up against our property lines so there was just no way to make it larger without putting it right up against our covered patio. In my dreams I had the idea of building a wood deck on top of my pool that would slide out over the slope of my hill to reveal the pool. It would have been stunning. Unfortunately, my dreams are much more impressive than my budget. ;-)

Best of luck with your pool as well -- I'll follow your thread to see how you make out!
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
120
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
We've had a week or rain here in SoCal so no progress -- yard is all mud. We're also mostly stuck waiting for a final engineering/permit on the patio extension/window->door replacement. Permit was supposed to be done last week so hopefully it is ready to go this week and weather permitting we'll start making more headway again over the next couple weeks.