Houston Texas; tile and coping- finally!

colleenbevans

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
53
Texas
Hi, just joined this forum. My husband, Mark and I will be reading and learning as we go along. We gave a deposit for this pool back in October, gunite shortage has delayed our pool until yesterday. This will be a small inground pool with attached spa. Thank you in advance for the expected answers to questions I'm sure are coming!
 

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JJ_Tex

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Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,296
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Congrats. Just a couple of comments/questions:

- Is there an easy way to get into/out of the pool that is near the patio? It seems like those benches may be a bit too deep to comfortably step into the pool. I would consider a small step on one of those to make it easier.

- Is there another body of water that is adjacent to your backyard? If so, have they looked at the engineering to make sure you will not have issues down the road with bulkheads, erosion, etc. Also, can that body of water flood your pool?

- Do you have an equipment list? We love looking at those and seeing what builders put in there or what may be outdated.
 
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colleenbevans

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
53
Texas
Congrats. Just a couple of comments/questions:

- Is there an easy way to get into/out of the pool that is near the patio? It seems like those benches may be a bit too deep to comfortably step into the pool. I would consider a small step on one of those to make it easier.

- Is there another body of water that is adjacent to your backyard? If so, have they looked at the engineering to make sure you will not have issues down the road with bulkheads, erosion, etc. Also, can that body of water flood your pool?

- Do you have an equipment list? We love looking at those and seeing what builders put in there or what may be outdated.
Hi, Great suggestions. we live on a canal off Galveston Bay. Yes there are tiebacks to the bulkhead, they are under the tanning ledge. And yes that ocean can flood our pool if there is a hurricane. Its the cost of coastal living. Hurricane Ike flooded most of the homes in our neighborhood, Hurricane Harvey would not have flooded the pool, and didnt reach the house. Seawater came over the seawall and about a foot into the yard. There is about a two foot drop from the pool deck to the grass on the canal side. Lots of pools in the neighborhood, we will probably have a pool cleaning party if it floods. I think we might want to shut off the pumps, etc if there is a risk of flooding to avoid saltwater intrusion- I'll research for sure.

Equipment list:
2 bubblers
Filter pump: Pentair Intelliflo VSF 3 HP
Water Feature pump: !HP pentair whisperflo and 2HP Pentair whisperflo.
Pentair Master temp 400K BTU pool/spa heater
Jandy air blower with check valve
Pentair 420 cartridge (filter)
Pentair fully automation w/ iPhone/android controls
Pentair valves
Skimmer
Autofill and PVB valve hookup
Pentair Microbrite LED Pool/Spa lights (5)
Pentair rainbow in line chlorinator

Any tips or opinions appreciated- we are total newbies. We upgraded to quartz and you can see our choices here:
 

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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
36,300
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You can elevate your equipment several feet above the pool level if that might save it from flooding. Otherwise, plan on any electrical items to be destroyed if inundated with sea water.
 
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JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,296
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Very cool. I would highly recommend going with a salt water pool. I have one and they are easier to maintain since they make all of the chlorine for you. Builders like to argue that they can be corrosive, but you will get more salt from the air than you would from your pool since its literally a fraction of the salinity of the ocean.

That is a great pump. Do you have more details on the "Pentair fully automation"? The reason I ask is that Pentair has several different models of automation. The intellicenter is the newest, but pool builders tend to get stuck in old ways of doing things and may be trying to install Easy Touch w/ screenlogic. Its a fine system, but if I'm buying new I would rather have 3 year old technology (intellicenter) vs 10+ year old technology (Easy Touch).

I would also recommending making sure your equipment pad is safe from flooding. I assume your AC unit(s) are also elevated/protected?
 

colleenbevans

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
53
Texas
Thanks for those suggestions. Yes our AC unit is elevated on a deck. I'll discuss this idea with hubby. We had talked about it before. The pool company is pouring a slab for the equipment that is located somewhat remote. I didnt want these pumps outside my bedroom window (which is where the AC is).

The two choices for pool controls are Intelliconnect with wifi and Fully automation with iphone/android controls. We got the 2nd one- he said it was latest/greatest. I will ask the PB to make sure.

We considered a salt water pool, but neither of us likes salt water- if we did we would swim in the canal.
 

pjt

Gold Supporter
Jan 7, 2012
261
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
21000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
We considered a salt water pool, but neither of us likes salt water- if we did we would swim in the canal.

All pools have salt to one extent or another, regardless of how you chlorinate. The salinity required to operate a SWG is around 1/10th the salinity of sea water.
 
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JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,296
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Good move on the steps, I couldn't see them on the original pictures.

Pjt beat me to it on the salinity piece, but a salt water pool is certainly not like ocean water. Most people who swim in mine do not even realize it is salt water, even if the get the water in their mouth. I keep mine about 3,000 parts per million, which is about half of what you would get in saline solution for contacts, and 10 times less than your ocean (36,000 ppm). A non-salt water pool will usually end up 1,000 to 2,000 after a year or so since salts are left behind from swimmers and chlorine, and I suspect yours will end up closer to my salt content given how close you are to real salt water.

Anyway, hopefully I can convince you to at least consider salt as it will make your lives easier. Both salt and non-salt pools use chlorine to kill the bad stuff in your pool, the only difference is that a salt pool has a piece of equipment that generates its own chlorine from the salt in the pool, and a chlorine pool you have to physically buy and add chlorine. If you are in the area I'm thinking, there is not a shade tree in sight so you will be adding chlorine daily.

I'll move off of the salt topic for a second :). The other area that pool builders can get stuck in their old ways is on the cleaners. Have you discussed what type? Robot cleaners are the newest technology and recommended for new builds. They plug into an electrical outlet, you drop it in the pool and it does its thing. While you can keep it in the pool, I like to remove mine and drop it in once a week. That way you are not looking at it all of the time or messing with a cord when you are trying to swim. In your area I bet weekly running of the robot would be overkill.
Anyway, I would consider one of those as well. Polaris types (pressure side cleaners) are fine, but way older technology (I grew up with one in our pool) and they generally require a 2nd booster pump and you have to run the pump while the thing is cleaning so that is more $ up front and more $ to operate for something that doesnt do as good of a job as the robot. I got mine through the pool builder, but the smart move is to not buy it from your builder and buy it separately (generally $600-$1000) rather than pay builder mark-up.
 
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setsailsoon

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LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,846
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Colleen,

Welcome aboard TFP! This is a great site that I wish we had found before building our pool like you. TFP sells nothing so all you get here is 100% unbiased advice from people that really do know what they're talking about.

Gorgeous pool in a fantastic location. My wife and I are avid blue water sailors that started out in Kemah years ago not far from you. Anchored out at Offats Bayou, Galveston Island many weekends before departing for the wild blue. Now in Florida we never understand why pools in the Galveston Kemah area don't have more screen enclosures. Our bugs are about the same as well as storm exposure. I'd consider this and if you go this way it is expensive but we use our pool and patio often with the home doors open right out to the pool area with zero bugs. We live right next to a wetland preserve so if you go outside they dive bomb immediately outside the screen. Just a thought and you can always add later but you may want to consider the space required for the concrete beam. In our area requires 12" wide 16" deep reinforced concrete to meet new hurricane design standards. We've been through several hurricanes with sustained winds 85+, gusts much higher and still standing.

Other things I'd consider are salt as others have mentioned. If you don't go salt pucks are not a good way to go. Many builders don't know much about this but it will require a LOT of water changes to keep your pool disinfected properly. The article referenced above explains. Ask any questions you may have. We've learned a lot about pools from this fantastic site and all your equipment plus salt and minus than the puck feeder is exactly what we will do on our next pool. We're in the early design stage on it right now. As far as salt goes, there are a few people that don't like it but very, very few. I would see if you can take a dip in somebody's salt pool before you nix it. My wife was very suspicious when we switched. In fact, we put the salt in before adding the rest of the equipment so I could empty and refill if she didn't like it. Within minutes she said "I love this - we're never going back get the equipment hooked up this weekend!". Says it feels like a spa. In fact it does, most spas add a little salt since it makes the water feel less harsh. All this said, many (most) pool choices are about your personal preferences. There isn't a universal right/wrong. So go with what you like. It's your pool.

Good luck with your pool and I look forward to the progress updates.

Chris
 
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Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
379
Houston, Texas
Before you write off a salt water pool, it’s worth researching. A salt water pool is for ease of maintenance, not because you want to swim in salt water. And you won’t be able to tell you’re swimming in salt water because it’s 1/10 the level of salt in the ocean.

I have a salt water pool and would never go back to a traditional method of chlorination.
 
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colleenbevans

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
53
Texas
Wow- thank you everyone for all the great suggestions. Hubby and I will be hard at it researching the salt option. We wont get a ton of shade on this pool- the house and palapa will offer some late morning and then late afternoon shade. We cut down two large palmetto trees that were in or close to the pool footprint to cut down on berries and other debris. We get a lot of wind here in winter but our north neighbor has no trees, so we are lucky in that. There are very few trees in our neighborhood that are NOT palmetto- we have mostly 50 foot lots, so not much room for big trees.

I'm wishing we had found this forum months ago, we are expecting rebar next week. My husband (Mark) spoke with the builder yesterday about a raised concrete slab for the equipment and the possibility of a salt water pool. PB says we can convert to salt without issues- is there different equipment that we would need?

On the vacuum- our pool comes with the manual type- pool builder also stated we wouldnt need to clean it very often in our location, but we will likely buy a robot. Suggestions on type/brand would be most welcome.

Thank you all for the help- this is a great resource!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,043
Tallahassee, FL
I am SO in for this one!!! You are getting some great input on your equipment and seem to be learning a lot!!

I LOVE your finish picks! That waterline tile is really going to pop! What color grout are you thinking of using for it? White will make each tile pop out where a medium to darker gray will help them blend in together. They should have some grout sticks you can play with to help you see how each color grout will look.

@Mark Bevans so nice you are involved in this thread with your dear wife! It says you are in the industry. How so?

Kim:kim:
 
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JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,296
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
On the salt, the only change you would need is to swap out the automatic chlorinator with the chlorine generator, which takes the salt and breaks it down into chlorine. Since you have pentair equipment, I assume it would be an IC40. Just a heads up, those generators are a bit pricey at $1,500-2k if I remember correctly. You just have to look at it as you are pre-paying for your chlorine for the next 3-5 years, which is essentially what buying chlorine would cost you ($30-50 a month), but you are making your life a whole lot easier since you will not have to buy and add chlorine for the next 3-5 years.

Did you ever hear back on the automation, if it was easy touch or intellicenter?

On the robots, that is a good move buying separate from the builder. Dolphin brand is generally the best robot manufacturer, but they also rebrand their manufactured robots to other companies like pentair, so it can be a bit confusing trying to compare models. Usually it is the same base robot (M200) with added features like bluetooth, a wheeled storage caddy. I've seen many members recommend a good place to order them called Marina Pool & Spa that can guide you through ordering them and have good prices. I've never used them, but here is one of the many threads of them:
 
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Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
379
Houston, Texas
Adding the salt system is very straight forward. It’s just adding two pieces of equipment at the equipment pad - a controller and a salt cell. No changes are required to the actual pool. The pool itself does not need to be built differently for a salt system.

You could add it later but it’ll be cheaper to do it now, and I think you’ll really appreciate having it.

I would also keep the in line chlorinator (tablet feeder). You can use it while the pool is new because you can’t use the salt system for the first 30 days when the pool is new. Plus, the tablet feeder is nice to have as a backup system. I have both (tablet feeder and salt system).

As a very short summary of a salt system, it makes chlorine for you automatically. You don’t have to keep buying and feeding tablets into a chlorinator. The salt system is more convenient from that standpoint, especially if you want to leave for a weekend or vacation. The salt system also does not result in a buildup of acid (CYA) like tablets. Tablet fed pools need their water drained periodically due to CYA buildup. And a salt pool can run a lower level of chlorine compared to using tablets.

In case you‘re worried about having to continuously add salt, you don’t. The salt stays in the water. It doesn’t evaporate out or get used up. You might have to add a bag or two a few times a year, but that’s it.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,401
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks for those suggestions. Yes our AC unit is elevated on a deck. I'll discuss this idea with hubby. We had talked about it before. The pool company is pouring a slab for the equipment that is located somewhat remote. I didnt want these pumps outside my bedroom window (which is where the AC is).

The two choices for pool controls are Intelliconnect with wifi and Fully automation with iphone/android controls. We got the 2nd one- he said it was latest/greatest. I will ask the PB to make sure.

We considered a salt water pool, but neither of us likes salt water- if we did we would swim in the canal.
I would definitely elevate your equipment pad. The pump, filter heater costs more than your outside AC unit (condenser coil, compressor & fan) so if you are protecting that then do the same with your pool equipment. You may have to modify it such that you can have steps up to it if you have to move a valve or clean the filter but much better then replacing equipment after a flood.
 
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Mark Bevans

Member
Feb 5, 2021
8
Bayou Vista, Texas
I am SO in for this one!!! You are getting some great input on your equipment and seem to be learning a lot!!

I LOVE your finish picks! That waterline tile is really going to pop! What color grout are you thinking of using for it? White will make each tile pop out where a medium to darker gray will help them blend in together. They should have some grout sticks you can play with to help you see how each color grout will look.

@Mark Bevans so nice you are involved in this thread with your dear wife! It says you are in the industry. How so?

Kim:kim:
Sorry, I clicked the wrong button. I work in the oilfields in west Texas, not in the pool industry.
 
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Mark Bevans

Member
Feb 5, 2021
8
Bayou Vista, Texas
On the salt, the only change you would need is to swap out the automatic chlorinator with the chlorine generator, which takes the salt and breaks it down into chlorine. Since you have pentair equipment, I assume it would be an IC40. Just a heads up, those generators are a bit pricey at $1,500-2k if I remember correctly. You just have to look at it as you are pre-paying for your chlorine for the next 3-5 years, which is essentially what buying chlorine would cost you ($30-50 a month), but you are making your life a whole lot easier since you will not have to buy and add chlorine for the next 3-5 years.

Did you ever hear back on the automation, if it was easy touch or intellicenter?

On the robots, that is a good move buying separate from the builder. Dolphin brand is generally the best robot manufacturer, but they also rebrand their manufactured robots to other companies like pentair, so it can be a bit confusing trying to compare models. Usually it is the same base robot (M200) with added features like bluetooth, a wheeled storage caddy. I've seen many members recommend a good place to order them called Marina Pool & Spa that can guide you through ordering them and have good prices. I've never used them, but here is one of the many threads of them:
JJ, It is the intellicenter.
 
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