I'm so happy my build included...

Blueskies21

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 13, 2011
83
Middle TN
We're getting our final rounds of bids for our pool this week anticipating signing with one of them this weekend so with that in mind I wanted to start this thread of things you were happy your build included.... any tips of things to do while building to make life easier later?? Maybe umbella holders imbedded in the deck? Conduit for speaker wire?? I'm sure everyone has something they think was the best idea they had.... We'd all love to hear.

I'm so happy my build included.....
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
22,117
Automation can be helpful. Some systems have a web interface that will allow you to access control from anywhere.

Water features can be a good choice. Laminar jets (some are even lighted) or shear descents can be a nice accent.

An automatic cleaner is usually a good option.
 

Vegas Kid

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2013
189
Cypress TX
1. Subpanel. Even though my system comes with one, I got him to put another 60amp sub panel in....now my garage has plenty of awesome power for my workshop...
2. Sod
3. Wiring for flood lights
4. If you plan of putting a TV out on your FP, then make sure they run some 2-4" flex hose for your connections to the tv from the av source
5. Before backfilling, my builder laid some 2" PVC with caps along the plumbing lines for any future wires/cables I wanted to run.
 

Divin Dave

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 2, 2013
5,683
Longview, Texas
variable speed pump.

Even though it is way overkill to just keep the pool clean, and my electricity costs are low, I can change the speeds and play with the valves on the return lines to create all sorts of fun water movement in the pool.

I absolutely love the thing.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,579
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Lots of benchwork in the pool (we have 42' on a 112' perimeter pool). Our PB said put in whatever you want, our gunite guy doesn't charge us extra for it. They started charging him around the time (or because of) our pool. PB mentioned that to me but with no intention of charging us.
 

bpricedo

Silver Supporter
May 20, 2012
332
I'm glad I kept my pool simple. No waterfalls or attached spa. We have a free standing spa that we use almost daily in the winter, couldn't do that with one built in to the pool. We love our Intellibrite LED lights. Love the two speed pump. Love the sand filter.

Wouldn't go without a salt water chlorine generator. Kids and adults will like a shallow sitting area (aka tanning ledge) so make that plenty big. We like our salt finished deck, our friends have a stained deck that is sealed and even though it has some kind of traction material added, everytime we are there someone slips and falls.

We have two bubblers in the tanning ledge and they are nice but I wish they were lighted somehow, that would be cool. I also think lighted laminars, both the waterfall type or the laminar flow jets that arc up and into the pool, would be very cool.

We have a outdoor fireplace that is protected from the wind by the pool. In the winter we have patio parties by the fireplace and I will turn on the pool lights, its a nice atmosphere.
 

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MiaOKC

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2012
352
Oklahoma City, OK
We're in a bit of a different boat remodeling our 1970s pool, but we lived with it for two years to identify what we really wanted to change so it's kind of like we already got a "do-over!" We're in progress, so none of these have shown to pan out yet, but here's my two cents...

Some things about our pool that we are remediating in the renovation:
1. drainage, drainage, drainage. Our yard is on a bit of a slope with the pool in a flat area, and the yard uphill from the pool would flood over the retaining wall in heavy rains and washout the pool with dirt and leaves, screwing up the chemistry and killing our swimming for a week or two each time while we got it cleared again.
2. auto-fill. I know these are somewhat controversial (you could be topping off a huge leak and not know until your massive water bill hits) but ours will be buried right up to the house's hose bibb and attached visibly there, so we can turn it off and on as needed/winterize. I hated having a hose run across the deck all the time, would forget to turn it off until the middle of the night, etc. Looking forward to this.
3. good clearance all the way around the pool for cleaning access. Brushing your pool is essential and having to scramble up on the retaining wall (ours was bumped up to the pool's coping, so only 12 inch walkway) was a major pain with the pitted/worn rock wall, and I almost fell in/twisted my ankle several times. Our new wall is pushed back 3-4 feet from pool edge
4. shade! I love the pool but I burn like crazy, so I slather on sunscreen and have to spend a lot of time in the shade. We're including lots of in-deck umbrella sleeves with covers and building a pergola at one end of the pool for a more permanent shade structure (and more wind-proof here in OK ... there's lots of times it isn't feasible to use the umbrella).
5. warm water! We're choosing a dark finish to try to warm up our water. I hate cold water, and like to ease into the pool warm-bathtub style. We're starting with a dark finish, and if that doesn't work, we'll look into adding some solar options (perhaps lines on top of the pergola).
6. More deck. We already had about 900-1000 feet of deck but it was awkwardly configured and not very usable. We're adding about 400 feet more deck, and have already begun mapping out how we will use it. We walked through it with the mindset "Pretend you are on vacation and are spending the whole day at the pool. Where could we have alfresco breakfast, lunch, dinner? How about hanging out and reading a book by the water? Where is the sun in the morning, noon and evening? What about family BBQs with a lot of people, where do we hang out, sit, eat? OK, what about a regular workday when we get home at 6 or 7, what then (since that's the majority of the time) and where can we lounge and unwind with a glass of wine?" My husband has mocked things up for me on the computer and I've even marked it out on the dirt with spare electrical conduit sleeves and pvc pipes, to see if it seems roomy enough for a picnic table or whatever.

If I were starting from scratch or had lottery money to redo my pool, a few things I'm not getting right now but wished I could:
1. auto-cover/simple shape pool that would accommodate an auto-cover (leaves/dirt/cleaning, water heat, safety considerations)
2. ledges/benches in the pool for lounging. We're more of social pool users, not athletic pool users, so we don't really need the space for a lap pool or volleyball but somewhere to set a frosty beverage is great!
3. Some kind of noisy water feature to drown out the sounds of my neighbor's pool/dogs/traffic (We plan to add a free-standing fountain some day. It's not really efficient for us to run our pool pump for this type of thing, since we don't need it to run that often to keep the water clear).
4. Automation of chemical dosing. We want to add a chlorine injection pump someday - our PB (and several others we interviewed) are anti-salt and we are happy with our BBB method, but with a large pool we lug a lot of bleach that needs to be added daily.

Good luck, can't wait to see your build!
 

cbink

Well-known member
Feb 4, 2013
685
Houston, Tx
Love so many things about my pool that it's hard to list them all! However, in terms of practical things that I had done:

- Autofill. I keep an eye on the meter and you can hear when the autofill is on (it's not obtrusive but you can hear it if you listen for it) and it's handy to not have to be topping up the pool frequently.
- Automation. Love it. So handy.
- Pre-planning sprinklers and outdoor kitchen. I had sprinkler lines laid beneath the decking to the planters around the edge of the pool so that if I wanted to change to something other than palms in the future I could ensure the watering was done as part of the sprinkler schedule. I just water the palms with a hose at present as they don't need much water and so I check the moisture of the soil before watering them. Also really glad I thought about where the outdoor kitchen was going so that everything was laid down for it (water, drain, elec, gas) even though it's not been built yet. I also had conduit run to the planters for future landscape lighting or speakers.
- Firepit. It's had a ton of use (much more than I thought given I'm in Houston!)
- Extra electrical sockets outside (as someone else mentioned - you can never have too many!)


I LOVE my planters with palms, but they do make brushing the wall of planter in the pool difficult, not impossible, but difficult. The same is true of the waterfall/grotto - it's not the easiest thing to brush. I don't get much debris in my pool so it's not a massive issue for me and I'd still put the palms in if I were doing it again.

- - - Updated - - -

1. Subpanel. Even though my system comes with one, I got him to put another 60amp sub panel in....now my garage has plenty of awesome power for my workshop...
2. Sod
3. Wiring for flood lights
4. If you plan of putting a TV out on your FP, then make sure they run some 2-4" flex hose for your connections to the tv from the av source
5. Before backfilling, my builder laid some 2" PVC with caps along the plumbing lines for any future wires/cables I wanted to run.

No kidding! I think John may have regretted including the sod for me!! I think we ended up with 9 pallets if memory serves me correctly...
 

RobbieH

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 30, 2010
4,052
Dallas, TX
MiaOKC, the PB's I have talked to know very little about pool maintenance or balance. When I started talking about balance with mine, he got blurry-eyed. They know some basics such as pH, and that's about it. I do not know why a PB would have a general dislike of salt pools. I can see possibly some SPECIFIC circumstances where salt might not be a good idea, but a general reason? Can you share the opinions with me?

Personally, I would not go without a SWCG ever again. Chlorinating a 44,000 gallon pool in Texas using bleach bottles is a MAJOR PITA.

By the way, using a SWCG is still "BBB" (although we don't use that term anymore!)
 

MiaOKC

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2012
352
Oklahoma City, OK
Great point, Robbie! SWCG does make chlorine which is one of the B's in BBB, but I guess I wasn't thinking about that when I was typing. I did notice a while ago it looks like some terminology on the forum has changed (TFPC, SLAM) but since I'm hanging out in the Under Construction area 99% of the time I haven't followed how/why the changes.

I completely agree with your assessment of many PBs interest level in chems/balance. Our PB was tickled when he spied my Taylor K2006 kit. He said that was the one he used back when he did a lot of pool service when he first started out, and that I must be serious about my chemistry! He's said many times since that he's never dealt with a homeowner like me - most just want him to build a pool and go swimming and that's that. This has been a double-edged sword for him! :study:

When I probed a few of the PBs about their chemical preferences, two swore by trichlor pucks and when I pointed out the rising CYA issue with pucks, one said I should just use Cal Hypo. I asked about it raising other levels adversely - knowing I was getting out of my depth with my Liberal Arts degree and minimal chemistry classes, and my limited knowledge of one year pool ownership vs his 50 yrs in the industry so not feeling confident to go to battle on cal hypo, just knowing there was something about it that wasn't totally desirable - he then said he would do whatever I wanted but he'd advise against BBB.

I understood that one had been burned by flagstone coping disintegrating and causing problems with customers, as one of my discussions with each was our coping choice being more durable than the existing calumet stone (old school oklahoma flagstone) we currently had on the pool. When I said I didn't want the maintenance of sealing any stone, it shut the door on stone coping, so I said that we could then have the SWCG, and he pointed to our wrought iron fence and metal patio furniture and said they would be ruined by salt. When I mentioned a peristaltic pump being on our wish list as an alternative to salt, he said those were mainly for commercial pools. I sort of gave up on convincing these PBs and decided we could do something ourselves later on.

One guy who came to do a pump repair for us last year does a lot of weekly pool service, and he was strongly against SWCGs, too. He said they do not keep up in our Oklahoma sun, so have to manually add chlorine anyway, and are prone to needing lots of repairs. Again, he said we should use pucks but he said the CYA in his pools stays a manageable 50 with the rate of evaporation/top off here, so was at least conversant with the issue and said it hadn't been a problem in his experience. However, he was nice enough to tell me where they get liquid chlorine and said they do occasionally use it. When I first started BBB, I checked Leslie's for liquid chlorine and they told me it wasn't legal to import into our state. The pool service guy said that wasn't true, they sell it in his shop. Another PB told me it could be found at Ag stores like Atwoods or even some Ace Hardware locations, so it isn't illegal.

We do have a bluestone retaining wall going in about 4 feet from the water, so I don't imagine it would play nice with an SWCG unless I was willing to do the maintenance of sealing it periodically?

Also - apologies, blueskies!
 

Blueskies21

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 13, 2011
83
Middle TN
No worries on the thread hijack Mia. I've had the same experience with pool builders, they all have the way they're comfortable doing things and anything else is sacrilege. As it turns out, I'm the one who has to live with the pool after he leaves so it's really not his decision but it's a tough road. I hadn't really thought of sod... what does sod cost a sq ft ?yd? roughly. Also we've been planning on salt but it seems like that's a big tip. Outdoor plugs definitely and conduit for wiring, and maybe sprinkler system? Automation seems like a big plus and maybe autofill? (I'd do benches and bubblers except around here it has to be vinyl) I'm gonna have a long list to tell the builder but keep those ideas coming, it can't hurt to ask right?? And I'm only building once... hopefully.
 

Readyforapool

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2013
738
DFW metroplex
I second the sod! Mine included two pallets but we had to pay for two more, probably needed at least one more, and that cost me $550. You should include a clause that says they restore the rest of the yard to its previous condition. At one point I had 4 large trucks parked in the yard for several days. Also all of the workers, gunite, plasterers, concrete crew, stone masons all cleaned out their buckets/equipment in the yard, remains to be seen if anything will grow there. We also had them include running the gas line and electrical for a future outdoor kitchen. Also a light at the equipment pad - cause you know it's not going to breakdown in broad daylight!
 

Blueskies21

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 13, 2011
83
Middle TN
Apparently sod around here is about 275 a pallet installed, a pallet is about 500 sq ft. So that sounds about the same as what you're saying in Dallas.
 

doobs41378

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2013
362
New Hampshire
Apparently sod around here is about 275 a pallet installed, a pallet is about 500 sq ft. So that sounds about the same as what you're saying in Dallas.

WOW...I wish we had those prices. We are in the $2 dollar range per ft installed so a pallet would be $1000 here where its $275 there. Huge difference!
 

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