Looking for input on new pool build in Spring, TX - Tiling, coping and plumbing in!

Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi TFP!

Been lurking for a bit and just signed a contract on a new pool build in Spring, TX (suburb north of Houston) though I have until next Wed 9/15/21 to back out without any penalties. Was recommended this forum and thought I’d have you experts look it over before it’s too late! Let me know if any additional info needs to be added:

Pool/Spa Specifications

Shape: Geometric (Rectangle)
Pool Dimensions: 38’ x 15’
Depth: 3’6” to 5’6”
Volume: 17400 gallons
Spa dimensions: 6’ x 8’, 12” above decking

Equipment

Filter: Pentair Clean & Clear Plus 520
Pump: Pentair Intelliflo VSF
Cleaner: Choice of either Polaris 280 (w/booster pump) or Polaris 9450 Robotic - leaning towards robotic as we don't have many trees
Pool Skimmers: 2 Swimquip 2” tan
Pool Lights: 2 Pentair Intellibrite 5G
Spa Light: 1 Pentair Intellibrite 5G
Main Drain: Dual Channel Drain (Aqua Star Drain covers to be flush with floor)
Inlets: 2”
Remote System: Pentair EasyTouch 8 (phone app) - asked about Intellicenter but they don't support it. If it's really a big deal I can try and push on it.
Air Blower: 1.5HP QT
Spa Jets: 8 therapy jets
Heater: Pentair MasterTemp 400k BTU Natural Gas
Sanitation System: IC40 salt cell

Structural Specifications
ExcavationWood Guidelines as Required With Vertical Stakes
Steel (Beam)12” Box Beam #4 – All Intersections Tied
Steel (Wall/Floor)8” Grid W#3 – All Intersections Tied
Gunite (Beam)12” X 12”
Gunite (Wall/Floor)6” Minimum
Gunite (Coves)8”
Steps & BenchesPer Plan – tanning ledge with 2 bubblers and 6 umbrella sleeves
Electrical Specifications
Ground DesignPer Established Code
Sub PanelSub Panel With Electrical Breakers
CodeLicensed Electrician
Plumbing Specifications
Hydraulic Design8 Pool Returns
Pipe2”
Valves2” Jandy
Fill LineAuto Fill
Overflow Line2” Run with Pop-up to street
Pool Plumbing2”
Pump Connections2”
Finish Specifications
Tile6” x 6” tumbled travertine or standard mosaic tile
CopingTravertine
Interior FinishPebble Sheen - Blue Surf
Deck Specifications
Deck Type864 sq ft stamped concrete (cap existing), brushed step pads
Sub BaseSelect Fill
Steel ReinforcementRebar tied on 12” center
Deck DowelsYes, deck dowels / stirrups from pool beam tied to deck rebar
Drainage System4” Rigid PVC with pop-up to street

Contract terms:
60% at gunite
20% at tile & coping
20% at plaster

Thank you in advance for any insight you're able to provide!

Renderings:
The contract: Pool Contract - redacted.pdf

UPDATE (10/21/2021): Dig day and rebar!

UPDATE (10/23/2021): Pipes put in

UPDATE (10/28/2021): Gunite
 
Last edited:

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,652
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Overall looks great. I like the pump, heater, filter and SWCG. My suggestions are:
Ask that the 2 skimmers be independently plumbed back to the equipment pad and have valve on each for control
I would avoid the Polaris 280 (although that is what I have) but going robotic without a booster pump is a better setup
Can you hold 5% of payment back till finish of pool? They have 100% of payment before plaster and you have no leverage if anything on punch list needs to be done
The ET automation will be fine. But you do not mention screenlogic which is the software to run on your PC. It is easier to program using your PC (from what I have read on the forum).
You do not mention any water features - do you have any other than spillover from spa to pool?
Post a picture when you can.
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,200
Tallahassee, FL
Sure can tell you have been doing some reading! Well done!

Make sure the depth is WATER depth (from floor of pool to the middle of the skimmer opening) instead of from floor to bottom of coping.

Shelf-how deep (WATER depth)? Use a ruler to see how deep 6", 8", 10", and 12" of water is. Think about sitting on the shelf-where do you want the water to hit you if sitting on the shelf? Chairs-do you want your bum in or above the water?

-Valves-make sure they are all "good" ones aka can be rebuilt if/when needed.
-Unions-make sure there are unions on everything. Make life much easier down the road
-equipment pad light-you will thank you the first time youhave to go out there at night.
-oversized pad-you do not want to have to play twister to work on the equipment

I am sure I will think of more once I see your plans.

Kim:kim:
 
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Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the advice! I’ll work on those items with the builder. I’ve attached the contract and some renderings.
 
Last edited:

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,119
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Welcome to TFP.

As Kim said specify that depth is final water depth, not depth to bond beam.

I prefer a separate pump for the spa jets. Especially if you expect a strong flow of water from the jets. A strong flow needs 10-15 GPM per jest. With 8 jets you need 80-120 gpm of water flow. You will not get 80 gpm of water flow through the filter and heater.

Spa pipes for the jets should be 3" suction and at least 2 1/2" to jets.

2 skimmers is ok, how many returns?

Push for IntelliCenter.

I would not accept the payment schedule. I want at least a 10% holdback due 2 weeks after entire pool and all equipment is satisfactorily operational.

Some people are having problems with the way their spas are constructed with low water flow out of the jets or air blowers that overheat and stop. You don't find out those problems until the entire pool is running and you can test everything. You may have one of the good builders or you may not. But any builder who wants 100% payment at plaster leaves the customer with no recourse for problems.

IntelliBrite lights are expensive and don't last long. Read Pentair LED Pool Lights - Further Reading Consider Microbrite lights so you have options to replace them with other nicheless lights in the future.


 
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Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Overall looks great. I like the pump, heater, filter and SWCG. My suggestions are:
Ask that the 2 skimmers be independently plumbed back to the equipment pad and have valve on each for control
I would avoid the Polaris 280 (although that is what I have) but going robotic without a booster pump is a better setup
Can you hold 5% of payment back till finish of pool? They have 100% of payment before plaster and you have no leverage if anything on punch list needs to be done
The ET automation will be fine. But you do not mention screenlogic which is the software to run on your PC. It is easier to program using your PC (from what I have read on the forum).
You do not mention any water features - do you have any other than spillover from spa to pool?
Post a picture when you can.
No water features other than the spillover from the spa.
Welcome to TFP.

As Kim said specify that depth is final water depth, not depth to bond beam.

I prefer a separate pump for the spa jets. Especially if you expect a strong flow of water from the jets. A strong flow needs 10-15 GPM per jest. With 8 jets you need 80-120 gpm of water flow. You will not get 80 gpm of water flow through the filter and heater.

Spa pipes for the jets should be 3" suction and at least 2 1/2" to jets.

2 skimmers is ok, how many returns?

Push for IntelliCenter.

I would not accept the payment schedule. I want at least a 10% holdback due 2 weeks after entire pool and all equipment is satisfactorily operational.

Some people are having problems with the way their spas are constructed with low water flow out of the jets or air blowers that overheat and stop. You don't find out those problems until the entire pool is running and you can test everything. You may have one of the good builders or you may not. But any builder who wants 100% payment at plaster leaves the customer with no recourse for problems.

IntelliBrite lights are expensive and don't last long. Read Pentair LED Pool Lights - Further Reading Consider Microbrite lights so you have options to replace them with other nicheless lights in the future.


In the document they sent me it says 8 returns under Hydraulic Design. Is that what you meant?

I’ll put together a bunch of the suggestions together to send to the builder on Monday. Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,119
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
In the document they sent me it says 8 returns under Hydraulic Design. Is that what you meant?

Could be although 8 sounds like overkill. 3 to 5 is more then adequate.

Do the pool plans show where the skimmers and returns will be placed?
 

Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hm, every time I try to attach files or insert images it seems to fail or I get an error message (“Oops we ran into some problems “). Can anyone help?
 

Oswald

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2021
127
Leander, TX
Pool Size
18156
Surface
Plaster
Hm, every time I try to attach files or insert images it seems to fail or I get an error message (“Oops we ran into some problems “). Can anyone help?
I think everyone is having that problem right now. If you need to post pictures you might have to post them to another image host and link them here.
 

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Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Heard back from the pool builder regarding a few things:

  • Water depth is confirmed to be to skimmer line.
  • Equipment pad is 3' x 9', is that oversized enough for the equipment I listed?
  • Regarding the contract payment terms, I had suggested that I was uncomfortable with handing over all my money before the pool was even running and proposed a 10% holdback until the pool was started up. This is the response I got:

We kick the equipment on very soon after the pool is full of water. The start up service is a 3 week service, so we can't be very flexible with the payment because at that point, we have paid every subcontractor in full for your pool build and we then have our pool maintenance guys working on your start up. If you just want to hold the PebbleSheen draw till the equipment comes on, I'm sure [Owner names] will be flexible with that, but waiting the full 3 weeks doesn't work well for us.

Is that an acceptable compromise? FYI, the other bids we've received all had similar terms.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,652
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Heard back from the pool builder regarding a few things:

  • Water depth is confirmed to be to skimmer line.
  • Equipment pad is 3' x 9', is that oversized enough for the equipment I listed?
  • Regarding the contract payment terms, I had suggested that I was uncomfortable with handing over all my money before the pool was even running and proposed a 10% holdback until the pool was started up. This is the response I got:



Is that an acceptable compromise? FYI, the other bids we've received all had similar terms.
I think you are close, in fact, just asking them that point provided you a dialog that you can work with. Obviously holding 3 weeks is maybe not reasonable but a couple days after pool is running is good. Just have your punch list ready before the pool is filled and provide the PB with the list. You can then wait a day or so when pool is filled to ensure equipment works and no leaks. You can always renegotiate if there are any major issues found upon equipment start up.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,119
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Is that an acceptable compromise? FYI, the other bids we've received all had similar terms.

That is a BS answer since you are basically withholding the PB's profit. You think he is making less then 10% on the contract? With 90% paid he has the money to pay all subcontractors and for the wholesale price of equipment.

What % would the Pebblesheen draw be?
 
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Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I think you are close, in fact, just asking them that point provided you a dialog that you can work with. Obviously holding 3 weeks is maybe not reasonable but a couple days after pool is running is good. Just have your punch list ready before the pool is filled and provide the PB with the list. You can then wait a day or so when pool is filled to ensure equipment works and no leaks. You can always renegotiate if there are any major issues found upon equipment start up.

That is a BS answer since you are basically withholding the PB's profit. You think he is making less then 10% on the contract? With 90% paid he has the money to pay all subcontractors and for the wholesale price of equipment.

What % would the Pebblesheen draw be?
I believe the % for the PebbleSheen would be the Plaster stage(?) they have in their payment schedule, so it would be 20%. The way I read her response is that it seems like they'll allow me to hold that percentage until after the pool is filled and equipment is turned on. I can try and get it pushed to a few days afterwards to ensure equipment works and no leaks, plus punch list completion.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,119
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
You have the parameters to negotiate from.

Until all the supply chain issues are resolved people are being left with various IOUs by the Pool Builders in a lot of builds.

Once the pool is completed and started up you will pay them the final payment when it meets your acceptance criteria regardless of the date in the contract.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,652
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I believe the % for the PebbleSheen would be the Plaster stage(?) they have in their payment schedule, so it would be 20%. The way I read her response is that it seems like they'll allow me to hold that percentage until after the pool is filled and equipment is turned on. I can try and get it pushed to a few days afterwards to ensure equipment works and no leaks, plus punch list completion.
See this post where holding back till equipment installed should hopefully help resolve their issue. This illustrates the importance of having some leverage as mistakes and errors do occur.
 
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Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Updated the OP with picture album of dig day (10/20) and rebar (10/21). Went smoothly, they didn't hit anything and they got through it pretty quick.
 

Wildkarrde21

Member
Jun 6, 2020
14
Houston, TX
Pool Size
17400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Added pictures of the pipes being put in to OP. Looks like they forgot a few things (3 umbrella sleeves) so I’ll be contacting them to make sure they put them in. So glad I’m working from home and can keep an eye on this…
 

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