Modern Pool Build in The Woodlands, TX - Please Review Final Specs

rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Howdy TFP community!

Thank you for all the valuable information and advice I've learned on this site over the past year. This is our first venture into pool ownership and we are adding to yet another pool build here in the Houston, TX area. Our journey began in the midst of COVID early last summer, as many others here, and it has been quite a feat to get to this point. After meeting with multiple PBs and being ghosted by more than we'd hoped for, we've finally narrowed it down...

UPDATE 03/23/21: Below are the latest specs of our build. Please share input on anything that looks off or may have been missed.

Pool & Spa Specifications:

Dimensions 22’6” X 21’
Perimeter 104
Area 510
Depth 4’-5’-4’ Sport
Sun Shelf 1
Bench 1
Gallons ~15,500

Spa Size 7’ X 8’ Flush
Perimeter 30
Area 56
Spillway 4 Step Pads

Design Features:
Geometric Pool and Spa with Step Pad Spillway
Travertine Split Level Decking with 2 Steps
Travertine Pool Coping
Fire Pit with Sheer Descent Water Feature
Planter with Sheer Descent Water Feature
Travertine Step Pad Pathways with Rock Borders

Steel Reinforcement and Gunite Shell
Pool Shell 3/8” Rebar 8” O.C.
4000 PSI Gunite 6.5 Sack Mix
Walls 6” Min
Floors 6” Min
Coves 8” Min
Beam 12” X 18” with 4.5” Rebar
Pool Equipment
Main Pump - Pentair Intelliflo VSF 3HP (011056)
Water Feature Pump - Pentair Intelliflo VSF 3HP (011056)
420 Clean & Clear Cartridge Filter
MasterTemp 400K BTU Heater (460736)
1.5 HP Silencer Spa Blower (6316220F)
8 Hydrotherapy Spa Jets
Rainbow 320 Chlorinator (R171096)
IC 40 Salt System* (bundled w/ IntelliCenter below)
IntelliCenter System Load Center with i8PSIC40* Kit (521903)
IntellipH Controller (521377)
4 Microbrite Color LED Pool Light (620425)
1 Microbrite Color LED Spa Light (620425)
2 Transformers (619963)
Plaster
Stonescapes Level 2
Plumbing
1.5”, 2”, and 2.5” Schedule 40 PVC
Separate line for each Skimmer & Main Drains
Neverlube Valve 2” x 2.5”
Autofill
Overflow 2” connected to Drain line
1 Channel Main Drain 3-Port
2 MDX Spa Main Drains - 3" Plumbing
6 Pool Returns (Directional Inlets)
2 Spa Returns (Common)
2 Skimmers
Drainage
4” PVC to Street or Approved Location (150')
Miscellaneous
Robotic Cleaner (Maytronics or Pentair Warrior)
Light at Equipment Pad
Equipment Pad prepped for possible future Chiller
Umbrella Sleeves
 
Last edited:
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,401
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Great looking pool design.
Just wondering as hard to see in photo. Are both the "planters" also a water feature? If so, do you plan to run both features at the same time or wish independent control? I have a waterfall and like that it is on a separate circulation system with its dedicated pump. It provides me a secondary circulation path if ever I should have a failure with my main pool pump. It appears that PB#2 wishes to have the 3rd pump for your special spa jets. It probably be best to follow his recommendation to ensure you get sufficient flow that is needed for the spa jets.

One option - have you considered turning one of the planters into a fire pit? That would be a nice view in the evening especially with water feature underneath it.

I have a relative who is putting in all Jandy equipment, very similar to yours but their pool is closer to 20k gals. Their research provided them high confidence in Jandy products. There are many on this forum that use Jandy so have not heard too many issues. It is best to keep your automation, VS pump and SWCG from all 1 mfg. Also lights if you wish to have special controls for each.

Seem strange that PB#2 did not outline the number of skimmers (need 2 and independently plumbed back to pad as indicated by PB#1). Also need main drain in spa. Each PB called out a pool main drain but called it 1 or 2. In reality it is one pipe from the bottom of pool to the pad however at the pool deep end they tee to have 2 drains. This reduces suction which prevents entrapment. That is the VGB compliant spec that PB#1 referenced. So both are correct - just how they defined it. However, you may wish to ask about a channel drain rather than having 2 round drain covers. This is especially important if you have a robot. It is known that some robots get hung up on a round (slightly raised) drain cover but a channel drain is much more level to the plaster height.

BTW if you go with a dedicated pump for your water feature, most likely they will be very similar drain covers on your pool wall as the suction to that dedicated water feature pump. This prevents a lot of debris being sucked into the water feature circulation. However, some PB put this secondary circulation through the filter as well because some water features have very small openings - so just ask how they plan to plumb your water feature circulation if you go with a dedicated pump. Also, if you are in SPA mode and wish to have your water features flowing then you will definitely need that dedicated pump because your water feature flows back to your pool.

Good luck
 

rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Great looking pool design.
Just wondering as hard to see in photo. Are both the "planters" also a water feature? If so, do you plan to run both features at the same time or wish independent control? I have a waterfall and like that it is on a separate circulation system with its dedicated pump. It provides me a secondary circulation path if ever I should have a failure with my main pool pump. It appears that PB#2 wishes to have the 3rd pump for your special spa jets. It probably be best to follow his recommendation to ensure you get sufficient flow that is needed for the spa jets.

One option - have you considered turning one of the planters into a fire pit? That would be a nice view in the evening especially with water feature underneath it.

I have a relative who is putting in all Jandy equipment, very similar to yours but their pool is closer to 20k gals. Their research provided them high confidence in Jandy products. There are many on this forum that use Jandy so have not heard too many issues. It is best to keep your automation, VS pump and SWCG from all 1 mfg. Also lights if you wish to have special controls for each.

Seem strange that PB#2 did not outline the number of skimmers (need 2 and independently plumbed back to pad as indicated by PB#1). Also need main drain in spa. Each PB called out a pool main drain but called it 1 or 2. In reality it is one pipe from the bottom of pool to the pad however at the pool deep end they tee to have 2 drains. This reduces suction which prevents entrapment. That is the VGB compliant spec that PB#1 referenced. So both are correct - just how they defined it. However, you may wish to ask about a channel drain rather than having 2 round drain covers. This is especially important if you have a robot. It is known that some robots get hung up on a round (slightly raised) drain cover but a channel drain is much more level to the plaster height.

BTW if you go with a dedicated pump for your water feature, most likely they will be very similar drain covers on your pool wall as the suction to that dedicated water feature pump. This prevents a lot of debris being sucked into the water feature circulation. However, some PB put this secondary circulation through the filter as well because some water features have very small openings - so just ask how they plan to plumb your water feature circulation if you go with a dedicated pump. Also, if you are in SPA mode and wish to have your water features flowing then you will definitely need that dedicated pump because your water feature flows back to your pool.

Good luck

Thank you Herman for your feedback! For the design, there is actually a fire pit and the other is a planter. Both have a sheer descent water feature coming out of each.

Yes, I do intend to stay with all one brand for equipment. It will just boil down to which PB we go with. PB#1 is Pentair and PB#2 is Jandy. I’m just trying to dissect each set up and determine which is more optimal. One PB has only 1 pump and the other has 3. I’ll inquire with PB#1 about the independent functioning of the water feature and possible 2nd pump. For PB#2, just curious if having 3 pumps will be noisy if they were all to operate at the same time, but optimal functioning of the spa jets makes sense.

Thanks for your suggestion of a dual channel main drain. I will inquire about it. PB#1 seems to have a lot of drains. I’m not sure what the 2 additional motor drains are. My research found that some pools nowadays do not even include a drain. So I’ll have to ask about the 6 total drains from PB#1.

Thanks again for your input. It’s very much appreciated!
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,401
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
PB#1 seems to have a lot of drains. I’m not sure what the 2 additional motor drains are. My research found that some pools nowadays do not even include a drain.
PB#1 has 2 drains as your main drain. He also has 2 drains for the spa which is needed. Both can be changed to channel drain if you like that or if PB offers it. The other 2 drains are stated for "2 additional motor drains" - so this could be for your water feature (on side of pool) but he does not show an additional motor. So this needs clarity from him. If you want the water features to work while in spa mode you either need a dedicated pump or maybe it can be plumbed to suck water from pool while in spa mode. I have not seen this but every PB has its way of doing things.

It is common in the forum for people to state that a bottom drain is not needed. I personally like having a drain at the deepest part to circulate water because I sometimes turn off my skimmer just to do deep circulation. Also, I do not have a autofill so if for some reason my water level would drop, my pump could still suck water from the deep drain assuming that I close my skimmer valve to prevent sucking air. even though it would be sucking air from the skimmer. Also skimmers can be set up with an equalizer pipe to prevent sucking air but I do not see this set up much in the Houston area so that second port in the skimmer is blanked off. Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:

rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
PB#1 has 2 drains as your main drain. He also has 2 drains for the spa which is needed. Both can be changed to channel drain if you like that or if PB offers it. The other 2 drains are stated for "2 additional motor drains" - so this could be for your water feature (on side of pool) but he does not show an additional motor. So this needs clarity from him. If you want the water features to work while in spa mode you either need a dedicated pump or maybe it can be plumbed to suck water from pool while in spa mode. I have not seen this but every PB has its way of doing things.

It is common in the forum for people to state that a bottom drain is not needed. I personally like having a drain at the deepest part to circulate water because I sometimes turn off my skimmer just to do deep circulation. Also, I do not have a autofill so if for some reason my water level would drop, my pump could still suck water from the deep drain even though it would be sucking air from the skimmer. Also skimmers can be set up with an equalizer pipe to prevent sucking air but I do not see this set up much in the Houston area so that second port in the skimmer is blanked off. Hope this helps.
I will definitely ask for clarity regarding the motor drains and a water feature pump. It is interesting to see how different PB plumb for hydraulics. We’re not opposed to having drains, just need guidance to the pros and cons of each setup. Thanks for your insight. It was helpful.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,895
Bedford, TX
R,

If you get any type of drain(s) in the bottom of your pool, make sure they are channel drains. Channel drains can sit flat with the bottom of the pool, while VGB drains sit up much higher. In a sports pool these can be toe stubbers and they can also cause a robot to get stuck. One channel drain replaces two of the VGB drains.. The whole point of having two VGB drains is that if you sit on one of them, you can't get trapped by the suction.. A wide channel drain does not have this problem.. unless your rear is about 4 feet wide.. :mrgreen:

I like pool builder number 1 so far..

I would get the i8PSIC40 as it is better to have the ability to add things later..

I suggest that you buy your own robot, it will e cheaper.

I would not do a planter that close to the pool.. If you do make sure you have water plumbed to it.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,796
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I've found that I endlessly mosey around my pool in between swimming and lounging, so having a deck all around it is really important to me. Visually I really like your drawings, but prefer the easy access around a pool.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,895
Bedford, TX
I've found that I endlessly mosey around my pool in between swimming and lounging, so having a deck all around it is really important to me. Visually I really like your drawings, but prefer the easy access around a pool.

R,

I too often walk around the whole pool with a net or a brush... Not being able to do that would be a large pain in the rear.. Just need more stepping spots...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
R,

If you get any type of drain(s) in the bottom of your pool, make sure they are channel drains. Channel drains can sit flat with the bottom of the pool, while VGB drains sit up much higher. In a sports pool these can be toe stubbers and they can also cause a robot to get stuck. One channel drain replaces two of the VGB drains.. The whole point of having two VGB drains is that if you sit on one of them, you can't get trapped by the suction.. A wide channel drain does not have this problem.. unless your rear is about 4 feet wide.. :mrgreen:

I like pool builder number 1 so far..

I would get the i8PSIC40 as it is better to have the ability to add things later..

I suggest that you buy your own robot, it will e cheaper.

I would not do a planter that close to the pool.. If you do make sure you have water plumbed to it.

Thanks,

Jim R.

Jim, thanks for the advice regarding the channel drains and i8PSIC40. We are currently leaning towards PB#1 right now. We do plan to get a robot cleaner. And yes, we probably won’t do a true planter. More likely a ledge for potted plants or might change to a simple raised wall with a water feature instead. Thanks!
 

rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
R,

I too often walk around the whole pool with a net or a brush... Not being able to do that would be a large pain in the rear.. Just need more stepping spots...

Thanks,

Jim R.

@bmoreswim and @Jimrahbe
Ideally, we would love to have decking all around the pool. Unfortunately, we have a 14ft easement to work within along the back fence line and a 7ft easement along the side fence line. The step pads were the best way around it as they fall within the easement but are not permanent structures. Along the two sides closest to the house, the decking goes into our patio area so there is a lot of room to move along those sides of the pool.
 

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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
20,895
Bedford, TX
R,

Not saying you need decking around the whole pool, but I would continue the stepping stones through the jungle you have back there now.. :)
 
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rebll

Member
May 28, 2020
17
The Woodlands, TX
Pool Size
15500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
We finally chose our pool builder and signed our contract this past Friday. We are currently working on submission for HOA approval and anticipate to start our build mid-late April. Please review the updated build specs and let me know if there was something I missed. TIA!