Narrowing Down PB and Design

markmac

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2011
183
Texas
We owned a pool previously, and moved a few years ago. Looking to get a pool again, currently getting quotes and ideas from various PB. When we bought our previous home, it had an existing pool, that was run by a pool service. I found this site many years ago, and dropped all pool services immediately and ran TFP with ease, switched to VS pump, and SWG, and never looked back. With that past experience I know some obvious wants/needs, but it was an older pool , and have not gone through the Pool Build process, so want to list out my plans here and see what I'm missing or not aware of with respect to new pool options.

In-Ground Pool
16x30 Geometric Gunite
Quartz plaster
4'-7' depth
Small corner stairs to max swim space
No sun ledge, nor bubblers
18" deep Bench run shallow to deep but only in middle (1/3 of length of pool) between wall columns.
2 skimmers
6 returns (4 near top, 2 near bottom)
Overflow Line
Autofill
3 x LED lights pointed away from main deck viewing area.

Spa
6x6 spa on one side - outside pool to max swim space
360 Perimeter Overflow
1 x LED light

Outside Pool
Raised wall
Two columns
Two Fire Bowl (one on each column)
1 X Large descent in middle of wall
Umbrella sleeves every 10' starting center of each side
Travertine coping
Decking (TBD - may elect to do it pot pool and with Pavilion/Pergola build.

Equipment
VS Pump
Blower for Spa
SWG
250k BTU heater
Cartridge Filter
Automation of some level
Second adjacent concrete pad for future pool supply box/shed
Purchase Robot separate outside Pool Build

With the above, I have a few questions.

1. All bids have main drains. I had a main drain previously. I see now that main drains are not as common. Are there any drawbacks of no main drain other than buying a sump if I ever need to drain completely?

2. Never building a pool before, what is rebar suggestion on a pool as decried above? Size and spacing?

3. What is the typical raised wall and columns? Brochure pictures seem like walls are 24" or more typically, but builders all seem to quote 12".

4. What is suggested width of the spa spillway/trough with a perimeter spa? I like the look when the trough is really narrow, where it looks like the water disappears into decking. Just not sure its practical for cleaning it out of any debris. I also like the look of the low spa, just 6" above the decjing, or possibly even flush.

5. Any do/don't on tile selection for perimeter spa design? Most pics seem to use small glass tiles now.

6. What are benefits of a pebble plaster over quartz? Seems like warranty and look?

7. Any pro/con of having pool builder do decking vs contracting separate later?

8. For kids and cannonballs, is 7' plenty deep? Our old pool was 9' and I know that worked fine. If I'm going deeper than 6', why not go to 8' or 9'? Its only an extra 2k-4k gallons to deal with.
 

markmac

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2011
183
Texas
Thanks. Lots of good stuff in there. However I didn't see anything on the following;

- pro/con of main drain
- width for trough on perimeter spa, or guidelines
- Any drawbacks of holding off on decking until after pool built? Thinking of doing decking and Pergola/Covered Patio later, separate from Pool Builder.
 

mgmoore7

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2015
552
Land O Lakes, FL
For #6: If I recall, quartz is less expensive and may be a fancy name for basic plaster finish that everyone is familiar with. After having a Pebblesheen pool for 5 years now and having the traditional while plaster finish in the past, there is no way I would do a pool without PebbleSheen if I had a choice. It is the perfect combination of grip and smooth and we have never had toes getting raw like in a traditional plaster pool. PebbleTech Pebblesheen has a much longer warranty too. I believe it is 20yrs vs 7 or so. check on my details but some things to think about.
For #7: If you use a PB, they will just hire a contractor. I contracted all of them myself and did not use the PB to do the deck because I wanted travertine and the PB did not do travertine.
For #8: We have a sports pool (shallow on both ends) and 5' deep in the middle. For kids and cannonballs, jumping, etc. 5' has been fine and even I will do a cannonball on occasion and I am 5'11" and over 200lbs. I do hit the bottom but not with any force, more likes a slow tap. So, 6 or 7' will be plenty for your proposed use based on our experience.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,598
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Thanks. Lots of good stuff in there. However I didn't see anything on the following;

- pro/con of main drain
- width for trough on perimeter spa, or guidelines
- Any drawbacks of holding off on decking until after pool built? Thinking of doing decking and Pergola/Covered Patio later, separate from Pool Builder.

pro/con of main drain
- how many skimmers are you having? Some peoplesay a main drain is not necessary. I say it is nice to have since it prevents your pump from running dry if your skimmers get clogged in a storm. An alternative to a main drian in the floor is a suction point int he deep end pool wall. I think "main drain' is a poor name as it is not useful for draining the pool. It is an alternative suction point for the pool system.

width for trough on perimeter spa, or guidelines
- it can be whatever you want from a 2" pipe hole to a full 360 degree spillover edge.

Any drawbacks of holding off on decking until after pool built? Thinking of doing decking and Pergola/Covered Patio later, separate from Pool Builder - none. You want to do deck after pool is completed. See Sequence of Tile, Coping, Deck for Plaster Pool. You just have to plan out your levels accurately so that everything fits as you buildup the deck.
 

mgmoore7

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2015
552
Land O Lakes, FL
Main drain. I am happy I have it since it helps with total circulation of the water. If you only have a skimmer, water is only being pulled from the top of the pool and the jets are near the top too. Therefore, I think the bottom drains help to turnover all of the water more thoroughly/quickly.
 

markmac

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2011
183
Texas
For the returns, I was planning to put 4 near the water level, and two in the deeper water. Would that achieve the same thing as a main drain with respect to circulating the water more? A portion of the top water being pushed back into the deeper water? Or is there a benefit of drawing in deeper water and returning to the pool at water level? In my mind, it may help cool the water in the summer, using either scenario.
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
510
Martinez, CA
Rebar schedule (spacing) is determined by the soil engineer based on soil type. In our build, they specc’d a 6 x 12 inc spacing for floor and walls and tighter spaced bars on the corner joints. I was able to negotiate with the rebar installer to use the more substantial 6 x 6 schedule for the cost of the rebar and $200 in labor. I always li,e to overbuild so as not to have issues down the road.
 

mgmoore7

Bronze Supporter
May 9, 2015
552
Land O Lakes, FL
For the returns, I was planning to put 4 near the water level, and two in the deeper water. Would that achieve the same thing as a main drain with respect to circulating the water more? A portion of the top water being pushed back into the deeper water? Or is there a benefit of drawing in deeper water and returning to the pool at water level? In my mind, it may help cool the water in the summer, using either scenario.
Is there a reason that you don't want the main drains. I think they were required in our build. I don't know the answer to your question as to if one or the other will be better. I have two main drains and I am glad I have them. It does a great job circulating, including our solar heater but I have not had what you are suggesting so can't really say.
 

markmac

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2011
183
Texas
As I progress through the plans, I'm starting to think more and more about an OB movie forward. I do have a few new questions and one outstanding from above.

- for a full 360-degree spill over spa, what is the recommended width of the spill way, if any? I assume the coping will overhang some, so if I make it 5", and the coping hangs over 2", woudl that be sufficient?
- If I have an 18" bench running the full length (shallow to deep), on the closest side, should the lights go above or below the bench? I assume if above, the bench would cause a shadow. I'm not sure how deep (water depth) benches are, but assume not much more than 12"
- I'm looking now at the MicroBrites. Would 4 running full length evenly spaced on the 30' side be too much?
- Can the MicroBrites be installed on an angle (somewhat)? I'm also wondering about positioning two closer to the corners and shooting light towards the center.
- If I go OB, which sub's typically handle the gas runs from the meter? The Plumber?
- If I go OB, which sub does the waterline tile, and coping? I plan to have a sub for paver decking, so I assume it woudl be the same? If I'm doing glass tile for the raised 360 sill over spa, should I be looking for a special tile shop?
- Am I over doing it with 6 returns (4 surface and 2 deep)?
- For the spa, are they just returns, with different heads? ANy advice on how many, and layout for a 7x7 IG spa, (5x5 interior dimension).

If anyone has recommendations for vendors in Houston, I'd appreciate it. I plan to send my sketches to pooleng, and have them create plans so I can shop for quotes. I am thinking it cannot hurt to see what the OB path looks like with respect to savings, even if I went with a PB.
 
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