Need help on initial sizing, equipment and finish on pool in Myrtle Beach


Well-known member
Nov 30, 2009
Hi All,

My friend is building a house with a gunite pool in Myrtle Beach - I've had a pool, so she has asked me to offer suggestions on some basics - unfortunately, it's been awhile since we built ours and picked equipment.

I have gotten enormous help over the years from the many pool owners on this site - I could really use some help since there are more variables :)

Her pool is going to be someone irregular - think kidney mand will have a sun tray included the overall size - 3' on shallow end and 5' on the deep - I figured about 10,000 gallons +/- 10%. Although I advised her to that a rectangular pool with an electric cover would be easier for maintenance, she wants the look of the irregular shape.

No spa.

She wants a heater (has propane) - quick calculation from Jandy, shows it would need to be about 75,000 BTU with a 15F differential. The pool will not be caged with screen.

She is interested in a coating that is more durable than white plaster - our pool had a finish with embedded glass of some sort - gave it a bluer look than marcite - and, it was easier to keep clean - I don't think it was polished as it always seemed a bit rough. Her builder tends to us Diamond Brite materials - lots of options.

So, I would like to advise her on which general directions to head - she has a month before decisions need to be made. Some questions I could really use some help on:
- is my calculation on volume close enough for initial sizing of pump equipment? What's the word these days on variable speed pumps? They were trouble prone and expensive when I built mine ... should she consider given her limited pool size? Are they quieter (always a factor!)?
- given the coastal South Carolina location, what are the considerations now for using a heat pump vice a propane heater? It is also very hot there in the summer - should she consider a heat pump with ability to cool the water, as well? My initial reading lead me to think HP is better solution for her needs (no spa, mild climate, lower maintenance). HP equipment is about 1.5-2.0 times as expensive?
- which finish is longest lasting with easiest maintenance (i.e. less staining issues from iron, etc)? Which of the many Diamond Brite coatings? Polished or not?
- chlorine tab or salt water chlorine generator? (I chose tabs for ours because it was so simple). Are saltwater generators better now than 15 years ago?
- does this sound right for initial pump sizing - 10,000/8 hours = 1250 GPH/60 = 21 GPH? Should one throw in some engineering slop?
- feet of head is more complicated because I don't know her specifics - the builder will need to do this ... but, is there a guess given the size of the pool, and figure distance middle of pool to the pump of about 50'? Pump will be on same elevation as the top of the pool. Given the variables, should she consider more efficient sizing on the plumbing? Educated guess as to the approximate pump size?
- lots of manufacturers ...anyone have favorites that just seem to work and work and work without issue and with parts that aren't so darn proprietary ?:)

As you can see, lots of initial questions - would really appreciate your thoughts and experiences and advice!


TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
Tucson, AZ
* Variable speed pumps - be it two speed or pure variable speed, seem to be the way to go these days. Single speed pumps are going the way of the dinosaur.
* If she's getting propane trucked in, it may be cheaper to go the heat pump route. That said, heat pumps are slower and are more designed to be efficient at keeping the water at or near swim temp for long periods of time (think days) rather than heating on demand for an afternoon of swimming. My understanding is when the choice is between electric heat pump or propane, the more economical choice is heat pump. If there is natural gas being piped to the house already, nat gas is often cheaper. This will depend on local energy costs.
* Unsure on finish. I'll let someone else answer that! Generally, aggregate will last longer than plain plaster, and one of the new polymer coatings would also be a good option to consider. Search for AquaBright on the forums here.
* Tabs are generally not a long term option for chlorination due to CYA buildup. The choice is really between liquid bleach, requiring daily testing/adding, and SWG, requiring less testing but requiring more attention to pH. Most folks here prefer the SWG route - I wish my pool had one. SWGs are about the same cost over time as liquid chlorine/bleach - make sure to get one that is sized for twice the volume of the pool (e.g. if her pool is 10k gallons, get the 25k gallon SWG, not the 10k or 15k).
* Can't answer pump sizing, I don't have the knowledge. :)


Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
Evans, Georgia
I'd also suggest a heat pump over propane. Propane tends to be more expensive.

Also always a SWG over tabs. In our opinion tabs are good for vacations or other short term uses, but the CYA they also contain builds up and causes beaucoup problems when algae takes hold because your chlorine isn't high enough for all that CYA in the water.

Maddie :flower:


TFP Guide
May 10, 2017
Hays, Kansas
10,000 gallons you only need a good 1/2 hp pump if sized right. Go with a 1.6 hp vsp and call it a day.

No solid forms if clorine

Don't forget the tf100 test kit


Well-known member
Nov 30, 2009
Thanks for all the great answers - very helpful to see what others have determined after their experiences!

Please keep providing your thoughts - really would like to get some opinion re which manufacturers you all like and find to be reliable.


Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 7, 2017
Damascus, MD
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
All of my equipment is Jandy but any tier 1 brand will do. If she is getting automation it is advisable to stick with the same brand.
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