New Build - DIY IGP in Minnesota

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
Hello All,

After two years of watching youtube videos and planning/researching/designing we pulled the trigger on a kit from Royal. Have a big backyard so we are going 20x40 w/8'6" deep/dive end. Autocover, corner under vinyl steps with a few feet of bench on either side. Planning on DIYing nearly the entire thing except for patio/pool deck and electrical/gas hookups. Kit should arrive in about 3 weeks so preparing what I can in advance to hit the ground running at that point.
  • Plumbing:
    • 2 skimmers + main drains,
    • 4 returns + two returns near the steps/bench.
    • Planning on all runs to be 2" plumbing
    • Hayward TriStar VS 900 (1.85HP) Variable Speed pump
    • 30" Sand Filter
  • Standard Chlorine pool
    • Hayward inline auto-chlorinator for now with plans to switch to salt in future years. I know I need to read up on the TFP methods yet but hoping I can tackle that part a bit later on after I complete designing and prepping for construction
  • Heat: 350k BTU Hayward Natural Gas Heater
Questions for now:
  • Flexible PVC or Rigid? No termites in our area but we do get hard winter freezes in Minnesota. I've heard Flexible might be better through freeze thaw cycles but perhaps susceptible to crimping?
  • Main Drains... Cutting the liner this deep in the pool seems scary from a leak standpoint. Should I push forward with the Main Drains and it isn't as scary as it sounds?
  • I think'll have some flexibility with equipment pad placement.
    • One spot is adjacent the house under our 9ft high deck - about 20 feet from corner of deep end. This would leave ~35 foot gas line run and about 100 foot electrical run.
    • Second spot would be out in the yard away from the house on far side of the pool - about 10 feet from corner of shallow end. This would leave about a 120 foot gas run and 75 foot electrical.
    • Thoughts? I'm not sure which to choose...
Thanks!!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
HI and WELCOME!! OH what a fun yet scary time in your life!!!!

I say rigid pipe as you will flush the pipes and plug them for the winter. We have many ideas how to best do that.

You do not have to have Main Drains. In fact it will be even easier to winterize your pool without them. If you worry about mixing the bottom and top water then you can put a return closer to the bottom to help move it around.

For your equipment pad placement let us see what you are working with. I will tell you we can help you make something "pretty" around it so you will not really see it. Also if it is by the house think about what room is by where you are thinking of putting it. While the pumps are quieter than the older ones they do still make a noise.

Kim:kim:
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,410
NY
I’m in to watch. This sounds fun. I’m going to recommend a 3HP pump. You are building a tremendously sized pool with 6 returns. The price difference will be peanuts in the grand scheme of things seeing how it’s the backbone of your operation.

I would also recommend the 500+ sq ft cartridge filters. Sand and DE work great for filtering also but for your volume you would be backwashing every 10 minutes if you ever had an algae bloom.
 
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ckwinters

Well-known member
May 29, 2018
64
Carlisle, PA
We did a DIY from pool warehouse and here my two cents as a non professional. We didn't do main drains and haven't noticed the water temps being noticeably different. We do have aqua genie skimmer/returns which may be part of the reason. The only time a main drain would have been handy is when our locust trees lost their flowers and it clogged the skimmers pretty good while I was at work. I now make sure the pump is not kicking on if there is heavy leaf or debree falling that could clog the skimmers. I wish I hadn't bothered with the returns on the steps. Thought it would help keep them clean but it doesn't. We put our pad very close by and it's easy to check everything. I know if it was further away I'd skip checking on it sometimes. It's right outside our bedroom and I can't hear our vsp run from inside. If we didn't have termites around here the flex pipe would have been so nice and easy but termites are prolific in our area. Good luck!
 
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SSharp

Bronze Supporter
Aug 25, 2019
67
Nebraska
Wow, Royal has been busy lately! We are nearing the end of our diy build from them. We are also doing a 20x40, but with a sport bottom. We didn't put the main drain in for reference.
 
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MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
HI and WELCOME!! OH what a fun yet scary time in your life!!!!

I say rigid pipe as you will flush the pipes and plug them for the winter. We have many ideas how to best do that.

You do not have to have Main Drains. In fact it will be even easier to winterize your pool without them. If you worry about mixing the bottom and top water then you can put a return closer to the bottom to help move it around.

For your equipment pad placement let us see what you are working with. I will tell you we can help you make something "pretty" around it so you will not really see it. Also if it is by the house think about what room is by where you are thinking of putting it. While the pumps are quieter than the older ones they do still make a noise.

Kim:kim:
Thanks for the thoughts! How low should one position a deep return when skipping main drains? Do I need the aqua genies if I skip the main drains or can it work just fine with a traditional skimmer/return (+deep return) setup?

I’m prepping for a small road trip tomorrow but will try to post my sketches with pad possibilities when I get back... thanks!
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
Looking forward to hearing how it goes, since I ordered the same size 20x40 with 8’6 deep end from Royal 2 weeks ago for a DIY
Sounds like it’s a race then!! :) We just ordered Monday and were quoted a 3 week delivery time - I fear they are swamped though. Crossing my fingers they can hit the 3 weeks...
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
If you get the aqua genies then you will not need the deep return. I also just read someone that did not install main drains or a deep return that said they don't notice any difference in the water temps from shallow to deeper so I would just go with the good skimmer!

Kim:kim:
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
HI and WELCOME!! OH what a fun yet scary time in your life!!!!

I say rigid pipe as you will flush the pipes and plug them for the winter. We have many ideas how to best do that.

You do not have to have Main Drains. In fact it will be even easier to winterize your pool without them. If you worry about mixing the bottom and top water then you can put a return closer to the bottom to help move it around.

For your equipment pad placement let us see what you are working with. I will tell you we can help you make something "pretty" around it so you will not really see it. Also if it is by the house think about what room is by where you are thinking of putting it. While the pumps are quieter than the older ones they do still make a noise.

Kim:kim:

Here is the SketchUp design I've been working with - The house/deck/cobblestone patio are existing and everything is planned... I've highlighted the three locations I'm considering for the pad. Red is closest to gas, longer for electrical, green is closest to electrical, further from gas, and blue is far from both. Though we have a walkout basement and the side yards are very sloped, the back yard itself is pretty level and all sand beneath a few inches of topsoil. Depending on which location I pic I think I might be able to get a pad poured and ready in advance of the kit arriving...

Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 10.54.27 AM.jpgScreen Shot 2020-05-22 at 10.54.27 AM.jpg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
It is a hard no to the red as it is too close to the deck and shaded patio.

Green would be okay if you put a gate there so you don't have to jump the fence to get to the equipment from the pool yard. What is that are used for now?

Blue is going to coat your an arm and leg and you will need a gate. I also don't care for it being so close to that shaded area.

What are your thoughts after reading that? You cannot hurt my feelings so feel free to agree or disagree with any of my thinking!

Kim:kim;
 

kne

Gold Supporter
Jun 26, 2015
238
Concord, CA
Curious @kimkats about the aversion to shaded areas? Because of the noise from the equipment? I'm like you with an AGP and my stuff against the wall, but I do like to dream of when I win the lottery and get to design a big pool build.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
@kne it is the sight of it on the red area and it taking up lots usable space AND the extra noise. The blue are would be a good area but it is going to cost a LOT to run BOTH gas and electric to that spot.
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
It is a hard no to the red as it is too close to the deck and shaded patio.

Green would be okay if you put a gate there so you don't have to jump the fence to get to the equipment from the pool yard. What is that are used for now?

Blue is going to coat your an arm and leg and you will need a gate. I also don't care for it being so close to that shaded area.

What are your thoughts after reading that? You cannot hurt my feelings so feel free to agree or disagree with any of my thinking!

Kim:kim;
Thanks for the thoughts! The shown fencing is preliminary so certainly can be moved a bit. I can make sure the pad is in the fence if possible except for the green location but I am planning on having the only gate right there. I have fieldstone retaining walls on both the red and green locations to assist with the grade change to front and back of house- really just for decorative purposes. For the Green spot I'd have to mod my retaining wall significantly to make a level spot for the pad but could be done. If you see any other good candidates let me know! There prob is no perfect spot i fear...
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
How about on the same side as the green but wee where the fence makes the point? How far would that be from the house and how hard would it be to put the equipment there? We can help you come up with a way to "pretty" it up so it is not even noticed. Right now green would be my go to spot as I know my wallet does not like to open too far so.........
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
How about on the same side as the green but wee where the fence makes the point? How far would that be from the house and how hard would it be to put the equipment there? We can help you come up with a way to "pretty" it up so it is not even noticed. Right now green would be my go to spot as I know my wallet does not like to open too far so.........
Well the green spot won out :) Thanks for the input. Real short runs to the gas and electrical as turns out both can be run through the garage and the poke out the back requiring only a dozen feet or so of trenching to the pad. I was starting to lose out hope on kit arrival due to supply chain issues but low and behold most of the important parts arrived last week about 3 week from order as specified by Royal.

Knee deep in excavation right now. Hoping to finish grading layout to shallow depth tomorrow and then need to work on getting the massive piles of dirt out of my yard...
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,337
Tallahassee, FL
As soon as they say they are done digging run out there with the plans and a tape measure to make sure it IS too size!

Glad it was such a short run and it could be run THROUGH the wall! NICE!

Kim:kim:
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
As soon as they say they are done digging run out there with the plans and a tape measure to make sure it IS too size!

Glad it was such a short run and it could be run THROUGH the wall! NICE!

Kim:kim:
Well - I have a bad habit of taking on most projects so I'm the excavator :) Which brings me to my next questions. After a 12" or so of grass/top soil/clay, as expected I'm down to sand. I expect sand all the way through the deep end. While easy to dig and level - the sand is gonna make the hopper challenging. Mainly holding wall shapes and concern about the bond beam pour (or even wall assembly adjacent the hopper) causing caving/sloughing of the sand under the walls and resulting concrete leaking into hopper. This is where I think I'm considering altering the normal schedule of the dig/wall assembly to accommodate. My current plan is to level to:
  1. Level and set elevation (Mostly done)
  2. Set pool walls on the full layout at shallow end depth.
  3. Pour a two part bond beam -
  4. First: Pour bond beam around deep end and sides.
  5. Second: leave shallow end wall unpoured and remove walls as need to access area potentially with mini excavator.
  6. Third: Carefully dig hopper in the center and manually shave walls to correct slope.
  7. Move to Pool Base as soon as possible thereafter to lock in those walls.

Anyone have any sand build experience to know if this sounds reasonable? I've also thought about potentially making OSB forms/braces for the sides and back of the hopper walls to hold the shape but that seems like a lot of work. Will do though if necessary.