New Build - Lucas, TX

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
Howdy everyone –

I’ve been following the forums for a few months now as I finalize my plans on a new pool build and figured it’s about time I start my first thread. To give you a little background, we bought a 1980’s ranch style home on 2 ½ acres in Lucas, TX about 2 years ago now and have been busy giving it the fixer upper treatment inside and out. The next phase includes transforming the outdoor living space with the addition of a pool, extended patio and full gable patio structure. We have a great property with lots of mature trees and good privacy all the way around. My biggest gripe however, is with the way they originally graded the lot when they built the house. There is about an 8” drop from the high point of the backyard sloping toward the house to the edge of the existing patio. There is a swell back there that carries the water to the west side of the house where it eventually makes its way toward the front of the property and down to a creek across the street. We’re actually pretty fortunate to have a lot that drains well during heavy rains, it’s very flat here and you’ll typically see a lot of standing water throughout the city after a heavy rain. Anyway, I likely would have done some re-grading to the backyard already if it weren’t for the fact I had plans to put in a new pool. All this to say, as we were starting to research pool designs addressing the grade and drainage in the backyard were key priorities for the design.

Fast forward to today. I’ve spoken to several pool builders and ultimately narrowed it down to three candidates. 2 of which are large “name brand” PB’s that are well known in the area and the third is more of a one man band but has worked in the industry for 20+ years and builds his pools with a lot of standard features that would be considered upgrades elsewhere. I have two good friends that have built pools with him and they’ve both turned out great, one about 2 years ago and the other just finished up with his about 2 weeks ago. I’ve been leaning toward going with the “little guy” and was planning on coming back from an early March spring break trip to finalize the details and sign a contract with him when all of a sudden the Covid thing erupted. Definitely has me reevaluating whether or not to go with one of the more well established PB’s in the event I ever have a structural issue that would be covered under their warranty. The small guy builds his pools in a similar fashion to what one of the PB’s calls their upgraded “super structure”. ½” rebar on 10” centers throughout the shell of the pool with additional breaker bars through the bottom, shotcrete w/ 8-10” thick walls and a 12”x12” box beam with ½” rebar around the perimeter. And possible chemical injections depending on what we find following the excavation. Our soil conditions are bad out here, we get a lot of movement in the summer months when things dry out but with all that steel I’d be surprised if the structure didn’t outlive me. Any thoughts/suggestions from the community are appreciated.

Regarding the design, we’re looking at about a 34’ X 17’ Geometric pool with a raised spa and raised back wall that will also serve as a retaining wall for the elevated portion of the yard. We’re looking at using a Lueder coping with a travertine deck. Still trying to decide the color combo that will work best with our white brick house with cedar accents. Either Buff Lueder and Light Walnut travertine or a silver lueder with Ivory travertine. The silver travertine decking looks nice but we’d like something a bit lighter. If anyone has used a silver lueder coping with a light colored travertine deck I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or see some pics!

I like PB1's design the best but there are some elements of PB2's design that I might try to incorporate as I think they are nice additions. Specifically the layout of the tanning ledge/entry area, bench in front of the spa and the slightly recessed raised wall. I also like how this particular PB designs their spa with a small lip just below the water line that you can rest your arms on.

From an equipment perspective, one of the big PB’s is all Jandy and the other is all Pentair. The builder I’m leaning toward isn’t tied to one brand and uses a combination of Pentair, Jandy and other equipment he’s had the best luck with while building and servicing pools over the years. Specifically, Pentair (VS pumps 1 pool & spa/1 water features, master temp heater & commercial sand filter), Jandy (RS controller & valves), J&J ColorSplash lighting, WaterWay Poly Storm jets, etc.

We’re on septic, and for the filter he recommends using a commercial sand filter with glass media. My buddy is running one and his pool is always crystal clear. The other two PB’s looked at me with a blank stare when I asked about a sand filter and were either recommending DE or cartridge, but without a sewer line I’d basically have to pump the DE out into the yard and I don’t want to mess with taking apart the cartridges to clean them regularly.

They all want to sell me on the Polaris 280 over a robot, which I’m going to start out with, but I’m also going to have a GFCI ran to the backside of the pool wall in case I change my mind down the road.

For the pool finish out, looking at using NPT’s Quartzscape in Tahoe Blue and a TBD standard 6” tile to minimize grout lines. Haven’t ventured out to the tile supply stores due to the lockdown, but hoping things will start to return to normal by the time we get to that point.

I apologize for the obscenely long post; I tend to over research/analyze these sorts of things. Sharing the two renderings I referenced, the patio structure will be similar to the full gable structure pictured on PB2's design but with a light-colored stain to match what we’re using on the house shutters. Comments and suggestions are always welcome!
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,880
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
A few comments to get things started...

How many gallons will be in your pool?

How do you intend to chlorinate the pool?


Specifically, Pentair (VS pumps 1 pool & spa/1 water features, master temp heater & commercial sand filter), Jandy (RS controller & valves), J&J ColorSplash lighting, WaterWay Poly Storm jets, etc.

Your VS pump and automation should be from the same vendor. Probably also your LED lights if you want full color control.

I prefer Pentair equipment to Jandy. Jandy has done a lot to shutdown DIY maintance of their equipment and internet sales. If you get the Pentair VS pump then get the Pentair IntelliCenter automation.

We don't recommend glass media in sand filters. Start with good pool sand and it will last many years.



 

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
Thanks for the info! I'm looking at right around 20K gallons with the current design. Leaning toward using an inline chlorinator with trichlor or liquid chlorine (blasphemy I know). I have talked to PB3 about using the Intellicenter based upon what I read about it on these forums, I should have mentioned I'm probably headed in that direction assuming it's not a huge uptick in cost. He did say all lights and valves are controllable via the iphone app but I still like the idea of using the Intellicenter instead. Curious what the concern is with glass media? As I understand it sand only gets you to around 30 microns vs 10 or less with the glass media and it doesn't require replacing near as often.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,880
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Thanks for the info! I'm looking at right around 20K gallons with the current design. Leaning toward using an inline chlorinator with trichlor or liquid chlorine (blasphemy I know).

Liquid chlorine works fine as long as you can get it. Eventually many folks get tired of lugging jugs of chlorine and install a Salt Water Chlorine Generator.

Trichlor cannot be used continuously without draining water to eliminate the CYA accumulating in the water. I suggest you read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry



I have talked to PB3 about using the Intellicenter based upon what I read about it on these forums, I should have mentioned I'm probably headed in that direction assuming it's not a huge uptick in cost. He did say all lights and valves are controllable via the iphone app but I still like the idea of using the Intellicenter instead.

I dont know what the iPhone app has to do with the decision between Aqualink and IntelliCenter.

The IntelliCenter is modular and easily upgradable. We don’t recommend connecting VS pump and automation from different vendors. Things don’t work smoothly.


Curious what the concern is with glass media? As I understand it sand only gets you to around 30 microns vs 10 or less with the glass media and it doesn't require replacing near as often.

Sand lasts 20 to 30 years. How much longer do you expect glass media to last?

You will not see any difference between 30 and 10 micron filtering.
 

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
It's been awhile since my last update, while I would love to report that we just finished filling up the pool but unfortunately we still have a ways to go. It's been an odd summer in TX on so many levels, we've definitely had more rain than usual in the DFW area this summer, which has cost us a few weeks of progress, compounded by a huge uptick in demand for swimming pools due to Covid. We signed in April but it took over 2 months to get our paperwork through the process. First, about a week to get the official pool drawing. Then I had to relocate my main power service line and get a stamp on the drawings from the electric company (2 weeks). Once that was secured, off to get the county health department to look at my septic survey and confirm I'm not building the pool over my septic lines (captain obvious - 3 1/2 more weeks) and, last but not least, get the final permit approval from the city (1 week). I figured after that painful process it had to get better from there right??? Ha! 2020 strikes again! Here's the high level timeline from dig date through today.

  • June 17th - Initial Excavation
  • June 19th - Soil Injections
  • June 19th - RAIN!
  • June 23rd - RAIN!
  • June 29th - Excavate and re-form the pool
  • July 1st - Steel (Yay progress!)
  • July 3rd - Finish Steel and Start Plumbing
  • July 4th - Finish Plumbing
  • July 6th - RAIN! (seems to be a pattern here, 1 step forward and...) Fortunately, the cave ins weren't as bad as the first round. Unfortunately, not the easiest to clean up around steel and plumbing.
  • July 9th & 10th - Begin Framing the Patio Structure
  • July 13th - Hand Excavation with hand spades and 5 gallon buckets between steel.
  • July 15th - Peg Board, play sand and some additional steel to fill in the cavities caused by the cave ins. Equipment Pad forms set.
  • July 17th - Patio Roof & Shingles
  • July 19th - Patio Electric
  • July 20th - Patio Tongue and Groove Install
  • July 20th (afternoon) - Shotcrete, FINALLY! Begin watering 3-4x daily.
  • July 23rd - She-shed relocation
  • July 26th - Rain! Awesome, saved me from having to water the shotcrete!
  • July 27th - Equipment Delivery (Didn't realize how exciting this would be! Like Christmas morning!)
Supposed to start tile and stone this Wednesday or Thursday and possibly start setting up the equipment at the pad. We have more rain in the forecast, hopefully that doesn't throw us off too bad.

Final pool specs for reference:

34x17 Play Pool
3.5-5-4 depth profile
Buff Lueder Limestone Coping and 4" chopped lueders for pool walls. 12"/18"/12" rear wall profile
Ivory Travertine Decking
Plaster - Quartzscapes Grenadine Grey Reflection Series (2 bag mix)
Waterline tile - Noble Caeles 641
Controller - Pentair Intellicenter I5PS
Lighting - J&J Colorsplash Lighting - 2 33W for Pool, 1 7W for Spa, 1 20W nicheless for tanning ledge
Pumps - 3 - 3HP Pentair Intelliflo VSF (011056) 1 for pool, 1 for water features and 1 dedicated for 7 additional poly-storm spa jets (plus 5 standard powered by pool pump); 1 - 3/4HP Booster Pump for pool cleaner
Heater - Pentair Mastertemp 400K (460736) plumbed for propane
Jandy Neverlube Valves and check valves - 11
Water Features - 3' stainless scupper/sheer at center of wall, framed by 2 pair of stone scuppers on each side. 2 bubblers on tanning ledge. Spa-spillover into pool and tanning ledge area.
Pentair F5B 280 Pressure Side Cleaner (I'm also running GFCI's on the backside of the pool wall for a possible pool robot down the road)
CMP Powerclean Ultra VS Inline Feeder
Filter - Pentair TR100 30" SM Triton II Sand Filter with 100lbs of Dr. Dryden's Activate Coarse Glass Filter Media and 400 lbs of Fine Glass Filter Media
Misc - SR Smith Swim N Dunk Basketball Goal, 4 - 6" Bronze Anchor's (1.90" tube) 2 for umbrella sleeves and 2 for volleyball sleeves

While I wasn't planning on installing the SWCG initially, I actually received the 521906 Intellicenter equipment bundle which includes the IC40 along with the two intellivalves. I doubt that this can be returned at this point, sounds like they're having a hard time keeping equipment in stock and my PB said he got the last one his supplier had. Wondering if I should go ahead and have it plumbed in with a bypass just in case I decide to go that route in the future? Anything hard coded into the personality profile for this particular controller package that would prevent me from using the inline chlorinator instead?

Posting some various pics from along the journey! Also adding a link to the album as some of the pics wouldn't upload here.

Cheers,
Matt

IMG-2053.jpgIMG-2063.jpgIMG-2077.jpgIMG-2101.jpgIMG-2261.jpgIMG-2276.jpgIMG-2284.jpgIMG-2285.jpgIMG-2299.JPGIMG-2310.jpg
 
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taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
And we got another ~2 inches of rain today, this has to be the most rain we've had over the summer in the 14 years I've lived in the DFW area! For anyone in the area that recently installed sod, you're welcome. ;)
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
474
Dallas, TX
And we got another ~2 inches of rain today, this has to be the most rain we've had over the summer in the 14 years I've lived in the DFW area! For anyone in the area that recently installed sod, you're welcome. ;)
Congrats on the rain- I'm over on the edge of Richardson and couldn't get a drop, even today, begging for it, I kid you not, it went around us every way it could and we need a good rain.

Very nice design and layout, I like it a lot and I will say from the experience I've had the J & J lights are a very good choice, I've replaced my Pentair bulbs with theirs, so far very good.

You really want either a liquid chlorine or SWCG - why wouldn't you use what came with the Intellicenter. You've got the perfect situation since it's already in the price and on site. It will make your life very easy.
 

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
That's crazy, just 15 mins down the road and not a drop. It rained for over 3 hours here. I think when they dug my pool it created a low pressure zone directly above my house. I appreciate the feedback, I spent a lot of time going back and forth on the design and layout. I tend to go overboard on research and spent a lot of time on these forums trying to ensure I covered all the bases. Thanks for the input on the J&J's as well. One of the reasons I went with our PB is the fact that he still services some of his pools. He got started in his early 20's cleaning pools in the Highland Park area and now over 30 years later he still has some of those same clients from early on. He uses the equipment he's had the best luck with from a service, repair, and install perspective over the years, regardless of the manufacturer. I didn't like the concept of being tied into one manufacturer across the board because the PB had an agreement with them to buy only their stuff. And he still gets very competitive pricing on his equipment and is able to offer the same 3 year warranty. I actually pushed for the Intellicenter over the Jandy controller he normally uses because I wanted the pumps and controller to be from the same OEM, believe it's the first time he's ordered one which is likely why I got the wrong bundle with the IC40 included. I'll talk to him about installing it. I've went back and forth on the sanitation system, and I understand the different POV's. I haven't been able to find many posts referencing SW pools with Leuder Limestone coping and how that's held up over time though, which makes me a bit nervous. Also, would I need to change out the basketball goal from the stainless version I have to the saltwater rated version?
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
474
Dallas, TX
Sounds like someone you definitely trust. It's hard to find that these days. You just want someone to pay attention to a few details and make you feel like they know what they are doing. Sorry about the rain delays, because there is nothing in the world any longer than the time you sign that contract til the time you are able to get in the water.

I love the Stenner pump and liquid chlorine. I'm on year 3 and it really couldn't be simpler other than a trip every 3 weeks or so to get chlorine. I buy from Home Depot - usually 9 gallons at a time. That isn't a horrible experience and I don't mind it, but have thought about converting to a saltwater pool with a chlorine generator. I'm running the EasyTouch 8. If you decide not to go saltwater and think you might want to sell the IC40 and the power supply let me know, as it should retrofit in to the ET I have. I'll have to research and confirm. I haven't priced them so would have to review budget, but if you decide against using them - shoot me a price.
 

Stenner Tech Support

In The Industry
Apr 14, 2020
66
Florida
Sounds like someone you definitely trust. It's hard to find that these days. You just want someone to pay attention to a few details and make you feel like they know what they are doing. Sorry about the rain delays, because there is nothing in the world any longer than the time you sign that contract til the time you are able to get in the water.

I love the Stenner pump and liquid chlorine. I'm on year 3 and it really couldn't be simpler other than a trip every 3 weeks or so to get chlorine. I buy from Home Depot - usually 9 gallons at a time. That isn't a horrible experience and I don't mind it, but have thought about converting to a saltwater pool with a chlorine generator. I'm running the EasyTouch 8. If you decide not to go saltwater and think you might want to sell the IC40 and the power supply let me know it should retrofit in to the ET - I'll have to research and confirm. I haven't priced them so would have to review budget, but if you decide against using them - shoot me a price.
Hi,

Thank you for using Stenner Pump for your application. If at any time you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us here.
 
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Stoopalini

Gold Supporter
Jun 8, 2020
494
Central Texas
Pool Size
14060
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Wondering if I should go ahead and have it plumbed in with a bypass just in case I decide to go that route in the future?

You can get a Pentair Dummy Cell, and just have the crew plumb that in at the location where the SWG would need to be installed. This is what I did on my build, so it'll be easier to switch to SWG in the future if I decide to.


1596039281197.png
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
474
Dallas, TX
You can get a Pentair Dummy Cell, and just have the crew plumb that in at the location where the SWG would need to be installed. This is what I did on my build, so it'll be easier to switch to SWG in the future if I decide to.


View attachment 155677
Hey - you're taking away my potential purchase !! LOL.
 
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Reactions: Stoopalini

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
If you decide not to go saltwater and think you might want to sell the IC40 and the power supply let me know, as it should retrofit in to the ET I have.

PB packed up the controller and is on his way to exchange it, apparently his supplier had one of each type of bundle. Not sure if it was his mistake or the suppliers but he's a good dude, definitely don't want him to have to eat the cost. Would have loved to have made you a deal on a brand new IC40 if I could of! Appreciate your input on the stenner pump setup. My PB said the liquid chlorine is great most of the year but you really start burning through it in the summer months. Any truth to that?

You can get a Pentair Dummy Cell, and just have the crew plumb that in at the location where the SWG would need to be installed. This is what I did on my build, so it'll be easier to switch to SWG in the future if I decide to.
I literally just saw your thread last night and I'm seriously considering ordering the bypass.
 

GDN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 17, 2016
474
Dallas, TX
PB packed up the controller and is on his way to exchange it, apparently his supplier had one of each type of bundle. Not sure if it was his mistake or the suppliers but he's a good dude, definitely don't want him to have to eat the cost. Would have loved to have made you a deal on a brand new IC40 if I could of! Appreciate your input on the stenner pump setup. My PB said the liquid chlorine is great most of the year but you really start burning through it in the summer months. Any truth to that?


I literally just saw your thread last night and I'm seriously considering ordering the bypass.
I think the real answer on chlorine is that it is going to take the same amount from any source to sanitize your pool, whether pucks, liquid or Saltwater, it takes the same amount, one way just might be a little easier than another. Use this link PoolMath to calculate the amount needed for your pool and it will give you an idea how much you'll need for your pool size. My pool is on the smaller side, about 11K gallons and I think I'm using about 2 gallons a week during summer months. It can add up. That is why I was thinking you'd be interested in the Saltwater and generator. If you use pucks or some other method you'll be fighting other issues like high CYA or CH depending on the products you choose.

I'm not an expert here, all I know is from the other fine folks here and they will fill in better than I have, however to get the clean pure water with none of the other stuff in it, I'm willing to haul 40 to 50 gallons of chlorine through the year.
 

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
Need some help here folks! They finally started on stone and tile this week and after 2 trips to the tile store, 2 trips to the stone yard and viewing a nearly identical (except for tile and plaster) pool in person my better half is having second thoughts. She's really struggling with the tile, so much so that she's considering whether to rip it all off and start over with option #2. I haven't broached the subject with the PB yet so I don't even know what the implications are from a cost and schedule perspective. So many pool builds going on right now, the subs are all slammed.

I need some assurances or a cold dose of truth from the design experts on here. @kimkats you always have great inputs on design choices, thoughts? Others?

Attaching some current pics along with a close up with our #2 choice. Our plaster choice is QuartzScapes Grenadine Grey and we're using an Ivory Travertine Decking to complement the Buff Leuder coping and walls. The tile we selected is Noble NEMA 641. There is definitely a good amount of variation in the tile, which I like. I have noticed a couple areas where they've grouped the same pattern repetitively and I may ask them to pop out a few where it's super noticeable. Assuming I don't have to start over... There should be a disclaimer on the toll a pool project can put on two type A individuals! ;)

pool1.jpg
pool2.jpg
closeup2.jpg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,157
Tallahassee, FL
I would ask for a few more of #2 to see what they look like before I make any decisions.

I DO see where they use two of the same pattern side by side then again used it again one over :( They did not even try to mix them up. I would use some red tape to mark the ones you do not like and dig through the boxes to find the ones you want to put in their place.

I like the lighter color tile with your plaster and stone picks. The darker, while it is a pretty tile, it is almost too much of a contrast against the lightness of the plaster and stone.

I hope this helps! :hug: this is not fun when you start second guessing your self! I really think Mrs. will be happy once the space out the same ones.
 

taylorm007

Member
Feb 19, 2020
8
Lucas, TX
I would ask for a few more of #2 to see what they look like before I make any decisions.

I DO see where they use two of the same pattern side by side then again used it again one over :( They did not even try to mix them up. I would use some red tape to mark the ones you do not like and dig through the boxes to find the ones you want to put in their place.

I like the lighter color tile with your plaster and stone picks. The darker, while it is a pretty tile, it is almost too much of a contrast against the lightness of the plaster and stone.

I hope this helps! :hug: this is not fun when you start second guessing your self! I really think Mrs. will be happy once the space out the same ones.
Thank you for the reassurance. I think I've calmed her down for now. I marked several of the tiles for replacement, he seemed fine with it. I'll send updated pics once they wrap up the tile and stone. Thanks again!
 
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