New Build - SE Houston Area - Material Selection Help!

Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Well I've pulled the trigger on a pool builder in the SE Houston area with a tentative November start date. Looking for any and all advice I can get from the board on what I did wrong and what I did right. I have been looking on this website following pool builds and feedback from the board the last few months to educate myself as best as possible but this is my first pool so I'll take any help I can get. I've listed out the specs below and included some renderings(the sheers are messed up on the back wall in the pictures) and i addded a small tanning ledge next to the pool. I'm limited on space due to a 14' UE and some strict pool build guidelines by the city so I only had so much space to work with.

Shape: Geometric ~38’ Long X 12.5’ Wide (Including Beam)
Linear Perimeter Feet: ~93
Water Type: Salt
~7,379 (Actual computer-generated calculation based on the envelope of the pool and taking into consideration displacement for features such as spas, tanning ledges, steps, benches, etc.)
Square Feet Surface Area: ~329 Sq. Ft.
Depth: ~3’6” X 5’
Steel Specs:
Beam – ½” #4 Rebar 4 Bar Box Beam
Grid – 3/8” #3 Rebar on 8” Centers
Dam Walls – All Double Curtain Steel all 3/8” #3 Rebar on 8” Centers
Gunite – 7 to 1 Sand to Cement ratio / Minimum 12” gunite beam - Minimum 6” Walls & Floors / Approx. 7” Cove
** Lifetime Warranty on Gunite Shell Including Beam through Gunite Contractor – Non-Transferrable**
• Homeowner to water cure gunite shell twice daily, for one week after gunite completion
Pier & Beam Under Pool – N/A

Pool Features
~ 12” H X 6” H X 18” H X 6” H X 12” H X 30’ L – Raised Water Feature Wall w/ (2) 12” & (1) 18” Sheer Descents
Includes (2) Maya Square Fire Bowls – Color TBD
Raised portion will be faced and topped with high-end materials (e.g. split face travertine facing and travertine paver topping).
~6’ X 7’ Tanning Ledge w/ (1) Bubbler & Umbrella Anchor
~3.5’ X 5.5’ Tanning Ledge w/ (1) Bubbler & Umbrella Anchor
~3.5’ X 18” In front of right side small tanning ledge

Spa Specifications
Shape: Square ~6’ X 6’ Inside Dimension
Linear Perimeter Feet: ~24
Gallons: ~415
Square Feet Surface Area: ~36 Sq. Ft.
Depth: ~3’6”
~12” Raised Wall
Spa Features & Finishes
Single level bench seating 20” (Split level bench seating available upon customer request, at no additional charge)
No Step In (12” Step in available upon customer request, at no additional charge)
~Spillover Included (typically 3’) – Travertine Paver Material to match coping, or Std. Waterline Tile finish
Raised outside wall will be faced and with high-end materials (e.g. split face travertine).
(8) Jets
(1) Special Spa Return

Pool Coping & Pool/Spa Waterline Tile Specifications
Coping – 24” Travertine.

Decking Specifications
New Decking - ~620 Sq. Ft. Travertine Paver Decking
Topping Existing Areas – Yes ~180 Sq. Ft. of existing covered patio with Travertine Paver
Deck Features
Drainage Details – Standard channel drain or area drainage (depending on decking configuration) w/ gutter downspout connections as necessary
Misc. – N/A

Interior Finish Details
Wet Edge Pebble

Equipment Specifications
Pool Automation System – Pentair Easy Touch 8PS w/ ScreenLogic Smart Phone Application Controls
Standard Control System – N/A
Filter System – Pentair Clean & Clear 520 Plus Cartridge
Main Pool & Spa Pump – Pentair Intelliflo VSF 3HP Variable Speed Pump
Water Feature Pump – Pentair SuperFlo 1.5 HP VST Pump (Bubbler & Wall Features)
Additional Pumps – N/A
Sanitation System – Pentair Salt Cell Generator IC40
Purifier System – N/A
Pool Lights – (2) Pentair IntelliBrite Color 5g LED 26 Watt
Spa Light – (1) Pentair IntelliBrite Color 5g LED 18 Watt
Additional Lights – N/A
Remote Control – N/A
Heater – Pentair Max E Therm 400K BTU NG
Blower – 2 HP Spa Blower
SuperPro Auto-Fill

Plumbing & Electrical Details
• 2-1/2” Spa Suction, 2” Pool Suction
(1 yr. Warranty through WaterPointe Pools)
• All separate lines are 2”
• Sch 40 PVC Pipe for all major pool/spa plumbing
• 2-1/2” Spa returns to first “T”, 2” Returns for Pool
• Hi-Temp Unions on all Pump Connections
• Backwash Line to P-Trap @ Sanitary Sewer Installed (Where Required)
• Dual Surface Skimmers for optimum surface water circulation
• Dual Anti-Vortex/Anti-Entrapment Drains for Pool/Spa/Water Feature
• Circulation – (6) top returns, (2) bottom returns, (2) returns in tanning ledge (bubblers), (8) spa returns, (1) special spa return

Gas & Electric Runs
• 75 linear feet gas run, meter to heater
• Electrical run from equipment to main electrical panel

Pool Cleaner
Pentair Prowler 920 IG Robotic Cleaner

Pool Maintenance Equipment
1 – Telescopic pole
1 – 12” Deluxe Vacuum Head
1 – 50’ Deluxe Vacuum Hose
1 – Heavy Duty 18” Nylon Wall Brush
1 – Deluxe Deep Net Skimmer Net
1 – Water Test Strips
Pool Startup and Chemical Balance
7 Day Startup Included
 

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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,646
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Welcome fellow Texan and a great layout.
Also, you have already addressed many of the issues based on your research and reading of other construction threads.

I have read that Pentair Intellibrite lights have reliability issues. You may wish to review Pentair IntelliBrite vs GloBrite vs MicroBrite

You may want to verify if the 2 skimmers will be independently plumbed back to the equipment pad. That provides better control of each.

Also, go big on the equipment pad so equipment can be spaced out for easy access for repairs and maintenance. (if space allows)
Put a light over your equipment pad as well.

What is meant by a Spa special return? You may want to verify what this does and how it will be controlled. I am thinking it is for spa spillover but not sure. Also, request a plumbing layout design now and review it as any changes is easier now before they lay the plumbing pipe.

Verify which Pentair SWCG you are getting and ensure it is 2x your combined pool & spa volume.

Look forward to following your construction. Good Luck.
 

Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Welcome fellow Texan and a great layout.
Also, you have already addressed many of the issues based on your research and reading of other construction threads.

I have read that Pentair Intellibrite lights have reliability issues. You may wish to review Pentair IntelliBrite vs GloBrite vs MicroBrite

You may want to verify if the 2 skimmers will be independently plumbed back to the equipment pad. That provides better control of each.

Also, go big on the equipment pad so equipment can be spaced out for easy access for repairs and maintenance. (if space allows)
Put a light over your equipment pad as well.

What is meant by a Spa special return? You may want to verify what this does and how it will be controlled. I am thinking it is for spa spillover but not sure. Also, request a plumbing layout design now and review it as any changes is easier now before they lay the plumbing pipe.

Verify which Pentair SWCG you are getting and ensure it is 2x your combined pool & spa volume.

Look forward to following your construction. Good Luck.
Thanks Herman. Yes i tried to get as much info on here as I could when I was going for bids. I'll definitely confirm the two skimmers are plumbed independently and I intend on getting the equipment pad larger than normal for work down the line.

Definitely going to do some research on the lights but I looked and almost all PB quoted Intellibrite(not that it means it's the best choice).

Going to follow up on the spa special return too.
 

Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Welcome fellow Texan and a great layout.
Also, you have already addressed many of the issues based on your research and reading of other construction threads.

I have read that Pentair Intellibrite lights have reliability issues. You may wish to review Pentair IntelliBrite vs GloBrite vs MicroBrite

You may want to verify if the 2 skimmers will be independently plumbed back to the equipment pad. That provides better control of each.

Also, go big on the equipment pad so equipment can be spaced out for easy access for repairs and maintenance. (if space allows)
Put a light over your equipment pad as well.

What is meant by a Spa special return? You may want to verify what this does and how it will be controlled. I am thinking it is for spa spillover but not sure. Also, request a plumbing layout design now and review it as any changes is easier now before they lay the plumbing pipe.

Verify which Pentair SWCG you are getting and ensure it is 2x your combined pool & spa volume.

Look forward to following your construction. Good Luck.
I did find out the skimmers are plumbed separately, that's standard for their builds.

And you are correct the special spa is for the spillover.

Construction to start late October.

Updated renderings and spec sheet.
 
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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,646
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Updated renderings and spec sheet.
Great!!! it all looks well laid out. One thing I did not see was the depth of your baja shelves on each end. Just have that documented as to what water depth you wish to have in both. Keep us posted.
 
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santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
816
Santa Cruz, CA
Very nice looking design

I would suggest going with pebble top drain covers like these:


These covers are one of the only changes I wish we had made. We used pour-a-lid concealed drain covers in the exterior decking and it looks great.

Or, alternatively, get rid of the floor drains altogether.
 

Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Very nice looking design

I would suggest going with pebble top drain covers like these:


These covers are one of the only changes I wish we had made. We used pour-a-lid concealed drain covers in the exterior decking and it looks great.

Or, alternatively, get rid of the floor drains altogether.
Thanks I’ll definitely look into these. I guess standard drains are the old school white ones you stump your toe one?
 

santacruzpool

Gold Supporter
Feb 24, 2015
816
Santa Cruz, CA
I have "old school" dark ones - they look pretty nice compared to white, but yes stubbed toes are part of the issue - especially with a sports pool where you can walk in the deep end. My robot also gets stuck on them.
 
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BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
647
"Old" Katy, TX
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Personal items. Good choice on the 5' max depth. Our PB suggested 5' but my wife wanted 6', which turned out be a mistake. I want to be able to stand on the bottom anywhere--to rescue a kid (we don't have any at home) or for maintenance, plus it turns out most people do want to stand in the pool, so now the deep end is less used.

Sun shelf. For us that turned out to be a huge waste of pool area. We have never used it. Sunning is so 20th century. If I want cancer, I'll just start smoking. Instead of the sun shelf, I wish we had just done full width stairs for lots of multi level seating.

Air blower for the spa. We have a Silencer 2 hp, and it is simply too powerful and splashes water out of the spa like crazy. I called the manufacturer of the blower, and he advised a 1 hp would probably have been better, but now, since the blower is on top of a big PVC pipe he suggested drilling some 1/4" holes in the pipe to bleed off the excess air. I have maybe ten holes at different heights and positions around the pipe, and that has tamed the problem. If I change my mind, I could just tape over the holes or even put screws in them, but so far that's not likely to happen, although if I have to replace the motor, I'll get a 1 hp and cover the holes.

Spa layout. We have about a five foot spillover. I would have gone narrower than that since we typically run the pump at about half speed. Also the seat in the spa does not go all the way around--it stops where the spillover is. I would have it run the full perimeter of the spa.

That's it. Here in the Houston area we use the pool from mid April to November but the spa 12 months, since I can set the suction and return valves to isolate the spa, making it easy to heat it up in just a few minutes in January. However we didn't use in the middle part of February this year, but the icicles on the spillover were fun. :)
 
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Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Personal items. Good choice on the 5' max depth. Our PB suggested 5' but my wife wanted 6', which turned out be a mistake. I want to be able to stand on the bottom anywhere--to rescue a kid (we don't have any at home) or for maintenance, plus it turns out most people do want to stand in the pool, so now the deep end is less used.

Sun shelf. For us that turned out to be a huge waste of pool area. We have never used it. Sunning is so 20th century. If I want cancer, I'll just start smoking. Instead of the sun shelf, I wish we had just done full width stairs for lots of multi level seating.

Air blower for the spa. We have a Silencer 2 hp, and it is simply too powerful and splashes water out of the spa like crazy. I called the manufacturer of the blower, and he advised a 1 hp would probably have been better, but now, since the blower is on top of a big PVC pipe he suggested drilling some 1/4" holes in the pipe to bleed off the excess air. I have maybe ten holes at different heights and positions around the pipe, and that has tamed the problem. If I change my mind, I could just tape over the holes or even put screws in them, but so far that's not likely to happen, although if I have to replace the motor, I'll get a 1 hp and cover the holes.

Spa layout. We have about a five foot spillover. I would have gone narrower than that since we typically run the pump at about half speed. Also the seat in the spa does not go all the way around--it stops where the spillover is. I would have it run the full perimeter of the spa.

That's it. Here in the Houston area we use the pool from mid April to November but the spa 12 months, since I can set the suction and return valves to isolate the spa, making it easy to heat it up in just a few minutes in January. However we didn't use in the middle part of February this year, but the icicles on the spillover were fun. :)
Appreciate the feedback.

yea I went back and forth on the 5 or 5’6 and talked to enough people that have pools that preferred the 5’. We have a newborn so we won’t have any kids diving or anything like that.
The sun shelf is all for my wife and the little one. They will get the use out of it. We have a community pool with a sun shelf and I actually use it quite a bit too but duly noted on the suggestion.

Interesting on the blower. I will look into that. Worst case I can do what you did and drill some hole but I hadn’t read that issue from anyone else so I’ll definitely look into it.
Noted on the spa. I’ll talk to the builder.
 

Mbb04

Member
Jul 31, 2021
20
League City
Need some help with material selection. We were originally going with a travertine deck - Philadelphia color - and went back to the double check our waterline tile at the store this weekend and they just released a blasted marble that looks awesome and is about the same price. Pros and cons of marble? I know it’s usually slicker but the blasted marble actually has more texture than the travertine. I imagine white is going to be tough to clean but the travertine is light too. We are leaning to the waterline tile on the right. The splitface on our spa and raised wall is almost the same as what is shown in the picture(our outdoor kitchen). And i know the darker waterline will take more upkeep to keep clean.
 

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renesme

Gold Supporter
Jul 5, 2018
88
Katy, TX
Pool Size
9100
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I like the one on the right. The zigzaggy coloring is neat!
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,194
Tallahassee, FL
You rang??? Love your pool design so far! Well done!

Tiles-I like the both but the one on the right is my fav. One big thing you will want to think about and play around with will be the grout color-white will make each tile pop out where a darker gray will help them blend in better. BOTH are very pretty but wanted you to think about it ahead of time. They should have grout sticks for you to borrow to help you see what each one will look like.

Another thing is the tile installers. They are going to have to be top shelve installers to get good placement and even sized on the end runs and in the skimmer area. Have them really think about where the end tiles will be so there are not tiny tile cut that will show up too much.
 
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KCNM

Silver Supporter
May 20, 2021
218
Tampa Bay, FL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Truclear / Ei
You rang??? Love your pool design so far! Well done!

Tiles-I like the both but the one on the right is my fav. One big thing you will want to think about and play around with will be the grout color-white will make each tile pop out where a darker gray will help them blend in better. BOTH are very pretty but wanted you to think about it ahead of time. They should have grout sticks for you to borrow to help you see what each one will look like.

Another thing is the tile installers. They are going to have to be top shelve installers to get good placement and even sized on the end runs and in the skimmer area. Have them really think about where the end tiles will be so there are not tiny tile cut that will show up too much.
I liked what my installer did, when he noticed that the tile cuts would be too narrow at the skimmer. He started shifting the sheets ever-so-slightly over, so that each sheet had a slightly larger gap than between each tile in the sheet. He did that over several feet. I can barely see it only because I know he did it and what to look for.

I bring it up because with an offset tile like that, the best cut is really along one edge of one row, and in the middle of the other row. Anything else, and one of the tiles will be cut smaller than a half. So trickery like they did on mine is a good option to keep the cutting clean.
 
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KCNM

Silver Supporter
May 20, 2021
218
Tampa Bay, FL
Pool Size
10000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Truclear / Ei
@kimkats You'll have to excuse the Crud angle, because I wasn't going to hop in for this picture.

I forgot that he actually cut the backing to make it even smaller than sheets when he did this. You can see every ~3 tile-widths or so, the pattern has a complete vertical line. Every single one of them is slightly widened. As I said, it's definitely something you can see, but very subtle.

And yes, I'm quite happy with all the subs my PB used. Good quality work all around.

20211022_140922 - Copy.jpg
 

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