New fiberglass OB in NJ

NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
So after lurking here for a long time I'm ready to post my own build. Towards the end of January my fiberglass pool from swim usa will be delivered. Now I know to most this is probably an unheard of company to most but they manufacturer pools less than 5 miles from my house. They have a model I really like that is 16x44 with a large tanning ledge unlike the other major brands. Anyway after long discussions with guy who runs place he emphasized that everyone struggles with getting the grade right for the tanning ledge. For warranty purposes they want 3/8 crushed not the typical #57. He said to build a couple piers of cmu block shimmed with shingles on the ledge then pack it from the sides with 3/8 stone.

Now I am an extremely handy person, in construction with my own equipment, but after seeing the pool model in person I'm really second guessing my ability to properly backfill that portion of the pool. So my thoughts now are to screed the hopper and shallow end with the 3/8 stone. Set the cmu piers with a laser. Fill and backfill the pool up to the tanning ledge then have flowable fill brought in for a that.

So my question is, has anyone back filled just a portion of a pool this way? I'm confident in my abilities to backfill 90% of the pool but the large ledge just seems like a problem area. I have no problem spending the extra money on the fill if it will get me a better final product.
 
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Apsuhead

Bronze Supporter
Apr 27, 2020
220
Clarksville TN
Pool Size
19250
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-9)
I like the plans. I just had a 16x38 fiberglass pool with deep end and diving board installed a few weeks ago by our PB who has been in business for over 30 years. They manufacture the pools and install. They have a brand pool design for 2021. 16x40 with tanning ledge. Big price increase though. I’m excited to see how yours turns out 👍
Here are the plans for our fiberglass PB’s new design ...
78FBF3A4-FDB7-4381-97A5-AEABD77C4F82.jpeg
 

NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
So the one we ordered is very similar to yours but has a hopper style deep end. They gave me a very detailed dig sheet that they said would be on the money if shot with a laser. The tanning ledge area just seems very intricate. I would definitely sleep better at night if I brought a truck of flowable fill in for just that area of the pool. I was just wondering if anyone here has mixed backfill materials like this and if there are any downsides to it.

The manufacturer also offered to have one of his guys come out for a small fee to observe the install process so that I would maintain the full warranty. Typically they dont warranty OBs but being how close I am he was ok with it.

Gotta say I've learned a ton reading through this forum from plumbing, to equipment choice, to installing the pool. The wealth of knowledge here is unbelievable.
 
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NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
Thanks for that, I've actually been though that numerous times now as well as checked out all of river pools blogs. I've found in construction that you learn the most from failures. Successes might be an improper install that just hasn't failed yet. All of the detailed posts on here of issues, their causes and remedies are invaluable.

I am a little nervous but confident I can do it successfully. There's no rush on my end and will take my time to ensure its dropped in and back filled properly. I also should have the remainder of my security system installed this week. That will cover the pool area and I plan on doing a time lapse of the project. I'm terrible at documenting my work so it should be interesting to actually look back at the process for once.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,182
Morris Cnty NJ
I passed one of swimusa shells the other day on way to a job. Was hogging up 2+ lanes sitting flat on the trailer.
No issue with flowable fill. I use it all the time. You never set on 3/4 stone you want 3/8" granular stone. Even smaller stuff is ok theres a mix known as turkey grit that is 1/4 amd 3/8 mixed together it packs well. Just dont over excavate and if you have access use a cleanup bucket for the last few inches and compact well. If your hole ismt dry amd stable you can use forms shot with a laser amd screed them off then fill voids. Dont skimp on compaction yiu can't over do it. For the ledge leave it lower than needed and specify non shrink mix for that. Piers are a good idea if you can get them in clean like with a skidsteer auger or miniX auger. Just keep the overdig tight in that area and form it if needed before filling it. Domt be scared to reset it several times if needed amd make sure its -/+ half inch max, 1/4 is ideal. Shells aren't perfect check in a few spots amd take ur time setting a benchmark amd your elevations
 

NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
I passed one of swimusa shells the other day on way to a job. Was hogging up 2+ lanes sitting flat on the trailer.
No issue with flowable fill. I use it all the time. You never set on 3/4 stone you want 3/8" granular stone. Even smaller stuff is ok theres a mix known as turkey grit that is 1/4 amd 3/8 mixed together it packs well. Just dont over excavate and if you have access use a cleanup bucket for the last few inches and compact well. If your hole ismt dry amd stable you can use forms shot with a laser amd screed them off then fill voids. Dont skimp on compaction yiu can't over do it. For the ledge leave it lower than needed and specify non shrink mix for that. Piers are a good idea if you can get them in clean like with a skidsteer auger or miniX auger. Just keep the overdig tight in that area and form it if needed before filling it. Domt be scared to reset it several times if needed amd make sure its -/+ half inch max, 1/4 is ideal. Shells aren't perfect check in a few spots amd take ur time setting a benchmark amd your elevations
Thanks Jim, this is exactly the information I was looking for. I'm digging the hole with a kubota tractor I own. It might take some time, but I've gotten really good at excavating with it. My soil here is pine sugar sand all the way down to at least 10ft, which is the farthest down I've been. So the top being frozen will actually help to keep it from caving in.
My plan is to dig the shoebox with my front loader and leaving the ledge not dug out for a ramp. Then I will dig the hopper out with the backhoe doing the details with a shovel. Last for how intricate the ledge is, I will probably do that by hand as well. All no more than 4-6" deeper than needed. Also will be installing a 10" pvc pipe with a 4" perforated pipe buried in a French drain under the deep end for dewatering. The pool will be going in a low spot in the yard so I plan on only going down 6 1/2 feet with all of the excavated dirt going around the outside pool graded away from it. This should leave the pool 6" or so higher than the surrounding area and cut down on how much I need to excavate.
As far as setting the pool, I intend to rent a lull with outriggers for a week so I can pull the shell as many times as needed until its level. The cost to rent a lull for a week is cheaper than a crane for a day and I see that leisure pools up the street from me moving and placing all of their pools with just a lull. The only thing I'm really up in the air about right now is using a spreader bar for the lift. Swim USA says its required and yet they them selves never use one and neither does leisure pools when they are moving theirs around. They also have pictures of the pools being installed and none of them are using spreader bars, just 4 30ft slings. So what's the deal? Are these shells really that delicate. I mean I see leisure pools stacking 10 shells on top of each other then going down the road to who knows how far with what I assume is no damage.
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,182
Morris Cnty NJ
Nice to have spreader bars but lumber works. Span the shell with 2x4s T braced and make them lock in the ends with a cutout onto the lip of the shell. Then strap over that area w the slings. You basically dont want to pinch flex the sides. A large shell can be around 1500# just be sure the machine can handle the reach, its sketchy driving with a pool hanging out front. Way easier with a small crane or a 200+ class excavator. If base is prepped right amd you have good plans its half day on Crane at best and he will have his own spreader bars.
 

NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
Nice to have spreader bars but lumber works. Span the shell with 2x4s T braced and make them lock in the ends with a cutout onto the lip of the shell. Then strap over that area w the slings. You basically dont want to pinch flex the sides. A large shell can be around 1500# just be sure the machine can handle the reach, its sketchy driving with a pool hanging out front. Way easier with a small crane or a 200+ class excavator. If base is prepped right amd you have good plans its half day on Crane at best and he will have his own spreader bars.
With the pool being rectangular I was going to brace the walls across with 3 2x6s evenly space during the backfill. Along with string lining the length of the pool. I hadn't thought of using them during the pick as well, that's a good idea. According to swim usa the pool is roughly 4000 lbs. and if I'm lucky I might be able to get a stinger truck crane from work for free for a day. Well not free but the cost of a case of beer. Also swim usa offered to lend me out their spreader bar being as they never use it, go figure.
 

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NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
The other reason I was thinking the lull is I drive past leisure pools storage yard everyday for work. All day long they are picking, moving, flipping, and stacking with the same 2 lulls. They arent even big ones with outriggers. Frequently I see the operator of the lull with 2 ropes steering the shell while he's driving with his knee on the steering wheel. Next time I see them doing it, I'll have to get a picture.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,182
Morris Cnty NJ
I hear you I've seen some sketchy stuff too. Difference is its mot their 20k already spent on the shell. Make sure to inspect the shell for hair cracks amd plam for unloading. The one I saw was flat on a landoll type flatbed. The few times I've installed one we unloaded w the excavator amd later moved w it after plumbing some stuff. 2x4s amd string are the way w a rectangle sounds like you got a plan amd good idea what to do. Remember to plug ur holes before filling with water amd fill amd backfill evenly.
 

JPontius6

Active member
Jul 17, 2019
31
Indiana
You can do it! I installed my own 16x40 fiberglass pool in the summer of 2019. Check out my build thread. Lots of information and good questions asked there, including a discussion about flowable fill (I used it under my tanning ledge). One warning about FF: you have to be absolutely POSITIVE that you dam up enough gravel and have filled your pool (deep end) enough to keep the FF from flowing under the pool. If you haven't stopped it well enough, it WILL flow under the pool shell, lifting it up and causing you to have to pull the shell and start over.

Note: I used a 12k telehandler to move my shell.

 

NJpoolNoob

Member
Dec 27, 2020
15
Hammonton NJ
You can do it! I installed my own 16x40 fiberglass pool in the summer of 2019. Check out my build thread. Lots of information and good questions asked there, including a discussion about flowable fill (I used it under my tanning ledge). One warning about FF: you have to be absolutely POSITIVE that you dam up enough gravel and have filled your pool (deep end) enough to keep the FF from flowing under the pool. If you haven't stopped it well enough, it WILL flow under the pool shell, lifting it up and causing you to have to pull the shell and start over.

Note: I used a 12k telehandler to move my shell.


JP, I just read through your thread. You did a great job on your install! So after checking out yours, I'm confident on putting my pool in with a lull. I have the space to drive it in without needing to swing it long ways from the machine so I will be able to keep the weight close to it. Your also one of the few people I see that has posted the price of just the shell. Gotta say I feel good about mine now as it was a few thousand more but is larger. Swim usa is also off loading it from the truck as well.
My estimates for savings doing it myself were right around 20k too. Honestly if someone did a quality job that 20k would be well earned. The main reason I'm DIY is I'm anel about the way things get done, and fortunately I have the equipment to excavate. If I had to rent a machine to dig, set, and backfill I'd probably sub it out. But then there is also the issue that every good PB is booked at least a year our.
So right now I have the pool house about half built. If I can manage to get that complete, and half the pool fence in by March I'll be tracking right along to be swimming by memorial day.
 

JPontius6

Active member
Jul 17, 2019
31
Indiana
JP, I just read through your thread. You did a great job on your install! So after checking out yours, I'm confident on putting my pool in with a lull. I have the space to drive it in without needing to swing it long ways from the machine so I will be able to keep the weight close to it. Your also one of the few people I see that has posted the price of just the shell. Gotta say I feel good about mine now as it was a few thousand more but is larger. Swim usa is also off loading it from the truck as well.
My estimates for savings doing it myself were right around 20k too. Honestly if someone did a quality job that 20k would be well earned. The main reason I'm DIY is I'm anel about the way things get done, and fortunately I have the equipment to excavate. If I had to rent a machine to dig, set, and backfill I'd probably sub it out. But then there is also the issue that every good PB is booked at least a year our.
So right now I have the pool house about half built. If I can manage to get that complete, and half the pool fence in by March I'll be tracking right along to be swimming by memorial day.

good luck! and let me know if you have an specific questions along the way.