New Member and New Pool Ideas

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
New here and have been checking out threads for the past few weeks. We are about to install a pool and we are interviewing contractors right now. We will be in this house for maybe 10 years and have 3 small kids: 9, 6 and 4. We don't want to wait until the next house and realize we won't get over half our money back out of a pool when we sell. So, we've decided on a vinyl lined saltwater pool with nice concrete or stone coping. We want a large pool, as we have 3 kids and numerous friends who will be using it at the same time. So, we are going 20x40 rectangle with, hopefully, a 9' deep end. I'm looking for ideas on what to focus on, and what to prioritize: heat pump vs hot tub, how much decking is actually needed or desired, any extras that are much better to add when pool is installed, etc. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. We are in the beginning stages, and hope to hire someone soon. Just making sure we cover all our bases as we go.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: The questions you are asking have very broad opportunities for responses depending on each person's experience and of course - opinion. :) But here are mine to get you started.....
- Our pool is about that size (16x40). Good size for about 10-15 people.
- A decent sized shallow end will allow for games like volleyball and basketball.
- When you shop for a salt water generator, be sure to get one 2x the size rated for your pool
- As for a connected spa .... unless you are really going to use it a lot, I would just get a seperate hot tub. Lots of members have spas connected to their pool, but they also come with their own unique set of challenges which you may not want in that home if you move later. Just my 2 cents.
- When you get some quotes, post back with all the potential equipment items and we'll help you more.
- Are you on a well in your area? If so, start preparing for ways to have water trucked-in or develop a pre-filtering plan to remove iron.

Happy shopping!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
39,926
Tallahassee, FL
OH goody!!! Look everyone! A pool for kids to build!! Lets get this party started!!!! :party:

YES get the deep diving pool! This will be one of the kids fav thing to do!!

Would you happen to have room to make a L shaped pool? The reason I ask is because to me it is the best of all. The "foot" of the L can be all 4' which makes it purrfect for MANY kinds of fun and games!!! Then the "leg" of the L is for diving well and slope to it!

Look at this game: Amazon.com: Watermelon Ball – The Ultimate Swimming Pool Game | Pool Ball for Under Water Passing, Dribbling, Diving and Pool Games for Teens, Kids, or Adults | 9 in. Ball Fills with Water: Toys & Games

Pat has you well covered on the other stuff so I get to do the "fun" stuff LOL

Kim:kim:
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
Forgot to mention, we are in Georgia, more to the north of the state near Athens (home of University of Georgia). So, the weather is extremely hot in the summer, we have mild winters, and we are considering piggy backing the hot tub, just so the entire back yard isn't wasted during the colder months. Probably the same thought as everyone else who has one. We can get a good 4-6 months of swimming here, depending on the year. I'm struggling with deciding whether we run a gas heater to the pool from our propane tank for extended use at both the beginning and end of the season, or if a hot tub would be better use of the money, for year round enjoyment. I'm putting one of my Big Green Eggs out by the pool for grilling, and I think I'll spend a lot of time out there.

We are meeting a contractor this morning and I do plan to ask about the L shape. I really don't think we have room unless we shrink down the deep width. We have a large back yard, but it is perfectly laid out to have a pure rectangle right in the middle. I even have an elevated area where it will go behind my septic drainage field. I don't want to sacrifice decking for the shape of the pool. We'll see. I'm imagining adding the L will add substantially to the cost. I did consider having the hot tub off to the side of the L and built into the shallow end, but not taking away from the pool though. That's something else I'm going to ask him about.

Thanks for the replies. I'm going to have a ton of questions. I'm pretty OCD and love learning about things, instead of just having someone else do them and never learning. So, this will be a great project for me.
 

Justify

Member
May 7, 2019
7
Iowa
We're in process of building pool (hopefully breaking ground next month). We decided on simple rectangle 18x36, mainly because an auto cover is #1 priority for us (safety concerns and I also hope to have warm water for early morning swims).
So while I agree with kimkats about L-shaped pools advantages, I think auto cover is something to consider, especially when your children are quite young. I know any pool shape can accommodate an auto cover, but then the rails are outside of the pool which means a tripping hazard.
Also, because I want as much space for lap swimming as possible, we are getting corner stairs so I can use all the 36ft lenght for swimming. No sun decks, spas, benches etc... We'll get 12 ft of shallow end (3'6'') then sloping to 8' deep end.
Our pool will be vinyl lined saltwater too and we're getting polymer (not steel) walls.
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
So, we met with a really awesome contractor this morning and he gave us some great ideas. We are definitely going with 20x40, as we have the room and it fits our yard and family really well. We are going to spring for extra decking. His standard price includes 4' on each side and 8' on each end. I think we are going 12' on the shallow end, 10' on one side, 6' on the other side and 8' on the diving board side. We will set the fence back 3' outside the concrete, where we can put mulch, pea gravel and some plants inside the fence to make it more aesthetically pleasing. That also allows us to expand and pour a little more concrete later, if we feel we need more room somewhere. His plan automatically includes a Pentair Salt Generator and a Polaris Pressure Side pool cleaner. Also, he does not do the aluminum coping, and only uses concrete or stone, which is what we prefer. Steps and diving board will both be grey, to better match the pool (I just hope they don't get hot because they are a darker color).

He uses Latham liners. We really liked the Grey Mosaic and also liked the Natural Grey. The Grey Mosaic is a little lighter, and I think they water would be lighter, which is appealing with smaller kids. We don't like the tans or greens, and don't want water so dark we can't see kids easily underwater in cloudy or dark conditions. This may be the hardest part. It's hard to imagine the pool without seeing exact pictures of the water. Really wish I could find a few good pictures of the Grey Mosaic. It seems to be a newer color and there aren't any good pictures out there that I've found.

I really wanted to install a gas heater, but after talking to the contractor, he said he could do it, and some people really want them. However, he said it would rarely be used, and he didn't feel it was worth the money. $3600 is not appealing if it'll never be used. He said it would cost hundreds to heat the pool when it was cold, and it may add a few weeks to each end of the swimming season, at best. I'm in Georgia, so I don't know what to do here. I'd love to have more use out of the pool, especially if it's just getting it up to temp when it's cooler in April and May, or in October. But, if it costs me a few hundred dollars to do so each time, I'm not sure how often I'd use it. Any suggestions here?

We did decide against the built in hot tub. He said that they are nice, but very expensive, and are harder to work on if there is a problem. His thought that they are more aesthetically pleasing, but he'd prefer to have a stand alone hot tub, if it were him. We could always add a separate one in the winter, if we feel like we really want it.

Other than the liner color, we are trying to decide decking. We want two tones, one grey as the coping around the pool edge, and a lighter grey or sand color as the concrete. Not sure if we should have colored concrete poured, or if we should have regular concrete poured and then we acid stain it or have SunDek put on it after the fact. We just don't want it to be plain Jane concrete, and want it to look nice and match the house.

Any suggestions or thoughts are appreciated. I'm trying to learn, but it's near impossible to do without ever having done this before.
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
After a day of thought, I'm considering skipping the safety cover. We will have a 6' decorative fence with a keypad lock around the pool, and I despise looking at a covered up pool. Thinking of one in my backyard for 5-6 months of the year stinks. I'd much rather keep it open, even if it can't be used. It would at least be more pleasant to go out there and grill, sit by the fire pit, etc. If it's covered, I know we won't go out there at all. What are your thoughts on not covering over the winter? I'm in north Georgia, and it rarely freezes here. Other than the few weeks of leaf drop, is there a downside to not using a cover over the winter?

Also, what about LED vs Halogen pool lights? The contractor includes 1 LED, and said the Halogen is much brighter and cheaper, and easier to replace the bulb. However, he said most people get the LED due to being able to use different colors for night effects, so that's what he includes.

What are your thoughts on these two things? Sorry for all the questions. I'm trying to contain it all in one post. I'm just trying to learn and don't want to make a very expensive mistake.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
5,170
Central MD
Propane is very expensive to heat pools with. So the thoughts there are valid. Sometimes it comes down to things like, are you going to want your kids to swim during spring break, do you despise swimming below 85 degrees, etc. During the main summer months you are fine. But there will always be some swimable weather where the pool isn't up to your comfort range.

Don't go crazy about trying see your exact liner to determine water color. There are tons of liners that are similar to the one you want. Find pictures of them. You will see tons of shades of water (in the same family) with those similar liners. All of those colors will be seen at some point while you own the pool. Many on the same day. People drive themselves crazy on that one. Another point is I've never heard someone say they had trouble seeing people in a pool if the water was clear. Unless I've missed those posts.

Good idea on the hot tub if you value comfort over aesthetics. Standalones are ugly in my book, just not designer material.

Many people keep pools open in similar areas. It sounds like your desire for a year-round water view will allow you to be understanding of the negatives of debris/freezing/maintenance during the off-season.
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
So, it is manageable? I do have a lot of trees around me. I live in a neighborhood, but it's almost like we are out in the woods. The most miserable thing is we have 2 really large sweetgums about 20ft behind where the pool will be. So, I'll be battling sweetgum balls. I can't cut them down, though, as the rear of our house faces west and those trees, along with a very tall longneedle pine is the only thing keeping sun from blaring in our back windows each afternoon. So, they have to stay.

My initial plan is to put a leaf net down over the pool for the 3-4 weeks when everything falls. Here, that is generally in November-early December. Hopefully, that will drastically reduce the work required.
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
5,170
Central MD
I didn't actually say manageable as that word is subjective. As much as I love my pool, I like getting time off from my pool as well. But you definitely need to hear from those who do it.

Calling mid-latituders who live in the woods...
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
So, if a gas heater with propane isn't recommended, is it recommended to leave a heater out completely, or is there a way to add a month to the beginning and end of the season with another type heater? I know I can go with a solar blanket, and it might give me a week or so on each side of the season, but I don't see it giving much more than that. Is a heat pump or even solar heat more cost effective and still functional?
 
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jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,040
Morris Cnty NJ
I would ditch the booster cleaner and the associated plumbing and you should save a grand off the build. They stink and cost money to run. Buy a robot on your own they are the best. You can go narrow on concrete on at least one side of pool 3-4 ft is plenty to walk around to brush. Add it where your table and chairs will be. You can add a heater later with propane it's an easy run and if anything have him plumb in a stub out setup so it's easy to add. I rarely use my gas heater. I use it for day of swimming early or late season point if use. It's not hundreds unless you set a temp like upper 80s and just let it heat all the time. A day of heating is 20-30 dollars but your pool is big and with propane it will ne more to go 10-15 degrees. Solar cover is cheapest way to retain heat but it's a pain. I just added solar and my wife and kids are in love. They just got out of a night swim a few min ago and my water is 94 degrees in NJ and heat is free. Well worth it to me if you want warm water all summer. In GA you will see mid to upper 80s with summer temps and sun on the pool. It's the cooler before and after season that's hard on the pocket. If your not staying for 10 or so years skip the hottub. Way expensive to add and not worth it. A standalone is better can use all winter and when you move take it with you or do it later after your pocket recovers.
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
So, would you install the heater again, or are you saying you use it so infrequently, it isn't worth the money? The heater is $3600, and the tank is $2500 installed and gas line run. That's a $6k upgrade, that most people are saying they don't use because it gets so expensive.

I'm intrigued by the solar setups. How much area of panels are needed for a pool my size, and how well do they work vs gas?
 

Tenab

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2019
90
NE Texas
Fwiw I'm in Texas. My water is staying at 86 currently. At night, it's a bit cold for us. So we bump our heat pump up one degree just for the bit of time we're in the pool.

Idk if we can extend our season any based on our experience so far, but I am glad we have it now and it's late June with heat index in the 100s.(our pool is shaded by 5pm)
 

Wobblerlorri

Bronze Supporter
I'm on the other side of the state from you, mayberry, which incidentally we call our small town too! I'm maybe a titch north of you.

I would imagine our climate is pretty much the same, and I count on swimming well into October and probably November, if the leaf drop from the 100+ year old oak in the front yard doesn't drive me NUTS. I also expect to start swimming in late March or early April, given how crazy our weather is now. So I'd say No Heater, unless you really want to swim in January or February. Or wait a year and see if it's something you'd really use.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
10,606
Evans, Georgia
I'm not far from you Mayberry32..... count me in on watching this build.

As to the gumball trees.... AAAaccck!! Horrible nasty things! Cut those suckers down!! How about planting something else that doesn't drop large, prickly balls that hurt to step on and mess up the yard. Hate those things.

Maddie :flower:
 

mayberry32

Well-known member
Jun 24, 2019
48
Watkinsville, GA
I would love nothing more than to cut them down. But you can't replace 100 ft trees. These things are huge, and down a slope, and the next closest tree in height behind them is 40 ft shorter. So, there would be no block from the sun until 7pm in the summer. They absolutely have to be there, or we have to put shades all across the back of our house.
They are at least 20-25 ft away, so at least it won't be a horrible drop. But, I know there will be some sweetgum balls inside the pool.
 

jimmythegreek

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Aug 10, 2017
1,040
Morris Cnty NJ
I need the heater for my climate but I also have the luxury of contractor pricing and self install so it doesn't cost me much. To spend 6k would be a no go for me. A heat pump would be better for you and probably less overall when you figure tank costs. Propane is very expensive to burn as well. Solar you need at least half your pool surface area to be worth it and the deeper your pool the more you want. If you have strong sun and decent outdoor temps you will have gain. I would not be able to extend my season with just solar here in NJ its just not warm enough and sun not strong enough. The handful of times the kids wanna swim we heat the water for the day usually a weekend so we try to use it both days
 

bmoreswim

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Jul 16, 2012
5,170
Central MD
This suggestion will not save you money but will help in three areas. Easy heat retention, cleanliness and safety. Since you are installing a rectangular pool, have you considered an autocover? It's probably a $10-15K add-on. @YippeeSkippy is in GA, has an autocover, is in the woods, with no heater I believe.