New member pool planning in N. Atlanta

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
We've got pool consultations lined up and have started the planning process, so I just wanted to pop in and say hello. We're looking to have a roughly 18'x30' (maybe longer) freeform gunite pool installed later this year as part of a backyard renovation. I have an existing stand-alone HotSpring Grandee saltwater hot tub under our deck, so I'll be skipping an attached hottub. Instead, we'll likely go for a more elaborate waterfall setup. The pool will be recessed into the side of a hill, and we'd like to do a large rock/boulder retaining wall with a waterfall coming over the top, and perhaps steps up to a jumping rock. We'd also like a decent sized tanning ledge. I'm thinking of a modified kidney setup with a bump out for the tanning ledge. I'll definitely be going SWG, and I'm leaning toward cartridge filters. The only other concerns I have are tying in an existing 25'x25' brick patio with the pool decking and our current patio underdecking, which is slate. I'll try and get some pictures when I have a moment, and will also plan to seek out help with quotes, when they're available. Until then, feel free to offer up any suggestions.
 
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darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
Here are some pics to show you what we're working with. The brick patio is 25' square for reference. The pool is planned where the hill/ivy is now on the right hand side. The elevation change for the hill is about 12' to the top. We'll likely want raised walls for the decking and/or pool with a step down to the existing patio. For layout, I'm thinking a relaxed kidney shape on the hill side, with 3 bump-outs on the patio side (2 smaller and 1 larger with tanning ledge). We want to keep it natural looking to flow with the landscape. Let me know any suggestions for materials. The area will get full morning sun up until 2pm then part shade for the rest of the day.

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markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
I am in Marietta and can say get the biggest cartridge filter you can afford and fit. Like you I have a lot of tree's and between pollen and other tree junk they can clog up a smaller filter.
 
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darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
I am in Marietta and can say get the biggest cartridge filter you can afford and fit. Like you I have a lot of tree's and between pollen and other tree junk they can clog up a smaller filter.
Good to know. Is there such a thing as too big for the cartridge filters? How often do you have to pull and clean the filters? On my hot tub, I'm in the habit of pulling and cleaning about once every 2 months.
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
Good to know. Is there such a thing as too big for the cartridge filters? How often do you have to pull and clean the filters? On my hot tub, I'm in the habit of pulling and cleaning about once every 2 months.
In my opinion no bigger is better. I clean mine in the spring once or twice, we get a lot of pollen but skimmer socks or hair nets helps a lot. If you keep water clear using the Tftp method it’s usually easy to clean them.
Then I usually clean again in the fall but usually not that dirty.
My filter pressure may go up 1 of if they get dirty but I usually know by watching the water fall and if the flow volume loons lower
 

Smalone

Active member
Jun 16, 2019
35
Atlanta
At our previous house we also had a HotSprings Grandee and now that we building a pool at our new house in Marietta our builder was shocked that we didn't want a spa. I told him one you have a real hot tub, a concrete bench isn't going to cut it! Nevermind having to wait 25 minutes for the water to get warm.....
 

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
At our previous house we also had a HotSprings Grandee and now that we building a pool at our new house in Marietta our builder was shocked that we didn't want a spa. I told him one you have a real hot tub, a concrete bench isn't going to cut it! Nevermind having to wait 25 minutes for the water to get warm.....
I can relate, and 25 minutes is assuming the water is already warm. In winter it takes mine a couple hours sometimes.
I have debated separating it from the pool
And adding it’s own pump/filter and heater.
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
Thanks! I appreciate the feedback. After having the stand alone hot tub, I don't think I'd ever be happy with an integrated tub. While the integrated tubs typically look nicer, I love the practicality of having a stand alone tub. In the colder months, I'm regularly using my tub daily, and it's so nice having it ready all of the time! I've also never encountered jets on an integrated that were as good as the jets on my Grandee. It is a bit more maintenance with water changes and separate filter cleaning, but the positives are certainly worth it.
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
We had our first contractor consultation yesterday, and should have a quote from them within 7-10 days. They had some good ideas I hadn't thought of, and were very receptive/responsive to questions, so I could definitely see us working with them. They're also proposing Pentair equipment, which I see as a plus. I'll be sure to post up a redacted copy of the quote for comments when I get it. I've got 2 other contractors lined up. One is next Tuesday, and the other is still unknown. I got a referral from a friend for the 3rd, and they said it would be early July, but couldn't give me an exact date until closer to time. The crazy thing is that I had 2 reputable contractors that won't even return calls or emails. I finally did get one to answer their phone, and it was more or less just a "sorry, we're not taking on new work at this time."
 
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markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
We had our first contractor consultation yesterday, and should have a quote from them within 7-10 days. They had some good ideas I hadn't thought of, and were very receptive/responsive to questions, so I could definitely see us working with them. They're also proposing Pentair equipment, which I see as a plus. I'll be sure to post up a redacted copy of the quote for comments when I get it. I've got 2 other contractors lined up. One is next Tuesday, and the other is still unknown. I got a referral from a friend for the 3rd, and they said it would be early July, but couldn't give me an exact date until closer to time. The crazy thing is that I had 2 reputable contractors that won't even return calls or emails. I finally did get one to answer their phone, and it was more or less just a "sorry, we're not taking on new work at this time."
I had a "plaster guy" who also starting doing pool builds. Last I heard he went out of business.
He was great at plastering but was more of "OK here is your plaster job have fun"
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
So I have our 1st design/quote, and I'm waiting on our 2nd. I'm not in love with the design of the 1st quote, so I'll hold off on posting it for now, as I know it would require substantial changes if I were to go with it anyway. Pricing was about 25% higher than expected, but a lot of that had to do with them wanting to do a 28" raised beam around the entirety of the pool. I likely will be looking for 2-3 additional quotes in the Atlanta area (Alpharetta). Feel free to PM me with any recommendations to go with or stay away from!
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
I just got in the design plan for our 2nd quote, and am really liking this one! The designer seemed to be more in touch with what we wanted. I'm still awaiting the cost proposal, so hopefully it doesn't blow our budget out of the water, but this builder is known to do good work and has a great reputation. We also had a consult with a 3rd builder on Monday, so we'll certainly have options. Here is some eye candy from the 2nd plan.
 

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markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
I know you have a separate spa but are you adding a heater? I use mine once or twice a year to heat the pool up. Actually the natural gas isn't too expensive and the kids loved it.
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
Sent you a message
Thanks! I appreciate the feedback regarding specific vendor experiences.
I know you have a separate spa but are you adding a heater? I use mine once or twice a year to heat the pool up. Actually the natural gas isn't too expensive and the kids loved it.
I am planning to go with a gas heater. While I likely won't use it regularly, I figure it will be a good investment to extend the season. Our gas meter is only about 15' or so from where the equipment pad will be as well, so not a lot of added cost for the run.
 
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darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
I have the full estimate now, and we are probably one step closer as this is our clear frontrunner. Here is a breakdown of the details from the quoted plan above. I've been lurking here for a minute, so I knew a lot of the basics to ask, but I'd appreciate any feedback/comments or additional questions I should be asking up front.

35'x23', 103 lineal ft and 626 sq. ft.
Depth 3.5' - 8' - profile will be finalized prior to rebar
Approximately 25k gallons
2 skimmers & 4 Returns
Plumbing Schedule 40 - 1.5" Returns & 2" Skimmers
Rebar Steel #3 - 12" on center
Pneumatically applied Shotcrete Shell in lieu of Gunite
Pebble Tec or Pebble Sheen finish
12'x30" boulder waterfall
Tanning Ledge approx 8' x 6' with umbrella sleeve and 2 bubblers - size will be confirmed prior to rebar
Belgard Paver decking
Natural TN Flagstone Steps, stack stone walls, and coping
I've asked for part #'s on all equipment, but here is the breakdown they provided:
4 Jandy Pro Series WaterColors Nicheless LED lights
Jandy® Pro Series Aqualink RS8 Automation System with Jandy® iAquaLink™ 2.0 - Smart Device
Jandy® AquaPure® Electronic Salt Water Chlorine Generator * - Confirming to be double size
Jandy® Pro Series JXI400N™ 400K BTU Natural Gas Pool Heater
Jandy Stealth™ Pump by Zodiac 2.0 for bubblers and waterfall plumbed independently
Jandy® VS 2.7 Main Pump by Zodiac®
Jandy® CV Cartridge Filter by Zodiac® (no backwash required)
Polaris® ALPHA™ iQ+ Robot
 
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markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
3,521
Atlanta Ga
Can't comment on the other stuff but get the biggest cartridge filter you can afford and will fit. No backwash required means you have to remove them and clean them and in Atlanta we get tons of pollen and "tree junk". I don't know if CV is a series or size but trust me go big :)
 

darkrider

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2021
46
North Atlanta
It looks like the CV Cartridge Filters range in size from 340 sq. ft. up to 580 sq. ft., so I'll be sure to confirm size when I get the part numbers. I'll also plan to clean a couple of times right around pollen season as well... Pollen is certainly one of the universal problems here in Georgia!

Anyone have comments/experience on the Polaris Alpha IQ+. It appears to be a pretty good model, and I was happy this PB didn't push a booster/suction based vac. In fact, they independently plumb for it, if you would ever want to add it, but it's capped in the pool and at the pad.
 

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