New Pool Build in Fulshear - Houston TX Area

DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#1
Hello everyone!

First off thanks to all the frequent (and infrequent) posters here who I've been lurking for weeks, soaking up the knowledge to prepare for our pool build. After kicking the tires with pool builders several years back and talking about it every year since we've decided this is the year to make it a reality.

Our in-development plan is to build a pool, spa and outdoor kitchen. The pool will be a free form design around 30'x15' with an attached spa. The outdoor kitchen is going to be a free standing structure around 15'x12' with a TV wall, granite counter space, a sink, fridge and grill.

I've been in touch with three area builders who come with several recommendations and zero 'stay away' warnings from neighbors. They also have generally positive ratings on the popular review sites; Yelp, Google, etc. I've met with all three but only have an estimate back from one of them.

Even without all the estimates complete there is already a leader in the clubhouse so to speak. So we'll see how all that plays out once I get final proposals and do my thinking, re-thinking, then over-thinking.

Questions:
Why are these guys so anti-salt water? I really don't get it, is their a clandestine chlorine lobby that I'm not privy to? One sales lady put on the full court press for the tab based dispenser when I asked if they could do saltwater. Even dropping the 'it destroys the equipment' argument. It seems irrational to me which usually means I don't see or understand all the forces at work. I'll wait until the last minute to add that into the contract, or I'll add it myself after the fact, making sure they leave space for me to pipe it in somewhere convenient.

Is there any reason to pick Hayward vs Pentair vs Jandy equipment for quality / reliability reasons? Two of the builders use Hayward. The other says they use Jandy but says he'll use whichever I want.

How loud is the equipment these days? I plan to use VS pumps where needed. I ask because my equipment pad will be fairly close to the spa (~20 feet) and outdoor kitchen (~10 feet). It will be near my air conditioner which I'm hoping is louder because that doesn't bother me when it's on. I would consider building a masonry wall if needed to help with the noise.

Thanks all!
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#2
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

SWEET! A new pool to help spend and save money on!!!

Equipment-make sure they are all in the same "family" if you plan on doing any automation. I would start with the SWG you want (we will help you pick it out) and go from there. Oh PB did I say SWG?? Yeah I did and it is a GOOD thing to have. Not sure why they are so against it but we love them here! YOUR pool=YOUR way.

So where is my pic of where this pool is going? You had to know this was coming since you have been reading for a while!

Kim:kim:
 

bmoreswim

Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 16, 2012
4,410
Central MD
#3
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

You will barely hear a VS pump so no worries there. Some people are deaf to the fact that saltwater pools are not the issue. Stone will or won’t flake, regardless of salt. Modern pool equipment is unaffected. pH being off is very destructive in the long term to equipment and pool surfaces though.

Those three brands are about the same and I wouldn’t be concerned about any. Some folks like the automation of one over the other.
 

SpringPool

Silver Supporter
Jun 2, 2017
513
Spring TX
#4
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

Vs pumps are quite if not run on high. I like my Jandy equipment and automation (I don’t have experience with the other brands).

I jist upgraded to a SWG. If you go Jandy and the builder has reservations wait a season that’s essentially what I did. The only thing I would have doenod I realized it is Jandy makes a control center with all the SWG electronics in it. It’s about $300 more than the swg center. I cobbled togetner parts off eBay and Amazon and payed abou 450 which was still less then the 700 for the swg box. The cell and sensor then was 550.

Ask your builder if they can build your spa without a blower. We don’t use ours and maybe by coincidence with the pump at full speed we have great jets (lots of threads on proper spas not needing blowers)

Also are you going with a robot or suction cleaner? I’d suggest robot as it saves money by not running your pump and they are pretty cool.
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#5
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

@SpringPool Thanks for the feedback, I'll probably do just that and let them install the chlorinator. But I will take a note of what you said and have them install whatever control center will support the SWGC. And yes, I told them all I want a robot.

@bmoreswim - Good to hear on the VS noise levels, I'm not going to sweat having the pad where they want to put it. It's ~midway between the gas supply and the spa which I understand is a pretty good place from a cost perspective.

@kimkats Yes I figured that was coming! :D This is about the only picture I can find of our backyard at the moment. The deck is coming out and the pool is going in that spot, there along the back of the house.

We have a pretty good grade to deal with. It's a about a 3' drop 30' out from the house, and 7' drop about 40' out. All the builders think concrete footers, extra concrete and backfilling around the structure will be enough. One of the builders recommends a retaining wall behind the pool as well. Once the proposals are in I'm going to have a relative who is a structural engineer take a look.

One builder said they would tie the pool deck into the house slab, then the pool into the deck. I don't know if he is suggesting to literally attach those elements, or just drill holes to slip rebar into for alignment. He has experience building pools on the cliffs around the Austin (TX) lakes. But I'll want to get a second opinion on that.

View attachment 78471
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#6
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

That is the purrfect shot to show us your yard and what you will be doing.

Will you be taking down the current deck? It is SO pretty...........:( I hope it does not go.

Kim:kim:
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#7
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

I have some construction details back from one of the companies, anything jump out as unusual?


- ONE 2HP 2SPEED PUMP TO CONTROL THE POOL AND A 1HP PUMP FOR THE SPA AND WATER
FEATURE.
- 3- LED LIGHTS TWO FOR THE POOL AND ONE FOR THE SPA
- THE OVERFLOW WILL GO OUT TO THE STREET WITH A POP-UP
- THE AUTO-FILL LINE WILL CONNECT TO THE HOSE BIB & A PVB BACKFLOW PREVENTER
- THE DECK-O-DRAINS WILL DRAIN INTO THE CATCH BASINS .
- ALL CONCRETE DECKING WILL BE 4" THICK W/ 3/8" REBAR TIED ON 16" CENTERS.
- POOL REBAR WILL BE #3 AND TIED 8" ON CENTER AND DOUBLED ON THE WALLS AND BEAMS.
- MAIN BEAMS (UNDER COPING) WILL BE 12" X 24" DEEP AND THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL WILL BE
POURED 8" THICK.
- THE DRAINS WILL IN COMPLIANCE WITH VGB CODES.
- GALLONS OF THE POOL AND SPA= 19,970 TOTAL
- CONCRETE EXPANSION JOINTS WILL BE INSTALLED 10' ON CENTER OR A MAXIMUM OF 144 SQFT.
- A BOND WIRE WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE 2014 NEC, 680.26(B)(2)(b)
 

SpringPool

Silver Supporter
Jun 2, 2017
513
Spring TX
#8
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

I would consider a salt water generator for your chlorine consumption. Being in Houston myself and just installing mine it’s great to have.

I don’t understand why the spa is on its own pump. Typically a spa with a water feature is tied into the pool. Also go Variable speed. You will save a lot of money on electricity. I run mine at 900 rpm for 12 hours a day and it uses 40w an hour.

It looks like the water feature is a sheer decent or water fall. That can be on the 1hp pump.

Think about automation. I control everything from my phone or iPad and it’s well work it.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#9
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

You need model numbers. There is a wide range of all equipment and that includes the prices and size.

I do not see any mention of the filter.

Valves and unions-what kind of valves and are the unions included?

This is a very general write up. You need more detail to protect yourself in the end.

Kim:kim:
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#10
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

So the build is underway and I had a question. We’ve dug, rebar’d and stubbed our plumbing. The builder wants to shoot Gunite Wednesday starting at 3:30PM with only 5 hours of light left, is this normal? He says it might take until 9:00PM which is complete darkness where I am. Kind of concerned about this timing.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#11
Re: DogtownTX's New Pool Build - Houston TX Area

IF they set up lots off good lights AND guys are not too tired...............then it could work. Both of those conditions will be iffy at best.
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#12
I talked to the builder today, the plan is for the gunite crew to shoot the floor and as much as they can before it gets dark. Then come back in the morning to finish. He explained due to recent rain and it being the busy season that they don't have a spot in the schedule to do it all at once. Attaching a picture of the current state of things.

 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#13
One thing I would do is stock up for the guys. Sounds like they are being pushed really hard to get as much done as they can. Sweeten your "pot" by having yummy snacks and LOTS of Gatorade and water in a cooler. If you can swing it even have some "real" food such as sandwiches and such. This will go a long way in helping them feel good about your build instead of it just being another one at the end of the day.

Here is hoping it goes well!

Kim:kim:
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#14
Kim that's a great idea on the snacks and drinks, going to do that! The builder says they'll be out earlier than expected, around noon. Says the gunite crew lead is pretty confident they can finish today before sundown so fingers crossed.
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#16
Kim, what an excellent suggestion, the crew was super grateful. The pool builder also told me how happy they were and that they take extra care when clients do that sort of thing. I brought out kolaches and gatorade in the morning and ordered pizzas around lunch.

After all was said and done the gunite shoot was performed Thursday morning. I asked the builder if he could arrange a morning start and due to some other scheduling changes he was able to accommodate that. In my uneducated opinion it went quite well. There was a point where I saw the steps were too small and when I went out to ask them to lengthen they did it no problem. You can see the steps grow in the time lapse video below. Not really excellent quality video due to glares and such but you'll get the idea...

https://vimeo.com/285548963

Next steps are to pick some colors and finish the curing phase. I guess this thing is really happening. :)
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
36,847
Tallahassee, FL
#17
I am SO glad they "responded" so well. Those steps did need to be the size they ended up! Looks awesome!

Now it is time for you to start bonding with your pool aka watering it. Try to water it twice a day during this heat. Once you get tired of bonding with it you can use a soaker hose or sprinkler to help you out.

Kim:kim:
 

jaymantx

Silver Supporter
Apr 3, 2018
145
Houston/TX
#18
Maybe it's too late for this information, but based on my PB, there are 2 or 3 Hayward licensed service technicians in Houston area vs. 0 Pentair service tech. My PB used to prefer Pentair, but switched to Hayward due to lack of support. My PB could have been feeding me BS to make more profit, but he is pretty honest when it comes to this sort of info.
 
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DogtownTX

Silver Supporter
May 30, 2012
65
Houston, TX
#19
@jaymantx Good to know. My PB says he gets great sales and warranty support from his Hayward rep so he recommends using them. He did say he would use whichever brand I wanted, no cost difference, but leaned toward Hayward due to the support.

We get samples delivered tomorrow so next step is to pick all the colors, tiles and what not. We're contracted for Stonescapes Mini Pebble and I'm leaning toward the Aqua White. I want to go on the lighter end of the spectrum. My in-laws have a dark lagoon blue pebble tec and it feels warmer. May just be psychological. Our pool will get around 5-6 hours of full sun a day so want to double down on the cool.
 

jaymantx

Silver Supporter
Apr 3, 2018
145
Houston/TX
#20
I have Pebble Sheen Aqua Blue, which is one shade darker than your Aqua White. My logic was the same as your's since my pool gets 10 hours of direct sun during summer. I don't have anyone to compare with, but my water temp hovers around 85~90F last week.
Although my wife and kids don't mind the lukewarm water, but I am not a fan, so I just bought two aerators/pool coolers for those 90+F water temp days to air-cool the water at night times ->https://www.amazon.com/Splash-Pools...F8&qid=1534820135&sr=8-8&keywords=pool+cooler