new pool buying startup

surferbum

LifeTime Supporter
May 18, 2013
69
North Scottsdale
Found the website and am glad I did. I have studied many threads about pool design and have learned alot. Never had a pool before but have had a spa for 10 years (if that matters :lol: )

I have bought a to-be-built house in Northern Scottsdale, AZ. There is a good view of some hills beyond the backyard. The developer/builder has an agreement with Premier Pools & Spa which allows for Premier to have access to the site while home construction is ongoing. This will allow Premier to do the dig with larger equipment (and hopefully less cost). I can obviously go with any PB after the house is built so one decision to be made is to go with Premier now or wait. I travel frequently and sometimes these trips will last for 1 month in duration so I need a pool which is suitable for this situation.

A thumbnail of the backyard is 85' 6" wide by 23' 6" deep (from the house, side fences and back fences) with a stubby L-shape. The bottom leg of the L is 10' x 16'. The back fence will be 7" tall with stucco finish. I will meet with Premier Pool in a 1 1/2 weeks to start the ball rolling and to decide whether to dig the hole, etc. I don't know the zoning code or any other conditions which would constrain the size of the pool in the backyard. There is a covered patio are in the middle of the house 16' x 18' (W x L). A rule of thumb which I have seen repeated is the
total poolside area should be about equal to the pool
. I know this website is great for nut & bolt issues such as equipment, # lights, # of drains, etc. I would appreciate people's thoughts on the following:

1. I am leaning toward a rectangular shape. I expect this would also make a pool cover easier to use and planning the tracks that get recessed in the concrete. Most pools I see on this website are not rectangular. Is this just an aesthetics or cost issue?
2. Should I even consider this pool for exercise swimming? What is the minimum length which would make a pool capable of some exercise? 60'?
3. What type of heating system should I chose for this area and why? I see some people in similar hot regions have heater/coolers. When do you need cooling function? Do I need a gas heater?
4. My wife likes vanishing-edge pools. Does this make any sense when you have a 7' wall for your back fence?
5. Does anyone have positive or negative with Premier Pool especially in the Scottsdale, AZ area?
6. Should this be a SWCG pool for this area? It seems to be less maintenance. It also looks like ozone seems not needed for the outdoor, AZ area.
7. Anyone have comments about Premier Pool and/or going with a PB selected by the developer/builder?
8. I saw some positive comments about Natural Reflections? Smaller with potentially better prices and communication. Anyone have recent experience with them?
9. Have seen different payment plans discussed with the general strategy is to pay as much as you can towards the back-end in order to have better schedule performance and attention. What is a reasonable payment plan?
10. I like darker pool bottoms. Does this work in Scottsdale, AZ? Get too hot? Hard to maintain?
11. Pool entry looks like three choices: ladder, beach entry, and baja steps. Is it correct to go with baja steps for a more compact entry? And no ladder due to SWCG?
12. Most people say that they would make their pools deeper in retrospect? Is there a depth which is too deep either due to cost issues in building or just-too deep for enjoyment in the water?
13. In-floor cleaning/circulation seems to be a favorite or a scourge by forum members. Is it worth the cost/benefit?
14. If I want a sunning entry to the pool, at what minimal length is this practical?
15. Is pebble-tech worth the price?
16. The house slab is using post-tensioned concrete. Is there any issues with pools cracking which I should be aware of in the northern-Scottsdale area?
16. Must haves seem to be: 2-stage pump with a size as minimal as possible, returns on steps, more outlets then you ever thing you'll use, auto-fill, automatic control, two lights (should they look toward the house or away from the house?) and in-floor cleaner zones are plumbed separately from the wall returns. Anything I missed?

Thanks and look forward to any comments people have about the above or any other issues.

[attachment=0:33lf2e8s]backyard.jpg[/attachment:33lf2e8s]
 

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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,573
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
surferbum said:
I'll give my limited comments in here...


1. I am leaning toward a rectangular shape. I expect this would also make a pool cover easier to use and planning the tracks that get recessed in the concrete. Most pools I see on this website are not rectangular. Is this just an aesthetics or cost issue? i think the fact that free form is predominate is primarily aesthetic. Though it it also easier to make it work well in space constrained sites. We went for rectangular for the cover but it also works great for our site.

2. Should I even consider this pool for exercise swimming? What is the minimum length which would make a pool capable of some exercise? 60'? A friend swims in a 45' long free form and makes that work. One of the swim machines in the deepest end is ideal I suppose.

4. My wife likes vanishing-edge pools. Does this make any sense when you have a 7' wall for your back fence? Many people, me included, like the vanishing edge until we see the cost. Doing both an auto over and a vanishing edge gets quite spendy. If I understand correctly the ground is flat and the wall behind the fence is 7' tall going up (not down)? If so, you would not be getting the maximum effect of a VE pool. We had a perfect situation with a strong downsloping backyard with nice view but didn't even consider one because of the added complexity, increased operating cost (more pump power) and of course up-front costs.

16. Must haves seem to be: 2-stage pump with a size as minimal as possible, returns on steps, more outlets then you ever thing you'll use, auto-fill, automatic control, two lights (should they look toward the house or away from the house?) and in-floor cleaner zones are plumbed separately from the wall returns. Anything I missed? Lights facing away from the house.

Thanks and look forward to any comments people have about the above or any other issues.
 

JimboAZ

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 17, 2012
103
Maricopa, AZ
1. I am leaning toward a rectangular shape. I expect this would also make a pool cover easier to use and planning the tracks that get recessed in the concrete. Most pools I see on this website are not rectangular. Is this just an aesthetics or cost issue?

I think it's just aesthetics. If you want an auto cover then that's definitely the easiest shape to accommodate.


3. What type of heating system should I chose for this area and why? I see some people in similar hot regions have heater/coolers. When do you need cooling function? Do I need a gas heater?

I think most people around here go for gas. Our electricity prices are already through the roof. We have a 400k BTU heater. Our previous pool got pretty darn warm but never too warm, so I wouldn't pay for any cooling. If you get a darker bottom pool they can get pretty warm.

7. Anyone have comments about Premier Pool and/or going with a PB selected by the developer/builder?

I'd just say make sure they don't rush you to fit in with the house timeline. With our first pool we used the builder's preference and they didn't really give us much attention. With our current pool it was nice to have time to do some research and change our options.

8. I saw some positive comments about Natural Reflections? Smaller with potentially better prices and communication. Anyone have recent experience with them?

We talked to them when we were getting bids. They were very knowledgeable and seemed like they would do a good job. For us it came down to personalities, but for someone else they may be a perfect fit.

9. Have seen different payment plans discussed with the general strategy is to pay as much as you can towards the back-end in order to have better schedule performance and attention. What is a reasonable payment plan?

I think the payment schedule is pretty standard in AZ, but I could be wrong on that.


11. Pool entry looks like three choices: ladder, beach entry, and baja steps. Is it correct to go with baja steps for a more compact entry? And no ladder due to SWCG?

I'd say it depends on what you like. We like the baja step and it's great for our 4 year old.


12. Most people say that they would make their pools deeper in retrospect? Is there a depth which is too deep either due to cost issues in building or just-too deep for enjoyment in the water?

Also, depends on what you like and what you want to use the pool for. We went with 7' in the deep end and enjoy being able to jump in without hitting our bums on the bottom. Ours goes from 3.5 to 7, with a large area of 5' so I can still stand with my head above water. I wouldn't want a lot of deep end because I like to be able to at least tippy toe the bottom, especially since we have a little guy.

13. In-floor cleaning/circulation seems to be a favorite or a scourge by forum members. Is it worth the cost/benefit?

To us it's worth it, and we've had several neighbors who love it. We're in Maricopa and on the front line for dust storms so I wouldn't have a pool without it.


15. Is pebble-tech worth the price?

We think so. We like the look and feel and it's supposed to last even longer than standard plaster. But, there are other finishes that look and sounds nice as well.


16. Must haves seem to be: 2-stage pump with a size as minimal as possible, returns on steps, more outlets then you ever thing you'll use, auto-fill, automatic control, two lights (should they look toward the house or away from the house?) and in-floor cleaner zones are plumbed separately from the wall returns. Anything I missed?

Definitely two lights pointing away from the house. We have a variable speed pump but also have a spa, waterfall, and fountains so it's nice to be able to tweak the speeds for everything.
 

surferbum

LifeTime Supporter
May 18, 2013
69
North Scottsdale
surferbum said:
Found the website and am glad I did. I have studied many threads about pool design and have learned alot. Never had a pool before but have had a spa for 10 years (if that matters :lol: )

I have bought a to-be-built house in Northern Scottsdale, AZ. There is a good view of some hills beyond the backyard. The developer/builder has an agreement with Premier Pools & Spa which allows for Premier to have access to the site while home construction is ongoing. This will allow Premier to do the dig with larger equipment (and hopefully less cost). I can obviously go with any PB after the house is built so one decision to be made is to go with Premier now or wait. I travel frequently and sometimes these trips will last for 1 month in duration so I need a pool which is suitable for this situation.

A thumbnail of the backyard is 85' 6" wide by 23' 6" deep (from the house, side fences and back fences) with a stubby L-shape. The bottom leg of the L is 10' x 16'. The back fence will be 7" tall with stucco finish. I will meet with Premier Pool in a 1 1/2 weeks to start the ball rolling and to decide whether to dig the hole, etc. I don't know the zoning code or any other conditions which would constrain the size of the pool in the backyard. There is a covered patio are in the middle of the house 16' x 18' (W x L). A rule of thumb which I have seen repeated is the
total poolside area should be about equal to the pool
. I know this website is great for nut & bolt issues such as equipment, # lights, # of drains, etc. I would appreciate people's thoughts on the following:

1. I am leaning toward a rectangular shape. I expect this would also make a pool cover easier to use and planning the tracks that get recessed in the concrete. Most pools I see on this website are not rectangular. Is this just an aesthetics or cost issue?
2. Should I even consider this pool for exercise swimming? What is the minimum length which would make a pool capable of some exercise? 60'?
3. What type of heating system should I chose for this area and why? I see some people in similar hot regions have heater/coolers. When do you need cooling function? Do I need a gas heater?
4. My wife likes vanishing-edge pools. Does this make any sense when you have a 7' wall for your back fence?
5. Does anyone have positive or negative with Premier Pool especially in the Scottsdale, AZ area?
6. Should this be a SWCG pool for this area? It seems to be less maintenance. It also looks like ozone seems not needed for the outdoor, AZ area.
7. Anyone have comments about Premier Pool and/or going with a PB selected by the developer/builder?
8. I saw some positive comments about Natural Reflections? Smaller with potentially better prices and communication. Anyone have recent experience with them?
9. Have seen different payment plans discussed with the general strategy is to pay as much as you can towards the back-end in order to have better schedule performance and attention. What is a reasonable payment plan?
10. I like darker pool bottoms. Does this work in Scottsdale, AZ? Get too hot? Hard to maintain?
11. Pool entry looks like three choices: ladder, beach entry, and baja steps. Is it correct to go with baja steps for a more compact entry? And no ladder due to SWCG?
12. Most people say that they would make their pools deeper in retrospect? Is there a depth which is too deep either due to cost issues in building or just-too deep for enjoyment in the water?
13. In-floor cleaning/circulation seems to be a favorite or a scourge by forum members. Is it worth the cost/benefit?
14. If I want a sunning entry to the pool, at what minimal length is this practical?
15. Is pebble-tech worth the price?
16. The house slab is using post-tensioned concrete. Is there any issues with pools cracking which I should be aware of in the northern-Scottsdale area?
16. Must haves seem to be: 2-stage pump with a size as minimal as possible, returns on steps, more outlets then you ever thing you'll use, auto-fill, automatic control, two lights (should they look toward the house or away from the house?) and in-floor cleaner zones are plumbed separately from the wall returns. Anything I missed?

Thanks and look forward to any comments people have about the above or any other issues.

[attachment=0:3g26h40a]backyard.jpg[/attachment:3g26h40a]

Forgot:

line the entire southern side of the decking with sleeves. Maybe 4 feet or so apart.
 

BoDarville

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 5, 2012
3,844
DFW, Texas
surferbum said:
I travel frequently and sometimes these trips will last for 1 month in duration so I need a pool which is suitable for this situation.
surferbum said:
6. Should this be a SWCG pool for this area? It seems to be less maintenance. It also looks like ozone seems not needed for the outdoor, AZ area.
With your travel schedule, I would suggest a SWCG. The SWCG cannot be totally ignored, but it will require much less frequent attention than manually dosing a pool.
surferbum said:
12. Most people say that they would make their pools deeper in retrospect? Is there a depth which is too deep either due to cost issues in building or just-too deep for enjoyment in the water?
A deeper pool will stay cooler than a shallower pool with similar length and width. Cost issues aside, a pool with a deep end is something I would at least consider in AZ.
surferbum said:
15. Is pebble-tech worth the price?
Most people seem to think so. When it's time to resurface our pool, I'm likely going to go this route.
surferbum said:
16. Must haves seem to be: 2-stage pump with a size as minimal as possible, returns on steps, more outlets then you ever thing you'll use, auto-fill, automatic control, two lights (should they look toward the house or away from the house?) and in-floor cleaner zones are plumbed separately from the wall returns. Anything I missed?
  • • A 2-speed pump works best for most people from an effectiveness and cost-benefit standpoint. Depends on both your electric rates and the number of water features you have. If your rates are > $0.20 per kWh and/or you have several different water features, then a variable speed pump makes sense. Otherwise, I would go with the 2-speed.
    :goodjob: For returns on the steps.
    :goodjob: Autofill in AZ is a good idea
    • Would recommend 2" plumbing throughout (PB may already be doing this, but now's the time to ask). Related to this, I would take pictures as the plumbing is laid so you will have a good idea where the pipes are located once everything is filled in.
    • As for the in-floor cleaners, here's what I have observed from those I know that have them. They're happy with them when they work properly. However, when they malfunction or outright fail, most would have chosen to leave them off the options list. Depending on the cause of the malfunction, repairs could get pricey with all that extra plumbing under the pool.
 

surferbum

LifeTime Supporter
May 18, 2013
69
North Scottsdale
A few things more things that I would like others opinion on as I become better educated on pools, etc.:

  1. My understanding of the laws/ordinances governing pool safety in Scottsdale, AZ are the following:
    [list:29ngmxzc]
  2. Doors: Self-close & latch @ 54" (all)[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
  3. Gates: Self-close & latch @ 54", opens outwards (all)[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
  4. Windows: Not required (Scottsdale) /// Latch @ 54", wire mesh screens, key locks(AZ state law & Maricopa county)[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
  5. Alarms: Primary barrier, battery operated @ 54", garage ok (Scottsdale * Maricopa county) /// Secondary barrier only (AZ state law)[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
What do people do for the battery operating alarms?[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
[*]I have found the following information about pool draining in Scottsdale, AZ.
Scottsdale prohibits the disposal of swimming pool water into the street or directly into a sewer manhole. Scottsdale does not prohibit draining the pool into Scottsdale's sewer system provided the property owner utilize the sewer clean-out on the property. Please note that sewer fees are based on your water use in the months of December, January, and February, so filling your pool at this time may affect those fees. You may want to read your meter before and after filling your pool. The difference between these reads is the gallons used. You may want to fill out a wastewater adjustment form.
Is this the typical, common method for draining your pool in Scottsdale? If the pool is being properly maintained and in good repair, is there a regular interval which people drain their pools? I have read that many experts believe a pool should only be drained every 3-7 years. If so what is the impetus for this draining?[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
[*]I have read that it is a good practice when buying equipment, to try to buy as many items from the same manufacturer as possible for minimizing interoperability issues and subsequent simplification of equipment maintenance issues. The Pentair companies' product line looks to be one of the best. Should I specify to the PB to use their products? I have read many pool-automation threads and this would be a factor in my decision.[/*:m:29ngmxzc]
[*]The home builder (Standard Pacific) says upfront that they will NOT pre-plumb or pre-wire anything for pool or backyard items (such as BBQ). I understand that they don't want to delay their construction process with things that a future owner might or might not put in. Does this mean that it is typical that the PB connects to the water and electrical sources by trenching over, etc? [/*:m:29ngmxzc]
[*]My daughters have dogs which I know will be in the pool. How does this affect the pool? Get a bigger/better filter system?[/*:m:29ngmxzc][/list:eek::29ngmxzc]

Thanks.
 

AZHeat

Active member
Feb 7, 2013
42
Negative edge is primarily where you have a slope and view. If your view is a 7' wall, I don't see the point in negative edge.
Water gets very warm. I have a Pentair heat/cool pump. Cool upgrade was about $900 and well worth it IMO.
Need to get with HOA and city for setback requirements. I know we have to be 5' from water's edge to pool, but I'm on westside.
Anytime you get close to house you have issues with surcharge pressures. Basically, if you are closer than half the height of your house wall, there will be extra requirements for steel. IS house 1 or 2 story?
AZ statutes specify payment for all registered pool builders. $1000 on signing contract, 30% after completion of excavation; 30% at shotcrete, 30% at decking complete; and 10% prior to plaster.
Pebble is preferred and the typical finish here. There are many different mfr's of pebble. They like to say pabbletec and then substitute their own brand. Not sure if any are better or worse; it's more about the applicators.
 
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