New Pool from DIY Kit

Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Hello Everyone,

I am a new TFP member who is just getting ready to hit the order button after several months of research on DIY kits. We will do some of the work ourselves and contract some out. I have a large suburban backyard and our house ends up being the hangout spot for our kids friends so we want to make sure we have a larger pool so we plan to put in a 20x44 kit that goes from 3' 6" to 9' with about 2,000 feet of concrete decking around it in the back yard with an arbor and fire pit area. I am planning on using 2" pipe on all runs, two skimmers (each on a dedicated 2" line), two main drains (dedicated 2" line), four returns, and installing a drain system under our deep end to pump ground water if we encounter any during our dig (neighbors with pools hit ground water around 8 feet so I am lifting ours up about 2' above natural grade). Our kit won't arrive for a few months due to the supply chain disruptions so I won't be able to post pics for a while but I want to document the whole build. We plan to put in a 20x6 tanning ledge/step combo on the shallow end and two small swim out benches in the corners of the deep end. My question is this. For those of you who have built your own kit or others who wish they could have done something different, what would you go back and change if you were just starting out like I am now? I have been accused of overthinking everything but I want to make sure I think about things I may have missed during my planning stage.

Thank you for any help and for all that I have been able to learn so far from TFP.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,324
Tallahassee, FL
Hi and welcome!! What a fun yet stressful time in your life!

You cannot over think something this important!
I have a couple of things to ask you about:

two main drains (dedicated 2" line),
Do you mean ONE 2" line going to the TWO pots? That is how it should be for anti entrapment rules. Now if you get this:Channel Pebble Top Drain Covers — Color Match Pool Fittings it will work better and be less noticeable.
four returns
You will want more than just 4. You will want one on the shelf to mix the water and to help keep it clean. Then you will want one on each wall to move the water all around the pool to the skimmers.

I like you are getting two skimmer and they will be plumbed separate.

Do you have a diagram of your pool yet?
 

Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Do you mean ONE 2" line going to the TWO pots? That is how it should be for anti entrapment rules. Now if you get this:Channel Pebble Top Drain Covers — Color Match Pool Fittings it will work better and be less noticeable.
Thanks for that suggestion. I will check those out. I do plan on just running one 2" line to the main drains to ensure compliance with the anti-entrapment regulations.

You will want more than just 4. You will want one on the shelf to mix the water and to help keep it clean. Then you will want one on each wall to move the water all around the pool to the skimmers.
That is a great suggestion. I want to keep the water moving and ensuring it is efficient as possible. I do plan to put two additional returns acting as bubblers in the tanning deck floor and will use a valve actuator to turn them on and off as needed. I suspect my pump can produce enough horsepower to at least bubble the water a bit even if the deck is 12-13" deep. So I will plan at least one on each wall, two bubblers, and maybe one more on the wall by the stairs to help keep the stairs clean.

I like you are getting two skimmer and they will be plumbed separate.

Do you have a diagram of your pool yet?
I would rather overthink the plumbing before I pour concrete and never use it than under prepare and regret not having the option later. For example, we are going to plumb for a slide even though we don't want one right now just so that I have that option in the future. I don't have a diagram yet, just a lot of plans and online dig sheets from the company I am going to buy from. Tomorrow I am trying to finalize my order and then we will go over the final diagrams with details like light placement and returns. As soon as I have that, I will post it along with the actual photos as we start to move forward.

Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate you taking time to help a new member like me. :)
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,324
Tallahassee, FL
Wait!!! List the equipment for us to look over BEFORE you order!! They so under size things to "save you money". Make sure you have model numbers to we know for sure what is what.
 

Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Wait!!! List the equipment for us to look over BEFORE you order!! They so under size things to "save you money". Make sure you have model numbers to we know for sure what is what.
I agreed that if I went with their default kit plumbing and equipment I would not be making a good decisions. Iam buying my pool walls and liner from Royal Pools (not the best customer service so far but everyone is slow to answer right now) and I am buying my equipment separately from the kit. Here is an image of what I am planning to purchase for my equipment/lights. I am a little worried about having six smaller lights vs two larger lights (more holes in the liner) so I may end up changing that in my plans for that but feel comfortable with the other equipment unless anyone sees something that I am not thinking of.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,324
Tallahassee, FL
@Jimrahbe can you look over this list? I THINK it looks good! but want to make sure.

Now lets talk about your plumbing-make sure to get GOOD valves. Pentier makes some good one that can be rebuilt. Above all else do NOT buy the ball ones from the big box stores.

Make sure to make your equipment pad is plenty big AND you put a light over it. You will thank me as you are able to move around on the papd and when you have to go out there at night to do something.

Kim:kim:
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,739
Bedford, TX
Ben,

Your equipment list looks just fine.. Not sure about the lights, but I have yet to see a set of color lights that have outstanding reviews.. You roll the dice and takes what you get on lights.

The IntelliCenter, with IC60, IntelliFlo, and large cartridge filter should make a great saltwater pool.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
@Jimrahbe can you look over this list? I THINK it looks good! but want to make sure.

Now lets talk about your plumbing-make sure to get GOOD valves. Pentier makes some good one that can be rebuilt. Above all else do NOT buy the ball ones from the big box stores.

Make sure to make your equipment pad is plenty big AND you put a light over it. You will thank me as you are able to move around on the papd and when you have to go out there at night to do something.

Kim:kim:
Thanks Kim, I have not given much thought to the valves. I hope to have a lot of time to investigate valves and other details during the time my kit is shipping. For the equipment pad I read a few posts on here about the ideal pad and I am planning about a 4’x10’ pad with a enclosure of some kind (yet to be determined) that provides overhead protection, side walls to screen and protect from sprinkler water and sun, while still allowing enough air to not interfere with the heater’s needs for fresh air or exhaust. The light is a great suggestion. I will make sure to include that in my layout and will post pics as we put the final pad details together.
Thanks again for all your help.
 

Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Ben,

Your equipment list looks just fine.. Not sure about the lights, but I have yet to see a set of color lights that have outstanding reviews.. You roll the dice and takes what you get on lights.

The IntelliCenter, with IC60, IntelliFlo, and large cartridge filter should make a great saltwater pool.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Thanks Jim, I am not sure on the lights either but will give it some thought. I don’t know if the colored lights are an upgrade that people really use or just sounds like something we should like. Thanks for checking out that equipment list for me.
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
Thanks Jim, I am not sure on the lights either but will give it some thought. I don’t know if the colored lights are an upgrade that people really use or just sounds like something we should like. Thanks for checking out that equipment list for me.
Sounds like a great pool and the folks here will help you - they've been invaluable for my build (which i'm about 2/3 done with right now - DIY also from Royal). Wanted to comment as I unexpectedly hit groundwater in my dig only trying to get to 8'6" - I'm glad to hear you are planning ahead for it which will make it much less stressful should you encounter it. Do you know your soil type? We have sand which made dealing with the groundwater a BIG challenge.
 

Benjbp

Member
Jun 21, 2020
7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sounds like a great pool and the folks here will help you - they've been invaluable for my build (which i'm about 2/3 done with right now - DIY also from Royal). Wanted to comment as I unexpectedly hit groundwater in my dig only trying to get to 8'6" - I'm glad to hear you are planning ahead for it which will make it much less stressful should you encounter it. Do you know your soil type? We have sand which made dealing with the groundwater a BIG challenge.
Thanks for your comments and I hope the pool install is going well other than the water table issue. We have clay with a few small rocks. My plan is to use a drain system to remove water below the floor material as demonstrated in this video if we encounter water. How did you address the issue in your install? Any lessons learned?
Floating Liner Prevention
 

MN_poolguy

Member
May 18, 2020
24
Minnesota
Thanks for your comments and I hope the pool install is going well other than the water table issue. We have clay with a few small rocks. My plan is to use a drain system to remove water below the floor material as demonstrated in this video if we encounter water. How did you address the issue in your install? Any lessons learned?
Floating Liner Prevention
I think the install is going well - certainly back on track after losing sleep over the water table issue. I think the water table issue would be easier to solve in clay. As you may have a chance of actually overdigging (through the water) the desired 24-36". In sand, it just collapses in on itself before you can really over dig anything (imagine trying to dig a foot deep hole in a beach below the waterline). For us, the trick was a combination of first sinking sump pit in the middle (I used four 6 gallon buckets stacked with bottoms cut out) to get down as deep as possible. Then place a sump pump inside the buckets on top of some gravel. At this point the water is still pouring in over the top of the buckets as its the easiest way for it to get to the pump. Eventually we figured out a way to replace the top 10 inches or so of the deep end sand around the new sump pit with gravel ("diving" the excavator bucket straight down in the sand and then slowly drawing it back while two others furiously shovel in pea gravel behind it before sand can fill in. We were able to get a 10" layer or so of pea gravel in which then allowed the ground water an easy path to the bottom of the sump pit (water then came up from under the bucket finally). Got it leveled and relatively dry on top and poured straight concrete to make the pool bottom. I ran 100' of 1.5" flex pvc out of the pool from the new sump pit. Just before liner I will fill the sump pit with rocks and vermiculite over the top of it while leaving the pump running until the pool is full with water. I added a Tee just upstream of the pump and ran a foot valve off of that set in the gravel under the concrete bottom. Hoping that in the future when a liner change is needed I can use the pool pump via the foot valve to get the water out.

The video you shared looks like a very workable method if you don't hit the water table during the dig and are just future proofing it.
 
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