New Pool in Austin!

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
We are in the design process and I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone here who has already helped me so much without even realizing it!

Pool info: Pentair IntelliFlo VSF, Pentair Clean & Clear 420 Cartridge, Pentair MasterTemp 400k, Polaris 3900 Sport w/ Booster, 1 Pentair IntelliBrite Color LED, 2 or 3 Pentair GloBrite Color LEDs in pool and 1 in spa, Pebble Sheen - maybe Blue Granite, Sundek in White Oyster, Pentair EasyTouch PS-8 with ScreenLogic, Rainbow in-line chlorinator.
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome! :wave: The tough thing about pool design is thy are like ........ummm ..... noses! Everybody has one. ? What is important to one couple means nothing to another. What helped us during the overwhelming choices was the simple question ..... "What do you want the pool for"? Sports, laps, lounging, diving, sitting, etc? Once you know that, you can focus on a design. Yes, pools "seem" big until you get 6-12 people in them, then they shrink really fast. Of course real estate and $$$$$ drive that decision as well. So I would say, if you have the space and funding - go big - Texas big! And give serious thought to what you want to do in the water. Some designs simply don't lend themselves well to things like diving, lap swimming, volleyball, etc. Just depends on what you want it for.

Your equipment looks good, but I would say note things:
1 - Have you ever had a spa? If not, think that through as well. While they have pros, some find that they just don't use it as much as they thought they would, and it's a large part of the cost, not to mention additional plumbing and such. The heater is also tied to that spa as well, tey another item that may require maintenance even if not used often. If you stick with it, make sure to have the builder install a heater by-pass
2. Cleaners are again a personal choice. While robots are "today's technology", they do have a healthy price tag. But so do some conventional suction cleaners, not to mention the additional plumbing and pump requirements to drive it.

All is good either way, and I don't mean to sound pessimistic in any way. Just want to make sure you consider everything before signing. It's a lot of money, and the last thing you want to do this time next year is say.... "We should have".... or "We never should have".

I'm sure MANY more replies will follow. Congrats on the the decision. Keep us posted on your build. Enjoy this hot TX day. :swim:
 
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jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
445
Austin, TX
Hi from Austin. Two comments. Ditch the inline chlorinator and go with a salt chlorine generator (IC40). Also, Pentair has a new automation product called IntelliCenter, get that instead of EasyTouch and screenlogic. Should be about the same price. You wouldn’t buy a 10 year old smartphone, you shouldn’t get an outdated automation panel. I can turn on my water feature or change the temp in the spa from my Apple Watch without even getting out!

Some pool builders in Austin don’t like going salt. Just let them say blah, blah, blah, then say it’s a hard requirement. Chlorinating with pucks are a nightmare. Seems easy, until it’s not.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
Hi, and welcome. I'm also from Austin, and I actually learned a lot from jimbethesda who commented above.

I'm here to highlight a few things:
1) It's helpful when asking for design feedback to share what you want to use the pool for. As TexasSplash said, some pools cater better to sports/volleyball, others for lap swimming, others for sitting/lounging/entertaining, etc.

2) In regards to the spa, as Texas Splash said, many people don't use them. My wife didn't want one and thought the added cost would be a waste, but she's come around to it. I will say, multiple realtors have told me that it's worth getting the spa for resale. There are buyers who just want a pool and don't care about a spa, but there are definitely buyers that will see a pool without a spa and immediately rule it out. Those that don't want a spa aren't going to penalize a house for having it, it has some value even to those who don't want it, but there are people who absolutely must have one. Now that our's is done, my wife actually likes it. The kid considers it a mini pool, and if my kid couldn't full on swim, I imagine we'd use it a lot more. I also think in Texas, around Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter, it'll get use. Our spa integrates into our outdoor kitchen where we'll have TV and other things. Finally, it also adds a visual component to the design, it's another elevation, with more stone/glass work, so aesthetically, they add a bit.

3) I have an almost 5 year old, I went 4' - 6' on mine. My deep end ended up being more like 6.5', but honestly, kids aren't going to be able to stand in a pool until they're much taller. You definitely do NOT want to go shallower than 3.5' or you risk knuckle dragging while swimming. I probably wouldn't go any less than 5.5 ft deep side, one to allow canonballs and another to just give you more volume. My neighbor's pool is only likr 4.5' feet deep and it's fairly small, it gets very hot in the late Summer.

Anyways, good luck and you've come to the right place.
 
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immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Thank you both for replying, and so quickly!! I just want to float around with a book, and I am worried that this design doesn't allow for a ton of space to do that without feeling like I'm always close to an edge. I also want to sit in those ledge loungers on the tanning shelf (or more likely the cheap knockoffs if I can find some!) and read. And yes, I am definitely going to use the hot tub, or maybe everyone says that before they actually have one... but really I will!!! There was one at my apartment in college and I went almost every day!

Great advice on the IntelliCenter. I KNOW I have read that on here before, I should have known to add it to our quote!!! I am still undecided on salt water. One of the builders refused and the other strongly recommended against it. I am still doing the research so I can put up a real fight if I need to.

I am still waiting on a design from the other builder and I am sure that will give me another whole set of questions when I get it. I will ask about the heater bypass. THANK YOU!!!
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
As Jim said, you have to demand it. I'm adding salt this week, I've been manually monitoring chlorine and adding it almost daily at this point. I'm greatly looking forward to the salt chlorinator. You'll have to push it.

Definitely get a few designs and go with the one that feels right, you'll know it when you see it. As you said, you're spending 6-figures. I struggled with a lot of designs, I was spending a ton and each one just felt "meh". You'll find a few good things about different designs and you can incorporate it.

Given we have kids the same age, I spend a lot of time just sitting on my bar stool while my kid plays on the ledge. We plan on getting ledge loungers, but now my wife is second guessing it because that's where the kid always is. I think we'll still get two instead of the four it's sized for. I have the swim up bar stools, and I spend more time there under my umbrellas while my kid plays with water toys on the shelf or swims (he can swim the full length of the pool at 4.5 years old without floats). I usually do 5-10 freestyle laps everyday I'm in it (which is quite a bit given my 36-37' length). Long story short, I spend a lot of time just chilling and supervising the kid. My wife joins us after a while and then we just sit, often on the spa coping or the spa spillover. Basically, we're just enjoying our time out there in a relaxing manner. Given that we're sheltering in place, we haven't had friends over in it yet, but I imagine the seating areas and chill areas will be where everyone is at. As the kids get older, canonballs, rings and marco polo will take advantage of the deep end. Despite my fairly large pool, we're basically only using a small fraction of it, all around the ledge and swim up bar stools :)
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
2) In regards to the spa, as Texas Splash said, many people don't use them. My wife didn't want one and thought the added cost would be a waste, but she's come around to it. I will say, multiple realtors have told me that it's worth getting the spa for resale. There are buyers who just want a pool and don't care about a spa, but there are definitely buyers that will see a pool without a spa and immediately rule it out. Now that our's is done, my wife actually likes it. I also think in Texas, around Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter, it'll get use. Our spa integrates into our outdoor kitchen where we'll have TV and other things.
Haha, I am one of those buyers who rules out a pool without a spa! For awhile I looked around at the listings to see if it would be cheaper to just move to a house with a pool and spa rather than building one because it is so shockingly expensive to build around here, but there are almost none in my area right now (Northwest Austin). I hope resale isn't an issue for us for a LONG time because I know it will be forever plus a year before we would actually get our money back from this.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I just converted to salt a couple weeks ago after 7 years of jug-dumping. So far I'm loving it. Make sure to request a salt cell rated for at least twice the size of your pool. Very important. Also mention to your builder to take into account the prevailing wind direction in your backyard to place the poolside skimmer on an end where the wind blows debris towards it - if possible.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
Haha, I am one of those buyers who rules out a pool without a spa! For awhile I looked around at the listings to see if it would be cheaper to just move to a house with a pool and spa rather than building one because it is so shockingly expensive to build around here, but there are almost none in my area right now (Northwest Austin). I hope resale isn't an issue for us for a LONG time because I know it will be forever plus a year before we would actually get our money back from this.
Where are you. I'm in NW Austin as well, NW Hills/Cat Mountain area specifically. I can tell you that in my particular hood (feeds into Doss), homes with nice pools go almost instantly with multiple offers as only people with kids and more money than sense move into my area. My wife and I tried to buy multiple homes in this area with a pool and we constantly got into bidding wars and saw homes go for Looney Tunes prices. We then decided we'd build our own pool because it was perceived cheaper. I underestimated the complexity of building on my site, and I also built an outdoor kitchen/bathroom so my budget ended up doubling from what I thought. There's also all of the other expenses, cleaners, patio furniture, pool toys, pool equipment, etc. It's never cheaper to build a pool, but in NW Austin, and particularly my area, you can recover a lot of your costs and given the desirability, sell your home a lot easier.

Figure it'll take twice as long to finish your pool as well. You'll also need to probably do a lot of landscaping after, there are a lot of other costs outside of what you pay the Pool Builder.
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Wow, you are close by! We are zoned for Hill but I have also been checking the Doss listings to see if something pops up with a pool and spa that also has enough room for my big family. I would love to do an outdoor kitchen and bathroom but I am already stressing enough about a "basic" pool and spa that I don't know how much more I can handle before I just call the whole thing off!!!
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
Wow, you are close by! We are zoned for Hill but I have also been checking the Doss listings to see if something pops up with a pool and spa that also has enough room for my big family. I would love to do an outdoor kitchen and bathroom but I am already stressing enough about a "basic" pool and spa that I don't know how much more I can handle before I just call the whole thing off!!!
Yeah we're very close then.

I wanted to do it all as part of one project just so it could all be done at once. I'm not sure I'd do it the same. I worried the pool people would do one thing and I wouldn't have enough know-how or supervision (I travel so much) that someone would do something to undermine plans. Like not brining enough power, something that messes with permits, etc. So I opted to do it all with one builder. However, I cant tell he's just managing subs and the non-pool stuff has been a little rough from timing and just reliability of subs. However, it's speed up. Next two weeks should have some major work done to get me close to the finish line.

Good luck. I'll DM you if I see any houses in the hood with pools, haven't seen one very recently.
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
We are under contract now, so this will be where I post updates in case anyone wants to follow along! Hoping to have the permits submitted by next Friday (May 22), then approved about 5 weeks later (June 26). The builder then has 90 business days if there are no delays, although he said his personal goal is 70. So either way we will have it just in time for... pool season to be over!!! Haha, but maybe a Halloween hot tub party?!
 

jdogbyo

Well-known member
Apr 16, 2020
62
Austin, Texas
We are under contract now, so this will be where I post updates in case anyone wants to follow along! Hoping to have the permits submitted by next Friday (May 22), then approved about 5 weeks later (June 26). The builder then has 90 business days if there are no delays, although he said his personal goal is 70. So either way we will have it just in time for... pool season to be over!!! Haha, but maybe a Halloween hot tub party?!
It takes 5 weeks for permit approval in City of Austin? Is that normal or delayed because of Covid? That’s crazy!

I live in Round Rock and we had permit
submitted and approved in 4 days, during quarantine!
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Wow 4 days in Round Rock?!?! I don't know what takes so long but I have heard "minimum" of 3 weeks in Austin but I should expect 5. I can't tell whether Covid will speed things up or slow them down. Our builder seems extremely busy, he says everyone is stuck at home realizing they need a pool. I would have thought the other way, with most people holding off on major purchases right now. Who knows!?
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
Wow 4 days in Round Rock?!?! I don't know what takes so long but I have heard "minimum" of 3 weeks in Austin but I should expect 5. I can't tell whether Covid will speed things up or slow them down. Our builder seems extremely busy, he says everyone is stuck at home realizing they need a pool. I would have thought the other way, with most people holding off on major purchases right now. Who knows!?
I think it’s just busy season and pool builders tend to be the least organized people in the construction business. Covid and early shutdowns slowed down some crews and subs so there’s just a shortage of crews to finish jobs started when the economy was strong.

Regardless, the average pool is finished much later than quoted times, anyone starting a project now would consider themselves fortunate if they were able to be swimming by the end of Summer. Pool builders do blame permits for their slow downs, but if things are done right and time is optimized, it shouldn’t be a source of major delay.

I’ve had a variety of permit activity including bathrooms, roofing, and they come reliably and regularly.
 

jdogbyo

Well-known member
Apr 16, 2020
62
Austin, Texas
Wow 4 days in Round Rock?!?! I don't know what takes so long but I have heard "minimum" of 3 weeks in Austin but I should expect 5. I can't tell whether Covid will speed things up or slow them down. Our builder seems extremely busy, he says everyone is stuck at home realizing they need a pool. I would have thought the other way, with most people holding off on major purchases right now. Who knows!?
I had the same line of reasoning as you and was expecting it to be slow as well but it seems to be the opposite. My builder seems to be slammed right now
 

jdogbyo

Well-known member
Apr 16, 2020
62
Austin, Texas
I think it’s just busy season and pool builders tend to be the least organized people in the construction business. Covid and early shutdowns slowed down some crews and subs so there’s just a shortage of crews to finish jobs started when the economy was strong.

Regardless, the average pool is finished much later than quoted times, anyone starting a project now would consider themselves fortunate if they were able to be swimming by the end of Summer. Pool builders do blame permits for their slow downs, but if things are done right and time is optimized, it shouldn’t be a source of major delay.

I’ve had a variety of permit activity including bathrooms, roofing, and they come reliably and regularly.
You are right about the least organized. I basically have to project manage the project manager on this build. Given how much I am paying, I really wish I didn’t have to watch everything as closely as I have (and will have to do until they are finished)