New Pool in Austin!

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
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)
Yeah I have the same function, project manage the project manager. It's sad. It'll be worth it at the end, but man I underestimated how stressful this process would be.
 
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immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Yikes yall! I wasn't planning on doing much at all during the process, what exactly do I need to be looking for? Like are they messing things up from the design plan and you're having them correct them? I know everyone says building a pool is stressful but I figured the design part and shelling out the $$$ was the stressful part!!!
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
Yikes yall! I wasn't planning on doing much at all during the process, what exactly do I need to be looking for? Like are they messing things up from the design plan and you're having them correct them? I know everyone says building a pool is stressful but I figured the design part and shelling out the $$$ was the stressful part!!!
Well it's builder specific, but in my case as well as many that I know, it's a combination of things, expect to stress a lot. In no particular order, these are things to prepare for:

1) Just scheduling. You'll be told something will be done, then nobody comes. Pool Builders don't own the subs they contract, so they're often unreliable and flaky and/or prioritize other jobs.

2) A sub won't follow the directions of your PB or the design and needs correction

3) A surprise or two will come up and you'll have to figure out, negotiate, spend more to get it fixed (could be a mystery utility line in your yard)

4) Your site will be left a disaster, debris, trash, cigarettes, you name it all over the place. You'll have to whine and complain to your PB about that. Often that trash/debris impacts your neighbors as well.

5) Expect a lot more out of pocket than that huge number you sign on. You'll certainly want more tile/glass than they put in the quote. You'll want upgraded tile/glass and/or other features. You'll stress over those selections and google tirelessly to find pictures of the tiles you're considering only to find out that every pool and picture looks radically different. You'll lose sleep at night over these selections. Then when you're done, you'll definitely realize you need to spend a lot more on landscaping, some to clean up the mess left by all the work and then others to realize you want landscape lighting or want to improve the access from the side of your house to the pool. Then you'll want patio furniture, floats, etc.

6) If it rains, expect a 4 day delay for every day of rain

7) One crew will damage or mess up the work of another crew, requiring a third party crew to fix that damage (broken tiles, fences, etc.)

In my case, my builder just isn't present enough. He does a good job behind the scenes and fixes things, but I'm basically having to go out and text/email him pictures of stuff that's damaged. I've also got issues where the plumber and HVAC teams aren't working in sync and both assumed they'd install the tankless water heater and mini-split in the same location, but by code they need to several feet apart for fire hazard reasons. I wrote this entire post in a foul mood as I'm actually having an on-site meeting in an hour with the plumber and pool builder about this HVAC/heater fiasco which is entirely on my PB. Of course he texts and says he’s running behind so my work schedule is impacted.

The best thing you can do is just don't set super high expectations and hope to be pleased. Any comment like, "Oh yeah, no problem, you'll be swimming in this pool this Summer.", just don't put faith in that. Long story short, I was told my entire project would be done by Christmas 2019, then I felt like maybe I could have a Super Bowl party in my hot tub and watch the game out there, then I was hopeful for April 1st, then May 1st, then Memorial Day, and now I'm hoping for 4th of July. I do have a fully functional pool (heater is getting hooked up today), so at least I've got that, but my kitchen, bathroom and other stuff is still a ways away. We enjoy the pool, so I'm grateful especially considering the stay-at-home stuff, but everyday I have to clean up my site because there's trash everywhere, dust/debris, mud from the rain since my drainage stuff hasn't been completed yet.
 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
6,466
Central MD
My one suggestion if you aren't already set on a design is to go geometric. My reasoning is that you said you want to maximize the pool size. Squiggly pools do just the opposite. You can probably add 10-15% of size in the same basic footprint with a geometric pool. And geometric doesn't have to mean rectangular. And their have been a few gorgeous pools on here that are mostly geometric with a long accent curve, often for looks but somethings also to maximize the space.

Posting a few before pics of the backyard can be very helpful for providing comments as well.
 
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Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
271
NE Oklahoma
I consider myself very fortunate that my build went so well. I am not 100% certain, but I believe that the market I am in, is less competitive with the number of PB's available. That makes them have to be on top of their game. Or maybe I just got darn lucky. My PB's subs were all professional and cleaned up after themselves very well, the PB's actual crews were very good, professional, and cleaned up after themselves as well. There were things, like broken tiles, that I had to keep pointing out, but really, other than the tiles, they did everything with very little 'babysitting' by me. The worst was the plumber... who wouldn't listen to me when I asked him questions, and had to come out and completely redo most of what he did the first time. But hey, I don't know everything, which is why I was asking questions, to see if there was something new I didn't know about, like how to get a pressure regulator that requires 1 psi of inlet pressure to open with only 9" water column coming in. :scratch:

Anywhoooo - Good luck! I am looking forward to seeing this one progress!
 
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immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Our permit application was submitted yesterday and the HOA architectural control committee application was submitted today! So now we wait, and wait, and wait. The builder said lately it's been more like 3.5-4 weeks for the city permit, but I am still planning on 5, just so I'm not disappointed! If EVERYTHING goes according to plan I think we could swim for a week or two before it gets too cold... but I know that's a lot to hope for!!!
 
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jdogbyo

Well-known member
Apr 16, 2020
62
Austin, Texas
Our permit application was submitted yesterday and the HOA architectural control committee application was submitted today! So now we wait, and wait, and wait. The builder said lately it's been more like 3.5-4 weeks for the city permit, but I am still planning on 5, just so I'm not disappointed! If EVERYTHING goes according to plan I think we could swim for a week or two before it gets too cold... but I know that's a lot to hope for!!!
Good luck! Hope it goes quickly!
 

cgtx

Active member
Jul 23, 2018
33
Austin/TX
@DB-Cooper @immlab Another NW Hills Austinite building a pool here. :) Not sure how I made it to this thread, but I believe it was a Pebble Sheen search that landed me here on a thread, coincidentally amongst neighbors. I wish I had seen more of these threads regarding saltwater, which is what I have ALWAYS wanted, and which my builder abhors, because he managed to finally talk me out of it after holding strong for weeks. The crew finished excavating today (thank goodness- they started a week late, and then the week they began was the rainy week- as I'd been telling them it would be that whole week before when they did not start, and a little drizzle = no work even if it stops soon afterward, those guys are long gone), FINALLY, after two off and on weeks of grinding into solid rock the entire way, and before the dust had cleared from their last dump this afternoon into the bobcat's bucket, a swarm of busy bees descended upon my backyard (and all of my tile samples I'd just laid out into various angles of the sun), carrying loads of lumber and machines, and framing and the rock coating (I don't know what that is called) was seemingly complete before they left today. I wish every day was so productive! We'd have been swimming by now (aside from the 30 day minimum of Austin pool permitting).

For you in Austin with saltwater pools, do you service your own? My builder told me that all of the people who tell me they love their saltwater pools and think they are great do not realize that their pool service is having to dump chlorine into them on a regular basis, and that they are basically enjoying the feel of the water softener, not water that has not had chlorine added to it regularly, especially since most of us have some vegetation/ trees around.

Also, where are you finding tile? Considering that we have not left the house in months, and I have multiple young littles (another common theme amongst us here on this thread, and mine are similar ages to yours, just with less space between the three), I've not been traipsing through every tile store in town multiple times as I would in non- pandemic times; rather, I have easily spent well over 3- digits of hours online every night into the wee hours, compiling lists of the samples I want to call and order the following day; that is, when I can actually reach someone on the phone. At this point, I must place my tile order ASAP and am out of time to special order what I'd really like (unless I want the builder to stop and wait for several weeks, and since we are already pushing it to be able to swim at all before school starts- SIGH- spending all of quarantine and summer going through the pool building process rather than swimming in it is angst and tease enough). Unfortunately, I just discovered Travis Tile via Google this evening- seems they have a lot of the nicer brands- have you been there? Until now, I have been paying someone to pick up samples ("curated" by me surfing the internet with bleary eyes during the wee morning hours while children are sleeping) for me at Crossville and another place that still has yet to answer any phone calls or return them after 5 weeks of trying to reach them- I have been ordering through their SA call center, I believe it is SPC (they carry NPT, which my builder suggested at one point).

I was commiserating and relating to the comments above, regarding realistic expectations to set, and I imagine I will relate to even more once this is said and done (though my fingers are crossed for mimimal disappointments, ha).

Who are you all using for landscaping?
 

jimbethesda

Gold Supporter
Jul 2, 2018
446
Austin, TX
I maintain my own pool. It’s easy. I spend 5-10 mins a day. Pool companies probably put chlorine in because:

1) They come once a week. By the time they realize the SWG has been set too low, algae has formed and now it can’t keep up.
2) Their cell is undersized (instead of the 2x size recommendation here. Mine is 3x) so it can’t create enough chlorine.
3) The pool company uses “guess strips”, and therefore never really knows how much FC is in the pool.
4) The pool company is incompetent.

Most likely all the above. Go with salt, and get a cell rated at least 2 times the volume of your pool. While it’s hard to believe someone who is “in the industry” doesn’t know what they are talking about, they really don’t.
 

jark87

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2011
235
Flower Mound, TX
Congrats on the pool decision! We also made a sizable investment 13 years ago and still love it to this day!

We have salt pool and maintenance is a breeze. The only repetitive thing I have to do is add a little acid every week to keep pH in check. We also went with Pebble Sheen and really like it. We don’t use the spa very much, but really like the look.

If you’re not already locked into a design, I’d suggest getting as much decking as you can around the pool. Our youngest kid was 11 when we built and our oldest was in college, so most pool parties were adult swim, which meant people mostly gathered around the pool instead of getting in it. We’re empty nesters now and I’m the only one who swims regularly, but patio usage is still high. Your mileage may vary.

One last suggestion: since you’re also in Texas, if your pool has full sun exposure, think about a chiller. I added the Glacier chiller about 5 years ago and it has made a world of difference. Prior to the chiller, our water temp would get into the low to mid-90s by July 4, which wasn’t refreshing at all. Right now, my water temp is 80.
 

DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
313
Austin, TX
@DB-Cooper @immlab Another NW Hills Austinite building a pool here. :) Not sure how I made it to this thread, but I believe it was a Pebble Sheen search that landed me here on a thread, coincidentally amongst neighbors. I wish I had seen more of these threads regarding saltwater, which is what I have ALWAYS wanted, and which my builder abhors, because he managed to finally talk me out of it after holding strong for weeks. The crew finished excavating today (thank goodness- they started a week late, and then the week they began was the rainy week- as I'd been telling them it would be that whole week before when they did not start, and a little drizzle = no work even if it stops soon afterward, those guys are long gone), FINALLY, after two off and on weeks of grinding into solid rock the entire way, and before the dust had cleared from their last dump this afternoon into the bobcat's bucket, a swarm of busy bees descended upon my backyard (and all of my tile samples I'd just laid out into various angles of the sun), carrying loads of lumber and machines, and framing and the rock coating (I don't know what that is called) was seemingly complete before they left today. I wish every day was so productive! We'd have been swimming by now (aside from the 30 day minimum of Austin pool permitting).

For you in Austin with saltwater pools, do you service your own? My builder told me that all of the people who tell me they love their saltwater pools and think they are great do not realize that their pool service is having to dump chlorine into them on a regular basis, and that they are basically enjoying the feel of the water softener, not water that has not had chlorine added to it regularly, especially since most of us have some vegetation/ trees around.

Also, where are you finding tile? Considering that we have not left the house in months, and I have multiple young littles (another common theme amongst us here on this thread, and mine are similar ages to yours, just with less space between the three), I've not been traipsing through every tile store in town multiple times as I would in non- pandemic times; rather, I have easily spent well over 3- digits of hours online every night into the wee hours, compiling lists of the samples I want to call and order the following day; that is, when I can actually reach someone on the phone. At this point, I must place my tile order ASAP and am out of time to special order what I'd really like (unless I want the builder to stop and wait for several weeks, and since we are already pushing it to be able to swim at all before school starts- SIGH- spending all of quarantine and summer going through the pool building process rather than swimming in it is angst and tease enough). Unfortunately, I just discovered Travis Tile via Google this evening- seems they have a lot of the nicer brands- have you been there? Until now, I have been paying someone to pick up samples ("curated" by me surfing the internet with bleary eyes during the wee morning hours while children are sleeping) for me at Crossville and another place that still has yet to answer any phone calls or return them after 5 weeks of trying to reach them- I have been ordering through their SA call center, I believe it is SPC (they carry NPT, which my builder suggested at one point).
Hi there, first, I don't use a pool service. What Jim wrote above is spot on.

I'm not adding chlorine either. With IC60 rated at 60K gallons, it can easily cover my ~30K needs even on triple digit sunny days. I haven't added a bottle of chlorine since turning the chlorinator on. I can run it at 50-60% for 7-8 hours per day and I still find myself dialing it down. Prior to the chlorinator, I was having ups and downs adding around half a gallon a day, now with a chlorinator it's stable. I keep my chlorine at 3-5ppm.

Most of my tile has come from Crossville Studios.
 

immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
Well it's been almost 8 weeks now and no permit yet! We haven't even gotten to the tile selection yet so unfortunately I can't help anyone there. We have a crew here now demolishing our old patio (apparently a permit is not needed for that step), so I really hope everything gets approved! I will look into the chillers, that is something we didn't even think about but I have noticed other people's pools are not that refreshing anymore now that it's 1,000 degrees outside. Does anyone know a ballpark cost to add one?
 

jark87

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2011
235
Flower Mound, TX
Well it's been almost 8 weeks now and no permit yet! We haven't even gotten to the tile selection yet so unfortunately I can't help anyone there. We have a crew here now demolishing our old patio (apparently a permit is not needed for that step), so I really hope everything gets approved! I will look into the chillers, that is something we didn't even think about but I have noticed other people's pools are not that refreshing anymore now that it's 1,000 degrees outside. Does anyone know a ballpark cost to add one?
Turn-key price for our chiller was roughly $3k five years ago. It’s rated for 30k gallons, so you could probably go down a size and save a few bucks, as they make one rated up to 20k gallons. I bought through the installer.
 
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immlab

Member
Apr 20, 2020
15
Austin, TX
I think we may actually be done with the dig?!? I think the next step is the wood forms and rebar?

Still trying to decide between Blue Surf and Blue Granite pebble sheen!!! Or a new somewhat tempting option, Wet Edge Primera Stone.

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