Owner Builder/DIY Build, Space Coast, FL

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Hey everyone! I've been on the forum for a long time and have had a pool in some way or another since 2011. I went with a contractor pool build in my last house in 2015, but felt really burned by the cost and the low quality of the equipment and build. Definitely not going to do that again, especially with prices as high as they are this year.

I moved again, to a house with no pool. I tried a cheap 18' diameter above ground pool for a while (I added an SWCG and sand filter =D )...that just didn't do it for me.

I want to do something straight forward and clean looking. I'm thinking maybe a kidney or a rectangle. With a spa. Going for kind of a mid-century vibe. I'm near the beach and the bugs aren't too bad and its a nice breeze, so I don't want to do an enclosure. Max area that the pool, spa, and deck could take up is about 25 x 32 feet. Not sure if it will be that big yet.

I'm pretty handy, and want to do as much work myself as possible. After some research, I'm pretty confident I can do the steel myself. I can definitely do electric, plumbing, and tile. Will definitely be calling someone for gunnite/shotcrete and interior finish. I'm undecided on excavation, I'm still finalizing a design so haven't called around for quotes yet. Does anyone in the area have an example excavation cost for coastal Florida soil? May also look into decking myself, I don't plan to have much deck area (limited by space).

Biggest unknown (aside from pool size and shape :LOL:) is interior finish. I had Pebbletec (WetEdge, actually) in my last pool, which was great. Because I'm going for a strong mid-century vibe, I'm kind of interested in a polished finish like Hydrazzo, or something closer to plaster-looking, but more durable. However, I don't know the progression of the polished surfaces, how much more they are $, or pros/cons compared to PebbleTec. Looking for some advice/experience there, too =).

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cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
7,640
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
I am going for an all tile pool... It lends itself perfectly for DIY as it does not matter how long it sits without water and depending on what thinset is used it has to sit up to 27 days without water.. Also you can do as much or as little a day as you want.. The tile costs about the same or a little less than plaster but the reason tile pools are so expensive is from the labor to install the tile, your labor is free... If interested I can get you the info and here is my thread on what I am using.. Owner Build all Tile pool: Initial layout and plans
 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I actually hadn't thought of doing all tile, that's not a bad idea, and the flexibility for completion time is nice. Not sure I'll go that route, though. I'm a full-time single dad of a 5 and 6 year old, so I'm looking at a pretty specific area of the time-money spectrum for this project. :LOL: I think tiling the whole pool would over-extend my time resources.

I'm definitely using the same lights as you are! Love that hand rail, too. I'm going to look into the salt-coating you mentioned. I am 650' from the beach so lots of corrosion here, even with 316 stainless.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
7,640
Southern OK
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool SJ-40
Just found out, if you get those lights get a DC 12v power supply.. the lights will last longer and be brighter than an AC power supply... :)

this gets put into a rain tight electric box, I put holes in the bottom to allow airflow and it has been great and still working 9 years later..
 

OrlandoBull

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2015
236
Winter Garden , FL
Congrats on your build. We're in the final stages of an owner build over on the west side of Orlando. I have done my own; sod scrape, irrigation, landscaping, and will do the new sod. I left the pool part to the pros. I am sure that the steel is not difficult, but I think you'll find that most excavation contractors are accustomed to doing that part... I am also very hesitant with playing in someone else's sandbox. For instance, if your excavation isn't quite right for your steel install, will you have to pay them to come back out? If the steel is too close to the gunite, with the gunite company point the finger at you? Just think through those things before you decide on what parts to do.

Watching the progress on mine, I *could* have done the plumbing and electrical quite honestly, but it's hard work. We did a glass tile and I probably wouldn't have had the confidence to do that, could definitely do the 6x6 tile though. We have 3 little ones, which is a lot on the wife, so to an extent it's similar in that I wasn't able to just spend every weekend in the back yard. Good luck, I'll be following!
 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Thanks, Congrats on your build as well! I was out in Narcoossee for a few years. I sent you a PM with a couple questions, if you don't mind.

Thank you for those points, I'll continue to think about those. It will come down to cost. I'm not sure what I'll get back, but I'm worried that being an owner/builder and the market being the way it is now, all the quotes are going to come in quite high, which is just going to push me to DIY more.

Right now I'm trying to think through some of the logistics, like what would be the best way to get all the steel to my house, and where do I put the excess fill dirt that I can't grade back in. I want to see how difficult those would be to overcome so I can determine how much I'd be willing to pay when I start getting quotes back.
 

Jm13004

Member
Jun 27, 2015
11
Melbourne, florida
BlueWave8,
Congratulations on your build. I'm getting ready to do owner build in the Keys but I live on the Space Coast currently. Owner build is the only way to go in my opinion.....way more control over project. I'm also going to do tile. Feel free to email me, I can route you to a few subs and a local engineer that does plans.
 
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BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Thanks for the info! I would love to be able to do a pool in the Keys ;-)

I'm looking for some feedback and other options on the layout if anyone is willing to provide it! How would you lay it out if it were your pool?

In a correction to my first post, it looks like I have a 10' set back from my rear property line. 5' from the side property line.

I'd like to do a square spa, probably in one of the corners, but not opposed to putting it "outside" of the pictured pool area, vs taking up space within the pool area. I'm also considering 0 elevation spa, unless there are reasons not to. The SE corner is the best place for a spa from a privacy standpoint (based on neighbors and vegetation). It would be nice (efficient) to have the spa up near the equipment pad, in that open area, but my neighbors porch is about 5' from there on the other side of the fence. (5' tall wood fences are along both property lines, the outer most dotted lines)

Steps would go somewhere on the North side, there is a door exiting the house right where "123.6" is pictured. But corner? middle? all along? hmmm..

Dimensions are in inches, about 4.5' from the walls of the house, one foot off my setbacks, gives me about 27.2' x 14.3'
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I'm going for a vibe kind of like these:



 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Ok I finally have some pretty renderings to share. I am in no means set on any of this, we had a quick preliminary conversation and this is the first draft. Any and all feedback, functional/aesthetic, is very welcome please. Lots of pics this time so I'm hoping for more feedback ;-) I don't have a significant other to throw ideas around with, its just you all, so no pressure :LOL:

1) I'm not sure if I'm married to the spill-over spa. I was thinking 0 elevation from my inspiration pics above was a neat look. But in the renderings this one actually looks pretty good. What do you all think?

2) I'm not sure about all the angles in the spa. It definitely looks visually interesting, I like them aesthetically, but any thoughts on how they'd be for when you are in the spa?

3) I notice a lot of spas have a "cutout" of the bench in front of the spillover. Is there any practical reason for this? If not, I think I'd rather have the extra seating area and a little less water to heat when getting up to temp.

4) Deck and colors are all preliminary. The advantage of pavers is that I can take them all the way to the property line, where concrete would have to be 10' off the rear and 5' off the side (basically no deck), but I like the simplicity of having a poured deck and concrete cantilever coping. The pavers look a bit more "traditional" than the look I am going for. Has anyone seen any pavers that invoke a mid century vibe? Most of the decks from my inspiration pools are all poured concrete.

5) I'm thinking maybe a little more seating area in the pool. Any cons to putting seating in front of the spa? I'd put it around the rear edge, but I have two kids that I know will be jumping into the pool, constantly, from every direction, and having the seating on an edge they'll jump from will just make me worry about them hitting it when they jump in all the time. The spa wall is likely the only one that won't have much jumping...

6) Skimmer quantity and placement? Not sure if two is necessary for a pool this small. I'm near the coast so winds are strongly from the east (rear fence). Probably the deep end wall near the house?
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BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Also, I'm thinking about moving the spa to the rear corner, in the deep end. When I go out and sit in the spa area that is pictured above, vs the corner of the back yard, the spot closer to the house feels like you are in an alley way, between the house wall and the fence. Whereas the spot in the back corner feels more open and expansive.

Here are two photospheres, let me know what you all think! They take a second to load before you can pan around.

I know the one closer to the house looks like you have more view of vegetation, and the one further from the house looks like the view is all house, but thats not how it feels when you sit in the two spots.

 

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TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
202
Tampa, FL
Just my personal opinion but with a rectangular pool, I like squared off steps, not freeform. Also, have you looked at travertine pavers instead of concrete pavers?
 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I agree completely about the steps...I thought something looked off but couldn't put my finger on what it was. I'll definitely change that.

On the pavers, I haven't researched those too much yet. I'm still undecided on tile/coping/decking. I'm trying to keep material costs as low as possible. I had assumed (perhaps wrongly) that anything other than concrete pavers would add a lot $$. I'll try to find some pricing info, I do like the look of the travertine.
 
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TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
202
Tampa, FL
I don't know what you consider a lot of $$ but I was surprised that the upgrade from concrete to travertine thru my PB was like $2k...I thought it would be a lot more. Granted, I did the lowest level of travertine but I thought for $2k it was worth it...but who knows...maybe they were overcharging for the concrete pavers, lol.
 
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nicolispicoli

Gold Supporter
Nov 18, 2020
44
Los Angeles, CA
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
I agree with the comment about the steps, and I think a spa in the deep end would be nice, I like to jump from spa to pool to cool off!

I have no expert experience, but I have never been in a spa with the break in seating like shown. I think that would bother me and would want the extra seating if there isn't a technical reason for the break.
 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Thank you both for the feedback!

My designer is fast with the rendering!

This is getting there...I still want to do something a little different with the steps. Maybe make them more symmetric.

I really liked how the spa was using that extra area where it was before...the pool seems smaller now. I actually really liked everything about the previous spa placement except the view from the spa when you are sitting in it....the back corner definitely has a much better view out.

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Jm13004

Member
Jun 27, 2015
11
Melbourne, florida
Nice design. Regarding the patio/slab.....since your pool is rectangular, you could do a concrete cantilever coping around perimeter (maybe 2') and then do random small concrete slabs with mondo grass or something in between. Looks at pics online.....very mid century modern. You could even do this yourself.
 

BlueWave8

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2011
105
Space Coast, Florida
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Thats a really fantastic idea!

Any idea where I would get forms for cantilever coping? Would the backfill ground (sand) need to be compacted behind the shell edge before pouring?