Pool Build - Montgomery, TX (Lake Conroe)

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
First off, thanks to all of the forum member. You helped me educate myself in pool design and items to follow up on during quote and build. We've selected a builder and signed a contract and hope to break ground in mid-January.

To set the stage, this is a waterfront (canal) home on Lake Conroe in Texas. The lake is bulkheaded and our lot is situated such that the back yard is elevated from the lake. There is an engineered retaining wall (poured on a footing) that elevates the back yard about 9 ft from the lake. There is about 15 ft from the bulk head to the retaining wall so I am not terribly concerned about washout of the wall. If the bulkhead fails, I am confident that I can correct in time before the retaining wall fails.

We did elect to have a Professional Engineer design the structure of the pool. We are awaiting that feedback now. At a minimum, the builder will put on piers and that is included in the contract. If the engineer determines more piers or beams are necessary, that will add additional cost. I'm a buy once, cry once kind of person so I'm willing to fork out the cash to ensure we did not see settling of this pool in the fill dirt held back by the retaining wall.

The builder is local - does about 90 pools a year. Not small, but not huge. I wanted to target a builder that lives in the area so I can run into him at the grocery store. My hope is that it is a pleasant encounter post build. I'm happy thus far and have several personal references that back up what I've witnessed to date.

This is a second home for our family. We have two kids (ages 6 & 3) and both are absolute fish. My wife and I are floaters and monitor the kiddos while sipping on a cocktail (in moderation of course). This isn't a lap pool

Details on the pool / spa:
89 ft perimerter / 32 ft perimeter
400 sq. ft / 64 sq ft
4 ft water depth in shallow end, 5-1/2 ft water depth in deep end
Pool Dimension 14 x 26 ft

Equipment:
Hayward TriStar VS 950
Hayward 425 Cartridge Filter
Hayward AquaRite SWG (40k gallon)
Hayward OmniPL Automation
Hayward 400k btu NG heater
Hayward ColorLogic 320 LED (2 x LED in Pool, 1 x LED in Spa)
Hayward AquaVac 650 Robotic Cleaner
1.5 hp Blower for Spa

Finish:
Travertine Coping
Travertine Decking (774 sq ft)
Glass Tile for Spa / Spillway
Ceramic 6 x 6 for Waterline
Pebble Sheen (Level 1)
Barstools topped with Travertine

Construction Specs:
Bond Beam - 4 bars (#4)
Walls & Floor - 6-8" on center (#3)
4000 psi Gunite (with fiber)
2 skimmers (2.5 inch Schedule 40)
4-5 return Line (2 inch Schedule 40)
6 jet in spa
Rolled seck in spa
Long Sweep 90s to reduce head loss
Channel Drains (anti-entrapment) for pool and spa
Bonded with #8 copper wire

In looking at the renderings, you will see that the pool / spa will come within 2 ft of the retaining wall (closest to the spa). Otherwise this is a pretty routine build, but it is worth noting that the beam on the back side of the pool is ~18 inches out of the ground and the spa is elevated 6" above the pool level. Outside of that uniqueness, there are no other bells and whistles ( i.e. water features - bubblers, scuppers, fountains, ect).

Would value feed back and interested in thoughts / concerns. I am a current pool owner at our primary residences and as mentioned above, my kids are fish. I will attempt to maintain myself, but typically we only use on the weekends. I have a neighbor that uses a pool service to cover when I am MIA.

Thanks in advance.
 

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HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
1,566
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
The layout looks great as does your equipment specs. Also great that you had an engineer ensure you had the pool designed to fit your layout with the nearby bulkhead. Will you have an outdoor shower to rinse off from the lake before going in the pool?
Would recommend 2 skimmers at opposing ends. Also have each run independently back to the equipment pad.
Space out your equipment on your equipment pad if you have sufficient room. Makes it easier to work on it later.
Put a bypass before your heater.
Put a light above your equipment pad.
On your spec " Barstools topped with Travertine " - is the barstools located in the pool or elsewhere? Seems interesting.
Keep us posted.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,320
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
My mom lives in a similar type setup. You may consider reinforcing the bulkhead in the build process if it is not already reinforced. Its not cheap, but helps give you peace of mind that your backyard remains in your backyard. I would imagine most builders in Conroe also have tied the gutters/yard drains into an underground pipe that empties into the lake from a hole in the bulkhead, so you dont end up with water flowing over the bulkhead or seeping behind it.

The above would be recommended even if you didnt have a pool. Other than that, I have seen the pools in her neighborhood just get by with piers. Good luck.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
The layout looks great as does your equipment specs. Also great that you had an engineer ensure you had the pool designed to fit your layout with the nearby bulkhead. Will you have an outdoor shower to rinse off from the lake before going in the pool?
Would recommend 2 skimmers at opposing ends. Also have each run independently back to the equipment pad.
Space out your equipment on your equipment pad if you have sufficient room. Makes it easier to work on it later.
Put a bypass before your heater.
Put a light above your equipment pad.
On your spec " Barstools topped with Travertine " - is the barstools located in the pool or elsewhere? Seems interesting.
Keep us posted.

Thanks for the feedback. The travertine will be on the tops of the barstools in the pool. There are 2 independent plumbed suction skimmers and the heater will have a bypass.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
My mom lives in a similar type setup. You may consider reinforcing the bulkhead in the build process if it is not already reinforced. Its not cheap, but helps give you peace of mind that your backyard remains in your backyard. I would imagine most builders in Conroe also have tied the gutters/yard drains into an underground pipe that empties into the lake from a hole in the bulkhead, so you dont end up with water flowing over the bulkhead or seeping behind it.

The above would be recommended even if you didnt have a pool. Other than that, I have seen the pools in her neighborhood just get by with piers. Good luck.

Bulkhead is recent and in great shape. Had an engineer inspect it when we purchased the house last year. The bulkhead is 15 ft away from the footing for the poured retaining wall. I'm having a structural engineer design the pool so that the pool does not transmit load on the retaining wall. And yes, my deck drains and gutter are piped to the lake with a check valve to keep snakes from crawling up. Thanks for your response. Good validation for my thoughts.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
I've received my construction layout for review and wanted feedback on the lights (Hayward Color Logic 320). Both are currently situated to be pointed away from the house. My only concern is the light that is near the middle bar stool. We are folks that will use the bar stools in the evening to relax and watch TV. Is there risk of the light being a nuisance if positioned there. My thought was to move both lights fo a position where they face each other on opposite ends of the pool. Also, any other glaring concerns? The backside of the pool furthest from the house is raised approximately 18 inches above ground level which limits that for skimmer placement.
 

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Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
533
Bryan TX
Congratulations on starting your pool and having so much done so far!

I'm like you, I wouldn't put a pool light near the bar stools. If done that way, the light would show shadows into the pool because it shines on/around the barstool. It defeats the purpose of a light. Another is cleaning with your brush and leaning over the pool edge and pushing the brush down. Pool lights have a casing around them, they're not entirely flush with the wall, so my thought is it'd be hard to brush the light. And whoever sits on the stool will be. .. Resting their feet on the glass? Leaning into it? At night when the light is on?

I'm not sure where would be a better place. Mine is placed in the middle of the wall height. I've read that if you swim a lot at night, with the lights on, that the pool stairs should be lit. What about on the wall sharing the spa? EDIT: Forgot to add -- It costs less if you put the light closer to your electrical box.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Well, we met with the builder this weekend and he is hoping to start demo later this week. We finalized the construction drawings and he convinced me to keep the lights pointing away from the house. We will add an LED strip under the bar counter to add a little pop. We had to finalize our tile selections and went to the shop only to find out that our waterline tile has been discontinued. So, back to square one.

We will be using QDI Travertine Pavers (Philadelphia color in the Versailles pattern). We elected to eliminate the coping and ‘pave to the pool’. For the spa tile we will use QDI Superior Shark glassin a 1”x2”. This will be for the rolled neck and a knife edge spill over. Builder suggest using Travertine on the water line but I’ve heard to many mixed reviews in a salt water pool. I’d like to ask the forum for a recommendation on a 6”x6” porcelain tile. I realize these are personal choices but we are at whits end and wildly overwhelmed with making a selection. We like blues with brown and gray tones as a starting point so I’m open to suggestions. Please.

Thanks in advance.
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
533
Bryan TX
We went with 6 X 6 tile for the waterline. I wanted an easy clean up so went with glossy tile. One choice is whether you want the water to stand out or the tile. I also had a hard time deciding but for me I didn't want the tile to stand out, I wanted it to blend with the water color.

Your builder should come up with certain brands that are included in the bid. That'll give you a basis on selections. I do know glass tile is more expensive. A lot of people on this list go for glass tile for the pizzazz. All I think about is a tile chipping off or being damaged and glass in the pool. Again, who knows how often that happens!

The tile we used is with Master Tile, a medium blue with gray, it is glossy, and has a baby blue medium tone that sometimes looks turquoise. This tile comes in all sorts of sizes and in three tones. ISOLA. You can find it online in the Master Tile Catalog. You could also find my build where I've posted some pictures of our tile. Lots of pictures. Too many!
Here is the link to my build thread. . .
(1) Pool Build Finally Started - Bryan, TX (11/4/20) | Trouble Free Pool

Here is a thread I started. The link I put in the opening post is really good for seeing the true color of various tiles.
(1) Pool Tile Selection Site | Trouble Free Pool
 
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markdpratt

Gold Supporter
Dec 24, 2020
17
Lake Charles, LA
Bulkhead is recent and in great shape. Had an engineer inspect it when we purchased the house last year. The bulkhead is 15 ft away from the footing for the poured retaining wall. I'm having a structural engineer design the pool so that the pool does not transmit load on the retaining wall. And yes, my deck drains and gutter are piped to the lake with a check valve to keep snakes from crawling up. Thanks for your response. Good validation for my thoughts.

Hosseisemi,

We also plan on having a bulkhead added on our lakefront footage and draining our house gutters and back patio/pool area drains to the lake. Good idea on the check valve to prevent snakes and other critters from traveling up that pipe - I’ve added that to my list! Is your bulkhead wood, concrete, sheet metal or what?

I assume your drain pipes are PVC and will penetrate your bulkhead at the discharge?

Thanks,

Mark
 

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hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Hosseisemi,

We also plan on having a bulkhead added on our lakefront footage and draining our house gutters and back patio/pool area drains to the lake. Good idea on the check valve to prevent snakes and other critters from traveling up that pipe - I’ve added that to my list! Is your bulkhead wood, concrete, sheet metal or what?

I assume your drain pipes are PVC and will penetrate your bulkhead at the discharge?

Thanks,

Mark
Bulk head is wood with a PVC drain for the deck / gutter discharge.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Well, it has been a while. Engineering is complete requiring a small change order. The great Texas freeze pushes our build back a month but the patio is demo'd and dig should start tomorrow. Wish us luck.
 

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hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Would you mind sharing what your structural engineer ended up recommending for your pool foundation?
Engineer recommended upgrading the steel cage from #3 to #4 and upgrading bond beam from #4 to #5 and had minimium gunite thickness, and compressive strength of blend, specified. There were very detailed plans as to how the steel in piers would tie into the cage. It was actually surprising at how practical the engineer was relative to some of the requests I've heard about. This is a stamped plan and will have two inspections - the first after the steel is complete prior to gunite and the second after gunite.
 

Sollace

Gold Supporter
Aug 16, 2020
533
Bryan TX
When we designed our pool build, we kept our decking away from the house foundation. Hubby was concerned about our stretch tension slab shifting against the 4" deck thickness. We have that awful clay here yet nothing was said about any engineering concerns.
 

hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Dig happened yesterday and rebar today. Plumbing tomorrow and engineer inspecting the following day. Hopefully gunite next week.
 

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hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
And we are waiting on gunite. Currently scheduled for 4/14. Unfortunately I'm not in a position to water so I'm trying to find a neighborhood kid to take on the responsibility.
 

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hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Gunite complete. What a process. Crew broke off my hose bib, shut off water and left with out telling anyone. Got home from work to find that surprise. Thank goodness for PEX manifolds (and other hose bibs). All in all, pool is coming together. Only disappointment, and I should have known better, is the pool bar stools. Worried the ledge is too high. Thoughts?
 

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hosseisemi

Active member
Oct 20, 2020
32
Montgomery, TX
Nice little surprise. Plumbing and equipment was set today. Tile next week. Any things to focus in on with this plumbing setup?
 

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