Pool Build St. Louis 2020 Saltwater Aurora 27' AGP

eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Hey all,

Thought I would catch up on our pool build install. We are going with the all-resin Saltwater Aurora. We took a while to decide to get an AGP and by the time we did, supplies were scarce! Also pool installers were booked up.

Turns out our long time handyman has installed many pools back in the 80s. Too bad I didn't find out until we had progressed a long way...

It's a nice pool, and we wanted to build it solid. Here's a picture of the yard and placement. That's the corner of the garage to the left. That's our tiny house on the right (kidding, kidding). House is just to the right of log cabin, there is a 15x30 concrete patio extending from the house to just shy of the dirt patch.

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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
And here is the dig! We got zoning approval from our little suburb quickly. Getting county approval took much longer. One day shy of three weeks, actually. But we started digging anyway. Ditch Witch was kind of fun, hadn't been on a tractor since I moved off the farm back in the 1990s. We aren't going to talk about my attempts to back the trailer down the driveway when I was done.

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7.5 hours of excavating down to lowest spot. If you look at the pictures and think we should have thought immediately about drainage, you would not be wrong. And I generated much more dirt than I expected, I have 4-5 cubic yards to get rid of now.

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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Did mention water was going to be a problem? Here's the pool ring laid out with 4x8x16 pavers in the circle. I set four of the pavers myself using the water level below (water in the kitty litter box, story pole leaning against the garage). That bucket on the right was for bailing out the area until I discovered siphoning. So thanks to this website I now understand water leveling and siphoning!

Our handyman came over to help set the last 14 pavers. Back in the day he used 2x8x16 pavers and often broke them in half. He wasn't thrilled about lifting those pavers in and out of their holes to level. He brought a transom level which went faster than the water level. Of course the transom is a two person deal.

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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
I mentioned above about not running the downspouts to the street that the previous homeowner knew just enough about home repairs to be dangerous. Literally. When I was exchanging ivory receptacles for white ones in our TV room I discovered he'd used three prong receptacles but jumped the ground screw to the neutral so they would pass inspection. Not cool.

Our plan was to put a new subpanel in the garage for all the pool electrical. Currently we have 12g wire that runs through a PVC conduit from house to garage.

So to backtrack when I was excavating I "found" the conduit. Code says conduit should run minimum18" below ground, and it leaves the basement at least 2 feet below ground. But evidently as soon as the previous owner cleared the house he took the conduit up to 6" below ground for easier digging. Again, not cool. Oh, and the conduit ran to a "subpanel" in the garage that didn't meet code either. I realize my original plan to use the conduit buried 18" and just outside the edge of the pool wasn't code either (not 5 feet of clearance), but our electrician recommended not bothering it and using the existing conduit to pull 10g wire through for a proper 40 amp subpanel, and I was OK with that.

So new plan is a service drop from the house to the garage which will definitely meet code. And cost more. And have another wire running over the backyard. But at least we solved a safety issue we didn't know we had.
 

eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Thanks for the bump, I owe everyone more pictures!

Short answer is we had some adventures in bonding the pool, and the skimmer leaked, and I added too much CYA due to not getting the Taylor kit right away, and the two younger ones both got swimmer's ear...

OMG I forgot the liner issue. That will be a fun one to post about. That was the absolute low point of this whole thing, but it's resolved.

But the big picture is the pool is AWESOME! We are loving it, and I am taking some pride in how well it went.
 
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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Here is a bunch of sand and rock dust. Rock dust went down in a 2' ring around the circumference of pool where rails would lie. Compacted it with hand tamper down to level of top of pavers. Good workout.

Decided to go with 3 inches of sand, armor shield, and foam cove. Actually bought enough foam board to put that over sand but ended up returning it due to $$$ and time it would take. There are a few footprints in the bottom of the pool but they don't seem to collect much dirt.

I ended up putting in a drain box at the low side of the pool that connects the 4" PVC that takes the water from the gutters out to the street. Water problem much improved.rsz_61495775727__9cad1dbe-7e8a-4c47-b584-9cb067533cdf.jpg
 
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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
And wall is up! Took me and three (strong and handy) friends to do it. 27' pool makes for a heavy wall! It's staked down although if I did it again I'd use bungee cords and tent stakes. Uprights going up.

Yes, the pool is level to within an inch across 27' Between being dug into a slope and the fence that slopes downhill, it's an optical illusion that makes it appear tilted. You can see my water level (yellow kitty litter box) and story pole I used.

Well, I used the water level for the first four pavers. My handyman had an optical transit he brought for the other 14 pavers. Much quicker than waiting for a water level to even out. Back when he was installing pools they used 2" thick pavers and he told me they often broke them in half. He was not happy pulling the full size 4" thick pavers up out of the ground repeatedly to level the rock dust underneath :)


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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Hey look more rain. That's sand leaking out of the low side of the pool. I really really wanted to get the liner in over the weekend, but the pavers, sand, rock dust, rail install, wall install, and foam cove just ate up too much time. You can see there's no Armor Shield yet. Luckily I had extra sand and rock dust. I crammed in rock dust under the rail and built the sand back up. Good news was the rain really leveled my sand and exposed some bigger pebbles!


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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Armor shield going in. Should I have put it down first instead of the cove so it went under it? Probably. Should I have put it down first so the rain was less likely to wash away sand? Probably. Should I have paid more and got the 27' pad instead of buying the 28' pad and spending an hour and half cutting it down? Definitely.

Back on the high side you can see where I dumped most of the excess dirt from the dig. It looks pretty level up there because the yard used to slope down hard where the bare clay starts. Previous owner had an above ground pool they removed but never re-graded the yard. More on that later...

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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
Is the wall on this one resin? Or coated steel?
All resin. We went back and forth in April about whether we wanted to get a pool due to COVID. By the time we decided to go for it, The only 27' pool we could find was this all resin monster. But I like have the SWG and we may end up doing a partial bury, so that will work out.
 
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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
And we arrive at the liner, what was quite possibly the low point of all of this.

Normally when you buy a 27' round liner, and the box says 27' round liner, and the tag on the liner says 27' liner, you expect a 27' liner.

We did not get a 27' round liner. We got a weird, defective liner. It was oval but measured 18'x30' across the cove seam lines, which does seem to match an existing pool.

So we actually started installing the unibead liner as a j hook on the long side. So of course it looked pretty normal. We went around the 18' short side and it seemed stretchy, but we figured the water in the pool would push it into place. We kept installing clockwise (not realizing we should have installed N/S/E/W), and got back to the long side of the oval. Anyway, we got around to the other long side of the oval and things started to fit again. Yay!

Then we got to the last part, which was trying to stretch an 18' oval across a 27' diameter space. It...did not go well. As we tried to pull it tight, we ended up pulling the opposite wall out of the track. That's when my wife looked closer at the liner and realized we were in trouble. She immediately got on the phone and located the only 27'x54" round liner in the greater St. Louis area and I headed out to get it. The picture below shows the defective liner. We got a credit from thepoolfactory.com that we used to buy our ladder/stair combo. Didn't want to wait for shipping since I could get another in an hour.

First though we had to wrestle the wall back in the track, but it was pretty difficult to do it without losing sand or getting a ton in the track. Fortunately, the section that pulled out was where the wall bar was. So we unbolted the wall bar, reset both ends of the wall, and rebolted the wall ends back together.
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eyedoc_01

Well-known member
May 30, 2020
56
Saint Louis MO
So we put the liner in again. Went on much better with an actual 27' round liner! Except we again went clockwise round the pool instead of installing by 8 sections (N/S/E/W/NE/SW/NW/SE). What happens is the bottom of the liner drags a little bit compared to the top, and you get wrinkles. So I removed the top stabilizers and gently shimmied to top of the liner to get the wrinkles out. After all the other problems, that was really easy. Before picture below.
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