Pre-Planning New Build in Houston Need Advice

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
Hi All,

I currently have a pool in the far out suburbs of Houston. Pool came with house when we moved to Texas in 2009 from midwest, never had a pool before. Downsizing house drastically but not giving up having a pool. Currently have 20,000 gal. SWG/TFP. I have read, learned, asked questions, and always gotten help.

I am currently looking for a home in the Houston Heights area. Hard to find a house with a pool where the house is not too big. So currently looking for a house with a yard big enough for pool, garage, and still have some yard for a big dog and a little dog. The help I need from everyone is cost estimates so I can gauge how much and where I will end up after adding in the cost of the pool to the cost of the house. I realize every build is different so I am asking for QUESTIMATES, best case/worse case, educated guesses. I know that it always costs more and takes longer. I am already adding in cost projections for new AC's, new roofs, etc. Each house I see needs something, so I just mentally add that to the price. It's an in demand area and costs for housing is what it is, you feel free to think outrageous and you are correct. Haha.

That said, here is what I would like to have. A rectangular pool that is deep enough for walking/running, I do physical therapy every day, sometime 2Xs daily, in the pool, I have to if I want to be able to walk. So while a pool is expensive, try paying for real PT at $500 a pop and my cost of use in my case is great for me. I also want an automatic cover for heat retention during the cooler months while running the heater. SWG a given, will probably pay for trucked in treated water to begin as the water is very hard here, have iron and manganese staining to prove it and lots of ascorbic acid treatment experience. I do want the Pebble Tec finish, which I don't have now. So SWG, heater, have NG Pentair heater now, had Hayward and boards continually failed starting in year 2, cover, VS motors for whatever, don't need or want lots of decking. I may add some of those fountain spray that arc into the pool, have waterfalls now and hate them, way too loud. Oh and LED lights, have 2 so would do the same. I have Polaris 280 works OK but gets tangled all the time. Oh and I think I would like a spa, wanted to add one to current pool but the aggravation fee that pool builders wanted to charge was about the same as a new entire pool so I gave up. Automation would be nice. What else, I know there are so many details, I have read some really long pool builds on this site, and I appreciate every page, even the one that I think was over 80 pages, such an education.

So ball park this please, Houston people I am counting on you.

Chris

Edit 09_03_2018 Size I currently have about 30 by 15 feet with the depth ranging from 3.5' to 7'. I could go somewhat short if it significantly changes the price or the yard impact the size.
 
Last edited:

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,047
Tallahassee, FL
LOL I think I know which one was the 80 page one was! That was such a fun build!

Here is what I would do.................find the threads you read and PM those people. Ask them how much their pool cost and who their PB was. I worry they will not see this thread.

Kim:kim:
 

Hoots711

Silver Supporter
May 21, 2018
61
Souderton
Pricing is going to be region specific, cant help w that.

One suggestion, when u find the home/yard you like, stop at the township and ask if a pool can go in.

They wont be able to show u plans but should be able to tell u if there are utilities or setbacks or drainage concerns preventing a pool.

I met with the inspector and he gave me a verbal pool ok before we put an offer in on our house.

We ended up not putting the pool in for 5 years, but he remembered us and permits were a breeze.
 

Poolbella

Silver Supporter
Jun 28, 2018
246
Houston, TX
I’m in the far west suburbs and we’re paying $55k for pretty much what you’re looking for (minus the SWCG). So add ITL pricing to that.
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
KimKats, Even though you are not in the area, I read all your comments wherever I see your name. You are truly a source and when I build I hope you will weigh in all the time and on every detail. Good point on contacting the owners of the builds I have followed. Will do.

Hoots 711, I would never have thought to check with the city. I am making a note on your suggestion. Thank you.

Poolbella, Thanks for the real life dollar reality check. I randomly picked $50K so I was close.

I intentionally put Houston in the subject to attract local information and hope more will chime in. That said, reminders of things to do that impact cost are very much welcomed. If I have a better ballpark the better prepared I will be, not perfect $ amount but at least prepared. Thank you all.

Chris
 

Jcvader99

Bronze Supporter
Feb 8, 2018
55
Charleston SC
Taylor1584, I did alot of pricing and quotes this time last year, some of them included a lot of what you stated above.

I can tell you that if I had built my pool with all the items you describe above, it would have cost around $75-$85k here in Coastal South Carolina. You could lower that number based on the smaller size, but not by much.

Regional costs definitely matter, but maybe only 5% variance here and there.
 

Jbrillo

Gold Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
383
League City, Texas
Taylor1584,

I live in the suburbs of Houston and just spent the summer getting quotes on a pool/spa. We got 5-quotes over the summer and I can tell you that the base price for pool/spa combos we got ranged from $45K-$55K. Options like SWCG and the deck sprays will add cost. SWCG seemed to run about $2K extra. Automation is extra too. It will depend on what type/brand but figure in $1K-$2K. Pebble Tec will cost extra too but I’m not sure of cost. Some PB’s don’t do it and some have it as standard. How much will probably depend on the size of the pool. It would be safe to guess a few thousand. I’m not getting any deck sprays so sorry I can’t help there. Type of decking will add cost too. If you want travertine or some kind of paver, you will pay more. I did learn that most PB subs get paid for a minimum amount of work so you may not get a break on less decking. Also, when buying a house try to find out where the utilities run. If they are in the middle of the backyard and have to be moved, that will cost extra. Also think about utility placement. We built our house 10-yrs ago on a large lot with plans for a pool one day. We built a large one story with a large side backyard and didn’t think about the utilities being at the front of the opposite side of the house. Every quote was at least $5K to run utilities to the other side(over 150-ft). Hopefully you won’t have that problem, but it is something to think about when you look at homes.

I read the 80-page build too. I feel like I know the lady that built it. Lots of good info and a lot of friendly people on that thread.

Based on my quotes I’d guesstimate $49K-$59K. Good luck on you house and pool shopping!
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
Jbrillo,

Good insight on costs, what extras are running in the Houston area. I have made a special note about the utilities information, avoiding tearing them up and/or needing to move them to use in the build. Will check that as part of the pre buy needed information.

Chris
 

SuzfromTexas

Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Apr 7, 2015
3,365
Houston, Texas
Hey Chris, thanks for the PM. Have you sent a PM to MarlaHouTex? She built inside the loop so could hopefully help you with that specific area. As you're finding it is different from many of the suburbs. I'm guessing you have read her build thread, but in case not, here's the link:

A Houston Pool Build Inside the Loop - Page 63

Depth: I hear you about physical therapy in a pool - nothing better! Have you considered a small deep end for the deep water exercises - treading water, etc? 6 feet is enough for most people, and I really like my 7ft depth. I think it helps keep my pool cooler in the summer, although this summer hasn't been bad.

Automatic cover: Great, great idea! I'm surprised our swim season isn't as long as many people think, and a cover should definitely extend it.
SWG: yes, a given in my books, too.
Pebble tec: Love my sheen and the applicator company here in Houston is known to be the best. They proved it the day of install and subsequent checking on my pool. It still looks great today.
Waterfalls: I agree with you on those, too. Very noisy. I turn them on only for the quick "Oooooo, Ahhhhhh" factor for people new to the pool. Expensive for reactions from people.
LED lights: Good decision on 2. If you go with a spa, be sure to get an LED for it, too.
Automation: Absolutely! Especially if you can use your phone - wish I had that.

Water, trucked in: Have you tested tap water in The Heights? Houston water can vary by neighborhood. Currently our water utility district switches between ground water (very hard) and surface water (much softer) and a mix of the 2.

Heater: Raypac is rated well on TFP. Check into that one. I have a Jandy heater and am having problems. I haven't found out if it's due to the heater or the gas line. Ugh!

Deck jets: I'd pass on those in a heart beat. They're noisy and the slightest breeze breaks the arc. Save your money.

Cleaner: Maytronics dolphin by all means. It is one of my great purchases. There are many versions, so check them out on TFP under Cleaners.

Spa: I like my spa even though I don't use it as often as I thought I would. I wish for the winter time, I had made it deep enough to jog in place. Maybe 4 feet? One of the PB designers suggested that especially with my bad hip at the time (nothing like a new titanium hip!). I wish I had listened.

Steps: If you took anything away from my pool build, I hope it was about the steps. You need physical therapy? You need low rise steps. Make it happen. I'm a poor salesman, so few take me up on the suggestion. I've found young and old alike who come to my pool absolutely love my steps. Even with a new hip, I still appreciate and love my steps.

Sun shelf: You didn't mention a sun shelf? That's another feature I was surprised by how much I enjoy it. My 34 yo son from Oregon loves it as well as his dogs!

Now.... any questions?

Happy building!
Suz
 

jaymantx

Silver Supporter
Apr 3, 2018
146
Houston/TX
I'll chime in since my pool seems to fit your description (SWCG, Omnilogic automation, 4 LEDs (2 pool, 1 spa, 1 sun deck), similar size, spa, Pebble Tech, etc) plus some extras (large spa 7'X9', glass water line tiles, travertine deck, 4 water features and separate pump). I am located south west of Houston. Like others have mentioned above, I think estimates will come in at $50~$60K. For your reference, I got close to 10 bids, and most of them came in at near $70K. 700sqft of travertine deck was about $8000~$10K. Since you will be inside the city limit, I assume you will have to get several permits and get some inspections done, which will cost you more.
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
Jcvader99 , Even though you are in a different region It is helpful to see estimates, thank you for taking the time.

Chris

- - - Updated - - -

jaymantx, Thanks for the comparison and the estimated. 10 bids, that's a lot or is that typical. Anyone feel free on recommending a builder or a do not recommend, PM me if naming names is not allowed.
Chris
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
SuzfromTexas, I did PM you, thanks for responding to my message. I will reach out to MarlaHouTex, I think I did read her thread but may go back. I definitely am needing names. Thanks for the insight on water depth. Currently there is a section of my pool, I think around 7', I'm 5'2, so a lot is deep for me. I think is does stay cooler and is good for the PT, I do cross county skiing movement with ankle and hand fins, along with all the other exercises.

The auto cover is because I don't have the arm strength to do it myself, heat retention for the shoulder season, and hopefully our short winter season. I currently use the heater just on the shoulder, but with a cover and a spa I might be braver going out in Houston's version of winter. This from a girl who spent 4 college years in Wyoming! I think the cover will help keep the pool cleaner too, though they are not terribly attractive!

I love my Salt Water Pool, there is no going back.

Your quest for PebbleTec is what is leading my decision, and I know the company you are referring.

Waterfalls I can live without, only turn them on at night to cool down the water during the hottest days when water temp is hot even for me, or when I seldom need to adjust the acid/akalinity. I may look into a cooler, depending on what shade the new pool will get, presently I have NO shade.

Love the LED, will get again, and yes will add one to the spa. Dang, need to replace one now, being quote $500 plus, did not expect that.

Had to replace my Horrible Hayward heater, don't get me started, invested Raypak and Pentair. Was discouraged from the Raypak even though I know overall their company makes a very good product.

I think I will pass on the deck jets, the expense and noise not worth it and the WOW factor is short lived. I can do without most bells and whistles, just want understated, nice looking and functional.

Maytronics dolphin That I will research, while my Polaris 280 works most of the time, the tangling drives me nuts. I have read every thread here, tried all the solutions, rebuilt it twice. Time to move on.

Spa I was thinking about the depth for my exercises so your perspective is invaluable. I will invite you over for therapy and lunch when it's all done.

Steps I will put that on my special list, low rise steps. My titanium rods and bolts thank your titanium hip. I want to plan for worst case use. I am thinking of having the edge of the pool and the spa at sitting high. Sit down, swing legs over, to the steps with the holes for future handrail if needed. Im searching for a picture for inspiration and to show builders.

Sun Shelf What are these for. I need umbrellas everywhere. As a transplant to Texas the heat is killing me, I wear a big hat in the pool, and always sit in the shade. I am too old to tan.

I can't wait to start, just have to find a house, that I can afford, with room for a pool.

Thanks for all the advice, I hope there's lots more.
Chris
 

Marlahoutex

Platinum Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Aug 9, 2014
2,550
Houston tx
I think the cost that people are quoting will be close, esp if you build off season. It also depends on all the extras you add, which is easy to do! I sent you the name of our builder, who we were very happy with. I had a difficult time finding PBs who would build inside the loop. Maybe that has changed now.

I don’t know that we required extra permitting just because we live in the city although I don’t remember all the permits required. We actually never passed our final inspection because we didn’t have, and still don’t have a self closing gate. We have an electric gate with a timer that closes the gate, but that wasn’t good enough. Not passing didn’t seem to affect our tax assessment though!

Good luck finding a house! You just missed out on that historic Heights House with the 20k lot for $3 million!
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
Hi Marla,

Thanks for the information. I am trimming down the extras, especially after reading many many pool builds and what people say they really use. I saw that historic home while at an open house nearby, just didn't need an aviary, otherwise it was perfect. haha. I will find something eventually and feel the more prepared the better. At least I know how to take care of my pool, been TFP for several years. I will be starting a pool build thread as I need all the help I can get.

Thanks
 

schwimmen

Bronze Supporter
Jan 30, 2017
127
Houston TX
Hi, Taylor1584/Chris.

I live in the Heights (and have since 2002) and am in the middle of a pool build now. Sounds like your features list is very similar to ours, including the emphasis on using pool for walking/running. In fact, our whole pool design is based on being able to use the pool in this way. We did about 18 months of research (fiberglass, therapy pools, gunite) before signing a contract for a gunite pool and spa. We were able to find a solid PB to do the build with costs in the mid 40s, which was very reasonable compared to a number of quotes that we received. We've added some equipment that's not included in that cost (Fastlane, upgraded to larger heat pump with chiller), and there is some additional cost if we opt for plaster with aggregate or pebble. Our neighbor was able to put in a pool (plaster, no spa) for under 40. I'd be more than happy to talk to you about the area and our pool process to date, including city permitting issues that may not be an issue in the suburbs.
 

Taylor1584

LifeTime Supporter
May 13, 2011
161
Houston, Texas
schwimmen

Oh thank you so much. I would love to talk with you. I did find a house but my offer was not accepted so starting the hunt again. I will PM you, hope that is OK/

Chris