Raleigh, NC - First time pool build - using my own design I created in Pool Studio - feedback request

golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
Hi everyone, first time pool build here. I started shopping around back in early June. Started the process with a builder in my area late June and we're getting ready to sign a contract. I wanted to share my build design here for any feedback or things I may not even be aware of to ask.

The design is my own. I downloaded Pool Studio earlier in the summer and started designing a few different options after the initial on-site visit. This was the final design I settled on that my wife is also really pleased with that I shared with the builder for the estimate/quote. I did a lot of research around standard dimensions for things like benches, spa benches, tanning ledges, light placement, etc. Would like to know what I've missed or may not even be aware of.

Our must haves were a spa, tanning ledge, water features and plenty of room to play in the pool. We have one child (5 year old) and our plan is for her to grow up with this pool.

Originally we started out with a fiberglass build which we were given a dig estimate around March 2022. This would have been fine for us but that has recently changed and the builder is no longer able to provide us with an estimate for fiberglass due to manufacturing delays.

We have since decided to go with concrete which allowed me more flexibility in my design.

Video:

Build:
18' x 40' pool (depth profile 3' 6" to 6' 6")
8.5' x 9.5' raised spa +18"
8' x 16' tanning ledge (9" depth below waterline, 1' total depth from coping). I used a 9" depth because I want to use 3 ledge loungers which specified a max depth of 9".
Wet Edge Luna Quartz plaster finish

Equipment:
Pool pump - Hayward Maxflo Variable speed pump (upgrade to Tristar VS included)
Pool Filter - Hayward C200s Cartridge Filter
Control System - Hayward PLP4
Salt System (Chlorine Generator)
M400 Dolphin Robotic Cleaner
Gas heater Jandy 400k
Lighting -
(5) Jandy Hydrocool 24 watt color changing LED's in pool,
(1) 12w in spa
Omnilogic - wifi enabled touch screen panel

Quoted at $137,000 for Pool+Spa. $209,000 including patio, pool deck, outdoor kitchen and fence

plans.jpg
Saddletop 18x38 Concrete Pool - Spa Elevated - Top with Ledge and planter - v2_075.jpgSaddletop 18x38 Concrete Pool - Spa Elevated - Top with Ledge and planter - v2_077.jpgSaddletop 18x38 Concrete Pool - Spa Elevated - Top with Ledge and planter - v2_079.jpgSaddletop 18x38 Concrete Pool - Spa Elevated - Top with Ledge and planter - v2_066.jpgSaddletop 18x38 Concrete Pool - Spa Elevated - Top with Ledge and planter - v2_061.jpg
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,033
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Get a larger cartridge filter in the 400+ square ft size.

Why Jandy LED lights with Hayward Omnilogic automation?

Why Jandy heater and not Hayward?

Look at the OmniPL instead of the OmniLogic.

How many gallons in the pool?

What model and cell size salt system?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,187
Tallahassee, FL
Love the design. Do have a couple questions:

-what is the rocky looking stuff behind the tanning ledge? You will want something you can walk on to get to and from that area.

-That planter between the spa and tanning ledge-do NOT put a tree in it. You will come to hate that tree due to all of the stuff dropping into the pool. Me? I would make that are just like the one on the other side of the spa. Never can have too much seating. What would be neat is a small table and chairs there for dinners by the pool.

Allen has you well covered on the equipment side of things I will touch on a couple of things that others have found helpful:

-A light by the equipment pad
-overflow grate/pipe
-water bib by the equipment pad
-unions and GOOD valves (can be rebuilt) on everything
-will you have a main drain? if so make sure it is piped separate from the skimmer


Kim:kim:
 
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golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
Get a larger cartridge filter in the 400+ square ft size.

Why Jandy LED lights with Hayward Omnilogic automation?

Why Jandy heater and not Hayward?

Look at the OmniPL instead of the OmniLogic.

How many gallons in the pool?

What model and cell size salt system?
The pool is about 21,000 gallons.
As far as the equipment goes, this is what the builder had recommended and provided in the quote. I am not familiar at all with any of the equipment. I did ask about upgrades and they said this is what they recommend. There was not a model/cell size specified for the salt system.

Equipment is one area I have done no research on yet since I was more focused on the design and amenities. I also didn’t really know where to start.

Is Hayward the better brand to go with for the lights and heater?
I’ll check out OmniPL too. I would really like something that I can control from my home but also tie into home automation platforms. I use HomeKit but I also have a Home Assistant server.
 

golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
Love the design. Do have a couple questions:

-what is the rocky looking stuff behind the tanning ledge? You will want something you can walk on to get to and from that area.

-That planter between the spa and tanning ledge-do NOT put a tree in it. You will come to hate that tree due to all of the stuff dropping into the pool. Me? I would make that are just like the one on the other side of the spa. Never can have too much seating. What would be neat is a small table and chairs there for dinners by the pool.

Allen has you well covered on the equipment side of things I will touch on a couple of things that others have found helpful:

-A light by the equipment pad
-overflow grate/pipe
-water bib by the equipment pad
-unions and GOOD valves (can be rebuilt) on everything
-will you have a main drain? if so make sure it is piped separate from the skimmer


Kim:kim:
Thanks!

The rocky area is meant to be pebbles. Will be something smooth maybe river rocks or beach pebbles. This won’t count towards my impervious surface limit for my lot since I’m close to that. I was thinking of it more as an accent to the travertine with brushed concrete pool deck. Some where I can place landscaping lights as well and use for planting if I wanted.

I used a dwarf palm tree for illustration, not sure the HOA would allow that type of tree yet. My thinking here was mostly just plants that give off a more tropical vibe. Perhaps various elephant ear species since they have very large leaves and they don’t drop in the winter. I would prune any dead leaves as they start to yellow. One thing my wife and I liked about this was it feels like a small tropical get away in the backyard. I was also considering additional privacy while we’re in the spa or tanning ledge since I have neighbors directly behind me and to the side. I haven’t tried to see what it looks like without the planter so I’ll try out your suggestion to see how it looks. We can never have too much seating area.

Great point about the light by equipment pad! I had not thought about that. There is a security cam flood light directly above in the top corner of the house but depending on exactly where they place the pad it may not provide enough light. I’ll add in something for the pad specifically.

I left all the plumbing out of the design since I have no idea what I’m doing in that area. I did provide the builder with my Pool Studio files (thats what they use too) so they can map out where the skimmers, drains, plumbing etc will go. I do want to be able to control the bubblers separately too.

Any thoughts on the spillover for the spa? Given the overall width should I expect this to be more a vanishing edge or will a pump be able to push enough water over the edge like a traditional spill over?
 

golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
Have you considered a pebble interior instead of quartz?
Only based on samples in the store. The pebble felt a lot rougher to the touch than the quartz. They did also show me a polished pebble finish which was an upgrade above the pebble interior that is much smoother. Any reasons to go with pebble over quartz? What I got from them was that pebble is about twice the cost but doesn’t give you twice the longevity but does last longer.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,187
Tallahassee, FL
As far as the equipment goes, this is what the builder had recommended and provided in the quote. I am not familiar at all with any of the equipment. I did ask about upgrades and they said this is what they recommend. There was not a model/cell size specified for the salt system.

Equipment is one area I have done no research on yet since I was more focused on the design and amenities. I also didn’t really know where to start.
The equipment is the MOST important part of a pool in the long run. Yeah it is not the pretty stuff but it is OH SO IMPORTANT for your ease of care down the road.

Please listen to @ajw22 suggestions. He has helped many people with their pool build and knows of what he speaks. Your PB has a stake in what he sells you. I am willing to be he has all of the listed equipment sitting in a warehouse just waiting to be used up. He does not care about how well it will work with your pool as he is not the one having to use it.

You need to press him on ALL model numbers for ALL the equipment as they range quite a bit. Allen will make sure you get what YOUR pool needs to make your life easier down the road.
One thing my wife and I liked about this was it feels like a small tropical get away in the backyard.
I can see how it will do that. To me it is just something else to take care of LOL
The rocky area is meant to be pebbles. Will be something smooth maybe river rocks or beach pebbles.
Then think about putting stepping stones for that area as people are going to walk (kids=run) in that area.
I’ll add in something for the pad specifically.
If you get good sun in that area you can use solar light.

Keep sharing any and all ideas/thoughts as we have helped many a pool and have learned what works and does not work.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
29,033
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
The pool is about 21,000 gallons.
As far as the equipment goes, this is what the builder had recommended and provided in the quote. I am not familiar at all with any of the equipment. I did ask about upgrades and they said this is what they recommend. There was not a model/cell size specified for the salt system.

You need to get the details from your PB before you lock in a contract. There is good equipment and not so good equipment. You often get a better warranty with a bundle of equipment all from the same manufacture.

What the PB recommends is what he can make a good profit on and what he can get. That does not mean it is the long term best for you. You have to live with the choices, not the PB.

Equipment is one area I have done no research on yet since I was more focused on the design and amenities. I also didn’t really know where to start.

A nice pool design with constant equipment issues is no fun to maintain. If you want a trouble free pool then dig into the strength and weaknesses of various equipment models.

Is Hayward the better brand to go with for the lights and heater?

I don't think a Hayward Omnilogic system will control the colors of Jandy lights. And if it does it will not do it as well as if they were Hayward lights. And neither Jandy or Hayward will give you any support if you have problems with the lights.

I don't know what warranty you will get on the Jandy heater with all other Hayward equipment. Hayward, Jandy, and Pentair all give 3 years warranties on their equipment bundles. But a piece of equipment alone can get a 1 or 2 year warranty.

These issues make me question whose interests your PB is putting first.

Now a word of warning about pool color LED lights. Hayward, Jandy, and Pentair color LED lights are all problematic and have short life spans. They only last a few years and then cost hundred to replace. If you are lucky your first round will fail within the 3 year warranty.

Better to get nicheless LED lights that fit in a standard 1.5" pipes so you have choices on replacements in the future.

Checkout...



I’ll check out OmniPL too. I would really like something that I can control from my home but also tie into home automation platforms. I use HomeKit but I also have a Home Assistant server.

You need to do some research on that. OmniPL is Haywards latest automation system.



 
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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
7,009
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
I have had good luck with longevity with my Hayward full size LED’s but agree there are a lot of failures. The nicheless also allow for a more even light distribution.

I just wish you could have provided a better concept video. Many are very visual. 😊

So long as the landscaping isn’t a bad pool choice (litter/debris) it will greatly enhance the vibe. But yes, at the cost of time/effort to maintain. I don’t mind that aspect.
 
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sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
2,224
Chapel Hill, NC
Just one thought, your 6'6" depth at the deep end is too deep to stand in but too shallow to dive in. I'd make it shallower if you don't want to dive or deeper if you do.

I may be off base here (Covid and all) but that seem an awful lot for the pool (can't comment on the rest as it depends on the scope, etc). Have you spoken to Carolina Pool Plasterers in Charlotte? Don't think that just because you live in Raleigh you need to go with one of the local pool builders (they probably use CPP as a sub). They were the primary sub for our reno and did a great job (they build pools too).
 

TampaKathy

Gold Supporter
Oct 2, 2020
463
Tampa, FL
I don't know all the details but I think there's more a risk of blotchiness with quarts. You should get at least 2 more quotes to make sure that the $130k is in line.
 

Carnut12

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 2, 2013
307
Forsyth, GA
Beautiful design!!! I agree about getting a few more quotes I’m building now in GA and my $130K included 2 Firebowls, 1000 sq ft of travertine, and all top of the line pentair equipment. I also got Pebble with Jewelscapes.

Good luck you’ve already made one perfect decision you’re asking questions on this Forum!!
 
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golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
The equipment is the MOST important part of a pool in the long run. Yeah it is not the pretty stuff but it is OH SO IMPORTANT for your ease of care down the road.

Please listen to @ajw22 suggestions. He has helped many people with their pool build and knows of what he speaks. Your PB has a stake in what he sells you. I am willing to be he has all of the listed equipment sitting in a warehouse just waiting to be used up. He does not care about how well it will work with your pool as he is not the one having to use it.

You need to press him on ALL model numbers for ALL the equipment as they range quite a bit. Allen will make sure you get what YOUR pool needs to make your life easier down the road.

I can see how it will do that. To me it is just something else to take care of LOL

Then think about putting stepping stones for that area as people are going to walk (kids=run) in that area.

If you get good sun in that area you can use solar light.

Keep sharing any and all ideas/thoughts as we have helped many a pool and have learned what works and does not work.
Thanks for the advice! I agree, equipment is very important and its one of the things I have the least knowledge about. I'll definitely be reading through the links @ajw22 provided. Will ask for specific model numbers as well. I'd rather take the time to find the right equipment even if its more money if it means less issues in the long run.

Great suggestion on the stepping stones! I will try that out tonight in Pool Studio. At least along the back edge of the tanning ledge. I was thinking of using the rest of the pebble area that wraps around the planter for planting maybe.

I'm the sort of person that loves gardening, lawn care, etc. So taking care of the planter is something I would enjoy. I keep my grass very short (1/2") which means I'm mowing it every 2 days during the growing season. Pool and pool landscaping will be something else to add to my outdoor chores. Any excuse to spend time outside :)
 

golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
You need to get the details from your PB before you lock in a contract. There is good equipment and not so good equipment. You often get a better warranty with a bundle of equipment all from the same manufacture.

What the PB recommends is what he can make a good profit on and what he can get. That does not mean it is the long term best for you. You have to live with the choices, not the PB.
This is great advice, I have the contract but haven't signed it yet. I will spend some time over the next few days reading through all the links you shared so I can get more familiar with the equipment. This is one area I don't want to cut corners with to save a few dollars. I did ask about upgrades with the pool equipment before but the PB told me this was the best they would recommend for my needs. What I would want is whats one of the best to use, not what is best from a specific vendor they work with.

A nice pool design with constant equipment issues is no fun to maintain. If you want a trouble free pool then dig into the strength and weaknesses of various equipment models.
Agreed! Glad I came here because I didn't know where to start with the equipment or even what equipment I would need.

I don't think a Hayward Omnilogic system will control the colors of Jandy lights. And if it does it will not do it as well as if they were Hayward lights. And neither Jandy or Hayward will give you any support if you have problems with the lights.

I don't know what warranty you will get on the Jandy heater with all other Hayward equipment. Hayward, Jandy, and Pentair all give 3 years warranties on their equipment bundles. But a piece of equipment alone can get a 1 or 2 year warranty.

These issues make me question whose interests your PB is putting first.

Now a word of warning about pool color LED lights. Hayward, Jandy, and Pentair color LED lights are all problematic and have short life spans. They only last a few years and then cost hundred to replace. If you are lucky your first round will fail within the 3 year warranty.

Better to get nicheless LED lights that fit in a standard 1.5" pipes so you have choices on replacements in the future.

Checkout...
I wasn't aware of that at all, thanks for pointing that out. Lights is something I don't want to have any issues or regrets with down the road. I'll checkout the nicheless LED lights too. I'm assuming most PBs can either order whatever you want even if its not a vendor they normally deal with or I have the option to order it direct before construction? I know when we built our home a few years ago we were limited to only vendors the builder worked with and also a limited selection of their products within each vendor (floors, appliances, etc). Hopefully PBs are a lot more flexible.

I've also decided to manage the project instead of using the PB as the GC/project manager. They gave me a list of all their sub-contractors but said I am free to use any sub-contractors I want.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,187
Tallahassee, FL
So glad you are taking the time to learn about all things about your pool build now so we can help you get what you NEED to make your pool care as Trouble Free as it can be.

I'm the sort of person that loves gardening, lawn care, etc.
Glad you enjoy it..........I can grow you rocks but don't even think about bring a living plant near me if you want it to live :roll: LOL
 
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golovko

Member
Nov 24, 2021
12
Raleigh, NC
Just one thought, your 6'6" depth at the deep end is too deep to stand in but too shallow to dive in. I'd make it shallower if you don't want to dive or deeper if you do.

I may be off base here (Covid and all) but that seem an awful lot for the pool (can't comment on the rest as it depends on the scope, etc). Have you spoken to Carolina Pool Plasterers in Charlotte? Don't think that just because you live in Raleigh you need to go with one of the local pool builders (they probably use CPP as a sub). They were the primary sub for our reno and did a great job (they build pools too).
I was thinking 6' 6" mainly for jumping in from the spa and also I'm 6', no diving though. Wanted just a little extra depth than my height.

I had reached out to several PBs several times, left voice mails, emails, etc and got no call backs. The PB I am working with now has been in business in the area for several decades. They also built two of my neighbors pools (vinyl) a few years ago. They seem to be one of the more well known in the Raleigh area. After I decided on concrete, I did reach out to other places again a few times but no call backs. Would love to have something to compare to since it is much higher than I imagined a pool build would cost.

I did only limit my search to Raleigh PBs (some national brands with independantly operated local branches). I did not think to look at the Charlotte area though. What I had found is many were limiting their new construction service area to a certain distance from their office.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
49,187
Tallahassee, FL
It is a builder's market right now. PBs have more work than they can do for the next year. That also relates to the subs as well. I will tell you there is a limited number of subs that are shared by most of the PBs in that area. That may make it hard for you to get subs to work on your project. Not saying don't do it. Just know it will be a bit longer and more work than it has been in the past.
 
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