South Jersey Fiberglass Install

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
Been thinking about a pool for a couple years and finally got serious in April (admittedly late), met with some pool builders, decided we wanted fiberglass, narrowed it down and signed in June. Engineering, permits, and some other BS dragged this out and here we are finally in Oct with a commitment from to builder to start this Friday. Found this website early on in the process and have been checking it out periodically ever since. Some members helped me along the way with decisions and I'm really looking forward to giving back. Everyone has been so helpful!

This will be our first pool so looking for any advice, I don't know what I don't know. My first questions are when should I get a pool kit for testing and when should I plan on closing pool? I'm guessing we will get one swim no matter how cold it is and then wait patiently for next season We are adding an outdoor pavilion with TV/bar so hopefully we get some use out of that for some fall/winter football games. I'm actually looking forward to that mostly at this point!

One other question my wife and I are debating is if we should keep a 3' walkway on the house side of the pool or just extend the patio to the pool coping? Is 3' plus 1' of coping wide enough to comfortably walk?

Here's what we are getting with pics attached (the design was something basic i drew up on my ipad):
Inground Fiberglass Leisure Pool Ultimate 40' in Silver Grey with spa and tanning ledge 17,690 gallons
Hayward VSOmni 900 with Smart Pool Control
200 Sq Ft Hayward Star-Clear Plus Cartridge Filter
Hayward H-Series 250k BTU heater
Hayward AquaRite 900 SWG w/ 40k cell (AQR940)
Aluminum fencing
Techo-bloc Aberdeen pavers
Amish Pavilion 20x14

TIMELINE (added 12/5)
April 1 2019 - Started interviewing pool builders and hardscapers. We will be removing our 30 yr old rear deck, a bunch of old, overgrown landscaping and trees and doing some re-grading to the property.
June 5 - Sign with hardscaper who says he doesn't want to do bond beam or coping, let pool builder / mason do that and he will do rest of patio and backyard.
June 10 - After meeting with owner of pool company a few times at our house and then some back and forth over phone and email with their "account manager" (not the owner and not the actual pool builder) we signed pool contract for a Leisure Pools Ultimate 40'. They said the pool will be ready from factory by July 18 and she is hoping for a late July install and then we can swim by August. Sounds quick! :D
June 12 - Our original property survey is outdated. Submit for new survey and township requires engineering plans for grading and coverage calculations. We budgeted for engineering so this wasn't a surprise cost but wish we new about survey so we could have taken care of that ahead of time.
June 24 - Surveyors show up.
June 25 - Out of nowhere the Account Manager suggests switching to another fiberglass manufacturer b/c of issues they've had with previous builds. :oops: We don't go with their suggestion and stick with our original pick of Leisure Pools
July 8 - Engineer receives completed survey. This was a roughly one month delay that we really weren't expecting.
July 9 - Engineer sends preliminary plans to review (I should have reviewed this with PB at this time however I didn't think to, just met with Hardscaper and all was approved).
July 12 - I call my township to get an estimate on timeframe for approval on permits once submitted. We are still dreaming of a swim in August based on original expectations set by Acct Mgr. Township informs me they are backed up about 1 month on permits. :(
July 13 - Met with electrician for his quote
July 16 - Receive final engineering plans via email. Acct Mgr sends me their permit info for submission to township
July 20 - Receive final engineering plans via mail. Ask Acct Mgr to confirm that we have all we need for submission to township, waiting on electrical rest is good. ;)
July 23 - Go to township, they inform me that I am missing a bunch of stuff including gas riser diagram for heater and a site specific electrical diagram. I also need engineering plans for pavilion, septic approval separately from county, and approval from gas company. Pavilion is now ordered with engineering plans on their way, roughly two weeks. PB says each township is different with what they need so they apologize and we wait :mad:
July 24 - Email to confirm with owner of pool company if we will need more dirt / material trucked in for elevations based on engineering survey or if they can use what we pull from the pool hole. :unsure:
July 29 - No response. Ask again about material :unsure::unsure:
Aug 1 - Set up meeting with the actual excavator and pool builder for the company for tomorrow to figure out the material needed. Get quote on gas line. Also asked Acct Mgr if pool was delivered yet and they say it's been delayed to Aug 21 for leaving factory. Not great news but our expectation is pool will be ready once permits are in hand. Go to township to re-submit for permits with all correct info. At this point we realize that our township is backed up about 1 month anyway so we shift our dreams to swimming by Labor Day. 😐
Aug 2 - Meet with PB and he suggests going 8" lower than the engineering plans to save on elevation material costs. Even with that change he still suggests we will need to bring in outside material. Ask for quote on that plus quote on coping. We already have a price on bond beam.
Aug 5 - Talk with Engineer, he agrees that 8" lower is possible as long as they account for water runoff. He asks me to get the PB to send him this request so he can approve. Waiting on PB now.
Aug 6 - Put down deposit on black aluminum fence with separate fencing company for perimeter of backyard. At this point we have made decisions on all aspects of the project (pool, pavers, coping, fence, pavilion) so we can be ready once permits are approved.
Aug 27 - After no response from multiple email attempts to the Acct Mgr I copy in the owner to get a response on the PB proposed grading changes and a quote on coping and ask for update on pool delivery. We are sensing permits can be approved any day now and want answers to these final questions.
Aug 29 - Have hardscaper remove deck from backyard to make room for pool. Trying to anticipate our permit approval so we aren't the cause of any delays.
Aug 30 - Finally get quote from PB on coping. Within budget so that's good. Nothing on extra material, I'm left to believe they just won't know and can't estimate properly until they start digging. I start to do my own research so I can have a budget in mind on materials.
Sept 9 - Permits approved! 😁😆🤣. Pool company says their schedule is now backed up, will let me know when they can get us scheduled. 😶
Oct 2 - Start my Pool Build thread on this forum. (Should have started this back in April to get advice then which would have helped me tremendously to simply ask the right questions and know what to look for.) 🤦‍♂️
Oct 7 - Excavator arrives onsite. Minor drama about pool elevations, PB never responded to any of my emails about elevation changes for engineer sign-off and now no one wants to start digging without homeowner authorization to go with a modified plan without anything official from the engineer or township. We talk with township and they say it's fine to modify elevation as long as we compensate for water runoff. After a nerve racking start, the dig begins.
Oct 10 - Pool delivery. I upsize the filter for an additional fee based on recommendations from this forum. Pool company did upsize the salt system on their own so I was happy with that "win."
Oct 13 - After a couple attempts pool is finally in the ground. I've seen videos online from other companies with entire teams of people working to get the pool plumbed, backfill set and pool in the ground and boy do they make it look easy. My company has two guys and it's not quite the same experience. I'm starting to get really nervous that I made a major mistake with my pool builder choice. The backfill material isn't clean stone, it's a product called DGA and I'm hoping its good. PB swears it's the best stuff for my soil and he's used it for years. There is no mention from them that they had to order extra material for my build beyond backfill. I am expecting to pay for additional material and the additional time they spend grading the rest of my backyard and have a number in mind but waiting for them to tell me the price. They also use flexible PVC instead of rigid but I didn't know to ask about this upfront so I don't make a stink about it. Plus I don't know if it's really that big of a deal anyway. It's all 2" which I also didn't know at the time to ask about but that was nice to find out after the fact. Would have preferred 2.5" to the spa at least but oh well.
Oct 29 - Due to change in equipment and some weather delays there hasn't been much progress on the pool 😤. Filter finally arrives and they start working on plumbing the rest of equipment pad. Met with their recommended mason for coping and bond beam. From info I gathered they severed their relationship with a previous mason just prior to me ordering which is why I believe this meeting happened so late in the build. I pay him his deposit for coping and bond beam. At this point I'm really second guessing everything. I thought a fiberglass pool could be installed in a couple days due to expectations they set back when I signed when they were expecting my pool to be ready by July 18 and I could be swimming in August. It's not all their fault, we had delays with permits and survey and I ordered right at peak season which didn't help but I think this is the main reason why pool builds can be so stressful. I had an expectation, set by them, and it was nowhere near accurate. They should have said when I ordered that we were getting a jump on the 2020 season and that would have been perfect.
Oct 30 - Discover a crack/blemish in the pool tanning shelf. 😱 It's not really that bad. Notify one of the workers and he says he will get this over to Leisure Pools for warranty repair.
Oct 31 - The call finally comes in asking to be paid for the extra material and equipment time spent grading. I really don't want to negotiate with them but I am questioning the amount of material they say they delivered. I thought I counted the trucks but I didn't watch all day when it was all delivered earlier in the month so I could have missed some. I did loosely track the time on the grading equipment and I felt they were accurate with that number. Bottom line it comes in under what I budgeted for so I pay after they shave off a couple hundred bucks.
Nov 5 - Email to owner of pool company to let them know we are not satisfied with all the delays. There has been no response on the warranty repair issue? 😡😡🤬 Turns out this is the first they are hearing of it and claim their worker didn't tell them about the crack/blemish so we lost a week waiting. And it was all good weather! They tell us they don't want to do anything else now until they hear from LP on warranty repair. I should have held back my grading and material check until the entire project was complete and am kicking myself.
Nov 15 - LP person shows up for warranty repair, nothing has been done in the meantime. Had to wait for a good weather day with temps over 50 in order for the material to set properly. Fixes it same day. Real nice guy and I get the background info on why my PB tried to switch me from LP to another brand back in June. I'm glad I didn't switch. I upsize my pump to the VS 950 based on recommendations from this forum. PB comes through and convinces supply house to take back the current one that was unboxed and sitting on my pad. Credit where credit is due 🙏. Plan is for them to come back for two days with new pump to get that installed and complete rest of project so we can move on to electrical, inspections, bond beam and coping and then be done.
Nov 27 - Delays, delays, delays 🤬 and PB finally shows up with new pump and says they can wrap it up in one day. 🤔
Dec 3 - PB comes back out to dial in the backfill around tanning shelf and spa. They also tweaked the plumbing so the automation would work correctly when installed.
Dec 4 - PB back again to finish up what they thought would take just one day. Thankful that they are giving me the attention finally to get this wrapped up. Lights finally get delivered (after 15 previous emails asking where are my lights?)! Electrician is scheduled for Friday and PB is calling in for pressure testing inspection. What is that faint light I see in the distance????
 

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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,427
Central MD
Good job getting rid of the trees near the pool. That will pay dividends. I'd definitely up-size your cartridge filter, which will likely allow you to only clean the filter when you close the pool, though I also recommend using hairnets on the skimmers as well to assist in keeping your filter clean. You can't go too big on them. Good size on the SWG.

3' plus 1' coping is fine to walk on. Though having a raised structure next to it will make is seem tighter than if it was just lawn next to it. Two people passing will mean adjusting your gait to pass. The far side of our pool is 4' plus 1' coping which is nice for people passing.
 

thomasandanita

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2019
84
willis texas
i was also thinking about the size of your filter. i have same 200 filter, but about half the volume of water you do. i also have the same 250 heater as you but live in a warmer climate and again with 1\2 the volume. i know someone with the same ultimate pool that you are getting in my area and he has the larger filter and 400 heater. i like more concrete but also know that budget limits what is possible. get as much as you can afford around the pool. plenty of room for chairs and walkers at the same time. enjoy the pool!
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
Thanks for the quick feedback. So what size filter? Looks like the Star-Clear plus maxes out at 200 so I'd switch to a different model. What's the benefit, less annual maintenance?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,744
Northern NJ
Thanks for the quick feedback. So what size filter? Looks like the Star-Clear plus maxes out at 200 so I'd switch to a different model. What's the benefit, less annual maintenance?
Get a larger filter that you will have to clean less often. C3030 or C4030 filter.

Get a 400K BTU heater.
 

thomasandanita

Well-known member
Mar 14, 2019
84
willis texas
looks like i was mistaken, hayward does make a 350 filter, but the member i was thinking of with the ultimate like yours is a 30 and he has the 200 filter, not a 40 like you have planned. hope that helps. larger filter will decrease the cleaning frequency needed.
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
I am discussing the Hayward VSOmni 900 with Smart Pool Control in this thread Critique this PB Quote - Thanks!

With that system you don't get an integrated load center/subpanel. Ask you PB about the AquaPlus system with a TriStar VS pump.
As a newbie I'm kinda lost here and appreciate you looking out. Help me understand - what does an integrated load center/subpanel get me? I am under the impression that I can control my pump, heater and lights from my phone with this current setup. What will I be missing out on that I will regret?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,744
Northern NJ
As a newbie I'm kinda lost here and appreciate you looking out. Help me understand - what does an integrated load center/subpanel get me? I am under the impression that I can control my pump, heater and lights from my phone with this current setup. What will I be missing out on that I will regret?
Read that thread and the questions being asked about the way the electrical work will be done. Those same questions apply to you.

Either setup will work. It is when it doesn't work how complex or simple is it to diagnose.
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
Good job getting rid of the trees near the pool. That will pay dividends. I'd definitely up-size your cartridge filter, which will likely allow you to only clean the filter when you close the pool, though I also recommend using hairnets on the skimmers as well to assist in keeping your filter clean. You can't go too big on them. Good size on the SWG.

3' plus 1' coping is fine to walk on. Though having a raised structure next to it will make is seem tighter than if it was just lawn next to it. Two people passing will mean adjusting your gait to pass. The far side of our pool is 4' plus 1' coping which is nice for people passing.
Thanks for the feedback! Yes those trees were just so overgrown and once they came down it opened our eyes to the possibility of the pool. Feels like so much more space now.
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
I have the 30'er of the same pool, here are a few pics.
Thanks yes I remember those pics - you had helped me out when I was finalizing my decision! How are you enjoying it? Backyard looks like it provides a lot of entertainment!

You use the VS Omni automation correct? How's that working out? Also any comment on heater or filter? I'm hoping to hear today what the upcharge is to go from the 250k heater to 400k, sounds like I'd just be saving time but that's probably worth it in the end.
 

jtburf

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2015
422
Houston, TX
My wife said last night as we were sitting in the hot tub " we should have done this years ago" we love the whole package, the pools fits us to a tee. We had 3 couples over last sat night (Hot tub does get crowded with 8 in it!) they all love the pool.

400K heater is a must period. I really wish we had a larger filter, I have to clean it about every 3-4 weeks. I like the automation, it is super easy to change anything you want. If we would have had a pool 15 years ago we would have 6 kids now...lol...

It was the Cherrie on top of our Sunday!!! Matter of fact, I was just on the patio watching races from Belmont!

John
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
My wife said last night as we were sitting in the hot tub " we should have done this years ago" we love the whole package, the pools fits us to a tee. We had 3 couples over last sat night (Hot tub does get crowded with 8 in it!) they all love the pool.

400K heater is a must period. I really wish we had a larger filter, I have to clean it about every 3-4 weeks. I like the automation, it is super easy to change anything you want. If we would have had a pool 15 years ago we would have 6 kids now...lol...

It was the Cherrie on top of our Sunday!!! Matter of fact, I was just on the patio watching races from Belmont!

John
thanks for the feedback certainly helpful
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
578
MA
One other question my wife and I are debating is if we should keep a 3' walkway on the house side of the pool or just extend the patio to the pool coping? Is 3' plus 1' of coping wide enough to comfortably walk?
Is there a reason why the pool is so close to the deck? It definitely has a contrived feeling to it. If you could I would push the pool farther out and perhaps make the deck stairs wrap around the corner to open things up or even run them the length of the deck to get rid of the fence. Sitting on the deck now it seems you will not see 1/2 of the pool.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
578
MA
Do you actually use those sliders to get out to the deck? One step down out of the house would make a huge difference in the over all feel of things out back.
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
Is there a reason why the pool is so close to the deck? It definitely has a contrived feeling to it. If you could I would push the pool farther out and perhaps make the deck stairs wrap around the corner to open things up or even run them the length of the deck to get rid of the fence. Sitting on the deck now it seems you will not see 1/2 of the pool.
I appreciate the feedback. Our house has three sliders in the back. We thought about converting those to solid windows and then just not having a raised Patio at all but we think we will like the raised area. I do agree though that from the house view it will cut off a portion of the pool. So we then decided to use that raised Patio for a dining area and figure we need minimum 10' for a table. We are going to lower the patio about 4" when you walk out but if we add a step we would need to do that for all three sliders and I'm afraid that will reduce our dining area. We were hoping to avoid the need for a railing on the raised stone patio but I think we are high enough that it's going to be required. Meeting with pool builder today actually to review elevations and start this build. Also there's a 25' setback so we are limited in space.
 
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Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
578
MA
I appreciate the feedback. Our house has three sliders in the back. We thought about converting those to solid windows and then just not having a raised Patio at all but we think we will like the raised area. I do agree though that from the house view it will cut off a portion of the pool. So we then decided to use that raised Patio for a dining area and figure we need minimum 10' for a table. We are going to lower the patio about 4" when you walk out but if we add a step we would need to do that for all three sliders and I'm afraid that will reduce our dining area. We were hoping to avoid the need for a railing on the raised stone patio but I think we are high enough that it's going to be required. Meeting with pool builder today actually to review elevations and start this build. Also there's a 25' setback so we are limited in space.
Ahh, so the new deck will be masonry? Very nice. Will you be putting the pergola back or some type of shade structure?

"Anything" to avoid a railing... Even raising the pool a bit. Hopefully you can work that in...
 

tank47

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2019
66
NJ
Railing is gonna happen since patio will be roughly 30" above pool. Otherwise we'd be bringing in a whole lotta material to raise the entire backyard and that's getting $$. There will be a 20x10 covered pavilion down on one end of pool across from spa.