Southern CA New IG pool: Steel framing complete

Mika

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2017
51
Stevenson Ranch/CA
Hi TFP family!
I've been on this site a handful of times over last couple of years trying to get the courage to pull the trigger on a pool. I finally gave my neighbor (pool builder) my deposit tonight! I will try to read all the great advice from past posts as much as time permits (Single mom, work FT and take care of my senior parents). Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated as I begin this journey! I meet with the designer on the 15th to give her my ideas. If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,536
Northern NJ
Congratulations on your new build. Care to share with us what your ideas are? Maybe we can help you prepare for your design meeting if you run your ideas by us?
 

Rancho Cost-a-Lotta

Silver Supporter
Apr 10, 2018
808
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Congrats Mika!

With your daily obligations, you should discuss automation with a salt water chlorine generator with your builder. As Allen mentioned, post your equipment sheet and pool stats here and you'll get some great advice.

I'm looking forward to following the build.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,329
Tallahassee, FL
We so have your back!! Let us help guide you on this journey!

Lets get started! Post up a pic of the yard this wonderful pool will be going in! Are you doing in or above ground? Plaster or vinyl?

Kim:kim:
 

Mika

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2017
51
Stevenson Ranch/CA
Wow! You all ROCK! I'm so grateful for your support as I'm SUPER nervous about this whole process. It's comforting to know I have a strong sounding board on this forum! When I mentioned I was considering doing this to my brothers, they thought I was insane to even take this on given my schedule. But with some health issues I've been facing lately, I think this is one of the best things I could do for myself. I haven't told them I moved forward and don't plan to until it's complete .... that way I can avoid the "I told you so" moments if this goes south. ;-)

@ajw22 - Given my crazy hectic life, I'm inspired by the designs that exude a calm serene zen feel with clean simple lines so I'm thinking:
Shape: rectangular (4-4.5'/ 7-8'/4-4.5') in range of +/- 17 x 35. Unclear on ledges, baja shelf, bubblers, benches, etc
Coating: Unclear but like the dark look... would prefer smooth but unclear on $
Spa: Would like to have custom configuration given I'm vertically challenged! ;-) No clue on how it should be designed in relation to pool.
Deck: Unclear if I should do concrete or stone or both. If stone, was thinking white limestone or travertine if available or perhaps some sort of tile..but worry about it cracking.
Coping: Unclear but like a simple straight 2-3" block look (for now anyways ;-) )
Equipment/plumbing/cleaning tools/lights: I like Mike's suggestion above to make it as automated and simple to maintain as possible. Haven't had a chance to educate myself on this topic yet. Any suggestions? Saw something about in-floor cleaning vs robot but don't know anything about either or how they work
Features: Unclear as I don't know what all this is going to cost but I do like sound of water and like to look at fire

@Rancho Cost-a-Lotta - Great advice, thank you!
@kimkats - LOVE your enthusiasm! Lot plan attached :) Will post pics in next day or so. I'm planning to do in-ground gunite
@Phx_Jay - LOL...he did most of my neighbors and they all say for the most part, it was a good exp...always will be some hiccups. And given he shares your name (Jay), he's gotta be pretty awesome, right! ;-)
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,536
Northern NJ
A few initial comments:

- Dark plaster finishes are more susceptible to mottling and color variation. If it will bother you go lighter. If you feel variations add character then go for it. Don’t expect a perfect dark finish.

- Skip the IFCS and get a robot. As long as you are fit and strong enough to haul a robot cleaner in and out of the water.

- with a pool and spa you want at least basic automation with automated valves to change between pool and spa.

- get a SWG for chlorination. You want your automation, VS pump, and SWG to work together from the same company.

- Pentair, Jandy, and Hayward are the big 3 in equipment. It is like Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge. See what your PB recommends and get specific model numbers and we will advise you.

- water features are nice but running them excessively raises your pH. After a while the novelty wears off and you use it less. Keep the pool simple to stay within a budget.
 
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Mika

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2017
51
Stevenson Ranch/CA
A few initial comments:

- Dark plaster finishes are more susceptible to mottling and color variation. If it will bother you go lighter. If you feel variations add character then go for it. Don’t expect a perfect dark finish.

- Skip the IFCS and get a robot. As long as you are fit and strong enough to haul a robot cleaner in and out of the water.

- with a pool and spa you want at least basic automation with automated valves to change between pool and spa.

- get a SWG for chlorination. You want your automation, VS pump, and SWG to work together from the same company.

- Pentair, Jandy, and Hayward are the big 3 in equipment. It is like Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge. See what your PB recommends and get specific model numbers and we will advise you.

- water features are nice but running them excessively raises your pH. After a while the novelty wears off and you use it less. Keep the pool simple to stay within a budget.
Great advice Allen, thank you! Couple of follow up questions:
1. When you say dark floors might mottle, does that include using a pebble teck finish with glass or pebbles as well?
2. Any suggestions on a robot?
3. Any suggestions for heating the pool? Pool/spa heater or whole house solar panels? I hear they have come down in price significantly.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,536
Northern NJ
1. The dark plaster around the pebbles or glass can still have issues and not be uniform color.
2. I am old school and use a pressure cleaner. Best to browse the Pool Cleaner section and see what folks like.
3. You have natural gas? Propane? Solar alone will not heat a spa hot enough or quick enough. You can do gas heater + solar. Or hybrid gas heater & heat pump. Do you have the roof space and view for solar panels? A lot depends how many gallons your pool & spa are.
 

dotbombjoe

Silver Supporter
Aug 9, 2017
116
Rancho Mission Viejo, CA
Who do you expect to use it the most? How do you expect/want the pool to be used? Is your child young...are you concerned about them falling in? Do you expect your senior parents to enjoy the pool/spa and do you think they may benefit from a special/easy entry? Do you expect large crowds/parties or is it mostly for you and your immediate family?

Assume based on lot that you want the pool on the top left area of the pic? Are there any views from the back or is the plan more for seclusion? Are you tight budget-wise or is it more about getting what you want than how much it will cost?

Are you just focused on the pool/spa or is the entire landscape up for grabs...what's in place now? Do you want an outdoor kitchen? Firepit/place?

...and what's the point of life without a little crazy? :)
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,329
Tallahassee, FL
Here is a link to a "what would you do different" thread:

If you do a search in the light blue search box (click on the G it does a better search) you will find a couple more that talk about what they would do different.

I like the questions asked above about use and such.

Kim:kim:
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
575
MA
A few different points of view..
Dark plaster finishes are more susceptible to mottling and color variation. If it will bother you go lighter. If you feel variations add character then go for it. Don’t expect a perfect dark finish.
I am told this med Grey plaster has more than expected mottling for its age but here is my 2yr old plaster job just for a reference . MVIMG_20190421_114134-3024x2268.jpgMVIMG_20190421_114100-3024x2268.jpgMVIMG_20190421_114128-3024x2268.jpg



Skip the IFCS and get a robot. As long as you are fit and strong enough to haul a robot cleaner in and out of the water.
Very controversial issue on here. From my reading most would go with Allen's point of view. How clean it will keep your pool seems to be based on the shape and depth and amount and type of debris entering the pool. They seem to work better in a pool with a classic deep end as apposed to a sports pool. It is a very expensive option and of course will require some additional maintenance down the road. It does require a faster pump speed which equates to to a noticeable increase in the electric bill. It also puts a bunch more holes and plumbing in the bottom of structure you are trying to keep water tight. (although I have yet to see a post where there was a leak or crack issue with a IFCS.) In addition there will most likely be additional fees for opening and closing if you need to do that.
With all that said I would still have installed my IFCS. It does keep my pool clean so the only cleaning I have to do is a good brush every weekend when I know I will have time. This limits my daily maint on the pool to a few Chem tests and a splash of acid every other day and a splash of chlorine every day. I If you are considering this option it would be wise to do as much reading on here as possible before making your final decision.


- water features are nice but running them excessively raises your pH. After a while the novelty wears off and you use it less. Keep the pool simple to stay within a budget.
I would argue that a water feature not only adds a aesthetic appeal when it is running but also when it is not running. This pool will be very close to your house so you will see it every time you look out back. I enjoy my waterfall most from just viewing from the house in the evening running or not. So a few gallons of acid a year is well worth the cost and effort to me. In addition the only way I now enter my pool is with a deep dive off the falls with them running.. The sound of the falls is very pleasing (If your are just trying to relax and enjoy the sound of the water) . If myself and the wife are out by the pool we will almost always turn off the falls as you can not have a conversation with them running in the background.
 

Mika

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2017
51
Stevenson Ranch/CA
Ok, so the designer sent the plan over to the pool builder today. I'm meeting him tomorrow to review the plans and signing contract. He said I have to make quick decisions if I want to keep my dig date next week.
I have a few questions that would help me for my mtg tomorrow:
1. Are the water features worth it or is it like 'new car bells and whistles'? He took me to my neighbors yard and I thought the two bubbles in baja were really loud...not sure I could hold a conversation if I were sitting by them.
2. PB said one skimmer is enough. Should I insist on two? Pool will be in the 15 x 36 range.
3. How should I determine spa size? Designer didn't ask me about what I wanted and I forgot to ask
4. I'm thinking of doing a grass decking with some concrete or white stone (if I can find something). Any thoughts on using real grass?


I took a stab at laying out what I thought would be a good plan...two options attached. Reason I put spa on that side is that is the view side of mountains in distance.
 

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RoyR

Bronze Supporter
Jul 31, 2018
239
Escondido/CA
Flip it 180 then the people in the spa can chat with the people sitting in the pergola. Put the 4ft side by the spa, people jump from the spa into the pool...
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
575
MA
1. Are the water features worth it or is it like 'new car bells and whistles'? He took me to my neighbors yard and I thought the two bubbles in baja were really loud...not sure I could hold a conversation if I were sitting by them
As noted in my above post some water features can make it difficult to carry on a conversation but in my opinion it is the added aesthetic value (running or not) that makes them worth it. The running water can certainly have a very calming affect if you are relaxing by the pool. You can also turn them down to a trickle when you want to be able to have conversations.

I would imagine having the pergola at that end would afford more privacy from the higher neighbors However if you are considering a water feature, then using that existing slope will make the pool feel like it is part of the topography instead of sticking out from it. Most pool locations do not have this opportunity so any type of waterfall will look out of place. You have the perfect opportunity to marry the water feature with the surroundings. This is all getting back to being able to enjoy your huge investment even when you are not swimming in it.

I would also ask the pool builder right up front how they handle the proper compaction on backfill to ensure your decking will not settle. This seems to be an area that is never discussed until a few years later when your decking is compromised.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
575
MA
You also have some huge storm water concerns with that site. Be sure you have a good drainage plan in place. You also need to consider the storm water during the excavation. Be sure to pipe those gutter downspouts away from the dig...
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,536
Northern NJ
Skimmers should be placed considering the prevailing winds. The local winds will move the surface of the water more then return flow will. In most areas the winds cone from two directions depending on the weather. Two skimmers should be located so the winds blow towards those two locations.
 

Dutiful Daughter

Gold Supporter
May 12, 2019
39
Oregon
Hi -- another single mom! I totally understand where you are coming from.

I'm working on a renovation -- but I've been taking notes, so here are some questions/punchlist items from around the forum that I've gathered.

I personally would not do a water feature. I think water features take a lot of time and effort, or money, to maintain over time. The opposite of rest and relaxation. I've never done a pool feature -- but I've had to deal w/ the 3 water features already on the property and its a PITA. So in the interest of future sanity I'd ixnay a water feature.

See below -- and the experts I know will chime in. I've cut some of the below from other posts. Hope its helpful.

Lay down conduits under the decking now for future expansion (extra pvc sleeves as trenches dug) consider low voltage, regular electrical, water, natural gas, Cat5 cable as future expansion possibilities.
Possible water line extension near to pool? Autofill.
install electrical outlet at deck near the deep end (future robot)
sufficient low voltage for lighting and future lighting
hardwired /cat 5 cable?
make steps smaller/different?
Insert Safety Tiles on steps (make sure grouting matches the color of the pool plaster or it will look bad)
Plumbing details; we will not have a spa but will have bubblers, a slide and waterfall. I asked a question about "will we be able to control everything separately" and got a "yes", but I know we are only having one pump so I am going to get more details on that. Want to make sure I can control on/off and flow rate for all three
need to really be sure the coping is right for us -- people complain a lot. . .
stub for a few electrical outlets in. backyard, it really helps down the line
put extra pvc sleeves in backyard while trenches are dug. Makes it easy for future landscaping or lighting (thanks beachhead)
speakers? Music outside? (more wiring)
oversize the filters and SWG to make it easier. . .
How do we drain pool if we go w/ salt? Do we need a line to the city?
 
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