Starting new IG pool design process. Few questions before pb come over

Cyclist7531

Bronze Supporter
Jun 27, 2019
38
Central Valley California
We are starting the process of looking to have a new IG pool installed. The pool will be primarily used by my wife and me and occasionally our 2 grandkids ages 5 and 10. We are in central California so warm summers. The dimensions that will fit in our rectangle-shaped backyard will be about 14’x36’. Depth 3.5’ to 6’. It will be straight on the far side with a few curves on the side closest to the back of the house. Curves on the shallow end as well. We plan having a waterfall on the deep end. No spa. No Baja shelf. Considering a wider first step on the entry side for sitting. Bench on the deep end. The shape will be similar to the pool in the picture without the l-shape and we will have a waterfall where the grotto is.

Before we meet with a few PB’s any thoughts on the above as well as some of the items we are considering below would be appreciated.
As for exact equipment I’ll post models once I start greeting estimates but generally considering the following:

Decking will be salt finished cement
Considering similar coping as that in the picture
Wetedge signature in Laguna blue
Plumbed for solar no heater
Waterline tile TBD
Thinking of SWG
Automation
Would like Pentair equipment
At least one LED pool light
We have existing outlet for robot
Light at equipment pad
Overflow port
VS pump but will I need a separate pump for waterfall?
Jandy valves?
Leaning towards cartridge filter
At least one vacuum port but should it be pressure side?
Will have to see what designer comes up with for number of skimmers and returns but if possible what would be appropriate?

Am I missing anything?

Thanks in advance
 

Attachments

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
1,108
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Due to the shape of the pool you will probably need 2 lights pointing away from the house. Plan at least 2 skimmers and plenty of returns. I like floor returns for the solar heater. You can ask to plum a vacuum port but leave it as a return, but if buying a robot you will never use the port. You only need one VS pump for everything. Make sure you filter is oversized and your SWG is at least 2X the rating for your volume of water. If automation make sure its all the same brand.
 

Tenab

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2019
162
NE Texas
Our pool is similar in size, but not as curvy.
We only have one light. Two would be blinding in the type we have, so it depends on the lights. (Ours looks to be LED and has a "light show", fun but not necessary).

We have one skimmer which seems common for this size, but my last pool had two and I liked it better.

We have return jets on two walls, one aimed at the steps, one in the middle of the long wall, two on the longest bench (same wall) in the deep end, and one opposite the steps in the shallow. I requested another midwayish on the other long wall, but it didn't happen. There is often stuff hanging around over there in still water, so watch for still water possibilities.

Definitely oversize the filter. Idk on CA codes so no recommendations on type. I think cartridge is best for you.

My TX Pentair pump is plainly marked not for use in CA. Lol

If you are close to the house, have them put drainage in the walkway.
 

Cyclist7531

Bronze Supporter
Jun 27, 2019
38
Central Valley California
Thank you both for your suggestions. We have appointments next week with 3 builders so I’ll be able to provide more details as to their proposals. Regarding finishes I’m hoping to be able to visit a few pools with pebble to see if the roughness is too much. I like the durability but will weigh the cost vs lifespan vs feel and look (we are both 62 so hope to be around another 20 years or so and still using the pool. We also have no plans to move). I know wetedge has Primera stone but understand there is quite an upcharge. Maybe a quartz finish? My thought on a vacuum port is I believe the wetedge startup process doesn’t want you to use a wheeled device for vacuuming so my impression was I needed an alternative during that process until I could switch to the robot. Anyway, been spending a lot of time on here and elsewhere hoping to have some knowledge before meeting with the PB and I appreciate all the advice. Will be signing up today as a supporter since this site has been invaluable
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
14,462
Bedford, TX
7531,

Your list looks pretty good to me... Some thoughts...

Four pool returns should be the minimum, one for each wall/side of the pool. You want the ability to "push" the water so that it moves like a flushing toilet bowl, but really, really slowly.

I would not recommend flagstone coping as it will flake off in thin layers over time..

Don't just think about getting a SWCG, just do it. The best decision you will ever make.

I would have them plumb in a vacuum port, it will cost next to nothing. You will never use it, but is nice to have just in case.

The larger the cartridge filter the less often you will need to clean it. I can go a year between cleanings.

I have a waterfall and not sure I would do it again. Noisy and drives your pH up. I hardly ever use it except when I want to lower my TA and I use the waterfall to push pH back up. If you go with a rock waterfall make sure you know what you will be getting. There is fine line between a beautiful looking waterfall and a pile of rocks. Just check out the pics here on TFP.. I'd bulldoze about half of them.. :)

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
134
Katy, Texas
I noticed no spa in your list. If there is a spa you need a heater for those cool winter nights. We also needed it for cool spring days before it got really hot here in southeast Texas. Pool cleaner. Vacuum side may fill up your filter faster. Pressure side may require a booster pump. In the opinion of most people, neither of those will do a very good job compared to a good robotic cleaner that runs on electricity (low voltage in the cleaner itself, so no worries about electricity in the pool.) We started with a pressure side cleaner. What a joke...but the joke was on us. Pentair Racer, then Kreepy Krauly...redifine the term "lame." Now the Maytronics M500 is ten times better, has no noisy kwh-consuming booster pump, and can run with or without the filter pump running. The stuff it picks up is startling. Only the M400 and M500 have the secret third spinning brush that makes the difference, and yes it cleans the water line.

Another regret on our part. My wife wanted a 6 ft deep end. I wanted 5 feet. So we compromised on 6 ft, :) and we have a large portion of the pool mostly suitable for floating (or swimming, but 5 ft works for floating and swimming too.) Not deep enough for a diving board; not shallow enough to stand around or rescue a tyke easily and quickly, or for games. But that's personal preference. Just consider how your pool will be used, and search a couple of YouTube videos on pool design. Another personal thing. A sunshelf seems to be almost standard these days. PERSONALLY, ours is never used. If I were starting over, I'd just put steps all the way across one end of the pool. Steps allow anyone to sit in the pool--you just pick the step that puts the water height where you want it. By having the steps all the way across, people can sit in the pool and still have space for people get in and out easily. Plus you have more usable shallow end of the pool. But that's me.

Our Pentair variable speed pump at 1725rpm (half speed) is almost silent and uses 1/8 as much power as at full speed. I suspect the lower speed enhances the effectiveness of the cartridge filters, as the water is not forced through as fast. The lower speed almost certainly helps extend the life of seals and bearings. It has been reliable for the short time we've had it. However..either the pump controller or the connected Intelliconnect box has developed an anomaly that Pentair can't figure out. It "reboots" at 11am and 7pm when the pump is running. Two Pentair engineers are scratching their heads on this one, but I'm confident it will be eventually solved. The good part of this is that the Pentair Engineering Manager actually called me for details and suggest some diagnostic procedures--and that's really impressive, since my pool builder never calls back and never responds to text messages, leaving me to deal with subs and equipment manufacturers myself!

Speaking of pumps, a separate pump for water features is handy, especially if you run your filter pump at the efficient low speeds. You can turn on the water feature pump separately. Sometimes my wife wants some "water noise" while sitting on the deck with coffee or a glass of wine. It's easy to just remotely switch on the water feature pump (Pentair Whisperflo.) Very minor thought: If you think you even might want a slide later, you can have a branch from the water feature pump run to a likely spot on the deck and capped. Then if you got a slide--or some other water-requiring thing--the water connection is right there.

Finally, I concur with the suggestion for many returns, including a couple in the floor. We have five in the pool walls, two in the pool floor, three in the spa walls and one in the spa floor. In spite of that, we still have two "dead zones" where debris doesn't get moved much. The floor returns help to even out the water temperature, although the first time someone steps over the floor return in the shallow end of the pool, they tend to be startled.
 

Cyclist7531

Bronze Supporter
Jun 27, 2019
38
Central Valley California
Jim, thanks for the advice on the waterfall and coping. We currently have a 2000 gal. koi pond with two waterfalls that we'll be getting rid of for the pool. The waterfalls run constantly and I do understand the noise - they are loud. The upside is it drowns out the neighborhood noise but understand it has to be done nice as well as what I've read about impact to pH. Do you run yours constantly or just when you want the ambiance?
Regardless, I think we'll still have some type of water feature.

Bill, yep, we are not getting a spa. Not something we'd use enough to justify the expense. Thanks for the tip on the vacuum. Ultimately, we be using a robot just was concerned about the startup process that Wetedge notes about not using a wheeled vacuum during the startup period. Had thought about a baja shelf but I think we'll go with a long steps across one end.

I've gone back and forth over the water depth of the deep end. Since we aren't going to be making it deep enough to dive into maybe 5' would be ok.

Anyone that has a Wetedge finish how did you handle the vacuuming during the initial startup period?

Sounds like extra returns are the way to go along with 2 skimmers so will make sure that is in my discussions with the PB's.

Mark
 

tclayton10

Member
Jun 17, 2019
23
Cypress, TX
I would highly suggest after your build starts that you photograph every stage from multiple angles, especially the plumbing runs. Knowing where each pipe runs from the equipment to the skimmers, drains, returns, lights, etc. can save you valuable time should you ever need to troubleshoot a leak or other issue. I've also used those photos to verify that any hole I was about to dig in my yard was nowhere near any buried plumbing.

I also took my photos and used those to create a plumbing schematic that I keep with my pool equipment manuals. And speaking of manuals, ask your pool builder to save ALL of them for you, as my PB was going to toss the ones for the light niches and skimmers. While I may never need those, it's nice to know exactly what model was installed for each component in my build since spare part numbers are often changed when a component gets some sort of upgrade that your older component may not have.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
134
Katy, Texas
Mark, on the skimmers. If you have a typical prevailing wind, a skimmer at the downwind side--or end--of the pool will really work well for you. Our house faces East, and most of the time our wind is out of the south. Our skimmer at the north end of the pool collects twice as much stuff as the one on the east side near the south end (south end is where the sunshelf is, so they put it as far south as they could on the east side. After your pool is in, ask here about skimmer socks to take a load off the filter and eliminate debris in the pump basket.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
134
Katy, Texas
And by the way, on the spa. I had no interest in one either. Not at all. It was a big deal to my wife, though, as she said that would be something we would use in the winter. When I asked our real estate agent friend about how much of the cost of a pool we might get back when we sell, he took my wife's side of the spa/no spa discussion. He said in this area--greater Houston--most people who want a pool also want a spa, so your house will be easier to sell (or less difficult, depending) if your pool includes a spa, and you'll get back a lot more if you have a spa. Of course, you'll also SPEND a lot more, so the extra cost may or may not come back. This past winter we used the spa about ten times, half of which were just us and the other half were when the granddaughters (13 yrs old fraternal twins) were over on the weekend. Just thought I'd mention, FWIW.

My neighbor two doors down has a teenage son who plays high school football. His son and friends often came over after games or practice and used the spa, cranking up the temp to 104. Frankly, that would be a good reason to NOT have a spa, if it were mine! The neighbor says they usually leave through their side gate with the pump, heater, and air blower still running.
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
134
Katy, Texas
My automation system runs the waterfall for 15 minutes each day to keep the water in the pipes from going stagnate.. Other than that I only run it when I want to show off.. :mrgreen:

Jim R.
Me too, except ten minutes a day and when my wife wants "water noise." When I want to show off, I get out my latest electric bill. :)
 

BowserB

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2018
134
Katy, Texas
On manuals and extra parts. Every day, I went through the trash pile collecting stuff. The plumbers and electricians threw everything they didn't use into the trash pile. Manuals, cables, unused hardware...everything. BTW, I also collected the leftover stone from the coping and used it to make stepping stones from the decking to the equipment pad. Photographing every foot of the plumbing before it's covered over could pay dividends in the future.

Before construction, I got the cable company to come out and mark their buried fiberoptic cable. The gas and electric companies marked theirs too. During digging the pool, they still broke the gas line, and later the plumbers broke the fiberoptic cable. When running the gas line for the heater, the plumbers shut off the gas to our standby generator, but we didn't know it. Our sprinkler system was hopelessly trashed and had to be redone. All in all the collateral damage done by the pool builder's subcontractors was beyond my expectations--and I expected a lot! Local city inspectors added their share, first requiring that a bond wire be covered, then requiring that the bond wire be uncovered for inspection, then that it be covered. The safety stuff was a joke. We only had to buy the indoor alarm for the door to the patio, not install it. One inspector said the high latch and spring gate closer were required on both gates while another said if we had a padlock on a gate the extra latch and spring closer were not required. Altogether we had around 20 inspections plus a half dozen reinspections. I think permits, inspections, and water are the city's biggest revenue producers.
 

Cyclist7531

Bronze Supporter
Jun 27, 2019
38
Central Valley California
Thanks. Fortunately I have a large side access to the backyard that is cement. Hopefully they won’t damage it. This is what we are taking out. Too much yard work and the pond is as much work - maybe more - than what the pool will be. They are going to have to rip out about 3/4 of the backyard including the pond, cement, arbors and plant material. My hope is that I can repurpose the moss rocks from our waterfall. Not sure yet how they will run the electrical from my main panel. There is access to bury it along the fence but to get from the panel to the non-cement area on the other side of the walk they have to cut across the walkway. Will have to ask what they will do.
 

Attachments

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,416
Central MD
I'll just add my few additions to the discussion. I recommend using Pouralid skimmer covers. Pour-A-Lid They make the skimmer lids disappear into the decking. And with your salt finish concrete, they are no-brainers to use. I used them and love them.

I also like the A&A channel drain for the main drain instead of the dual round drains. They ensure you will never have your robot get stuck on them. The M400 and M500 wouldn't anyway with the middle brush, but the S-series can get held up by them. And they look a bit more modern than the round ones, but that's very subjective. I didn't use this and wish I had. A&A Manufacturing AVSC Channel Drain Dual Suction Gunite w/Hydrostatic Relief Valve Fitting - Black #556412
 

Tenab

Bronze Supporter
Jun 26, 2019
162
NE Texas
I second that suggestion on drain design. My robot is still dry dock and my drain is a pain just trying to brush the sand/plaster into because it sticks up so high.

30 days with no vacuuming, you just brush and sweep a lot. It's not terrible. 👌

I bought a handheld cordless vac at Lowe's to grab bigger stuff. It won't get fine silt, but it fits on the brush pole and has kept my drain free of leaves that fell the first week of June. 🤷🏼‍♀️
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,346
Tallahassee, FL
The current yard is SO pretty now! I can't wait to see what you end up doing to the new one!!! I am sure it will be awesome!

Depth-take out a measuring tape and see where 5' hits you and yours. I am 5'5" and would not be able to stand up in 5' comfortably.

I see the overflow but don't see any way to fill it up as needed. Does not have to be an auto fill but at least an easy to to add water without dragging a hose across the decking.

I have to be proud of all that you learned from just reading here! I see it in your first post up there! :hug:

Kim:kim:
 

RoyR

Bronze Supporter
Jul 31, 2018
239
Escondido/CA
I'd leave the yard as is and put in a SPA - you will use that much more than a pool with no SPA! :)

PS. A pool without a SWG and a autofill is just as much as a PITA to maintain as the pond!
 

Cyclist7531

Bronze Supporter
Jun 27, 2019
38
Central Valley California
Thanks. Yard is nice but it is a lot of work. Spend more time pruning cleaning up and taking care of the pond than actually enjoying the yard so we are thinking of a big makeover. My wife and I really aren’t spa people. Grandkids are here quite a bit and I think they would enjoy the pool plus we do like water. As for filling the pool I will look at that and the options. The hose would be less than 6’ away so that was my initial thought. We’ve decided to go with the swg. May rethink the depth. My wife is fairly tall so may go with 5’ depth. As for automation will look at the systems that Pentair has where I can control pump, solar, lights and water feature. Maybe the easy touch