Some things from my build. I don't know about Oklahoma, but here in Tucson some of the subs do 90% of the pools here, so it is really, do you like the equipment, design and price. For the most part different builders here used the exact same subcontractors. Unless the PB is a crook, they are all very similar to deal with. I had one built and had four neighbors build in the last two years. The problems we had, they had too, honestly.
And, for a spa. The most intelligent thing I did is buy a detached portable spa. Less than half the price, very comfortable and cheap to heat even in the winter. Heats up MUCH faster too. The only real advantage to a built in spa is if you entertain a lot. They are great for parties whereas a portable spa is not. But for everyday use, the portable spas are much better.
That is a huge pool and your quotes are reasonable for that. Remember one other thing, a pool twice the size is almost twice the cost to maintain. Make sure you really want and need a pool that big.
Hope it all goes well for you. It's an adventure, that is for sure.
That is daunting, the costs I mean. We are used to a 20x40 rectangular pool (my parents), and it is huge. But we have 4 kids (triplet boys just turned 10) and their little sister just turned 6. My husband is 6’1 and I’m 5’10 so we’re not little and the kids won’t be either. We need space where they (and their friends) won’t be on top of each other in the water. Our experience is everyone is either playing games in the shallow end or everyone is jumping/flipping off the sides in the deep end, and once you combine a big shallow end with a big deep end you’ve got a big pool :/. Our only chance at a big pool is to go big now, if we’re not happy with a smaller pool later there’s nothing we can do, and I think it’s much more likely that we’ll be unhappy with a small pool than frustrated with a large. And being used to something big everything is going to feel smaller so a good use of space is important. I’m hoping investing in a well will help offset at least some of the water costs. What should we expect maintenance wise? What are other ways to reduce maintenance costs?
The spa is a must. We renovated our house when we moved in last year and got rid of the master tub with the thinking that we’d have a spa. I don’t have the patio space for a separate spa and have never appreciated them as much as others. Since I grew up with an attached spa I’m pretty comfortable with it. I did find someone’s thread with a rolled edge and that looks really comfortable so that’s an option I want to consider.
Thanks! Keep the thoughts coming, better to consider all this now than (hopefully) 6 months from now when we’ll be in the middle of it!
Don't know if you every got a response on 8" vs 10" spacing on the rebar. I'm not a structural engineer but I do know there are different designs that can accomplish the same requirements. For example you can vary the rebar spacing with different concrete strengths and rebar grades. So it's not just as simple as looking at the spacing. Structural designers optimize many different physical properties to get the minimum cost for each design. So it's very possible both designs will work and one design is a better solution since it's lower cost. Or it could be one design is taking more risk of failure but still acceptable risk. Or one of the designs is unacceptable. You have a couple of options to resolve this question: Hire a structural Engineer with pool experience to evaluate both designs.
Verify that both designs have been used in your area for many years with very low failure rates.
Hire a structural engineer with pool experience to evaluate the structural design. You can often do this for less than $1000.
Require a structural design stamped by a licensed professional engineer and make this a requirement of the contract that the stamped drawing must be furnished to you no later than 15 days after award.
If it was me I'd always require #3 and do #2 for peace of mind.
So apparently if I fall asleep reading pool build threads I will wake up in the middle of the night and can’t turn off my brain full of pool thoughts...
To solve the sun ledge/wall issue I’m wondering if I should ask him to move it to the house side if the deep end where I was having him put a swim out. Kind of mirroring the stairs. Making the wall less bumped out and bringing the two descents closer where the sun ledge was, and continuing the bench to the curve to discourage jumping in the shallow end. The sun ledge wouldn’t have any view of the tv but would then face the yard and also the southwest. Thoughts on that?
The other thought I had was our patio curves out. PB 2 was going to take out the section that curves and leave the straight section next to the house but when we initially talked to PB 1 he said he would make it a step down into his patio to protect the three doorways that are flush to the patio from flooding. We didn’t discuss deck drains. Looking at the current plan that step down may be pretty close to the stairs and look awkward. Should I ask him to make the patio flush with the existing and if so should we remove the curved portion for aesthetics? And then be flush with existing slab or step down?
I also think we will ask for a 4’ shallow end rather than 3’6 and 9’ depth rather than 8’.
We haven’t told them yet that we’re choosing them, they require 10% down and I’m hoping we can reduce that since I don’t want to start the build until after the 1st of the year. Though I’m so excited now it seems hard to wait
Hoping now that I’ve gotten these thoughts out there I can shut off my brain and go to sleep... early football game in the morning...
Ditto what everybody said above. My only comment would be to make sure you know what you are getting plaster wise. Let’s be honest it’s what you will notice EVERY DAY you look at your pool. I have friends with Quartz plaster and man does it look mottled. Not what I would want for an extra $4k. It my opinion if you want quartz just go plain plaster. I’d highly recommend at least going to see some pools and seeing some plaster jobs. Yes the Pebble and Smooth Pebble (like normal plaster) from companies like Pebbletec or WerEdge are more expensive but in the long run they are worth it. Anyways my two cents.
I love the swim out on the right side. See what I did with the purple? That would be a great place for the shelf for spa chatting, TV watching, etc. The green is a step to get onto and off the shelf by the sp.
I would straighten out the existing patio. I would do everything in your power to protect your house from water. Not sure what that means though as I can't see the elevations and such. Maybe a pic or two looking at the house with words to tell us where the slope is.
Looking at the house there’s a slope down to the left (north) side of the house and a bit of a “bump” to the right (south) so water currently goes to either side. There’s a french drain on that left side that is currently plugged (we moved in 18m ago, it was vacant for a while before that).
I can’t remember but I think it’s a 2-2.5’ elevation change from the house up to the far fence.
Kim, I saw some posts in my research where you commented on lights so I wanted to show you those too:
I’m confused by the sun ledge. So you think keep on right by wall, but if not then move between stairs and spa? I’m not sure about that, we love to eat watermelon in the pool and I pictured that particular bench as a perfect spot for that. If we keep on the right I wonder if he can do some wide steps out of travertine and stone/stacked tile coming out? Sort of mimicking this spa spillover that I stole off someone’s thread early this morning:
I’m picturing something like this:
With travertine steps and stair facing of either stone or stacked tile travertine depending on what the wall is. Maybe?
All discussions to have. Are these the sort of things we should iron out before we sign on the dotted line?
Thanks again, back from football and sooo hot and soooo tired, wish it was done so I could be soaking now
You want the steps to have a light for sure. The swim out will need light by it so that light is good there. I would not put a light at the end of the pool across from the house. That can cause anyone trying to look at the pool at night not be able to as the light will be right in their eyes. I would move the light on the left side a bit closer to the end of the pool so it can light up the deep end.
Shelf-I am saying DO the swim out on the right side instead of the shelf.
-put the shelf between the steps and spa INSTEAD of over to the left. My thinking is it will get more daily use by the house because of TV watching and spa chatting.
-Now you can always to a shelf on the left side as well as by the house! You don't lose any pool doing that so.............it might work in your favor.
Eating watermelon any where is a treat but in a pool is the best of all for sure!!
You need to nail EVERYTHING down BEFORE you sign. If you don't they could put in a change order which puts more money in their pocket
I agree with Kim.. Get everything in writing. Get specific. Annoyingly so... Get everything you can possibly think of on the contract. There will inevitably be things that you think of after the fact...but you want to minimize that. It's never cheaper to get things done than before you sign on the dotted line.
Thanks for the feedback! So leave the shallow lights alone but move the one on the left a little farther down towards the deep end.
And I’m confused (still), if you’re suggesting replacing the shelf on the right with a swim out doesn’t that still leave the problem of how to get out with the wall there? But leave my idea of a sun ledge on the left, and add a sun ledge by the stairs? Is that a correct interpretation? I’m very visual so the purple was helpful.
So I’ve already told this PB they’re in our top 2, so I can tell them that we want to nail down all the details before we sign (and hand over 10%). And then get on schedule for a few months from now. After reading more posts I’m seeing 3-4 mo is closer to the norm.
The other question we haven’t discussed with this PB yet is the wall material. PB 2 did layouts with natural stone and stacked tile travertine. I kind of liked the stacked tile as it seemed more cohesive and could get a lighter color (we were looking specifically at haze). Any thoughts on longevity and durability? Anything I should consider when deciding between the two? Also I’ve seen lots of mentions of normal travertine vs bull nosed being more expensive, wouldn’t any edge of tile need a bull nose? What am I missing there?
You're doing the contract negotiation perfectly so far. It's rare that this happens for pools. Letting the two leaders know where they are at this point puts you at the peak of negotiating strength. After you sign it drops to almost zero. A few weeks in, it is zero. Keep this in mind, as Kim mentioned make sure you love your aesthetics decisions then wait a few days. If you're still in love then you're probably ready to negotiate the final terms and conditions. If not keep working on it till you love it more after a few days. Changes soon after signing get expensive. Many owners believe the price for changes are ridiculously high. But, usually they're not. It just really does cost more than anybody could imagine after the PB starts doing an amazing amount of planning and commitment that needs perfect execution for him to make a fair profit. If you haven't done it before you would be amazed at the knock-on cost of almost any change. When you're ready, here are the keys to success for that critical next step:
Take your time. Understand every word.
Know your obligations and the builders as written in the contract. They must be fair and appropriate. A test for this is to forget all your discussions and assume a total stranger was building only what's on paper. Is that what you want? If not, you most likely need more content in the Scope of Work, Specifications, Warranty provisions, or Payment terms.
Don't use your leverage to get absurd concessions. Owners always lose when the put the PB in an untenable situation.
Likewise, don't let your builder double talk you into a contract that doesn't spell out exactly what you want in terms you understand.
No contract is perfect but the more perfect the better. At the end of the negotiation you want to be respectful of what each brings to the table. You will have surprises and you want to deal with them the same way as you did the negotiation. Be fair to each other and professional, never personal. If you can't finish the negotiation with this kind of relationship then you very likely have the wrong PB. Check with #2 PB before proceeding.
All through the process weigh the behaviors of the PB not the promises. Does he listen, does he follow-up? Does he explain his position and does it make sense? You can expect to notice much more of the negative behaviors after signing. So the negatives can't be intolerable.
If you have any questions as you go through the process post them here. We have people in the industry that can give you the builders perspective and people that have been on the owner side. You can leverage the experience (and mistakes we've all made) so you can do better.
You are right in the swim out presenting the same problem-DARN! Maybe just have a bench their for resting and safety.
See that wall? IF someone gets tired or such in that area what can they hold on to to rest and recover? Some people do a "finger ledge". This is where the wall is set a tiny bit back off the pool "coping" just enough for someone to be able to put their fingers on it to hold on. Another idea is to push the bottom piece of the stone a bit inside the pool for the same thing-just enough to hold onto with your fingers if you do the stack stone there.
I think bullnose coping would feel better on the back of your knees and legs. I guess the other kind could be smoothed out so they are not a sharp edge as well. Just keep that thought in mind.
What to put on the wall--------------I love the natural stone IF it is done right aka without lots of grout between the different stones. This is harder to do for most people. This is when you need an "artist with a big saw" working for you. The stacked stone is also very pretty and is easier to make look good.
So I got back the updated design and they left out the swim out in the deep end and just added some stairs to the sun ledge. I’m rethinking the stairs and sun ledge with wall. I’m thinking about my mom and my infant nephew and if everyone was at the pool I don’t think either would be able to use the ledge even with stairs. I like Kim’s idea of the ledge by the stairs, but I’m afraid it will take more swim space away from the shallow end, though that’s already sitting space and not swim space. Do people do two ledges? I’m wondering about converting the swim out that has yet to be added to the deep end to a sun ledge? So one in deep and one in shallow?