Waxahachie, TX Owner Build - A race to beat the baby!

JamieP

Platinum Supporter
#1
It hardly seems like it's real, but the excavator is scheduled to come out tomorrow, so ready or not, here we go!

A little background...
We began interviewing builders last spring, initially intending to put in a vinyl liner pool to save money. For various reasons that didn't end up going anywhere so we scrapped our original budget and decided to go all in on a gunite pool for our large family. I had been dreaming of a pool for several years, and fortunately came upon this site early on (joining in 2011) so I had already learned a lot by the time we started interviewing builders.

Our desires for a big pool outweighed our budget, and armed with all the knowledge and encouragement I had received here, while being increasingly disallusioned by the service and attention I would get from a PB for the price, we began looking into going the owner builder route. I got some major help from a local TFP member who had done the owner builder thing last year, and with the contacts of his subs and the ones I made myself, I felt confident we could do this. So that's how we got to where we are today!

We did end up shrinking the pool we had engineered by 10% of the perimeter to help save on costs a little, but the overall plan remains very similar. We know we are on top of solid limestone, about 18-24" below the topsoil, so it will be interesting to start chipping away at that starting tomorrow. I wonder how long it will take? We are being charged by the cubic yards of rock removed instead of by the hour, so I hope it all works out well. Somehow an open ended hourly rock charge was too scary for me, and this excavator gave me the most confidence in his work anyway.

Here are our basic pool specs:

113' perimeter, ~740 sq ft area
Freeform L shape, 38' x 30'
3.5' to 8.5' deep
~ 1000 sq ft decking
Bullnose concrete precast coping
Brushed concrete (with possible spray deck in the future)
Stonescapes Minipebble (Tropics Blue, or Aqua Blue to save money - But I'm dreaming about shells and glass beads!)
TurboTwister Slide
Diving Board
Pentair Clean and Clear Plus 520 Cartridge Filter 160332
Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump 011018
3 Pentair Intellibrite 5G Color LED Pool lights
2 Pentair Color Cascade LED Bubbler
Pentair Easy Touch Control System with IC60 Chlorine Generator 521150
32" channel main drain
2 skimmers
5 returns
Autofill and overflow drain
Plumbed for possible future suction side cleaner but using a Dolphin Z5 robot (Is it even a good idea to have this plumbing in as backup? I just keep thinking if the robot goes out and we don't have the money to buy a new one at the time, maybe a Polaris or the like would be cheaper to use in the mean time.)

So, that's it for now! I will try to keep this thread updated with pictures, as I know it can be very beneficial for others to "see" what is going on and to catch something amiss that I may have missed.

Oh, and regarding the title of my thread... I am expecting a baby at the beginning of May so it would be great if we could be all done by then, at least with the major stuff. My best plans were supposed to have us started already, but that didn't happen, but I figure there is a reason for everything. Realistically, I know we may be out of luck with this new hoped for schedule, but that's how it is. Please say a prayer all goes well! :)
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,500
Tucson, AZ
#5
Jamie,

You definitely want to keep the dedicated suction line. It saves you little to no money to scrap it from the plan but it is a HUGE help when you have to manually vacuum. And, just in case you were thinking that robot-toy would do all the work for you, no way/no how! You will definitely be manually vacuuming the pool to reach all the spots Robbie The Robot misses. But that's why you're blessed with some many kiddos - child labor ;) You can pay them in the form of juice boxes and cookies...

Congrats on the start! Can't wait to see pics of a big giant dirt hole in your yard :D


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
 

JamieP

Platinum Supporter
#6
Jamie,

You definitely want to keep the dedicated suction line. It saves you little to no money to scrap it from the plan but it is a HUGE help when you have to manually vacuum. And, just in case you were thinking that robot-toy would do all the work for you, no way/no how! You will definitely be manually vacuuming the pool to reach all the spots Robbie The Robot misses. But that's why you're blessed with some many kiddos - child labor ;) You can pay them in the form of juice boxes and cookies...

Congrats on the start! Can't wait to see pics of a big giant dirt hole in your yard :D


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
Thanks Matt! I think I might be mixed up... What type is a Polaris cleaner - suction or pressure? I was going to have my guy plumb for one of those and he was going to leave the pipe exposed and capped at the pad for if I wanted to hook up a booster pump down the road.

But now that you mention a dedicated suction line for manual vacuuming, maybe that's what I should ensure gets put in? If so, how would it be attached to the rest of the plumbing to make it work?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,500
Tucson, AZ
#7
I believe you can get both suction side and pressure side Polaris cleaners. I prefer a dedicated suction line as that is more useful to me than a pressure line as you can manually vacuum with it AND you don't need an extra pump. Suction side lines are just another PVC pipe going into you main pool pumps suction end. Typically it's controlled with a Jandy type adjustable valve.

Pressure cleaners typically need a dedicated return pipe from the pressure side of the pump and usually need an additional booster pump to increase pressure and flow rate.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
 

JamieP

Platinum Supporter
#8
I believe you can get both suction side and pressure side Polaris cleaners. I prefer a dedicated suction line as that is more useful to me than a pressure line as you can manually vacuum with it AND you don't need an extra pump. Suction side lines are just another PVC pipe going into you main pool pumps suction end. Typically it's controlled with a Jandy type adjustable valve.

Pressure cleaners typically need a dedicated return pipe from the pressure side of the pump and usually need an additional booster pump to increase pressure and flow rate.
That makes a lot of sense. Considering my rationale for wanting the extra line, it would nice to be able to buy a cleaner that didn't require an extra booster pump, so the dedicated suction sounds like the way to go. I've attached the plumbing diagram for my suction lines. Do I just add an extra valve and line next to where the skimmers are? (In parallel with them, connecting to the 3-way Jandy valve?)

 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,500
Tucson, AZ
#9
Add another 2" line, same setup at the pad as the skimmers. You want to make sure it's on an adjustable valve so that you can either turn it off completely or open it fractionally to adjust the flow.

Where in the pool is a little subjective but near the skimmer is ok. Probably the one on the convex curved wall (bottom of your drawing). The port will have a spring loaded cap (like a trap door) on it to avoid suction hazards. When not in use, simply shut the valve off at the pad.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,500
Tucson, AZ
#11
Oh, and I know you don't have a suction cleaner yet but, even with manual vacuuming, use an in-line leaf canister with a medium mesh bag to trap leaf litter BEFORE it goes into the suction line. I once clogged my suction line with mesquite needles and completely plugged it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk,16k gal SWG pool (All Pentair), QuadDE100 Filter, Taylor K-2006
 

JamieP

Platinum Supporter
#14
what are these steps you speak of? just so they don't go into the pool but rather just hug the side wall?
Yes, hugging the wall is the key, plus they are low rise steps, so more of them than the typical three 12" high steps. One of our TFP members (Suz) first designed them around a curved spa for her pool, and Helen (above) did something similar for her pool build. They just seemed like a cool idea, so we used them too! :)
 

Nursenini

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 22, 2015
2,122
Bixby, Ok
#15
Yay Jamie!!!! I am SO EXCITED for you!!! The plans look amazing! If I had space and more $$ that is just what I would build. Love those slides- looked at them to see if we could fit one but they require a pretty decent sized footprint. Great steps ��
Watching your build is going to be fun!
 

OrlandoBull

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2015
46
Winter Garden , FL
#16
Looking forward to seeing your build. Hopefully everything will go as planned and you will get finished before the little comes. You are brave tackling this while pregnant. Keep us posted and happy dig day!