We're taking the plunge, too!

the_apMarch 22, 2013

Well, we did it! After years of thinking about getting a pool, we're finally doing it! We did a LOT of research online and asked pool-owner friends a TON of questions, and it really helped us to make the decision and give us much needed reassurance.

Because of all the help and support we received, I would like to help others. I'm an information gal. The more I know about something going into it (and know what I'm getting into!), the better. Not knowing and not understanding are hard for me.

So... here we go. I'll try to chronicle our pool build...

Our backyard BEFORE...

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Good luck. It was fun watching ours go up last spring.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Thank you so much, Stefv1 !

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Starting in January (after the craziness of the holiday season was over and the kids were back in school), I started putting my "feelers" out about good pool companies, then made contact with about 5 or 6 of them. They all came out for a "first" visit at our home (took about 2-3 hours each). They took measurements, took pictures, talked with us about what we wanted, showed us pictures of their work, and discussed with us the process. After about a week or so, we had appointments to go meet with each of them at their office/showroom (took about 1.5 - 2 hours each). There, they gave their presentation of our design, and ran through the costs with us. We got a vibe early on of how we felt about each of our salesmen- we liked them all, and all did a great job on the design and presentation. However, one company/salesperson stood out- the design addressed everything we wanted, it was presented VERY professionally- we actually had a "book" to bring home with our design (color copies, many views) as well as information on the company, how they build the pool, the products they use, etc. We were thoroughly impressed! And it was fun to see our backyard in a whole new light- a beautiful oasis! We went with Riverbend Sandler Pools. Here's what our outstanding designer, Buddy, came up with for the design of our new backyard...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:42PM
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Cost, of course, was a huge consideration for us. All the companies were fairly neck-and-neck in price (with the exception of one company- they were the same price range, but had not included a spa, which typically raises the cost by about $10K!). The company we wanted to use (and ended up using) was not the cheapest, but they weren't so far out of the ballpark that we felt we couldn't compromise, leave out some things, and talk them down. Yay!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:44PM
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Long story short, we tweaked a few things, did without a weeping wall, took other measures to lower the cost, the company came down slightly (since it was winter pricing, I guess), and here we are. We signed on the dotted line on February 18. It took a while to get the permit from the City. We finally got permit approval late in the day on March 14- almost a month after we signed!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:04PM
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During the time between when we signed the contract and when they received the permit, there were several pre-build steps to be done. They called for the line locaters to come out. We had an arborological company come out and cut down a crepe myrtle and cut down and deep stump grind a large lace bark elm tree. Both would have interfered with the pool. We're keeping our live oak. The pool company also called and had a crew come out to "pot hole" to make sure the electrical lines were in conduit. They are, and that's good!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:08PM
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But man, once that permit was approved, the pool company hasn't held back! Houston, we have a pool! Well, okay, a hole, but still...

Our project manager arrived first, stuck a sign in the front yard, and visited with me a while, which was nice and helpful. The crew arrived and broke ground on the afternoon of March 19 around 3:30. They took down 3 sections of fencing, and brought in and parked the HUGE digger. They did a little digging, but not too much since it was so late in the day. They left about 5:30.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:13PM
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The first full day of the dig was March 20th. It was amazing to watch them work. Dump truck after dump truck showed up to haul off loads of dirt- I lost count how many were hauled off. They were here from about 7:20-1:30. This day, I also called and informed our fence company of choice our intent to have them build us an electric driveway gate and fence enclosure addition to our existing fence. We think this will open up our backyard substantially. I started researching fence companies and getting quotes back in January, but we just recently decided, for sure, to do the gate...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:18PM
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On March 21st, they arrived around 8:00 and did the pre-plumbing. AND, they delivered, set into place, and hooked up the equipment! They were done by about 5:30. Full day- but very productive! The first draw is due after excavation, and I received the email statement for this draw. I drove down the check to their office this same day, because I want to do everything I can on our end to keep this fast pace going! Via email, I also received our contract for the fence/electric gate. I got the contact information of the electrical company our pool builder will be using on our job, and called them to tell them we'll need them to run electrical from the house out to where the motor will be for the driveway gate. They can do this and we can pay them directly, we were informed by the pool company- it's fine. The electrical company will come give me an exact quote. The fence company does have an electrical company they use, but they charge a hefty flat fee for that, and they said normally with pool builds, it's better to use the same company the pool company uses. But the fence company needs to know this contact information so they can include it on their application for a fence permit with the City.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:23PM
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Here's a picture that shows the spa plumbing as well as the crew spraying in the "flexible fill"...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:28PM
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They also installed the pool equipment this day. And, they dug the trench to the P-trap out front. Busy, full day!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:32PM
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On March 22nd, they showed up at 7:15 to do the steel reinforcement (rebar). Now it's really taking shape and looking more and more like a pool. They also installed copper to ground the pool. They were done by noon. The pool builderâÂÂs electric company sent a representative to give me a quote for running the electrical from the house out to where the motor will be for the gate. As we thought, they were less than using the fence companyâÂÂs electrical company since theyâÂÂll be here for the pool build anyway. While the representative was here, I asked him about a few other electrical needs we might want them to do (such as outdoor lighting, re-working some light switch controls for existing outdoor lighting, and getting a refrigerator in the garage to work). ItâÂÂs a good opportunity to pay them on the side to do some of these smaller jobs since theyâÂÂll be here anyway. I signed the fence contract I was emailed, and scanned it and our survey plat and replied to their email and attached these documents. They should be applying now with the City for a fence permit. The fence company has told me to contact them when the pool company is finishing up their coping and about to frame up the decking. They would like about 1 week's notice before they start our job, and they'll need about 3 days to complete it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:35PM
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We gave them the weekend off- HA!

Monday, March 25 was our first inspection (âÂÂBelly InspectionâÂÂ)- we passed! YAY! The city inspector arrived around 10 am and was only here about 10-15 minutes. I emailed our project manager to inform him we had receive and âÂÂacceptableâ card, hoping the gunite crew might could work us in in the afternoon, but IâÂÂm sure they had other jobs to do. The PM told us theyâÂÂd come Tuesday morning.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:38PM
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Thanks for the effort in your presentation. Like the design. Please tell me more about this "Flexible Fill"? Who manufactures it? Why is it specified for your project?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 4:45AM
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Dena Walters

Well it's now the 28th and I would love an update! We just sent in our request to the HOA, so we are right behind you in the build!...Im really enjoying reading your updates!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Thank you *"the_ap"* for your narrative and great pictures. Since you told us you did your research I am sure you reviewed photos and followed the build stories of others in the past so you know what I mean when I say you are being very helpful to others (like me!).

We waited a long time too before "taking the plunge". We chose our builder last Friday and look to sign our contract April 2nd with a tentative July 15 "first swim" date. There are some complicated factors to our site which will slow down construction a bit more than usual, and we may encounter some rain days in April and May so we are being conservative.

Can you tell us what you decided on for filtration and water treatment systems?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 5:49PM
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