Might be able to finally finish my Dream Pool

JannelleeMarch 16, 2012

Hi Guys.

Just joined today. Noticed this site, and I like it a lot with all the comments and help topics and stories I've read in the past weeks. Seems cool with everyone putting their worries, ideas, questions, and pictures.

So I'm hooked. My story ......Last year (2011) I hired a Pool Contractor and they were going to do my pool. Things started out ok. I designed the pool myself on paper, had my ideas, and must haves and wants. Got three different contractors to come out and represent their company. Then this one contractor (salesman) put my drawing and ideas in a special pool design software and Voila, there it was, my drawing, my ideas, my wants... and I was in love. Plus the price was perfect $25K. I signed. (the others were 21K and 29K).

Things started out ok. Little delay here and there. Took a bit longer then they had said for the first couple of days, due to permiting (supposedly). I had signed on March 30th, got permit (go ahead) on July 7th, started their first day (dig) July 25th.

Delay here and there, due to schedules and crews, etc. Not too great and as speedy as I see other member posts. Went from ok, to then bad and then for worse. They went broke and didn't finish my pool. I had paid up to 95% and they about a month later, were closed down. They had come out a total of twelve times to do work. I have them all jotted down. Silly visits and slow workers. It seemed like it was a one man crew (funny, but true). Their payments were chunky up front 10% down, 40% at excavation, 25% at gunite, 20% at deck order, and 5% at completion. Always with delays here and there and half days (seemed like). I'll post pictures as soon as I get a chance.

Short story...I paid like a fool and they never moved forward from the deck payment on. I would get excuses that my pavers didn't come in and then the wrong ones came in and then finally the truth. "Sorry, mam, we don't have the money and are in delay ordering your pavers." OMG. OMG. WHAT. Soon after a month later, they were BANKRUPT. No phones, no contact. Nothing. And they had my money and I had an imcomplete pool.

I've gone thru five months of a stand still and can't take it anymore. Can't seem to find any help anywhere. No one seems to know how I can get my money back, or funds in return to hire someone else, or what I do from here without money up front. Everyone I get quotes from says about 10K to finish. Something I thought would only be 4 to 5 K to continue. If I had paid so much already, why would there be so much left. The most expensive quote was 15K to continue, but seemed legit and honest and they would get it done with no surprises and addendums. Very detailed as can be with everything that needed to be done to finish my pool. But I have no more money.

I waited and waited and no answers from all sources, but just live with it and continue with a new contractor. Or leave it alone and just forget about it. How. My backyards a mess, how can I just leave it. Live and learn, people say. No one can help you. So I hired another company to continue, the 15K company. I can't keep doing nothing. Lets hope this one goes thru and completes my dream pool. So I start with a new contract and pay almost as much as what my original contract was. I'll end up paying $40,000.00. (25K first pool company (the rip off), and 15K the new company to complete the job)

Cross my fingers. I signed yesterday, and they start as soon as permit gets changed to their name and city approves everything. Yeyyyy.

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Tried uploading.
This is the software drawing of my pool. By the company that went out of business and bankrupt on me.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:48AM
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Trying at this uploading images thing.
Hopefully this works.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 3:13AM
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Just an FYI for you. The use of the 3rd coding option, one pic per line is what is usually customary. Any white space between pics is translated too and is useful for inserting descriptions.

I am sorry that you are experiencing this. It should not happen to anyone, ever, but alas, it does happen.

This economy has taken its toll. It isn't just our industry being hit. It is every industry and it is world wide.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Thx Scott.
I don't undestand though. 3rd coding. Is that to insert a pic. I try and try and I do not know how you do it.
Giving it one more try again with this message.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 1:23PM
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looks like you are in florida

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Each pic in your album, when you hover your mouse over it will reveal 4 code option. Single clicking on the 3 one will copy it to your computer's clipboard. You can then paste it to the msg box here. I do suggest you have another tab or window open so you can have both photobucket and gardenweb open at the same time.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Hope this works. OMG. It worked. Thank you , Thank You. You r awesome. Thanks. Scott, NY Guy

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 9:27AM
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New PB started work yesterday 3/26/2012. Awesome. They got the permit in their name, in one day. A walk thru process, on last Wednesday. Then Thursday, a guy came to fix the spitter that was not placed to plan (wrong by the previous PB). So nice of them (new PB) they threw that in no charge. To make sure I got a pool that was to my design and desire. They noticed it after the contract was signed that the spitter was not in the right place by three feet. How cool were they. NICE. So they fixed that, and then set start for Monday. And Monday came around, and they were there. Working. So used to lies, and disappointments from the previous PB. I couldn't believe it, plus how much they did in one day. Excated weeds and dirt, Layed Lime Rock, Sand, and compacted. Right now, they are doing pavers. I will check on that during lunch. Great work, for day 1. I'll keep you posted with day two work and pics. So excited, finally I am getting this thing completed. Double the price, but getting it done. And correctly.
BTW. Any thoughts on sunshelf being on the second step. Was that a big bad idea. The first PB sold me on a 12" water depth, but truly it's more like 17". No way I can do anything now. But what are your thoughts. Anybody have an 18" sunshelf, does it work. Is it cool. Useful. Or did I just waste space. I guess I can't lay down on a lawn chair in 17" of water. Plus my new PB says the Bubbler will be pretty much no use, cause it can't bubble through 18" of water. ???? But they'll do it, or can turn it to a return line, to clean the sunshelf. Any thoughts.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Ok. Guys. It's been three days since Cliffs Pools took over my pool project. Still no word on whats going on with the Bankruptcy and Florida State Case. But, I'm happy with my New Pool Builder. They are fast, and do and know their work. Great People, so far.
My Deck was first. My Limestone and Sand came in Monday. They excavated my new grass and weeds going crazy everywhere in early morning, then took care of limestone and sand. Laid out my platform. Ready for Pavers. Which turned out to be 700 sq ft. I choose Tremron, South Beach. Tuesday my pavers came in and they started laying them out and it took shape. I ofcourse stopped by during lunch and had some check ups on measuring and corrections and little changes. Advice...do not miss this part of the job. Should be there all day for the process and watch the lay out and curves especially. But all was good. I extended about a foot here and there. Not anything big. But helpful to be there, so you can decide while you see the shape being created. Day 3, Wednesday (03.28.12) they finished my deck. I had to order another pallet, since I ran out of the size needed to continue with my T Pattern. Weird, but I had to order another pallet. Now I have left over of the one size I had too much of. So we'll see what I'll do with that. Any ideas, please let me know. Pictures or anything that would help me with what to do with about 70 sq ft of leftover pavers.
Sooooo 3 days. And I'm finally loving it. I'm starting to see a change and hope for my pool.
BTW, tomorrow marks my 1 year anniversary since I signed my Original PB Contract. Horrible. This long.
I'll keep posting my stages. Tomorrow is plaster cleanup and prep. I supposedly have a lot to prep and clean. My step tile was done wrong. I have to much grout and too high and flush with the tile, not giving it room for my Diamond Brite to stick and show the tile. My umbrella sleeve is not grounded or cemented right. Little things here and there, which they will do tomorrow.

My pool after sitting still for almost 6 months.

Day 1. Setting up my ground with Limerock and Sand.

Day 1 Compacted.

Day 2, Paver Layout

Day 2, they ran out of the specific paver size.

Day 3 Finishing up, and bringing in sand on pavers.

Day 3. Deck is complete. In this pic the pavers are dry.

Pavers wet. Complete Color Change. Cool.

You can't tell much color change in the picture. But they get much darker. Then all of a sudden start drying and lighten up so different.
BTW. Afterwards they have to come back and install my LED Paver Lights. Thats what you see on the floor. I have about 15 to place on the deck, but after diamond brite. So cool.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 3:14AM
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So glad to see you are finishing up your pool! I love the decking it looks great. Hope it gets finished soon and you are finally able to enjoy it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Thanks cmanley.
Yeah finishing it up. No other choice, sitting and just getting upset of the whole case and situation, wasn't getting me anywhere for the last 6 months. It wasn't going to get done on it's own unless, I started from scratch again, with new contract, new PB, and MORE money. Thanks, I feel good, aside from broke. But at the end, I'll be the one swimming and enjoying my drinks poolside.
I'm loving it so far. Little things here and there but my project manager, Bob, is the best. Comes by at end of day around 6, when we are home to see how I like and feel about progress, explain the next step and next day, and to check on the crews progress and work. Out of the four days so far of work, he's showed up at end of day on 3 days. Cool. I love that. Everything gets kept up and will be corrected and made to my liking. He insists that thats what he's here for. Incredible, but true. Love it. He came by today and saw a couple things from the pavers he wants corrected. Little minor things, but he wants it to be perfect and me super satisfied and happy. Then he saw some things with the plumbing and tile work today he wants to have fixed tomorrow. Great. I feel like someones on my side for a change. Like he feels like it were his hard earned money too. And the crews are great and willing to correct.
He says I should be plastering and filling her up on Thursday next week. And hopefully could swim on Easter Sunday. Wow. All done in two weeks,..... we are hoping.
Oh and I bought the set of Trio Dolphins with a beach ball. I know I don't have the money, but I couldn't resist not adding it to my Almost Dream Pool. How cute. Can't wait to see that in. An additional splurge.
I'll post pics tomorrow on the prep work and the concrete slab. I went with 34" x 84" in size. Big enough for all equipment and more.

A picture of my new purchase (addendum 2) dolphins mosaic for pool.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:07PM
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Hi Brentr. Yeay I remember your cool install and do of your screen. You had it done at same time as your pool. Feel like I know you with all your threads and info. You've been great help. With all your info on your lighting and bubbler stick thing, your screen, your pool heater and all. WOW. You've helped a lot. Your solar panels info and your cool pic of the bubbler you got going on, were major to me. You inspired me on mine. So I went with a bubbler instead of a return. Thanks.
I'll keep posting, hopefully I help someone like everyone here has helped me.
No screen for me on this contract, though. How much is that. It would be another cost. And I bet a big one. We'll see how it goes with the bugs. I do notice lots of frogs. Don't know if it was the ugly pond I had going or if it's becuase of a POOL overall. Are frogs a big problem with pools. I am freaked with them.
Another question. Anyone know about LED Paver Lights. I am getting mine put in on Wednesday but now thinking about if it's worth it. Will I look like an air strip, and will it be horrible when one burns out. They are solar, but I imagine they might go bad after a year. Or is it awesome and unique and what the hell. Go with it and then later replace it with a Paver in it's spot. They are 6 x 6 just as the paver and the pavers are not set in concrete, so that I can work or replace them when needed. I purchased 15 and would be putting 15 down. All around the perimeter of the pool about every 5 feet. So much to think of on your OWN. Horrible. What do I do withut this place.
Help on ideas. Thanks.

So I'll post and let you all know my progress, you keep it coming with ideas. Thanks YOU all.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 9:18AM
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For the frog issue I can highly recommend an inexpensive item - the FrogLog. My sister has a few of them in her pool and it works to get those frogs out of the pool alive and well.

I know that there are several others who frequent this board who've used them successfully as well.



Here is a link that might be useful: The FrogLog

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:10PM
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Wow Helene (blubird), I just checked out the site. Cool. I will buy. Scared of having them swim around. So lets hope they find the ramp and out they go. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Glad to be of help....I like frogs, just not in the pool....ribbit....ribbit...;-)


    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Hi Guys,
New update. Equipment pad (concrete) went in and plumbing cuts and moving over and connections started on day 4 of my continued pool project. Day 5, equipment completed and installed, along with my spitters, bubbler and returns ready. Everything going along great. The paver crew even came by on day 5, Friday (03.30.12), to check and redo some pavers that were a litle high.
I took advise from you gardenweb members on my umbrella and purchased an aluminum 1 1/2" width umbrella and it fits perfect on the now corrected and redone sleeve. It is 14" deep in the gunite on a 1 1/2" closed (capped) pvc pipe. The height on the umbrella after it sinks in the hole is about 6 1/2' tall. Hope thats cool and it doesn't bother as you walk in. Which that's why I purposely requested it be moved closer to the edge on the sunshelf, and away from entry step. Good Idea. Take note on that new pool builders. I would of even done a sleeve on the deck, but that will be for me to do on my own later. I think I am going to do like someone else here and sink pvc pipes down the ground and concrete them in a bit so they can have my umbrella when not in use on the sunshelf. New project for me after everything's finaled. Any ideas, welcome. Please. As always.
They set up my equipment and boy it looks huge. Bigggggg. But that's what I had from my first contract. Any thoughts on it. Let me know. Is it a good job. How does it look. Is it normal to look that way in the new pool age of 2012. The plumbing looks cool all labeled and all but it's pipes everywhere and overtakes my side yard with so much length and all. I thought it would be 7' feet of slab and that is it, but they took about 2' before the slab for pipes and equipment panels and that over takes the space. :( Nothing I can do now.
On day 6 (04.02.12) the electrician hooked everything up to the main panel and did his stuff and more wires and stuff everywhere. Boy. I never knew how much wire and pipes and cords run all over the place. My neighbors pools look nothing like this. ???
And today (04.03.12) I hooked up (put up) my pool alarms for windows and back door and prepared my self closing, self latching fence. Very Very easy job. A pain of an alarm becuase I guess you could never leave a window open for breeze, or the door open for a party, but I guess silly inspection on safety is what it is. The alarm is really just for inspection. I can not believe anyone keeping it on their windows and doors. It's a nuisance.
But, I am ready for inspection. They were a cinch to set up and all, and I saved myself $250.00 of the fence set up too. Cool.
After inspection, which hopefully it will be tomorrow or Thursday, we go to my mosaic install and then a day later, plaster.
Can't wait.
Hope my day to day logging and notes helps anyone, as those have helped me. And to those who post and give me ideas and questions to think about and get answered. THANK YOU.

Any idea why they do not empty the entire pool. And why do they always leave the pool light in the water. I can't stnad it and end up taking it out. I hate to have a brand new light and it's all rusted. Weird. BTW. It's a normal 12V 100W light. My upgrade would of been $850.00 to go LED color changing. :( Couldn't afford that. So I bought a Blue cover. A simple cover to snap on and off as I please. Hope it works and looks nice.

Isn't it big. It's so much. Is this normal. Is this good for me or actually bad.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 2:13AM
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Hi Scott,
Thanks. Yeah the pipes seem a bit here and there but compared to the crazy line up that the first company left me with coming out from the wall at 13" and leaving me about 2 1/2' from the fence. I think you can see that in one picture above, it's cool. And now with you letting me know it's ok, I feel better. Plus inspection was today and the inspector was impressed with the work. He told me that down here (Sunrise, South Florida) he doesn't see such excellant work. So I felt greatly satisfied and incerdibly happy to hear that from an outsider. I passed inspection with flying colors. He mentioned that they did a great job with the pipes and the electrical run, and the box. I was happy. Yeayyyyyy. That means tomorrow I will have plaster day.
I was home today for the inspection and for the mosaics lay down and boy, how awesome it is. This feeling is AWESOME. Almost done, and all has been an impressive job. Cliff's Pools is doing the best. I love this guy. I no longer think of what horrible stuff I went through six months ago. The project manager must of come out again yesterday with the paver supervisor and went over the little things and by little I really mean minor, and today by surprise I caught them fixing the pavers. They came and recut a couple and fixed a couple that were a little high and filled with a bit of sand. I would of never expected that. :)
When I get home today I will see my mosaics in ground and playing free. The owner threw in a set of turtles ($99.00 with install) as well and upgraded my pool from cool blue to super blue. Isn't that cool. Now it'll be SUPER blue. Which is what I really wanted. Incredible. He is excited just as me. That I will finally get something for all the trouble. I'll post pics of my mosaics when I get home, and keep you posted.
BTW those mandatory child safety alarms are crazy loud and annoying that you can't leave a window open or the door open, but it helped me with inspection, and I just might keep them. Just take out the battery when there's a party going on I guess.
LOVING IT, AND HAPPY. Nothing bad to say. The company, Cliff himself, his crews, his employees, everyone, has made my week, my month, my year. And you guys, too. All this feedback and help. I love it. I wish I could of known all this a year ago before I went with the wrong people. Man what a comparison. None whats so ever. The GREAT and the UGLY.
Finally happy. :)
I'm coming to an end.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Just noticed my old pics are gone. I redid my photobucket album and I guess that took off some pics.
But for the good news. My pool is filling up and should be done filling in about an hour. Scared of an overflow, so I am awake. If my calculations are right. It will fill at 4 - 4:30 am.
Guys, My pool looks great.
I can't believe it's finally come.
I can't say enough about this new pool company. They have been excellant. EVERYONE. Cliff the Owner, the Project Manager, The crew Supervisors and Crews. AWESOME. The owner and PM especially, very on top of things and personal. They took this job I guess to their heart. Maybe out of my situation or just how they are. But I have loved every day. Nothing bad, nothing wrong.
As promised. Done in two weeks from start to finish with everything. How quick and painless, this experience has been. What a difference. LOVE IT.
Since most my pics are all gone, I'll retake you from day 1 to day 8. Incredible, but in only 8 days of work this was done.

Day before they start. What my pool looks like after sitting 6 months. Previous company never showed up again, for six months. Punks.

Day 1 Monday 03.26.12 (limerock and sand, compacted)

Day 2 (start pavers install)

Day 3 (finished pavers)

Day 3 (pavers wet look, change color to a bit darker)

Day 4 (start with moving pipes and cuts, and concrete pad)

Day 4 (concrete slab done, and pipes being moved to make more walking room (path))

Day 4 (they checked my umbrella sleeve and it was all wrong, not deep enough and not cemented properly, they will fix that)

Day 5 (equipment in, pad is set up and pipes redone, yeayyy, they have given me more walking room)

Day 5 (pipes and unmbrella sleeve all fixed and in, and spitters are in)

Day 6 (electricians visit, run all wires and set up panel box and light)

Day 7 (mosaic guy is here, and setting up my cool surprise deal of turtles and my recent purchase of dolphins)

Turtles are installed. Yeayyyy.

My cool dolphin mosaic in a close up.

Dolphins installed. I couldn't decide on how to lay them out, but I think this one finally was a winner.

And now for the big finally.
The best of the best. I will do an update all on it's own.

Day 8 - Plaster day.
What a day. What a turn out.

But first, let me go check out my water fill. Check if it's almost there. So I can finally go to sleep and not worry anymore of an overflow.
See you soon.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 3:31AM
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So plaster on day 8 (04.06.12) Awesome.
They came by and started work immediately to avoid rain on their parade (my parade actually).
They got through the first coat and then second perfecting and smoothing the shape and finishing off the coat and it started raining lightly on and off, but these guys were prepared. They set up a tarp and continued under the rain and finished it off.
It soon looked beautiful and the walls were white and clean. Then it started raining really hard, but it was okay since they were doing their acid wash and stuff and off they went. Then they set up hose and let it sit and said to just watch it and it should be done in about 20 hours or so. To my surprise, indeed it filled up overnight and finished at 4:45 am. Wow. Sooner then expected. Good water pressure I guess.
My pool looks GREAT. Filled to an ugly green but after Bob, my PM, came the next morning and cleaned up and started the pumps; Voila - THERE WAS MY DREAM POOL.
A couple hours later another guy (maintenance) passed by and cleaned up my leaves and checked my pool out as well and we were good to jump in. Yeayyyyy.
What a difference. FINALLY GOT MY POOL.
Now all that's left is my sod, my lights and decor and my pool is nothing but enjoy and relax.
LOVE it.
Spitters (sprinklers), umbrella and the sunshelf make all the difference of a look. My turtles look awesome creeping into the pool on the steps and as for my dolphins..... they look nice but you barely see them because of the returns running and movement in the water. I guess they are also too light in color. So my suggestions for those going with mosaics; go with dark, bright, strong, colors. And big if they will be in deeper then 4 feet. But it looks great and doesn't beat the deal.
As for the water temp, it is colddddddd as can be, but hoping that it will warm up, otherwise I will for sure have to get some kind of heating set up. Thinking of solar panels, so it's absolutley free after initial cost. I truly want to swim most year round, especially here in South Florida.
Also my standard 100w light will have to go, after seeing what a beautiful pool I have and how awesome it looks, the light just needs more wow. I now want the LED light changing thing. My Xmas gift list will have to come earlier. Maybe mothers day idea. ??? :)
Thank you to my saviors at Cliffs Pools. No messing around or delays. True and followed everything. Wow. Finally I made a right choice. I remember starting this post and doubtful with who I should choose. And not trusting anyone after my horrible experience.
I am sooooo happy I am writing a happy story and ending it full of joy and good stuff and not what I was used to at the beginning.

Plaster work. Sunny as can be and to me it looked beautiful.

They knew in the forecast to expect rain so they prepped up with a tarp.

Raining as they finish acid wash.

My beautiful turtle mosaics.

View from side of my dolphins and turtles.

Fill up. Check out the color. Wow. Greeeeeeeeeennnnn. OMG, I think that is a frog on the right side swimming. Already visiting. I need to buy the Froglog asap.

PM shows up to check the pool and put in chemicals and start my pumps off. Yeayyyy.

Soon after chemicals are in. My pool starts turning blue. Ahhhhhhh, niceeee.

Cleaning up, checking levels and picking my neighbors leaves from the bottom of the pool, and soon we get the okay to go swimming.

Hope you enjoyed and got some pointers and ideas. As I did with those others who did the same for me. And if in South Florida and want to do your pool, you now know who you can trust and who is out of business.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 2:45AM
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