New Pool Build Voorhees NJ

mattdortchApril 4, 2010

Started the dig last week. Very excited, but still am uncertain about several details... coping, tile, finish, decking, equipment all still need to be confirmed. I'm hoping for suggestions on all.

Here's what I'm thinking, but could use some help. Trying to go for the most natural look possible to match the landscape...

Coping - I didn't like any of the PB options, but found this 6x12 Travertine at Home Depot for $1.99 per piece. I originally was thinking Pennsylvania Bluestone, but this became the easiest & cheapest option. Pic Below.

Decking - Originally I was going to do Aggregate concrete, because it was the least expensive, natural looking option. But, I'm leaning away from it now due to the abrasiveness on bare feet. Now I'm leaning towards the same travertine that I'm using for the coping in a herringbone pattern. I'm pretty handy, so I'm thinking of laying it all myself. I figured about $5 per foot for materials if I go with the HD travertine + stone and sand. Question though... how much should I expect to spend per foot if I had somebody cut and lay the pavers for me?

Tile - Again, I didn't like any of the PB options. And after much looking have settled on Granite tile - a blue/brown color that I can get for a few bucks per foot. Question here - If I buy this in 12x12, should I have the PB cut it to 6x6, or just stick with 12x12 all around? Wasn't sure how this would look. Has anybody done this?

Finish - I bought the quartz finish for the pool, and was planning to do a dark color. But, I've seen a couple applications that look splotchy, and I'm a bit nervous about it. Lately I've been thinking maybe I should go PebbleTec and forgo the tile all together. Question - Can this be done with PebbleTec? I mean, can you forgo the tile and run the PebbleTec all the way to the coping? Any recommendations here? Comments on quartz application?

Equipment - I know the PB will put in whatever they have gotten a deal on, unless I specify exactly the equipment I want. I've heard good things about the Pentair Variable speed pumps. Any recommendations on other energy efficient heaters, pumps, purification, etc? We're not planning any water features other than the spa overflow to the pool. The spa will be about 18" above the pool height.

Automation - I didn't buy any automation, figured we could add that later. Is this a fair assumption? Anything we should keep in mind here?

Thanks all for your help. I'll keep sending pictures as the pool progresses. A few pictures below... The HD travertine, my software rendering of what I originally wanted, the pre-dig and the dig.



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I can't figure out how to upload photos, and can't find any straight-forward directions... Can somebody please point me to directions?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Okay... figured out the picture thing...

This is Pre-Dig

Post Dig

Home Depot 6x12x1.25 Travertine Paver

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I would be pretty leery of buying travertine and pool tile at Home Depot. In our region of the country, the extremes of weather we experience are hard on these materials. H-D's buyers are not experienced in selecting swimming pool materials. You will experience, if these materials are used, flaking, chipping and pitting.

I think you might want to visit you local NPT facility.

Laying travertine is not like laying pavers. It does require a more compacted base. It's not as easy as it looks to get a long lasting flat and even surface. Doing it on the cheap twice always cost more than doing once correctly.

The same holds true for the coping and tile.

This is one of the big reasons I like NPT. They will tell you up front if the materials are suited for our climate.

I think you are best served with a water line tile, regardless of the plaster type selected.

Keep the pump, filter, heater, and any other equipment you purchase, the same brand. It extends the warranty. For example, when purchasing an Intelliflo, Quad-DE filter and MasterTemp heater, the warranty is upped to 3 years from 1 year. I prefer Pentair gear. Some like Hayward and some like Jandy.

Whatever finish you do choose, I do suggest you truck in water to fill the pool when the finisher is done. This greatly speeds things up, helps steady the hydration reduces the effects exposure to the atmosphere the hydrating finish experiences. It will hydrate more quickly when exposed to air, potentially creating the mottling or crazing that can occur.

Pebble-Tec and other high aggregate finishes are often applied one day and acid washed the next while plain plaster, Diamond Brite, etc... should be under water in short order. I have noticed that the people that use a hose to fill the pool are the ones that tend to have problems with the initial finish acquiring a mottled or crazed look after brushing, often due to the uneven curing and water loss due to evaporation that the finish experiences.

Adding the 1st load of trucked in water must be done slowly so as not to hit the soft finish with force. As the water level rises, the water in the pool can be used as an impact buffer and the fill rate can be gradually increased. Grab a sample from each truck and test them for metals, hardness, pH and alk content. It's your start point. This will help you to know what needs to be added during the earliest stages of the cure.

During the first 4 weeks or so, the majority of the cure is accomplished and has to have it's needs met. New finishes are at their most vulnerable during this period. Each week brings a slightly different set of needs. Different finishes have different needs. Your finisher or PB will tell you.

If planning on adding automation later, add a 1/2" conduit from the inside of the spa, a few inches below the coping and in the tile line for a spa side remote's umbilical, to the equipment pad. Doing this during construction is a LOT easier than trying to do it after. Don't rely on a wireless when you are in the spa.

Leave room at the pad for the automation panel. The light conduits and GFCIs, spa side conduit, timers and sub-panel should all be near each other on the same wall. This will help to reduce the electrician costs when you do pull the trigger and upgrade.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 12:58PM
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A couple more post dig pics from upstairs...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:20PM
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More Pics...

My initial vision - made this using Realtime Landsaping Pro 5

This is the PB engineering diagram based on my design. You'll also notice a couple design changes including the walk out basement and the swim out loveseat...

What is everybody's take on the plumbing etc...?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Pebbletec can't be exposed to air... it will mottle.... tile also serves as an expansion joint... might want to rethink that... PGNJ is dead on with the HD Travertine... run far away... who's the builder BTW?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 7:40PM
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A couple of ideas:

You might want to move the shallow light so it isn;t shining toward the house. I would suggest near the D-1 return.

Slide the deep end light a couple feet closer to the love seat for the same reason as the shallow light suggestion.

The glare at night when looking from the deck towards the pool with lights blasting at you is a common complaint. The above suggestions are to ensure it doesn't happen to you.

The love seat might benefit from a step being added. In addition to being easier to get out of the deep end, the level the step is at is typically ideal for step pumps when the pool is winterized. The pump keeps the water off the tile. Water freezes in the Winter (lol) but also expands. The pressure can crack or pop tile.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 9:34PM
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Would definatly move the lights per poolguys suggestions.
Also not sure about that small entry step location. It is almost under the stairs, that will make a rather awkward aproach. I would make that step longer, and shrink the third step. It is not really necessary to run the entire distance of the second step.
Truly I would shrink the raised area moving the stairs closer to the spa a little like they are in the 3d drawing.
The construction drawing is a little different.
Someone falling or jumping off of that raised area on to the 12" deep step would be in for some pain.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Do you have kids?? If so, 12" water below your raised spa could be a problem, kids love hanging out in the spa and jumping in from raised areas.

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 6:12PM
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I noticed that you are using 6x12 chiseled edge travertine pavers for your pool deck. Chiseled edge travertine pavers are specifically designed for driveways, not pool decks. Chiseled travertine has a honed surface, which makes it slippery. The chipped (chiseled) edges are for tires to grab on it. The most appropriate travertine paver for the pool deck is tumbled. Tumbled travertine pavers absorb some of the excess water and are also not so smooth so the feet can grab onto it.

As a designer, I have been using tumbled travertine pavers for my client's pools and chiseled travertine pavers for driveways for the past 4 years now. I can tell you that all of them are very satisfied.

I also could not help but notice that you consider $1.99 per piece ($3.98 per square foot) cheap. These materials sell for $2.35 per square foot at Travertine Mart. They ship nationwide and even with shipping charges, you can save a dollar per square foot. I highly suggest anyone considering travertine pavers to visit their website:

Sorry if I did upset you, but this would at least provide some form of information for other prospective home owners.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:41PM
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Sorry All, havent had a chance to respond for a few weeks. Heres an update, pics and thanks!
Rebar went in Friday. Had a couple of problems with the raised bond beam, as the diagram said 13 when it should have said 3 on the left side of the spa (Looking from the house). Theyll have to come back again to cut it out. My AS quality inspector was great though, came over immediately upon calling, took pictures and said he would have it fixed ASAP.

Scott Thanks for all the great advice! Ill plan on water trucks. And , decided to go back to a waterline tile with the AS Onyx Ansylbright, supposed to be similar to Diamondbright . I checked with the PB on the equipment but they use Raypac heaters and Jandy equipment, so no luck on the extended warranty. Good advice thought, and I wish I knew that before signing a contract. I asked about a credit for the Raypac and supplying my own Jandy heater well see. Also, just seeing the feedback on lights today, after the rebar was done. I guess Ill live with them where they are. Thanks for suggesting though.
Topfiftybuilder Were using Anthony & Sylvan
Just-a-pb I completely agree about the small step. Once the rebar was done and I could see how small that area is, I was worried. After speaking to the PB, well be making the sundeck larger near that step.
Ericvde I see your point, but I had to make some design sacrifices to be able to look towards the lake from the sundeck, spa and loveseat. No Kids, just a spoiled golden retriever. Thanks for the advice though.
Grace This was FANTASTIC advice Thank you! I have not ordered the travertine yet, but was going to order the chiseled, and will now order the tumbled. Great source for travertine as well! Thank you!

Pics of the Rebar

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 6:41PM
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We are considering AS for a pool. Overall are you happy with their service? Also, what is the cost for your job?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:27AM
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A&S is a national builder with offices in many markets. Some offices are really good and some are just atrocious.

Are you also in NJ?


    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:40AM
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Where would A&S's Central NJ office fit in your scale of realy good to atrocious? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 10:08AM
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I have some very mixed reviews. They have built some really nice pools out in our area. There have also been a ton of unmet expectations in terms of project management and a few quality issues issue I have seen.

They farm everything. This is a control loss in terms of the actual people doing the work. It also causes delays. They do have pretty strict demands on the design, materials, and layout but sometime the people hired are the low bidders, not always win for craftsmanship.

One thing that really bothers me is they quit using drain pots and started building shallow, field formed sumps instead. While it meets code given the drain covers they use, having the added depth of a sump under the drain cover offers, as I see it, a drain that is less likely to capture long hair or a chain around the neck. It saves them about $50 in costs.

I have never seen one of their shells fail and the bond beam is thick with extra rebar, a very good thing. The vast majority of finishes are white plaster or Diamond Brite and is normally fine work.

They used to be a Pentair exclusive shop but tried Waterway for a while. I don't know who they have teamed with this year, yet. I think they dumped Waterway. Waterway has some pretty good stuff but precious little field support in my area that I have seen.

They use Jason's for most of the plumbing and equipment connection services. Usually they do good work but I have caught them a few times with some significant errors.

A&S will push you to use them for services or claim you will void your warranty. They can't as long as you take some simple steps to prove you didn't abuse anything like saving work orders, logging your water tests and additions, and so on, things that are prudent to do anyway. Jason's services are among the most expensive, if not the most, in the region.

The retail store I usually frequent has had the same crew for quite a few years, a very good thing. They have earned my trust but they are a retail operation with their bottom line creating potential conflicts of interest. There is another store on the west side of my territory that has a good stock of things I might need but I don't go there as often to rate the crew in the store fairly.

On an overall A-F rating, I would rate them a C. If they improved the project management, customer expectations and didn't cut a few corners, I would have rated them significantly higher.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Thanks for the detailed reply.

I am doing a pool with them now in NJ. I am still reserving judgment until I finish the whole process but so far I am frustrated with the rate progress. I had heard and read so many stories about how work is slow and delayed that I really grilled them on this. The sales/design guy said delays between phases of work were a "thing of the past" and that they build so many fewer pools now that it is a "non-issue." I even specifically said since the work will be done in spring when it rains a lot, I know we will have rain days but wanted to know if rain days led to getting re-scheduled to the back of the list and caused a lot of dry day delays. Again, "oh no, definitely not. Nothing like that." Bottom line he said even with typical rain delays I should get from dig to swimming in 8 weeks. Before the dig it could take "up to a month" if the Township holds up the permits�

I signed in early March. They dug the hole 31 days later. The Township approved the permit within one working day of receiving it, except for the part A&S forgot to file (new employee I am told � I only found this out because I have a contact in the Township). A&S then took a week to file that part and then just mailed it. Township turned it over almost immediately again. But it took a couple weeks to get the dig scheduled.

The hole was dug two weeks ago and counting. That�s where it stands. They did have the steel crew come out about a week later but some of the dirt had slid back into the site so they left and said the diggers had to return. They finally did and it took them and hour in-and-out and they were done very early that morning. Still no sign of the steel crew and from communicating with the scheduler it is definitely the case that I am at the back of a list again, despite being told it didn�t work that way. Of course if they wait long enough it will rain again and more dirt will slide back into the hole and we�ll just have to do this song and dance again. In the best case scenario now it will have been 19 days between the first day of actual work (which took half-a-day) and the next (which will likely take only half a day too).

The bottom line is I understand rain delays but I have had more dry day delays than rain so far, and that goes directly against my asked-and-answered questions about how the process would work.

BTW, to your other comments, at least where I am they seem to mostly use Jandy equipment. I wish they used Pentair because I wanted to use their control system that had the iPhone/iPad interface. They said they could only install the Jandy PDA system and wouldn�t even quote the Pentair. They use AquaCal for heat pumps, which they strongly pushed as the preferred heating method, and Raypak for propane heaters, Haward for LED lighting and Polaris for sweeps. And they strongly push the Nature2 Fusion system over doing a saltwater chlorinator. They reluctantly quoted a saltwater chlorinator after some prodding but it was ridiculously more expensive that just getting one installed after the fact and they offered zero credit to remove the Fusion system if you did it and were going to force me to sign something that basically indemnified them against any premature damage to the coping or the stone on the raised bond beam. They do use Jason�s as their servicing company. I don�t know if they do the plumbing too since I haven�t gone to that yet. They use Corbin for the electrical.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:57PM
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