New Spa Build, Charlotte NC

diyspaApril 18, 2010

After 4 months of planning we picked a builder and kicked off the project. We used the forum a lot to select components and products. Thanks to all who contribute.

I'm acting as the Owner/Builder but found a contractor who will work with us to do most of the project. I've acted as the GC on several other home improvement projects before but have a healthy respect for the complexity of the components of a pool.

We are doing a spa only which I was surprised to learn is fairly unusual and costs nearly the same as a pool. In fact we had builders say they would add a pool for 6K. That meant their spa price was the same as a pool which pretty much elimiated them from the running.

I started by sketching what I wanted and collected pictures of pools that my wife and I like. We then met with a few pool builders and got hugely different proposals. I restarted and took a month to get a set of pool plans completed by an on-line vendor in Florida. I then went back to the pool builders to requote and was surprised that two vendors never returned calls or responded to the requote.

We ended up picking a builder who is doing an extensive remodel of my next door neighbors pool including decking, tile, plaster, and coping. We liked the quality of his work and he was happy to work with us for all or part of the job.

Shell

Travertine Coping Perimter, double bullnose 33' perimeter

Hydrazzo French Gray Polished Granite finish

Hardscape

Gas Fire Pit with Stacked Stone facing and 12" Travertine Coping bullnose one side to match pool coping

Patio, pavers and stacked stone retaining wall, 290sq ft

2 Ton Natural Stone Water Feature on Spa

Equipment List

Ozone sanitizer DELzone Eclipse 1, EC-1-16

Salt Chlorinator with Jandy Purelink control box with breaker panel kit Jandy purelink JPPPURELINKSYS-700

Nature 2 fixture

Jandy LED Spa Light

Jandy 2hp ePump (JEP2.0)

Jandy CS250 Cartridge Filter

400,000 Jandy LXI400N natural gas heater

Jandy PDA Pd8 control

Jandy 24V Valve actuator 2ea

JANDY NEVERLUBE 3-WAY JDY-4719 1ea

JANDY NEVERLUBE 3-WAY JDY-4717 3ea

JANDY NEVERLUBE 2-WAY JDY-4716 3ea

JANDY CHECK VALVE JDY-3405 3ea

JETS (8) WATERWAY (Final TBD)

300W multi-tap Intermatic 300W PX300S (stainless)

Air Supply Silencer Outdoor Spa Blower 2HP 240v 4.5 AMPS -

SKIMMER HAYWARD SP-1071-2S

Pentair, float type water level T40-FG (Grey)

Spa Drains , AQUASTAR 32CDFL105 (Dark Grey)

I have my house floorplans in a 3D Program called "Punch" and I did a quick sketch of what the pool and patio would look like. It isn't the best software for this task but it help visualize a little bit.

Before we had the final design done I did a quick layout with a garden hose and some rope. That helped the designers a lot.

Here is the wide angle picture of the site in the "Before" mode

Here is the layout and details of the design. The plumbing schematic isn't up to date. I changed the equipment to have a Jandy Purelink instead of the Delozone triopure.

We should break ground in about two weeks.

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poolanalyst

I would initially say it looks like an Anthony & Sylvan spa, but I am not sure if you spec.'d out the equipment or the builder did.

The waterway jets are usually used by one of Breck's companies du jour, or Hudson or that other vinyl pool company that Damon owns.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 10:39PM
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diyspa

I haven't picked the jets yet but would like input on the best way to go. We have a 2HP Jandy epump and a 2HP blower. The filter will be bypassed in full 2HP Jet mode. The designer said you should allocate about 1/4 HP per Jet so we ended up with 8 jets. The last home we were in had a great spa with jets at different levels as well as seats at different leveles. We have also enjoyed some massage type jets in one particular spa that we liked.

There are a silly amout of jets available on the market and many people say Waterways have a broad range of types at good quality at a good price.

What is the difference between the "Power Storm" and the "Poly Storm"

DIYSpa

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 7:35AM
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diyspa

We started the project yesterday. Normal dig from what I understand. We broke a 2" irrigation main and it's control wires plus we snapped a bare romex sump pump power line and sensor wire. The little excavator finished the job in a couple of hours.

A little fine tuning of the hole and a little job site shift of the water feature and we have a hole and a big pile of dirt.

The steel guys are coming tomorrow, plumbing next and gunite guys next week.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:15PM
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sceadu

Are you going to stack stone on the lower side of the spa? The plans show a "stone ledge" but I don't see it formed out.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:46PM
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diyspa

A few weather delays. Steel and plumbing done. Concrete on Saturday. Since this job is so small we are at minimums for concrete so the bench and firepit walls are also going to be concrete rather than cinderblock. The pad for the waterfall is formed now. I was surprised on the structure for the waterfall pad but then again it is going to be two tons of rock and the waterfall part of the spa.

Any suggestions for low voltage lighting?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 9:11PM
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diyspa

Concrete started today, only took 3 hours.

Shot the bench and firepit too

A few minor tweeks to the jet locations and seat heights but it looks great.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2010 at 2:45PM
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diyspa

The stacked stone, pavers, plumbing and gas line are going in now however it looks like a bomb went off in the back yard. The sprinkler guy came by and chuckled. It is cheaper to redo it than repair it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:46PM
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diyspa

A couple more weeks have gone by and all the stacked stone is done, plumbing is done, equipment placed on pad, gas lines in, steps in, new pavers on patio are in. Hopefully only a couple more weeks to go.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 11:06AM
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diyspa

The waterfall is in and looks great. The same stone person who did the stacked stone did the waterfall.

The bonding part of the electrical permit was cleared after a 4 day wait for the inspector. Since the fire pit and bench had rebar the inspector required it to be bonded as well. A bit of a gray area but we are cleared regardless.

The pool guy also does the hardscape and has great guys. They have spent the last couple of days cutting and fitting the travertine. In the next day or two a tile guy will come by and double bullnose all the travertine on the spa, fire pit and bench. Perhaps not completely necessary but he showed me pictures of a high end job he did and it looks great. This is the same travertine guy who did my bathrooms.

The spa tile is going up. A bit surprised that it has more pink than the sample. Perhaps we will learn to love it or pay the couple hundred to pull it off and pick something else. I think I'm liking it more and more....

We have picked a polished granite finish so hopefully it will all look great together.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 11:08PM
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diyspa

Nearly done. The sprinkler and lighting guy is coming this week followed by the sod guy. The equipment is all set and is being plumbed. Plaster has been scheduled last.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:02PM
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mudn

Looks fantastic! Love the stone work and the pavers.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:14PM
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diyspa

The spa has been done for about 1 year now. We are very happy with the outcome. Here are the final pictures.

Most things worked out great, a few things we would have done differently.

1. The polished granite plaster finish is great however it had to be installed twice. The first time the hose clogged and by the time the installers gave up on the hose and carried it in some had set up so it had a lot of cracks.

2. We had to have the plaster polished a few times as the first few installers did not have much experience. Be sure to check on the plaster installers experience with the finish and visit a reference if possible.

3. The salt / ozone / nature 2 system works great. We keep the clorine level at 1 and have not had any problems.

4. The Jandy remote is great but has some quirks. See my post on the Jandy variable speed pump. If you have a range issue, pick a different channel. It controls the pump, waterfall, yard lights, blower, chlorine and ozone.

5. A bit concerned as to the life of the Jandy heater. We had a sensor on the heater fail at the 12 month mark. The 400,000 BTU unit was the way to go. About 30 minutes to temperature in the summer and 2 hours in the winter.

6. The installer, Carlonia Pool King, has been very good about post intallation service and fixing any defects.

7. The variable speed pump is super. Most of the time we run it at 750rpm and you can't even tell it is on. It only runs at 2750 rpm for two hours in the morning so the chlorine generator works. It has to have a minimum amount of flow to produce chlorine. At full speed the 2HP motor can run the waterfall and 8 jets with no problem.

8. The gunite guys knocked the jet pipes around a little and the angle and heights are not quite as designed. Double check the heights after the rebar goes in and be sure to have a clear drawing handy so the seats go in correctly.

9. The LED lights are the only way to go. Love the color choices.

  1. I like the different waterway jets we selected but a couple of them pop out fairly easily if you twist them to control the volume. Not sure why.

  2. The waterfall is really nice. The dog like to lie down in the hot water.

  3. Very happy we put in yard lights at the same time and connected to the remote.

  4. Shocked at how expensive it is to repair sprinklers. We basically had to re-install the entire back yard.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:39AM
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memama_gayle

Very beautiful!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 1:01PM
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