Need your advice - New Pool Build Specs

ldjdJune 10, 2011

Hi, I am a newbie Northern California pool owner and am working on the design, components, and finishes for the pool. I have been surfing this site for a few weeks looking at finishes/tiles and am grateful for everyone sharing their photos. I have a couple different bids and am a bit worried about making the right choice. The bids are all fairly close, so I'm most concerned with quality of build and long-term management of the pool. I'd love your feedback on the items below. Thanks so much!


Depth 3.5-7.5'

18x36 free form w/ 7.5' diameter raised spa with 2'wide spillover

baja step 6.5'x4' with umbrella sleeve


1) Hayward used to be a mediocre brand, but in the past couple of years has improved supposedly. Is that really the case or is it marketing hype? One pool builder recommended not using Hayward, but instead using: Sta-Rite/Pentair with a Jandy Controller

2) Do we need the ozonator? Do they work or are they a gimmick?

3) Is the pool size good? Some friends have said it seems big. It would take up less than half of the backyard.

4) Is 7.5' for a spa a good size? How many people does that fit?

5) What size should the baja step be? Is ours too big/too small?

6) Are Fujiwa tiles good quality/tough? They are pretty and an upgrade $$, so I want to make sure they'll last.

7) Does anyone have a pool builder in the San Jose area that they loved and would recommend, or hated and we should avoid?

8) Any other recommendations of things to absolutely do or mistakes to avoid?


Pool Finish: Blue Granite Pebblesheen

Waterline Tile: 6" Fujiwa Tile, Bohol Valley -

Step trim tile: 2 options (NPT Minikoyn TK-1341) (Fujiwa Tile TNT033)

Coping: Arizona Flagstone Medium Buckskin (to match the existing patio & firepit)


Skimmers: 2

Filter: Hayward Cartridge 525sqft Swimclear

Pump: Hayward Ecostar Variable Speed

Heater: Hayward 400K Lo/Nox natural gas

Cleaner: Kreepy Krauly Platinum

Saline SWG: TBD

Controls: Hayward/Goldline Pro-Logic PS-8

Additional Sanitation: Perfect Pool Ozonator

Spa: 6 jets, 1 air blower 1hp bottom mount

Lights: 2 Savi Melody Blanco in Pool, 1 add'l in spa

Solar: Heliocol 11 panels (or 10)

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1) Hayward is still a mediocre brand. I try to avoid it when I can. None of the big three are perfect but Pentair still still #1 IMHO. Jandy/Zodiac is catching up though.
2) You don't "need" an ozonator.
3) Pool size is fine though 3' to 7.5' vs. 3.5' to 8' depth usually allows diving and is more frequently seen.
4) This size with usually hold 4 - 5 people comfortably.
5) That is your decision. You might like to get some marking paint and outline the pool in the yard.

I can't offer my opinions on 6, 7, or 8.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:00AM
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Thanks. The PB all say that going from 7.5' to 8' requires additional engineering in our area, so we were holding off on going the extra 6".

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:42PM
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Hi, we went with an 16 X 36 freeform and one thing I didn't know prior to building is that it is 16 at its widest point. Now that isn't a huge deal for us, because we're not a big family, but it might be if for others. Also, our sunshelf (which is about 5X6) really eats into that width in the shallow end. Our spa is 7' in diameter and I think the 7.5 or 8' might be better for when we have friends over. It really depends on how you plan to use it. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:11AM
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16x36 was our original dimensions until we realized that it was the widest point. Our widest point now is 20' and our narrowest is 16'. also, I should have clarified that the extra engineering would be needed to bring the depth from 7.5' to 8', the spa size is unlimited (except for cost to heat, expense to build, and space in the yard).

Scott, will 7'5' spa really only hold 4-5 people? We were hoping to get in at least 6.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 3:12PM
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Spa advice:
Set your kitchen chairs around in the pattern you're getting (circle?) and use a tape measure to approximate the sizes you're considering. Then sit a bunch of people in the chairs and see how it feels.
Are your knees all bumping together?
Then, have someone measure the height from the seat of the chair (bottom of your butt) to the height that you want the water when you're simmering in the spa. Around here the standard is 18", but I had mine dropped to 21" because I wanted the water over my armpits. If you have a tall torso (or big butt in my case) the standard height would put the water just above my sternum - too low for me.
I also had the PB stagger the heights of the jets, so that each seat would hit a different part of my back, although the range is not huge.
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 8:35PM
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great suggestion on how to figure out the size, seat height, and jet types. thanks!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:27PM
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Cleaner: Kreepy Krauly Platinum

Forget this one.

Go for the Dolphin or Aquabot. No comparison to any cleaner that goes in your skimmer.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 10:31AM
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Platinum is a pressure side, updated Legend. Kreepy Krawly is the division at that specializes in pool cleaners. I suspect you were confused with the original KK.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 6:06PM
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another cleaner option is the tiger shark cleaner. do you like that option better?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 2:35PM
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