Cen Cali Pool Plans - Feedback & Input

rice_rocketJune 27, 2010

Firstly, I just have to thank everyone that participate here. It is incredible to be able to research options and opinions. I never forgot these same forums that helped me with the kitchen almost seven years ago! Fast forward to today, and my fiance is a fish! ;) So we're planning to build a pool. We're down to two PB's (out of 6), and am planning to sign a contract before July 4. We're in the hot (103 today!) and semi-arid dessert of Central (interior) California.

We had two submissions drawn with Pool Studio based on my initial hand drawing/conceptualization. The others were using Visio-like programs (I think) or hand-drawn. After watching a PB play with Pool Studio, I decided I needed to "purchase" the program for myself so that we could "construct" precisely what we had in mind. So I downloaded Pool Studio last Sunday and paid for a month's subscription. "Built" the pool from my hand drawings, and took some "photos":

More "photos" or renderings can be seen here: Rocket's Pool Photos.

Here are the some specs for the pool:

Semi-geometric: 40' length x 19' to 22' width, 108' Perimeter

Depth: 4' to 8', 758 SqFt.

Interior: WetEdge Primera Stone; Blue Pacific Coast

Standard 6" x 6" tile (not decided yet)

2 Skimmers, 4 Return Lines, Autofill

2 Pentair IntelliBrite

2 Benches (1 swimout, 2 umbrella sleeves)

2 Bubblers, 1 umbrella sleeve on sun-shelf

Compass mosaic and diamonds on steps (Glass or Granite TBD)

Pentair VS-3050

Pentair CCP-320 Cartridge Filter

Pentair IntelliTouch i5 w/remote control

Pentair Legend pool cleaner

1060 SqFt Concrete Deck and Square/Near Flush Coping, colored stamped epoxy overlay and ribbon per design

300 SqFt Brushed Block Concrete on west side-yard, 142 SqFt on Brushed Concrete east side-yard

21' wide x 30" tall staggered stack waterfall over Three Rivers ledger stone (waterfall planter/wall is 38 linear feet)

42 linear feet x 18' tall sitting wall Three Rivers ledger stack with flagstone cap

2 Nexxuss SaviNOTE to uplight the waterfall from the bench

3 downlights to light the sitting wall

6' Diving Board (or InterFab T7?)

One of our concerns was the size of the deck and how hot it would get. Evidently the Vinyl overlays (like Sundek) is supposed to help reduce the deck temperatures by up to 10 degrees compared with concrete. Originally I spec'ed a salted concrete deck with brushed coping and ribbons. But was told that it would require two pours--hence additional costs which may as well go towards a cooler deck finish. Are there any other ways to keep the deck cooler (other than shade)? The planters are not going to be big enough for large trees.

Also, do you think we should oversize the pool filter to ease maintenance? I initially thought I wanted a D.E. filter, by don't really want to deal with the mess when cleaning those filters.

Didn't spec a salt system because of the natural rock waterfall. Also, in consulting with two friends that have salt pools, one of them took out the system after five years. And the other had to keep replacing the plates almost every year, plus the controller a year ago. Both recommended against salt. One PB suggested Ozone as a supplementary system, but we're not sold on that.

The sun deck is going to be the first step (12" down, 8"-9" of water). I'm not enamored with the small first step to reach an 18" sun shelf. Plus I think the bubblers will work better in the slightly shallower water. What are your experiences with the sun shelf heights?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


We originally spec'd salted concrete in our design. Yes it gets hot but it is cooler than stamped for some reason. However, we had some difficulties with our overall backyard plan which pushed us into travertine pavers. Turns out we will save quite a bit of money over plain salt finish and have a better looking real stone finish.

As for the heat I placed some out in the sun and you can still walk on them. In fact waaaaay better than concrete. I assume you are somewhere east of Monterey so your weather is like ours. 100+ during the day and cooling at night.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Build

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi typea!

I like the look of travertine. I have some polished marble flooring inside the house--so it would have been nice to continue the look outside with travertine.

It seems like the installers in my area haven't done a lot of it. And the travertine "pavers" that I see at Lowes or Home Depot are honed and filled--which makes them too slippery for use as pool decking. I suppose I could get the PB to check on cost for tumbled pavers, but I'll probably have to change the deck ribbon design quite a bit if I went with pavers.

The vinyl/Sundek is an extra $6,000 over stamped concrete, and extends the build time since the concrete needs to cure for 28 days before they can apply the overlay surface. :( I suppose I can buy more umbrellas and/or build a pergola?

Looks like you have a LOT of deck in your project! Travertine should look stunning in your project.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


If you run the math you come in ~$5/ft delivered for materials with base. That would leave you with the 6k that you were looking to spend on vinyl for installation, excavation, and a steak dinner for the crews.

These are really not that hard to put down and I will probably work with my GC to at least partially cover the labor on our job. Travertine pavers should be dry set which reduces the skill required to set them and you can pull them up if you need to get under them. It also means you don't have to stress over cracks (pun intended).

Skip the Lowes and Home Depot. The pavers I have seen there are chiseled edge and more suitable for driveways. Try the link below. There are quite a few brokers in Miami that handle the stuff.

As for covered area we like you are trying to escape the raisin maker and have incorporated 1890sqft of covered space into our design. Yesterday we broke the 100 mark and we felt like bugs on the sidewalk under a magnifying glass.

BTW you can also find 2" thick solid bullnose coping in travertine pretty reasonably out there as well. We need the double bull nose stuff so our search was a bit harder.

Here is a link that might be useful: Travertine Mart

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx for the link!

I'm going to call the PB to see what the cost of concrete is per SqFt. I'm actually quite surprised at the pricing of the travertine. But I bet the labor to lay them down is what is going to be costly. Did you get a quote per SqFt installed?

Unfortunately, laying it down ourselves is out of the question. My fiance has a bad back, and I'm allergic to working on the weekends in 100+ degree heat. :)

Hmmm. I should play around in Pool Studio to see what "tiled" travertine deck would look like in the design.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had two PBs that didn't seem all that interested in removing their decking prices. Some crap about a certain amount being included in the base price and their guys being artists. I kindly let them know we weren't interested. I'm not trying to cheap anybody but there are some economies of scale going on here.

Those that did wanted $7+/sqft for salt finish. Probably fair if you didn't have 2,552sqft and for the PB we selected there were tasks involved in that price like backfill. The lowest independent concrete price we got was $5/sqft that would have included the backfill.

However, we also would need 1392sqft lightweight concrete on the balcony and that ranged from $9-$17/sqft depending on prep and additives. Don't even get me started on overlays, stamping, and sealants for that area.

Unlike concrete, pavers are largely a DIY project so we are hiring it out separately with me acting as the job super. Although I don't have a bad back I've been told the front isn't all that hot so I will be supervising. We have not received the bids back yet for the labor. But with a $3/sqft allowance I estimate some savings over the cost of concrete for IMO a superior and cooler surface. I'm pretty sure that $3 is on the high end.

I would bet that the additional cost you estimated for the vinyl would more than cover the labor but I will keep you posted on what we find out.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ugh--discovered last night in a meeting with one of the final two PB's we're considering that one VS pump is inadequate for the water feature. So a second VS pump is evidently required to get enough flow.

Does anyone know how many GPM's the VS pumps max out at? I can't seem to decipher the chart on their web site. What additional engineering is required for a second pump?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 1:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you need a 3hp pump for the water feature couldn't you just go with a Whisperflo WFE-12. This pump is 1/2 the price and probably just as efficient when its cranking as the VS.

On your water feature I'll bet that you will want to turn it on separately and not run it when you aren't there to enjoy it. Why gang it into the pump that's running your filtration. You're better off not having it in that plumbing anyway if you look at the flow ratings on your filter. Sure you can divert it but why do the dance. On your spill I would make sure that it includes a backflow so that it doesn't lower the pool level when you turn on the water feature. Then again I'm not sure how deep the spill basin needs to be.

I would think that multiple inlets with less depth would be better since there is less water hanging around if you don't run the water feature for a while. On our last pool the waterfall basin would sit full over the winter and collect all sorts of crap. When you turned it at the start of the year or during a nice winter day it would end up in the pool. For us there's nothing like Christmas lunch out by the pool when the weather permits. When a dead toad or bird belches out over the waterfall it just sucks the appetite right out of you.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Let me just clarify what I was saying. Instead of buying a second VS pump get an efficiency rated pump that is not variable speed for the water feature. Spending the money for something that the efficiency curve drops when the flow increases just seems like a bad idea to me. Check the efficiency rating at the desired flow for the waterfall on the VS pump and you will see what I mean. If you want to control the amount of flow over the waterfall have them plumb some extra returns on a Jandy valve to meter the diversion flow. When you divert more water to the pool, the flow on the waterfall decreases.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx so much! That's a great suggestion that I can discuss with the PB.

The idea on the second pump was to augment the first pump and actually get more water into the through/spill basin (21'L by 8"W by 12"D) to create a gushing waterfall when I wanted. I'm still curious as to whether one 3HP pump will be sufficient to create enough flow over a 21' span for anything other than the trickle down. Because it would seem that the 2" inlet/outlet would limit the flow rates?

The calculations and descriptions from the various pond building sites is disconcerting. They call for anywhere between 20 - 30 GPM per linear feat to get an "average" looking waterfall over natural stone. Not sure how accurate that is?

I think we're pretty much decided on who we're going to go with. But I want to make sure that this is all specified in the contract so that there are no surprises for either side.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 12:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For a sheer, the generally used number is 10 GPM per linear foot. For what I see in the picture, I would expect the need to be less than that.

A single Pentair AFP-150 or AFP-180 waterfall specialty pump would provide you will all the water I would expect you would need for this water feature. Water features tend to be low head and high volume pump curves.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 8:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx for the assist!

I'll probably spec AFP/AF-180 for the waterfall, but also pipe the VS circulation pump to augment the water basin. That way, I should be able to use the VS pump when I'm not around to actually move the water in that basin during the cleaning cycle.

I could also use the VS circulation pump to lower the volume so that when we are outdoors, the noise won't be deafening. And when we're indoors and want the full effect, we'd simply turn on the 180 as well for that "gushing" effect.

Is that possible? Will probably also add the valves to control the diversion of the single speed 180.

I wonder if I could mock up a 1 foot section to see what it looks like with the different GPMs. Hmmmm.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is 8' deep enough for a diving board? Our deep end is 6' and I just walk off the edge and hit bottom with some force. Just asking...

    Bookmark   July 3, 2010 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Actually, the ANSI/NSPI Type 1 and 2 pool standards only call for 7'6". I'm putting in a Inter-Fab T7 diving board with the water feature, and the installation manual has all the appropriate specs.

I'm trying to avoid a steep grade in the middle of the pool, so I'm still debating an 8' max to 4' min pool. But I may end up with the "standard" 8'6" max to 3'6" min pool.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inter-Fab T7 Installation Manual

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Changed some of the equipment:

1. Going with the larger CCP-420 filter instead of the CCP-320.

2. Added a dedicated waterfall pump (AFP/AF-180) to augment the VS for the "drunk" mode.

3. Using the Nexxus X-Streams bubbler kit. Not sure how bright the fiber light will be, but I think it will be a cool accent since it will share the same controller as the waterfall lights. There's one more channel still on the 4-channel controller, so I'm thinking of adding fiber to light the trough and/or the sitting bench (underneath the cap).

4. Found a sealer that reflects UV. It's supposed to lower deck temperature (Life Deck Cool Life). Waiting to hear from the sub to see about using it without the acrylic layer to shave some of that $6,000 surcharge for the deck. Does anyone have experience with any of Life Paint's products?

5. Inter-Fab T-7 diving board with the water spill. Decided against the lighting option on it since the color will probably not match the other LED's in the pool and waterfall.

6. Adding the PC interface kit to the IntelliTouch setup to allow the e-z iPod interface for day-to-day usage. Not sure whether we should get rid of the Mobi-Touch that was originally spec'ed and just program everything on a PC? Is the Mobi-Touch remote worth it?

Here's a photo of the waterline tile together with the pool surface and Three Rivers rock used on the waterfall:

Planned on a very neutral tile on the waterline because of the very hard water in my area. I've seen lots of ugly calcium buildup in otherwise beautiful dark colored waterline tiles when we were going around looking at references.

Also planning on bringing some of the granite we used in the house out to the pool, so I thought it would be nice to purchase 12' Blue Pearl and/or Blue Eyes granite, then cut them to 6'x6' tiles and use them on the waterline every seventh tile or so. Should be fairly inexpensive to do, but visually interesting. I mocked it up using the Pool Builder software:

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Contract signed! Now the real fun begins!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Congratulations! Love the compass rose.

We're also going with Wet Edge Primera. We chose black kona. It's going in next week hopefully.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will be looking out for your pics of the Wet Edge Primera install! Sounds like an interesting process with the buffing. Not sure how they work around the waterline tiles and or mosaics and "diamonds" embedded in the pool.

My PB is still awaiting final approval on the permits, but will be moving the fence tomorrow and doing the layout. And also jacking the existing concrete patio.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First major hurdle--AT&T, PG&E, and Comcast has an easement on my property, and the setback is 10ft. Totally idiotic--working on getting encroachment letters from all three before the city will issue the permits. Grrrr.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So after I check the plot plan that I got when I signed for purchasing the house, I see that the PUE is actually only 5' on the west side and 10' on the north side in front of the house. My fiancee and I must have called two dozen different numbers trying to get "Encroachment Letters" from AT&T, Comcast, and PG&E. PG&E ended up being the only one that got us a letter within 48 hours.

My PB went down to the city to show them the plot plan and the PG&E letter, and they gave him a copy of their map which shows the 10' PUE on the south wall. Long story endless, they were using an outdated map! They call my PB a few hours later, apologized, and said the permit will be ready for pickup on Monday!

In the end, one inept City employee held up the permit, and made us spend hours on hold, leaving countless messages, and do all that work for nothing! Total delay: 1 week. We should have gotten a discount on the permit fees.

Fence is now scheduled to be moved Monday afternoon. Excavation to begin on Tuesday.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looking forward to seeing your build.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The Cen Cali Pool Build has begun!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:59AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
How to film pool build timelapse?
I've been lurking for months & finally ready to...
Wendy Baldwin
Small 3/4' mosaic waterline tile - mistake?
Hello, We're getting ready to sign our contract, and...
Atlantis pool and spa (Magnolia Tx) anyone have any feedback?
Searching for a pool builder and looks like Atlantis...
Obsessing over pool finishes
Hello all, I am looking for any and all advice on pool...
Automatic Pool Covers for Inground Swimming Pool
We are looking to purchase an automatic pool cover....
Christy Bell
Sponsored Products
Casual Traditions Satin Nickel Three Light Billiard and Island with White Metal
$310.00 | Bellacor
34-inch Fireplace
Zuo Copacabana Outdoor White Modular Corner Seat
Euro Style Lighting
MLFL30LED50 MaxLite LED MaxLED Flood Light, 30 Watts Bronze
Imperial NFL Bunk Bed - 901602
$399.00 | Hayneedle
Bruck | Houston Down Pendant Light
$317.25 | YLighting
Magatama 3 Piece Outdoor Patio Chaise in Espresso Mocha
$999.00 | LexMod
Eliot Leather Bench - Brighton Lemon Grass Yellow
Joybird Furniture
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™