Cen Cali Pool Build

rice_rocketJuly 21, 2010

And so it starts! Original pool specs are in the Cen Cali Pool Plans thread.

What the backyard will never look like again!

Fence comes down. Thankfully, I have a cooperative neighbor. The other two walls were installed by the City, and they are extremely sensitive about it. In the permit, the highlighted footnote says, "Do NOT remove any blocks from the block wall!"

Bobcat removing the existing patio. Looks like the home builder actually did a good job with the concrete--it's nice and thick.

Breakin' up is hard to do! ;)

Cleo (the cat) surveys the 90% completed grading.

Cleo meets her Bobcat!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Photos from the last couple of days:

Laying out the forms:

Digging starts even as the form is being finished:

Half dug after the first day:

Much less dusty watching some of the second day dig from the breakfast nook:

Carving the niches for the returns and lights:

Came home to find the dig all done!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 2:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looking good! Know you are excited. More pictures please!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx memama_gayle! I have two albums on Zenfolio that have more photos.
1. Pool Visualization using Pool Studio.
2. Pool Construction Photos.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 4:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Plumbing starts!

2" for each skimmer, 2" for cleaner from booster pump, 1.5" for returns, 1.5" for each bubbler:

Trying to decide on the "diamonds" that will go on the benches and steps. One is called "Aegean Sea." The other is "Galaxy Blue." Leaning towards Galaxy Blue.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 4:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Updated the construction photo site with over 150 new photos. 4 weeks into the pool, the gunite is finally done.

4" plumbing for the WF (waterfall), individual 2" for skimmers, 2" pool sweep, 1.5" return loop, 1.5" bubblers.


Deep end ramp that was used for ingress and egress during excavation.

Moving the bubblers that were spaced incorrectly at first. Lit bubblers in the foreground with fiber optic cable.

Bending the ties on the rebars back. Got a tip from a friend that told us to bend all the ties back to prevent rust spots later. Our pool builder said not to worry about it since his guniters used a good mix, but we did it just in case anyway.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Big trucks in the front of the house on gunite day! Turns out, first of three gunite days.

175 PSI, over 400 mph.

Discovered a problem with the WF wall. Rebar was not reclined, so guniting had to stop, rebar removal and manual excavation commenced. It took the crew 4 hours to do it, jackhammers and all. Further guniting had to be put off a day.

This is more like what it should be.

Guniting starts again the next day!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lots of people working at the same time.

My PB overseeing the guniting of the WF wall.

Forming the WF wall.

Shooting the deep end.

Forming the swimout bench in the deep end.

They started at 6:30. It's 4, they're out of material and quite tired. Sitting wall and steps are not complete. That'll have to wait till Monday.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tried just two steps. Didn't like it, so I marked it back to the original design for three steps.

Spent a few hours on the weekend making sure the form for the sitting wall was set correctly. This was critical to the deck design. So on Monday, the creww simply had to work off the forms we set.

Chipping off some of the second step to make it three steps.

Forming the steps.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Gunite is finally all done!

Sitting wall.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks AMAZING. Can't wait to see the finished product. I especially love the pics with your cat in them. She looks very comfortable in the empty pool.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your having all kinds of fun.

Two questions.
1) did they drill and pin any steel to hold the steps they added.
2) How are they handling the return they buried in the top step.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 7:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure Cleo the cat will get anywhere near the pool when it's filled with water. She does "patrol" the perimeter currently. :)

just-a-pb: They did not have any rebar on either the steps of the swimout shelves. They did on that long bench underneath the WF wall. Do you think this is a concern I should bring up with my PB?

As for the return, PB said they'll chip out and modify/move it up to the bottom of the waterline tile. Not sure when they're doing that. Maybe after the tile goes in?

There is a lot of plumbing left to do--I didn't want the 4" pipes on the outside at the equipment pad because of the deck/planter design right around that area. It's almost impossible to hide the ugly big pipes sticking out of the ground. So that's being moved to as close to the back wall as possible.

There's also a lot of dirt mounds in the way, and everywhere. It's for back-filling the planters in the WF wall and the sitting wall. Not sure what to do with it since we need a large clear area for the incoming stone that will be used on the walls.

Waterline tile is next! I'm kinda anxious to see how the design is going to look. I had some 12" Blue Eyes granite tiles (same ones that were used in the Master Bath in the house) cut to 6"x6" and they are going to be installed every 7th tile with a simple and neutral marble-like tile. I'm a little worried that it's going to end up looking too busy.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 11:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Setting the grade and getting ready for installing the waterline tile.

All done!

These Blue Eyes granite "deco" tiles were cut to size from 12"x12" tiles to match the rest of the Crema Marfil marble-like tiles. This is to carry over some of the materials used inside the house to the outside.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Went to see the custom compass medallion being put together by Gene at Concepts in Tile. They did a fantastic job of matching the height of the granite with the tile. And I couldn't be happier with the colors.

The Blue Eyes granite should really sparkle once submerged.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow-love your medallion! Nice cobalt accent in your waterline tile.

Kudos for hanging in there with the gunite process and getting what you wanted. Your deep end swim out steps are such a functional design!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 7:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx cakelady!

Unfortunately, we won't be installing the medallion anytime soon. We ran into a snag with the mason--who's now the ex-mason. More info in the photos to follow.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

More progress!

The deck guys who came en masse to grade the deck areas.

Deck guys digging a new trench to move the electrical plumbing. Can't say we're 100% pleased with the plumber ourselves.

Cleo likes the dirt. Here, she's demonstrating how to lay by the pool and stretch.

All graded and planters filled.

Delivery of 6 tonnes of Three Rivers ledge and tumbled flagstone.

Plant fossil in the rock! It's just like me--old, but cool! ;)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This was all the prep that the mason did before starting to put up the stone. Trouble is a-brewing.

This is what it looked like after the first day. Hmmm.

After the second day. Aargh!

And after the third day. Three strikes, and he's out. Grrrr.

Hopefully, this photo shows one of the reasons why we had to fire the mason. It's one of many problems with the way the rock was put on the wall.

You can see the disappointment in Cleo's face. We will be tearing all the rock out and starting all over with a new mason tomorrow. Actually, I already started taking out a few pieces as part of my self-prescribed anger-management therapy. Remind me to never hire a mason who thinks that Three Rivers rock comes from the Pittsburgh area.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love the cat! and the pool. He looks like he is inspecting with displeasure. I think that was a good choice of redoing the stone. It did look bad. You will look back and thank yourself for redoing versus settling!
I love the captions too by the way.(anger management-lol)

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx peytonroad!

Here are more progress photos:

We sorted the rock for the new masons to give them a head start. It took two of us three hours to sort through about 2.5 tons.

First, the new masons jacked out all the rock.

New masonry crew to the rescue!

These guys were much better. They discussed, planned, measured, leveled, measured some more. They had a wet saw and a portable saw (the ex-mason simply had a hammer!). Unlike the ex, they also cleaned, cut rebar off instead of burying it behind rock and mortar, etc.

They installed one row all the way accross at a time! This was the right way to build the stack that I had in mind.

We bought another 600lbs of the longer pieces needed for the straight portion of the Waterfall Wall. They are only 10% of every pallete, so what I got pretty much exhasted my suppliers eigth palletes and the three we had bought.

Then the next weekend, we sorted some more and tried cleaning some of the mortar off the rock that was jacked from the wall with muratic acid.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First few rows on the Sitting Wall looks great! But they had to remove the two bottom rows on the Waterfall Wall because they floated those pieces and it was flush to the waterline tile (we wanted a 1/2 inch overhang to match the coping. Also, too much mortar was showing, and it wasn't consistent with the dry stack look we wanted.

Sitting Wall is almost finished. Needs to be capped. Plan is to have fiber running underneath the flagstone overhang. Also, a "hole" is left near the brick wall for power outlets.

The masons acid washed the Sitting Wall. Now the colors really pop on the Three Rivers ledger.

Nothing but blue skies and wispy clouds. Great weather for work on the fourth day.

Lots of leveling and dry runs. There is no comparison--the new masons are doing it right!

End of fourth day. Can't wait till they acid wash the Waterfall Wall. You can actually see how much darker and more colorful the stone is on the Sitting Wall on the right.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I cannot wait to see the finished pictures of that waterfall. I am planning a similar design waterfall to be raised about 36"-42" to hide the portable hot tub. What size is the plumbing coming out of the top of that? Are those T'd together in the wall? or 3 inidvidual runs to the pump?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like you are going to have one beautiful pool when done. Sorry that you had a problem but you did the right thing. It did look terrible.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jasonlmarsh: there are three 6" outlets in the waterfall vessel all coming from one 4" line. The "flare" from 4" to 6" is so that the water will well out rather than fountain out. There will be two pumps (a variable speed Pentair VS and a dedicated Pentair 180 waterfall pump) tied to the outlets.

There are two dedicated intakes from a single 4" line for the 180, and the VS pump will also have intakes from two dedicated 2" skimmer lines plus another 2" from two drains. The plan is to use the 180 pump "drunk" mode only--the waterfall will normally be fed with the VS.

How wide is the span of your planned waterfall? 36"-42" height ought to be really cool!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx dd50! The new masons finished the wall this past Friday (there's still acid washing and some little things left to do yet), but the walls are now congruent with our original vision.

Not one single person thought what the original mason (if you could call him that) did was acceptable. In the long run, I don't think the two week setback because of this issue will be of any consequence.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We got a pallete of Three Rivers tumbled flagstone as a cap on the Sitting Wall.

Waterfall Wall coming along.

The sides of the wall look dramatically better than before.

The deck crew show up bright and early to form the coping although the rock walls are not quite done..

We found these thin 1/4" to 1/2" pieces of Three Rivers flagstone that will be used to cap the spillway as well as line the back wall of the through/vessel..

The Sitting Wall is finished saved for acid washing and sealing.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 11:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rice, thanks so much for the info on your waterfall. That will be very helpful to me, especially considering I'll be doing a lot of work myself. I was concerned about how to make the water spillover rather than spray out of the pipes, and you've cleared that up perfectly for me.

In my design, the wall will be approximately 36" - 42" tall from the deck height, and about 10' - 12' long. The intent of this waterfall is to hide the portable hot tub, and provide a nice water feature.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You're welcome!

I think any flaring on multiple outlets is going to give you the "well up" effect rather than the fountain effect. Also if you have larger diameter plumbing from the pump to the outlet, you will need lower velocity to get the same volume. Hence less fountain, more welling. ;)

Your design sounds like a great idea, and should provide a much nicer "side" to the portable tub.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just a quick Before and After on the Waterfall Wall. Left side of the wall in the "After" shot has still not been acid washed. Still, there is no question why the "Before" mason had to go!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW, the new mason should use that picture in their sales portfolio. The difference in craftsmanship is just amazing!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Grading and forming the planters. Coping form is already in place.

Laying out The Ring.

Staking and forming The Ring.

Lots of stakes everywhere! It was quite a task travesing them all without scraping our legs.

Another round of acid washing the stone before concrete is poured.

Ribbon gets poured! Orchestrated mayhem.

The entire crew works quickly before the concrete sets!

Ribbons colored and stamped!

Early morning prep for the second pour.

Once the concrete flows, everyone gets busy.

Stomp, stomp; stamp, stamp.

Hosing the deck off the next morning.

The deck has yet to be detailed, but it already looks great. They left a layer of the oil-based color hardener to act as a "protectant" till after the pool and landscaper is finished.

Cleaning the skimmer.

Panoramic view of the deck.

View from the East side-yard.

View from the covered patio.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love it. You have no grass to cut:)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love the design in the decking! I notice there's no steel in the deck, are they not concerned about cracking? or did they use something special in the mix?

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No steel in the concrete deck--there was also no steel in the original patio. They used Fibermesh in the mix.

Not much progress in the last few weeks. But the pump equipment arrived, and the landscaping is nearly all in.

Planters got dug up for installing irrigation.

A mess of fiber optic cables and electrical cables.

Plants arrive! They are laid out overnight so we can get a feel for what the landscaping will look like.

Plants get "installed." ;)

Three Japanese Maples anchor the planters.

The waterfall through was waterproofed as well. Pool equipment goes in next week. The medallion and step diamonds as well.

We have a lot of extra rock. So we put some of them along the side yard walkway. Yes, we moved probably another ton of rock around--again! :(

Inspection by the end of this coming week? We hope so!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I feel for your backs!
Your pool and decking is looking wonderful! Beautiful! And where does the medallion go? I anxiously await additional photos. Congratulations on the quality of the work. Looks great.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 10:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That is looking beautiful. I love all of the design in the decking! I wish I had the artistic ability to come up with something like that for my back yard.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Almost there!

Laying out the step "diamonds."

Medallion was transported in four sections.

Finding the centerline.

This is what I call runway lights. ;)

Diving target!

All done!

Here is a link that might be useful: A plethora of pool construction photos!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2010 at 5:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Site prep started early in the morning!

All the rebound gunite is jacked out. Don't want any weak areas.

Acid bath! The fumes were stifling. :(

Baby blue goop! This looks like a low pressure version of when they shot the gunite. Had them add extra mother of pearl and abalone shells for a modest upcharge, eventhough Blue Pacific Coast WetEdge Primera Stone already has some in it.

It looks like icing on a very large cake!

The process pretty much took all day. Lots and lots of troweling.

Sponge Bob shoes for everyone towards the end.

The unpolished smurf blue surface feels rougher and dries a little darker, but not much. Here's what the polished sample looked like next to it. Next up--polishing the surface!

Here is a link that might be useful: More pool construction photos!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Polishing starts the following day!

The pebble surface is pretty hard after just a day. These wet polishers required noisy high pressure generators to work.

Five Mario brothers and four generators, a pump to get the water out of the deep end, and you can't hear a single thing other than the din of motors and water.

When they were done polishing (took the whole day), they started the water to fill the pool!

There's little water pressure in the house when both hoses are running into the pool. We had to shut off a hose whenever we needed to take a shower or cook in the kitchen.

All kinds of leaves were already blown into the half-filled pool from the wind and rain storm. We used our new pool toy to skim the leaves off the surface.

Unfortunately, we filled the pool knowing we had to drain it again. The polishing scratched up all the glass step diamonds as well as the medallion. The pool finishing company agreed to replace all of the Lightstream glass tiles and some of the really badly scratched pieces on the medallion at no cost to me (well, except for the electricity to pump the water out, and also the cost of the water itself). But the custom pieces would take a week or more to make and Thanksgiving holidays was smack-dab in the middle of it. :(

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 9:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The next time you fill the pool, I suggest wrapping rags around the hose ends to prevent potential metal staining.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanx for the tip Scott!

The pool was emptied and worked on last week. It was refilled again this past weekend. The Primera Stone surface has a lot of plaster in it, so we have to brush the walls at least twice a day for a week at least to prevent calcium buildup during the curing process. It's a lot more work that we thought. :(

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Brush daily after that for another3 weeks or until the dust raising stops.

Check the pH daily and add acid as needed to keep the pH at 7.3 to 7.6 . Add a sequesterant like HTH's (one a only a few HTH products I will use) as Muriatic acid sometimes has some iron in it.

The pool will raise it's pH fairly quickly with new plaster, Expect to use a few gallons over the course of the next few weeks, The acid demand will take about year to fully stabilize, dropping gradually over the course of the next six-twelve months. As plaster cures, the hydration process raises the pH. Too high and you will get calcium scale deposits forming.

If you haven't already, read the Pool School at troublefreepools.com to better understand pool chemistry. As I have said before, I have no affiliation with them other than being a contributor there as I am here.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very nice pool!

I have a question for you on the planter. What kind of system did you use for draining?
We are building a pool in Sugar Land, TX. We have a planter at ground level, next to the pool and looking got options to drain it so that rain/water from below the pool doesn't come into the pool.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 6:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New Pool Build in Cypress near Houston
This is my first post. I'm so excited to get started...
I will answer pool plaster questions
For 23 years I was in the swimming pool plaster industry...
Swimming laps- Design help
My wife wants to swim laps. Short of building an olympic...
Remounting aluminum track for a cover in a salt water pool
I've got a CoverPools automatic cover for my saltwater...
Diamod Brite pool color photos
PLEASE!!!! Need to see finished pool pictures with...
Braden Taylor
Sponsored Products
Lazy Susan Metallic Patina Filled Votive (Set of 4)
$110.00 | LuxeDecor
Frankford Umbrellas Market Aluminum 11 ft Octagon Pulley Lift Orange Umbrella
$553.07 | LuxeDecor
Armen Living Vasken Bonded Sofa - LC3033BLACK
$858.00 | Lumigado
Petersen Pearl 6-ft. Concrete Commercial Backless Bench - 500-0109-STS-DB
Lifesmart Hot Tubs & Accessories Bermuda DLX 4-Person Hot Tub Spa with Upgraded
Home Depot
Brook and Hunter Hand Tool Fork with Chain - 14010-F
$49.95 | Hayneedle
Peer Chaise Outdoor Patio Set of 4 in Brown Peridot
$1,099.00 | LexMod
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™