New Pool in Dallas Texas

pooljewel_2010July 16, 2010

I have been reading thru all the posts on this forum (love this forum, by the way!) to try to figure out what is best for our pool set up and still not confident about equipment/price/PB. Here's the bid we have received that we like:

Pool Size - 25x22.5

Play pool 3ft-6ft

Pool/Spa Surface Area - 478

Gallons - 15,236

Pool/Spa Perimeter - 102

Jandy 60sqft DE Filter

2.5HP Stealth Pump

Aqua Pure Salt System

Jandy PDA PS4 Controller

Laars LXI4000 Natural Gas Heater

Polaris 280 Max with booster pump

Jandy 100W spa light

2 - Jandy 500W pool light

Letro Autofill

5 returns

2 skimmers

Rainbow 320 Chlorinator

Spa has 220V 1.5HP QT blower with 8 jets

415sq ft of Colored Textured Concrete

Oklahoma Flagstone on all the raised walls, coping and steps

Oklahoma dry steps @ pool entry with tanning ledge

Swim out bench

3 stone scupper water features

Pebble interior finish

1/2" steel rebar on 10" centers with 5" alternates in walls and floor


Our yard slopes @ 24". They want to take a large trackhoe thru alley over our retaining wall. They say they will build a ramp and not damage it, but I find this very hard to believe. 2 other PB were going to use smaller equipment and come thru side of yard over driveway where retaining wall ends. Anyone have experience with this?

My other confusion is the pump. Quote is for single stage. Is variable speed best or should we go with seperate pumps so we can turn the water feature off when we are not home for an energy savings?

Is it worth going up to LED lighting?

Quote is from Riverbend Sandler. Does anyone have experience with them? We got bids from 3 different companies. Riverbend was not cheapest, but we liked them best. Another pool company that put in a previous pool for us told us (i'm quoting directly from his email) "They are known in the industry as a volume budget pool builder. I cannot define specifically what that means I can only tell you that this is their claim to fame. Sell them cheap and build as many pools as possible. Of course they are not alone many other companies have that philosophy the most well known being Wal-Mart" He further told us that the quality and service would not be good and that the price they gave us was actually much higher than he usually saw on their bids. Any validity to his statements?

Any opinions or guidance on this would be greatly appreciated!

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Bid seems pretty high, I would say at least 5k too high. We got a bid from them back in the fall of 2009 and almost went with them. Chose another builder primarily on design.

Here are my suggestions:
- depth: 6 feet is too deep to stand in, yet to shallow to dive in. I would go under 5.5 depth in a play pool.

- lights: Go with the LED lights

- pump: 2.5HP is going to use a ton of electricity. No need to have this much power for normal circulation. I highly recommend going with a two speed pump, or even better a variable speed pump.

- water features: I would have a separate pump for water features, this will allow you to have them on when you are in the spa and not have to mess with valves, etc. all the time.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 8:34AM
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If anybody could, please look at the link included in my post of the drawing that they put together for our proposed pool. If you could give me any feedback that you like, Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:52AM
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Thanks for your input jeff_jeff! That really helps! I was unsure about that depth too-we'll get that changed. Who did you end up going with for your pool?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 5:10PM
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pooljewel....we went with Riverbend a few years ago and have been very happy with them. Our pool is similar to yours in size and equip. minus the spa, heater, booster pump & decking material.
We paid extra to go with them. We had quotes from Gold Medal, Platinum and Hobert. Platinum dropped there bid to 30k when we said we were going with RB. Gold Medal dropped to the low 30's and was very angry that we didn't choose them. Hobert said this our price...take it or leave it. We just felt the most comfortable with RB, so we paid the extra 6k to go with them. The main thing is get more than one quote (I suggest 3 to 4) and don't be afraid to ask for a better price and to stand up for whats right while they build. Here is a couple links from my build a few years ago.....Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:44AM
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ibobi -
Thanks for the input and links to pics of your pool process. It helps to see what to expect. Your finished pool is beautiful and it sounds like the work moved along quickly. Hoping for the same experience with RB.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:31PM
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After a 1 month delay due to our electrical needing to be rerouted, our pool is in the works. This is the progress this week. Seems to be moving very quickly. Any advice or suggestion on the progress so far?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 12:04PM
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How did they bend the pipes? Also, maybe it's me, but routing all the pipes within the pool rather than the perimeter seems unusual as well?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 5:17PM
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Looks like they flashed your pool to prevent a cave in. I know that many PB's employ this method but it is risky especially with gunite. The problem is that oftentimes they shoot the flash too thick and they do not remove the rebound, that will inevidibly lead to structural problems later on down the road. I would ask them to pressure wash and clean off the gunite before they shoot the pool shell to get any loose rebound and dirt off the surface. Approach it this way, you expect that your walls will be 8" thick but you have 2 inches of gunite on the wall now and your forms have already been set and installed. The bond between the gunite on the wall now and the new gunite will be much stronger if this surface is clean and free from any loose debris and this goes for the floor as well as your main drain pots are set for depth already. The forms should be firm and should not allow for vibration upon gunite application. I would have asked them to trench and bury the plumbing lines so they are not gunited into the shell of the pool as the plumbing will weaken the shell at those points and could potentially lead to early structural failure. You have a salt system, I would rust proof the rebar in the shell and the deck to reduce the likelihood of failure due to internal rusting. Use a high grade marine epoxy LOW VOC. The uppermost 2.5Ft. of your soil is that dreaded dark stuff so any deck you install should take this into account with modified construction practices to reduce the likelihood of early deck failure. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:12AM
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They used heat to bend the pipesd. I've read alot of comments about that process - good and bad. Any opinions on that?
I never really thought about all the pipes being inside the structure of the pool until these two comments. There will be stairs where the high concentration of pipes ae shown. The pipes are somewhat in trenches now. Is this going to be a problem? Any other input would be appreciated. Now I am worried....

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:06AM
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IMO, I think the plumbers on this job have done an excellent job. It appears they have dug out the areas where the piping is so they are recess behind the gunite. Using a pipe heater the bend the pipe is okay as well. By using this method the have reduced the head lose back the equipment. Even though this is not my method of building I do not see any major concerns. I also like the fact they have installed a channel drain in the deep end. This shows that they want to be VGB compliant and build a safe pool.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:47AM
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Thank you so much. Your input really helps!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 1:54PM
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Can I ask who is building the pool for you and what the surface will be?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 7:57PM
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Equipment pad raises questions; 1.) Salt System (i.e. chlorine generator) with in-line chlorinator??? 2.) Need chemical check valve to protect heat exchanger from early failure. Jandy 2.5HP Stealth not best choice here vs. variable speed pump to reduce electricity consumption.

High end PB's would never allow this plumbing. Count the number of burn marks in your PVC. These burn marks make your PVC more brittle less tolerant of stress and susceptible to early failure. The excessive bending around that corner is not recommended. The risk of running your PVC this way underneath the shell of the pool is that if you develop a leak you have open up the floor to make the repair. Run as little plumbing underneath the shell of the pool as possible and always trench it so it is not encased in concrete. Plumbing encased in concrete is much harder to repair and oftentimes requires complete exposure of the pipe all the way up the wall.

Steel schedule seems ok but soil looks suspiciously characteristic of those having clay-like soil properties. Again, you have chosen salt, you should rust proof your rebar in addition to waterproofing the shell with concrete pool shell protection or another suitable waterproofing agent. I would caution here. I would over dig the pool 11 inches, compact the soil to 95%, place a min. 40 ml fabric down then 10 inches of 1"-2" gravel then a 1" foam pad then the steel. It is recommended that when trench your plumbing vertically it is covered with a 1" foam pad and backfilled with an acceptable select fill like geofoam or some other similar product (can be used in all trenched plumbing to reduce the likelihood of failure due to long term exposure to soil vibrations and shrink swell soil conditiona that exist at this level).

Again, there is much more to high-end pool building than meets the eye and its this information and these building techniques that drive the addtional costs for construction. Now these suggestions will increase the cost of your construction which you may not be able to tolerate so take from here what makes sense to you and I wish you all the best!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:48AM
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I still stand by my original statements. Even though I am not a "High End " builder. Which for the most part I would rather not be considered one.

As for the 320 chlorinator and the salt system. As a high end builder you should know that you cannot add salt to the pool for the first month so adding a 320 for chlorination for the first month is the best way to go. Better than putting 3" tabs in the skimmer.

As far as the over dig. Different parts of the country dictate different methods of pool construction. Being a high end builder does not mean you over kill on the construction of a pool because a customer has the money. This is why I don't consider myself a high end builder.

As far as rust proofing the steel. Although a good idea. I have never seen this done. The steel is encased in the gunite. The likelyhood of the salt affecting this is very, very minimal.

I have been building pools for over 20 years and the statements in reference to being a high end builder verus a regular builder. This does not mean a high end builder is a better builder. It just means he charges more for the work to be done.



    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:45AM
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diypoolpro- We made quite a few changes to our original equipment list. The 2.5HP pump you are referring to is for the water features only. We went with Crystal bubblers and 3 sheer decents so we added the additional pump. The main pool pump is a variable speed Jandy and is located on the other side of the pad.
Our PB had quite a few hurdles to overcome with our pool build. Our backyard is very small with a 24" slope, we have an utility easement and some city requirements that made it extremely challenging. Other PBs wanted to put the equipment in the back corner of the backyard which IMO would be a noise nuisance while we were enjoying the pool and would have taken up alot of the area we could utilize for the pool. So, the only place for the equipment was the other side of our garage which required them to sawcut the drive and bend the pipe. Are you telling me that 90 degree elbows would have been a better choice? I don't understand the whole pool process, but it seems that would impede the water flow and cut down on the action in the pool/spa/water featurs. Are there other options besides bending the pipe or a 90 degree turn? I tried to research this and came up empty. I appreciate your opinions, but if you could provide what you consider more logical options to accompany your disapproval with the techniques, I think it would help the people you post to.
Thanks again fighting_irish for the positive thoughts. This is a tough process to go thru and hearing that it's all wrong makes it even rougher. The encouraging words have been appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 2:18PM
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pooljewel, sorry for the delayed response, I have been very busy. Let me assure you that where I would not recommend some of things that have been done here I do not believe that your pool builder is doing anything that he or she feels may compromise your project. These are simply my opinions based on expert recommendations.

There is not enough time here to get into fluid dynamics and plumbing hydraulics and design but I would have opted to dig a deeper trench and stack the plumbing and run it underneath the equipment pad. I would have recommended sweep 90's instead as this would far outweight the negative downside risk of heat bending pipe >30 degrees and overheating it. Besides most pvc manufacturers warranties are void when the pipe is exposed to external heating by torches, etc.

Your pool builder is likely not utilizing the services of certified plastics pipe installers for the solvent welding. I can tell you that most pool builders just use laborers that have been shown how to make these connections and heat bend pipe. The problem is they do not understand the chemicals or the techniques they employ and how they can adversly affect the performance of the pipe over time.

You may never experience a problem here but the likelihood is increased as the bending moment for all these sections of rigid pvc have been violated. That will produce significantly more stress in the pipe in the current state it is in without any water pressurizing the pipe. That stress will be compounded when these pipes are pressurized and filled with water.

I don't buy the whole 320 chlorinator in-line until the salt sys is turned on argument. You have just permenantly added resistance to the fluid dynamics in this system by adding that piece of equipment. Just my opinion. You would have been better served with a floating chlorinator for temporary situations with your equipment selection.

I never advocate the use of salt anyway. The migration of chemicals into the concrete over time attacks the protective alkaline envelope that surrounds the rebar. When this occurs, the salt will aggressively attack the rebar causing rust and increased internal pressures that result in early cracking failure internally. Now this happens over time, but it will happen and reduce the projected useful lifespan of the product. That's why so much emphasis is placed on rustproofing and waterproofing especially when using salt systems. These are the facts, The experts have the knowledge. Just follow prescribed protocols and take preventative measures and everything will be fine. That's all I have for now, Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:54PM
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"I would have opted to dig a deeper trench and stack the plumbing and run it underneath the equipment pad."

This first statement tells me this person is not a pool builder. Stacking the pipe is the last thing you want to do. Secondly running the pipes under the equipment pad. This just as bad of an idea as the first.

"I don't buy the whole 320 chlorinator in-line until the salt sys is turned on argument."

Again a statement from someone that I am sure does not build pools. although using a floater will work as well most builders elect to spend the extra $60.

"The migration of chemicals into the concrete over time attacks the protective alkaline envelope that surrounds the rebar. When this occurs, the salt will aggressively attack the rebar causing rust and increased internal pressures that result in early cracking failure internally"

I am not sure where this statement has come from but this is bogus. There are no studies out there that even come close to proving this theory.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 8:40AM
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    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:50AM
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We still have a little bit to go, but so unbelievably happy with the PB and progress on the pool.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:53AM
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    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:05AM
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Just need the deck sealed, a few minor adjustments to stone, and some adjustment to the crystal foam jets. Still progressing nicely though.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:11AM
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Very pretty pool! Enjoy it!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 10:49PM
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Really, really pretty pool. Terrific use of space - all the levels make it interesting and it looks like there is something for everyone.

When you get a minute, could you download a close up of your tile and tell me the name and manufacturer? I think I see some brick-colored veining? If so, it might be a consideration as I have a brick patio off in the distance and perhaps a tile with like colors would pull it all together.

Congrats on your build.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 4:55PM
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Hi Banana -the tile is from National Tile and it's the Aztec series - AZ606 - Cobalt.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Thanks so much for taking the time to do that for me! Aztec is now on my sample list for the tile company tomorrow. I would never, ever pick a tile without seeing one on a pool. My builder must have 200+ samples in his showroom and I honestly don't know how people pick from looking at a single 6x6.

I'm a big chicken like that.

But you, pooljewel, are a GEM.

Thanks again. It never ceases to amaze me the kindnesses shown on this board.


    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 8:53PM
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Hi pooljewel!
Your pool is beautiful!! I love the elegant design and variation in heights. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 10:58PM
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Absolutely gorgeous pool. I love all your elements, from the varying heights, the waterline tile, retaining wall tiles, etc. It really ties in well with the rock on the house and looks very cohesive. Great job. I know you will enjoy it in our great TX summers.
I'm just next door, in Arlington. GO RANGERS!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 9:18AM
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What color is your interior finish?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Tahoe Blue mini pebble. I am really happy with it.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 5:19PM
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Just wanted to say that I love your pool
I have always heard good things about Robertsons and think the design whether yours or theirs took terrific advantage of the slope to your yard...
that is smart engineering in my book...

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:40PM
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Do you love your cobalt tile? I am considering using it but I am skeptical of the rusty color in it.. but your pool looks beautiful and is the reason I am considering it! Thanks! KIM

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Anybody find any recent discussions on this subject? Other than last two comments this was a 2010 thread......I am in DFW area about to start a pool.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 6:10PM
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