Newbie building pool needs equipment recommendations

107kingsJuly 18, 2011

Help! I am building my own freeform lagoon style pool with a spa. I have the design down packed but now I need to select my equipment and could use some advice since there are so many options out there.

  1. Pump - Based on my research, I definitely want to go dual or variable speed on the pump to save $. My pool supplier recommended the Pentair variable but it significantly more expensive than a regular dual speed pump. Is having all those different speeds really worth the $ or would I likely just use two speeds anyways. Also, this same pump has a SVP feature that protects kids from getting stuck in the main drain. Is there a cheaper alternative to get the same protection if I choose to got with this pump?

  2. Heat Pump - My pool supply store recommended a Rheem for around $2,800. Does anyone have any experience with Rheem Heat Pumps. I have read that AquaPro's are very quiet and this site lists that some models offer better warranties that the competition in Fl. Does anyone have any recommendations on the heat pump brand?

  3. Salt Chlorinator - Which one should I choose?

  4. Filter - Im definitely going with a cartridge. Any recommendation on brand / model to get the best value?

  5. Vacuum - Ive noticed that the robotic ones are lot more expensive than the suction. What are the benefits of each type? What is the best suction vacuum?

  6. Finish - Pebbletec vs. Diamond Brite - At first I wanted to go with beadcrete but it is way too expensive. I got quotes on Pebbletec and Diamond Brite and the Pebble Tec is only about $1,000 more. My pool is a play pool and I have very young children. I hear many people complain that Pebble Tec is rough on the feet. I would like to know if these people complaining are just "extra sensitive" or is Pebble Tec really too rough.

7) Lighting - Im definitely going with a dark midnight blue in either diamond brite or pebble tec. Since Im going with a dark color, is it worth spending the extra money on color changing LED or should I stick with white LED's? Ive heard that the color changing doesnt look good in dark interior pools.

8) Decking - I am going with about 1000 SF of decking so I need a product that is affordable. I was thinking about Kooldeck but Ive heard that it cracks easy and gets very dirty requiring alot of pressure cleaning. Then, I was thinking of acrylic spray deck. Is the acrylic spraydeck worth the extra money? Is it more stain and mildew resistant than Kooldeck?


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Where you live plays significantly into your choices. If you live in California or Hawaii, where power is expensive, the variable is the better option.

In much of California, it often makes more sense to get a gas fired heater over a heat pump, especially when a spa is attached.

There are for types of cleaners. There is the suction side cleaner, the pressure side cleaner, the robot, and the in-floor system.

I think you are starting to see the value of having a PB. To build a pool on a DIY basis, you really need to know something about it.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:36AM
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I'm building in Florida. As noted in my post, I am definitely going with a variable or dual speed. I guess my thought process is that the intelli flow is alot more expensive than a regular dual speed so if most people only really use two speeds then is it really worth spending the money to have all those different speeds or will a dual speed suffice? Most pool builders in my area sub everything out, so what value are the really adding other than advice? I hope to get good advice from this forum and make my own choices. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 10:41AM
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An experienced PB provides a lot more than just "advice". A pool can be a very complicated excavation/plumbing/electrical/masonry/landscaping (and I am sure I left out something) project. Also, the people who you will need to rely upon the most for "advice" on this forum are, with the exception of Scott, Pool Builders. Just something to think about. We loved our PB and appreciated the fifty years of knowledge and experience he brought to the table before, during and after our pool build. Best of luck to you as you go it alone.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 8:09PM
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We are considering our own pool build, too. One of my main concerns is liability. Did you buy insurance in case something goes wrong during the build? If so, from where?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 7:19AM
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