Deciding on Pool Builder in Pa.

mike171August 31, 2007

I live in Montgomery County Pa. and have received quotes from four pool companies. I have narrowed it down to Blue Haven and Arista Pools. Arista is a smaller company out of Collegeville Pa.(60 pools a year) Both salespersons are very professional and quick to return my calls. I like the price and options BH is given me but am a little leary due to all the complaints I have heard about their customer service. Arista is about $6000 more but has shown more concern about my yards grading and I have more confidence in them. Arista claims to use better construction and equipment. I have spoken with some BH customers but not many Arista customers. Does anyone have any experience with them?? Thanks

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Long-time lurker, sorry can't give opinions on either company but I will be following this post with great interest.

We are also in Montgomery Cty, PA and contemplating a pool. We are in relatively new construction and 2 families in our development used Carlton Pools, both seemed to have satisfactory experiences. We haven't obtained estimates yet...we are trying to decide when might be the best time to get estimates in order to get the best price (i.e. the "slow time" for pool builders). It is such a huge investment, but we can't wait to proceed, it will be our first pool. Good luck on your project.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:48AM
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I have three friends who used Carleton and they all are very happy. Thats is why they were the first PB I called. I did not have a good experience with them. It took a long time to get a hold of the salesman. When he did come out he seemed in a rush and gave me limited info. He looked at my yard for about 1 minute without measuring the slope. He then emailed me a quote with a crazy priced retaining wall that I don't need. He had the pool placed in a different location than where I told him I wanted it. He ruined it for me but otherwise I havent heard any really bad things about them. Blue Haven and Arista took alot more time with me and measured my yard to determine the correct retaining wall needed.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 12:56PM
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We're in Chester county and finished our JMK pool this spring. They're out of Souderton and did excellent work. We did not look into BH as we had heard they were difficult to work with. Don't have any idea about Carlton.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 11:21PM
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Do not use any of the big 3, Sylvan, Blue Haven or Carlton. Sylvan has had terrible finacial problems over the past 4 years and is closing offices everywhere,PA next. Blue Haven subs out every portion of the job, steel,plumbing, gunite, coping, tile, plaster. Then you have to deal with the electrican, gas plumber, deck on your own. They get the worst subs since they pay them the least. No body speaks English. Carlton, about the same, does some of work themselves,poor workmanship.
Stick to a small local builder, and if your doing a high end pool stay away from the big 3, they cant build it.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 11:35AM
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A buddy of mine went with BH in Montco....couldnt figure out what was taking so long to get the pool started...turned out BH sent the permits to the wrong township! I went with fiberglass, but I would have chosen JMK had I gone with concrete.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 8:57PM
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We used A&S a year ago (Doylestown) and couldn't have been happier, though service less so after the fact. Luckily nothing major or I'd be very upset.

However, we ruled out Carlton (Warminster) after reading the reports on -- those stories were just like our horrific experience a few years prior with Maryland Pools -- so when I called our sales guy and referred to that site, he said "okay, see ya then" and basically hung up. Never tried to defend the company. Never offered any explanation. In my mind that was an admission of guilt, and we were so happy not to have gone with them!

And I've heard some terrible stories about BH in our area.

I think a small builder may be the way to go - good luck.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:17PM
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Thanks for the advice. I decided to pay the extra $$ and signed with the smaller PB...Arista. The next day they were out measuring and helping me decide on the best location for the pool. Two days later dropped off some equipment already..Looking foward to starting.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:35AM
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To Mike 171

Something sounds fishy, you signed and two days later they dropped equipment off to start. Every pool needs a permit and that takes 4 weeks min.

Who are you kidding.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 5:36PM
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Richard, it depends where you are. In our small town we got the permit within 1 day. We just had to have our contract, plans, etc. The zoning officer came up and checked the setbacks and we were approved. And Mike didn't say they STARTED, just started getting some of the equipment on site.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 6:43PM
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I also received my permit in one day...but if I put in a shed...that would have taken 4 weeks...different sections of the permit dept with a larger requests for sheds/outbuilding vs. pools...go figure

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 8:41AM
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I signed the contract on 9/4/07. This morning, 9/10/07 they started excavating. I live in an "easy' township and the permit only takes a couple of days. So richard, I'm not "kidding" anyone.
I wanted them to start the pool this fall and finish in the spring. The PB says weather permitting he can finish this fall. He says he would rather do it that way and doesnt like to split it up. I didnt want to have to open it and then close it right away. Also didnt want to have to buy a cover this year. He told me that I would have to fill the pool up 1/2 way this year anyway to protect it from cracking. Of course the decision is up to me. Any opinions??

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 9:29AM
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I had mine finished in the fall, and my PB closed it right away, then came back and opened it in the spring (for free of course). Personally Id rather have it done and full of water. We had some decking that cracked over winter that he cut out and fixed in the spring with ours too. You can do a cheap cover with waterbags if leaves and debris is an issue, then get a good one next season. Then again, if you split it, I suppose you wouldnt have to make final payment until next year, and than money can earn ya some interest.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 7:42PM
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Finished my pool this June, i alos live in Montgomery County PA, this is my 2nd pool i built in last 5 years,having relocated from NJ...See my pool picture listed "2nd pool done!!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 7:51PM
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My neighbors and myself decided that Arista builds the finest pool .Nick is a great builder and our pool had none of the contruction hassles that the bigger name companies seem to get into.
Yes, Arista does pools for the rich and famous but they actually don`t cost more considering their higher quality.The Pebble-Tec interior is also a beautiful touch. I highly recommend Arista.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 1:32PM
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MIKE171: Thanks for your post. We're looking to install our second pool in 6 years due to a move and have started our search for a reputable PB. We'd like to stay away from the chains as we previously used one. Communication and customer service was practically non-existent. In a recent search, I came across Arista and I'm liking what they have to say. Now that I've read your posts I'm wondering how you made out during the process and after as well now that a few years have gone by. Still happy with your choice? Thanks in advance for your input.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 11:14AM
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Here is a link that might be useful: CBS3

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:07PM
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I thought someone may post this....
i am convinced this is the most one sided story on earth.
our neighbor sent us this link too...5 year old story.
also, i found it interesting how much the kids seemed to be enjoying the pool with the "abrasive" plaster.
if anyone is remotely on the fence about arista, or has any concerns over potential "quality control" please send me a message.
we finished up a build in the spring with them and i would not hesitate to do it again with them as our PB.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 4:31PM
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The plaster is spawled... it was done improperly.... it should have been a warranty issue.... bad enough. Now they want the buyer to sign off and void the rest of the pool warranty because the lost at arbitration.... ??? Nice.... I'm sure you had a great experience..... having a good experience and having a quality product with a company that stands behind it is a different story.....

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 5:00PM
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actually i can attest to the fact they do stand behind their work!
and i'm pretty sure we have a quality product in the back yard...
i'm not a pool expert, but doesnt maintenance have something to do with plaster integrity?

it's funny because when we went with Arista every other company had something negative to say about each other. Arista was only counter detailed on the price. none of the competitors could find anything to say negative about their craftsmanship.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 9:04PM
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Any updated advice? we are in Hilltown and are interested in getting a fiberglass pool installed.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:23PM
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