New Pool Build - The Woodlands, TX

gasyptakOctober 25, 2013

Finally starting our new pool this next week! Geometric design:

Roughly 42'x18'
In ground gunite
Salt Water (IC 40)
Clean and Clear 520 Cartridge
~1,200' of Aski Kale Travertine Versailles pattern from QDI Stone (will be sealed)
2" Walnut Travertine coping on spa and 1.25" on pool (all sealed with Dupont Salt Water type stone sealer)
18" and 24" raised beams with Ashlar stone with 30" brick columns and large gas lamps on top of those
5 foot sheer descent
3 dog step outs (we have a small Chihuahua)
3 benches
Tanning Ledge with 2 bubblers
7x9 raised spa, Waterway jets

Mastertile MAS BMX100 1"x1" brown iridescent ceramic tile in spa and on spa negative edge spillway. Likely also using two rows of this tile as step markers throughout much of the pool and spa. Will decide when the price comes back :)

MasterTile SINNEWMLT 6" for all main pool waterline, excluding the spa. This tile matches our Walnut Travertine coping color. Had been thinking of using glass tile, but was concerned with the long, complex installation time and guidelines (keeping area under shade during long cure period), etc.

Pentair Equipment, including Easy Touch 8 w/ screen logic 2 (inc. ipod interface)and Mastertemp 400 gas heater
Intelleflow VS Pump
1 HP Whisperflow water feature pump
Kreepy Krawly Platinum
4 Pal Treo LED colored lights
Pebble Sheen, Blue Granite
17x14 Pergola
Small summer kitchen (9 feet built under existing patio), with 42" RCS grill, fridge and trash drawer built to match existing house brick
We have a 14' rear easement and 5' side easements so space was tight to fit this all in

Mike Lowman at Spring Pools will be our builder.

Will provide pics as we go along...

This post was edited by GS66 on Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 21:49

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gasyptak

Here is a early rendering, although you can't really tell what the brown Ashlar stone on the raised wall will look like in this version. The tanning shelf which is 10 feet wide is to the left of the spa, as is the Pergola. Wish I had more of these still pictures from different angles, but this is all I have.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 8:30AM
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gasyptak

I forgot that there is a Youtube 3D video posted by the builder. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Youtube GS66 Pool 3D

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 8:39AM
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cbintcliffe

Woohoo, congrats!!
I love the clean lines. It's going to look great in your yard.
Keep the pictures coming!!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 9:07AM
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gasyptak

Here is what the pavers, waterline tile and coping will look like. One small piece of Aski Kale paver to the left and the bullnose Walnut 1.25" (12"x24")main pool coping on the bottom right. Will have 2" thick walnut coping on top of the spa.

This post was edited by GS66 on Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 21:50

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:26AM
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gasyptak

Close up of the MAS BMX100. I had a hard time findling any good pictures of this tile when I was making our selections. The Mastertile online catalog could be better in that regard. So maybe this and installed pictures will be helpful for someone out there. I think it will make a great alternative to glass tile yet has a similar look with it's iridescence.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:30AM
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gasyptak

PB confirmed that using two 1" rows of BMX100 for marker tiles will be $13/linear foot (some for install and a premium to the Pebble installer). So just over $500 for the areas I want (spa seats, dog step outs, outer edge of tanning ledge and bench under the water feature). The Pebble Installer does not like the small tile as they have to work around it and they have to get the Pebble Sheen in between each tile and there is a risk the pebbles dislodge later. In the end we agreed to mask off the tiles and grout them after Pebble Sheen installation using a color that matches the Blue Granite color (gray). We looked at using bigger tiles spaced further apart, but really like this style better and I think we found a good compromise with grouting with a matching color afterwards. We'll see if it was a good call after we get them installed...
I'm going for the look of the marker tiles in the attach link to a spa photo on Houzz.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marker Tile Link to Houzz

This post was edited by GS66 on Tue, Nov 19, 13 at 21:51

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:59AM
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womanowned

Looks very nice!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 10:03PM
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chatterbox724

Mike was almost our builder. He was very uncomfortable with the slope in my yard. Great guy! I'm sure he will treat you right.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 11:28PM
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gasyptak

Thanks. I have enjoyed working with him so far. He is very patient...which is great since I have had a ton of questions as this is our first pool. I also went and saw some of his work since he is a smaller PB and it looks like he does a great job. Also gave me two full pages of single spaced references that I could pick from. I called several at random and they were all happy customers, which made me feel a lot more comfortable moving ahead.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 9:39AM
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gasyptak

Permits from The Woodlands sent to us via email yesterday!! We can finally start...but now it is supposed to rain for two days this week. PB says he needs 3 good days with no rain to dig, do formwork and then the gunite. We may be able to start digging Friday if all goes well. They can do the formwork on Saturday and shoot Monday.

Utility companies have been coming out and marking lines. So far none in the pool dig area. We paid our builder $500 extra to keep the pool area clear, so we are hopeful nothing will be in the way. Otherwise I will be knocking on their door :)

Trees start coming down Wednesday!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 1:50PM
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gasyptak

Trees finally coming down after the rains! One stump left standing to be pushed over by the dozer so we can get all the roots out of the pool area. Dig now scheduled for Sunday as we can't seem to find 3 weekdays in a row to dig, do form work and gunite.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:43PM
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gasyptak

The beginning of a bigger mess to come...side of house after the tree crew left today. Too much rain the last few days!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:47PM
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airb320

Gs66... have fun with your pool build... when it comes to mess, you have nothing seen yet... just wait until the Plumbing people get done...lol... have fun !

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:29AM
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airb320

...you have seen nothing yet... is what I meant to say...:-)

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 10:30AM
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gasyptak

Finally we got a stretch of good weather! Pool dig underway on Friday.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:47PM
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gasyptak

Bobcat tracks up the driveway.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:49PM
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gasyptak

Pulling the big tree stump out of pool area.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:50PM
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gasyptak

Rebar on Saturday! Here is the spa area.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:52PM
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gasyptak

Main pool area rebar.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 9:54PM
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gasyptak

Tanning Shelf rebar

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:08PM
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gasyptak

Deep end rebar.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:09PM
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gasyptak

Unfortunately both ours and our neighbor's fiber optic lines were cut by the bobcat during the final grading of the area between our houses. Fortunately AT&T came out first thing the next morning. Amazing service from AT&T!!!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 10:13PM
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gasyptak

Pool plumbing stub-outs completed on Sunday for Gunite on Monday.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 5:51PM
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gasyptak

Main Drain plumbing.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 5:52PM
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gasyptak

Spa plumbing.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 5:54PM
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gasyptak

Modern Method Gunite crew started gunite application Monday morning, but did not complete by the end of the day. They will be back on Tuesday morning to complete the spa area and tanning shelf. Here is a photo from the neighbor's balcony about an hour before they stopped for the day.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2013 at 10:27PM
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gasyptak

Plumbing all completed today. Trenches already closed when I came home. Pictures of equipment pad attached. Electrical is next.

4-5 more days of watering gunite!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:27PM
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gasyptak

View of the 400Kbtu heater.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:28PM
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gasyptak

Electrical completed on Thursday and Friday, including connection to the main panel. Waterline tile and coping started Friday and will likely complete on Saturday.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 8:39PM
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gasyptak

Tike and coping progress as of Friday.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:33AM
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gasyptak

Another view of waterline tile and coping.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 9:36AM
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womanowned

Nice work! Looks like one I just finished

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:07PM
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gasyptak

Thank you! We are hoping we made good choices.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:58PM
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gasyptak

Day 10 (since excavation). Travertine paver shipment arrived. Drainage and site leveling underway. Summer kitchen started and pergola base set.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:05PM
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gasyptak

Pergola 8" diameter cedar posts set (10 feet tall). Piles of sand and mason's cement used for paver base. 3 sections of Polycarbonite pergola top can be seen in background against fence.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:11PM
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gasyptak

Another big pile of sand on patio.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:12PM
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gasyptak

Drainage lines being installed.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:14PM
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gasyptak

Start of a small summer kitchen that will have a grill, range hood, fridge and trash drawer.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:16PM
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gasyptak

Just a different view of the pergola.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:38PM
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gasyptak

Pavers looking good after 2 days, but heavy rains have delayed the finish until next week.

Note: Posts will have 2'x2'x2' brick base installed around them next week.

This post was edited by GS66 on Sat, Nov 23, 13 at 10:20

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 7:55PM
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gasyptak

Summer kitchen progressing well during several days of rain that stalled all other work. Stainless range hood going in above the grill tomorrow and then it should be finished.

Keeping our fingers crossed that travertine paver crew comes back tomorrow, which will be the first sunny/dry day in a while.

Second coat of stain will be applied to the pergola cedar and then assembly is planned to start in the afternoon.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 10:27PM
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gasyptak

Kitchen completed with range hood installed.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:04PM
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gasyptak

Pergola was also completed this week. 2x2' brick columns look great!

This post was edited by GS66 on Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 15:57

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:08PM
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gasyptak

Close-up of brick columns. Brick column caps took significant time to cut all the angles and complete.

This post was edited by GS66 on Fri, Dec 6, 13 at 21:35

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:10PM
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gasyptak

Brick columns in pool started, but weather deteriorated (again)! Stone for back wall and spa surround has arrived and should be installed next week. Once stone is in place we just need 3 good weather days to complete Pebble Sheen. Pebble Sheen installer's final day of work is Dec. 20th before the Holidays...so we will be cutting it close due to winter weather. We will see how it goes. Hoping to have it all done before Christmas vacation so we can start landscaping!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 9:18PM
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gasyptak

Pool is coming along, but we experienced a 3 week delay due to backups at Custom Stone Supply's fab shop. Very happy with the way the tanning shelf came out.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:06PM
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gasyptak

We received the news yesterday that the pebble tec installer was also backed up and they they could not get to our pool before Christmas. They will be back after the New Year. Here is a picture of the marker tiles in the spa pre-pebble install.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:09PM
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gasyptak

Here are some additional views of the pool in it's current state. Work continues on attaching gas lamps to pedestals, adding drains to small end columns for plant water to drain and pergola stain touchups. Yard cleanup will start on Monday including dirt grading.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:14PM
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gasyptak

Another view.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:37PM
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gasyptak

Another view.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:39PM
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gasyptak

View towards the house showing spa detail.

This post was edited by GS66 on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 21:43

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:40PM
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bluehaven_gweb

Wow, your pool looks awesome. The stone & the brick together looks great. You have made great selections. Can not wait to see the finished pool.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:56PM
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gasyptak

Thanks bluehaven, it is really nice to finally see all our choices coming together after all those hours looking at pools on Houzz. We second guessed ourselves more than once along the way!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 10:38PM
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Flipp1105

That is a real nice setup you have. I like all of the details you have chosen. Top notch!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 9:35AM
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acaciolo

your pools looks awesome and your builder is doing it right! It is nice to see other builders using such top notch equipment. the only add on I'd suggest if you don't mind spending the money is Pentair's Intellichem. It will adjust our pH automatically (which will be rising because of the SCG) and it also turns the salt cell off and on as needed to maintain a proper sanitizer level. We've installed over 100 of them in PA, and they really have made our customer's pools "hassle Free"
tony c
monogram custom pools

Here is a link that might be useful: monogram custom pools

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 3:20PM
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gasyptak

Thanks Acaciolo, appreciate the suggestion for the equipment as well. I heard the same about rising PH from a neighbors pool company rep. Will look into adding.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:24PM
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gasyptak

While waiting for the Pebble Tec installer to return from the holidays, the PB agreed to remove all the trash and let me start the landscaping process while I am off during the holidays. We had all the drainage installed (85+ feet) including the drains from the travertine decking as well as repair of existing drains that were crushed by the dozer. We also had river rock added on both side of the pool over the last couple of days as we only had 5 feet of sloped area on either side of the pool or pergola. Also had crushed granite with stepping stones added around the equipment and along side the garage. Installing St. Augustine grass in the 14' easement area behind the pool tomorrow and along one side of the house.

This post was edited by GS66 on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 21:02

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:36PM
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gasyptak

Another picture with Wax Leaf Ligustrums and river rock installed near the pergola fro screening as mandated by The Woodlands homeowners association. We found some really great deals on 30 gal. plants as it is the winter season here...$99ea!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:42PM
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gasyptak

We added another 2 cu yards of river rock since the pictures were taken to to "fill-in" the reminder of the bare areas.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:44PM
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gasyptak

Today I applied Dupont Professional Stone Enhancer and Sealer on the covered patio Travertine and all the coping around the pool. Put two coats on the coping to bring out the color. Will follow-up with Dupont Salt Sealer in a few days. Wanted to get the enhancer on the coping in advance of the Pebble Tec install as the pool is still empty and I don't have to worry about how much I get in the water. The enhancer removes any "chalky" appearance from the travertine without making it slippery.
Also added a second coat of Dupont Salt Sealer on all the stone around the spa, on the raised beam and the brick columns. Not taking any chances with the salt system.

This post was edited by GS66 on Sun, Dec 29, 13 at 21:09

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:53PM
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gasyptak

Forgot to mention, we decided to run a separate 2" drain line from the pool overflow to the street vs. connecting that line to the 4" drain line from the patio drains. Was very affordable (+$100) to just run a second PVC line in the same trench with the 4" drain line. Now there is no potential to have the deck drains back-up and overflow into the pool with less than pristine water.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 8:59PM
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aprillh

Your pool is looking amazing! We are about to start building our house so just in research stages of pool building but I've got a question for you. Did your pool builder also do your pergola and landscaping as well or did he outsource/ recommend other companies?

Looking forward to more progress pics!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 9:25PM
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gasyptak

aprilh - we went with one general contractor (Pool Builder) after soliciting 5 bids. I had each bidder breakout the price of the pool, pool automation, decking, kitchen and pergola separately...most broke down pricing even further. When all the bids came in I was able to look at variances in the pricing for each item and determine if I wanted to keep that item in, or exclude it and contract for that item separately. I was also able to ask questions to better understand why one builder might be higher than another on a specific item. In the end I found one builder that had a good price on all the main components. If it had not worked out that way, I would have removed the kitchen, pergola or both if needed. But it was very nice to have all that work done by one "prime" contractor.

The best advice I can give you is to look at lots of pictures (say on Houzz.com, etc) and decide on the basic shape and features of the pool and deck sq. footage as well as to have a couple of decking material choices in mind...one you really love and then a fallback. We loved "Pennsylvania Bluestone" but ended up with Travertine after finding out the installed cost of bluestone.
Having something to show pool builders when they come out will keep them from "guessing" what you might like, or from going through several iterations to get there. This gives you a better chance to make an "apples to apples" comparison when your bids come in.

Regarding the landscaping, the subcontractor that built the kitchen and pergola had some staff that were not busy over the holidays and so he was more than willing to take on the drainage and landscaping items I had planned to award to other companies to keep his crew busy. I had gotten a few bids from local landscapers and so I had a good idea of what I wanted to do with the yard. I also had estimated quantities of rock, plants, topsoil, etc. and costs by line item that I could use to bargain with. The only landscaping item I did not let the subcontractor handle was the irrigation. I wanted a local irrigation company to install the sprinkler system in case I had any problems and needed to call them back for adjustments/warranty issues.

Hope that helps...and good luck with your house and pool!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:35PM
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gasyptak

Pebble Sheen Blue Granite going in today as planned. Modern Method is the installer. Weather is good, except just a bit windy and cool...but doesn't seem to be bothering them.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:53PM
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gasyptak

Close-up of the pebble sheen be applied in spa.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:54PM
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gasyptak

One more from a distance...

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 2:56PM
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gasyptak

A shot of the Modern Method truck on the street in front of our house where the pebble sheen plaster and pebbles are being mixed and pumped to the back yard pool area. The truck was loaded with dry bags of pebble aggregate when it arrived...now they are all in a big pile in my yard. But the MMG guys have been great about clean-up and as you can see they have plastic down under their bags to contain the mess. The even put cardboard down under their truck that parked in my driveway to prevent oil stains. Wish all subs were that thoughtful!

Final step will be to come back tomorrow and acid wash the pebble plaster and start the filling process.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 3:04PM
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aprillh

Thanks for your thoughtful reply - that was so helpful. How did you choose the plaster color of your pool? It always amazes me how differently the water looks once it 'settles' in the pool.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2014 at 5:13PM
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gasyptak

We looked at lots of pictures, including some found on this site. If you do a Google image search on each color you will find tons of examples including few pool companies that show pictures of their installed work with color names. We found these to be more helpful than the Pebble Tec site. At the end of the day, we picked the darkest, bluest color that was available as a level 1 Pebble Sheen choice. Your builder will also likely be able to show you some a couple of their pools in your selected color so you can be sure.

I plan to take some pictures as our pool fills and then after the filter is on chlorine is added to show the difference as I hear the pool will have a green tint until the chemicals get balanced.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:10PM
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gasyptak

Photo of Blue Granite Pebble Sheen just after acid washing and prior to filling.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 4:30PM
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gasyptak

Inside of spa after acid wash of pebbles and drain covers installed. We may change those to a brown color later. They were matched to the pebble color, but of course we changed that to tile in the bottom of the spa.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 4:33PM
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cbintcliffe

Congrats, it looks fantastic! Can't wait to see it with water in. It definitely will be a bit green to start with. Mine went blue about a day after adding chlorine and brushing.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:46AM
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PRO
Aqua-Link Pools and Spas

Maybe one of the builders from Texas can inform me. Do they not enforce the electrical or plumbing codes in Texas?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 9:37PM
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gasyptak

Pools94 - perhaps that question is appropriate as a separate topic in the pool and spa forum? Or did you see something in my pool that concerned you?? The Woodlands, TX requires inspections at each phase of construction.

This post was edited by GS66 on Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 23:52

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:51PM
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gasyptak

Here is a photo of the Blue Granite Pebble Sheen just prior to pool start-up. The pool finished filling last night. Today is very cloudy cold day...so will try and take more pre-chemical pictures if it clears off early. Thankfully we don't see too much green color in it!

This post was edited by GS66 on Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 10:30

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Flipp1105

@GS66 - You pool looks awesome! I really like the small tile you chose.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:27PM
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PRO
Aqua-Link Pools and Spas

The biggest concern out of all of it would be the lights that are mounted in violation of NEC code 680 which states " Newly installed luminaires and ceiling fans installed above the water or the area extending within 5 ft horizontally from the inside walls of the pool , outdoor spa, or outdoor hot tub, must not be less than 12 ft above the maximum water level."

Even if the lights are low voltage they not be located within 10 ft of a pool, spa, or hot tub even if GFCI protected.

All metal that is over 4" square must also be bonded within 5' of pool water and glass must be temper proof within 5 feet of water.

I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:33PM
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gasyptak

Pools94,

Thank you for your comments. The lamps above the pool are gas lamps and do not have any electrical connections to them and thus I believe would not be subject to the referenced NEC (electrical) code. But I will verify with the PB about the gas line going to them as I assume it should have been bonded and would have been checked during the trench and/or electrical inspections.

The 110V lamps on the pergola are on a GFI circuit and are more than 5 feet from the wall of the pool. The ceiling fan is more than 10 feet from the wall of the pool as described in the code. These should be fine.

I will check on the glass used in the gas lamps, as we did not think too much about breakage, so having tempered glass would be good and it's an easy upgrade if not already tempered.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:37PM
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PRO
Aqua-Link Pools and Spas

Thanks for clarifying.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 1:13AM
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gasyptak

Found out yesterday that because we went with a Pentair pump/filter combo and at least one additional item (heater/controls/lights/cleaner unit, etc) that we qualify for a no-cost three year extended parts and labor warranty from Pentair. We have all Pentair including the cleaner. I wasn't expecting this, so it's a very nice add. I put in a link below to the warranty page.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pentair 3 Year Warranty

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:46AM
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gasyptak

Pool post-chemicals being added. Sunny day.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:16PM
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gasyptak

Spa post-chemicals being added.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 8:17PM
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aprillh

Gorgeous!!! You will really enjoy that pool in a few short months (and the spa soon)!

How did you decide on a saltwater pool? I am leaning heavily towards that but I know a lot of pool builders won't do them or discourage against them. I would like to have a little extra ammo to make my case ;)

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:17PM
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gasyptak

Another view of Blue Granite Pebble Sheen post-chemicals.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:39PM
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gasyptak

Last one...and last post.

I've enjoyed being able to share our building experience the past couple of months. Good luck to all of you that are about to start your new pool this Spring.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 10:44PM
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banana_fanna

I'm crazy over your pavers. Overall, it's very, very beautiful. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 8:47AM
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gasyptak

We have been out and around the pool area more the past few weeks as the weather has gotten a bit warmer. Of course with the warming weather in Houston the number of mosquitos as well as annoying gnats greatly increase. We were sitting in the hot tub last week and mosquitoes were landing on our head and biting us. Not good. We decided that with the level of investment made in our backyard that we needed to ensure we could use it without being attacked.

As a result, I began looking at options to get rid of the problem. I looked at foggers...I would need to regularly do this to keep mosquitoes and gnats away and I knew I wouldn't keep up with it. That led me to look at automatic mosquito misting systems.

As I am fairly handy around the house, I decided to look at Do It Yourself options. The main choices were systems with 55 or 125 gallon tanks or the newer tankless systems that mix the chemicals with water for each application. I decided that I did not not want the large tank in the yard and I had a good location for the small tankless box which had a power outlet and a hose bib nearby. So I focused my internet research on the tankless systems. The tankless option adds about $400-$500 to the base system cost.

I will start this out by saying I am a consumer only and do not represent any company or in any way benefit from what I am writing below. I have no connection to the industry. I have just found very limited information from other consumers on the internet other than " We bought one and love it" and so I decided to write about my experience and will document what I see in the way of results over time. I will also comment on installation and if there are any lessons learned for others.

RESEARCH AND PURCHASE
The main options that I considered were the Mist Away Gen 3 and the Mosquito Max Series 2 tankless system as both were readily available on the internet for Do It Yourself installers and also available at stores in the Houston area for purchase and service.

I could not find a lot of consumer reviews on either system, but the Mist Away Gen 3 did seem to be the more prevalent unit with more dealers/installers nationally. Base features seemed to be similar, although the Mist Away looked to offer a few more options, such as a wind sensor, etc.

When I compared prices on the internet, the best I could find on the base Mist Away Gen 3 was $1,645 and the 30 nozzle complete DIY install kit put the final price typically in the $2,400 range. The Mosquito Max system base price was $1,395 and their 25 nozzle complete DIY install kit was $1,725. Adding another 5 nozzles to get to 30 would bring the price up to $1,775 at $10 per nozzle assembly.

I looked out on You Tube and found several videos from mosquito system installers with tips and tricks for installation. After watching a few of these I became confident that I could indeed install my own system and would be aware of the typical installation methods and pitfalls. Generally, installation is fairly simple and there are sites that have go-bys to help you design your system. I used a plot plan of my house with measurements to determine the best path for the nylon tubing and the spacing (every 8-12 feet) so that I could add up all the parts needed in advance to see if I should buy a system "kit" or buy parts individually. For me buying a 25 nozzle kit and adding a few nozzles worked out best.

I ended up purchasing the Mosquito Max system and picked the unit up from their main office in Katy, Texas with is where the units are made. The unit has a one year warranty and all parts are available from this location should I need them after the warranty period expires. Another plus with a tankless system is that I can easily load it into the trunk of my car and take it to the shop if I need it repaired as opposed to paying for a service call should it be an item I don't feel comfortable trying to fix on my own.

SYSTEM DESIGN AND INSTALLATION
General installation advice was to create a "perimeter" around the back yard and then add some additional lines as needed that "T" off the main line using a 3 way connector called a "union tee" to cover interior flower beds with shrubs and trees. Tubing can be attached to fence lines with clips or many installers used a combination of clips and a staple gun.

In my case the pool and paved areas take up most of the center of the yard (see plot plan at top of blog), which makes for a simple installation. I installed the base unit on the wall just beyond where the pool equipment is located on the plot plan. I bought some 1/2" outdoor rated PVC from our local home improvement store as well as some 90deg. elbows and ran the tubing through the PVC down the wall from the main unit used a 90deg fitting and ran another piece under ground across the small 6' wide small yard and then another 90deg fitting and a PVC piece to go up the fence to just underneath the top cap of the fence which was the starting point for my perimeter backyard installation. I followed a similar process with the water supply tubing that runs from the base unit to the hose bib to protect it from the lawn crew / week whackers.

The installation of the tubing and nozzles was so simple that my kids could have done it...and I enlisted the help of my 14 year old to make things go faster. Of course you could do a more elaborate installation than I chose to do, and I am sure many professional installers would have ran the lines inside our fence where it is double sided. However, I chose to attach the tubing just under the top cap on the fence using a combination of staples and plastic clamps that screw in and were supplied in the install kit by the manufacturer. If you keep the lines very straight and choose a tubing color to match your fence the install becomes nearly invisible.

As you move along the perimeter you install "T" fittings by pushing one end of the tubing inside the fitting until it locks, then you push in a nozzle until it locks in place via quick connect type mechanism, then you push the next section of 8-10' of tubing in the other side and then keep going and do it again. I used a "C" clamp on each side of the "T" connection to tightly secure it to the fence and this allows me to aim the nozzle in the direction up/down that I wanted it. These "C" clamps are just small plastic fittings that go around the tubing or fitting and have a hole that allows you to screw them into the fence or wall to hold the line/fitting secure.

You can use 90deg. fittings in corners so that you do not kink the nylon tubing. Generally I found these to be unnecessary and used "C" clamps to hold the line in corners to ensure it stayed in a smooth curve and did not kink.

When you need to branch off the main perimeter line, you just install another "T" fitting, but rather than installing a nozzle in one of the openings, you just insert the nylon tubing for the branch line and then continue down that line adding "T"connections and nozzles as needed. At the end of that line you would install an Elbow fitting and nozzle instead of a "T". Very simple. Each system will have a maximum number of nozzles it can support (80 in my case) and recommendations on how many "branches" they support. Both systems I researched offered a zoning system for purchase that could expand the capacity by sending pressure to one zone at a time similar to an automatic sprinkler system. So I could install a zone for my front yard at a later date and control misting times and durations separately from the back yard. Or I could just choose to install a small valve to turn on/off the front yard if I had enough remaining nozzle capacity on my system (I can still add 50 more nozzles to my machine).

All the manufacturers also offer riser assemblies for use in flower beds as well as ways to attach nozzles to trees. These riser assemblies also offer easy push-in connections and copper risers for durability. These are a bit pricey, but would make the install faster and neater.

SYSTEM STARTUP
Once I had all the tubing installed and the water line connected, I read through the instructions to ensure I had everything correctly connected. I then filled the chemical tank with water to test the unit. After plugging in and setting the spray time to the maximum setting, I did a test spray. We noticed that some of the nozzles were not spraying and adjusted the pressure up to 100lbs per the directions given by the folks when I purchased the unit. This increased the mist near the unit and we immediately noticed that one of the push in connections at one of the "T" locations was leaking. I pushed that tube in firmly and all nozzles began to spray a fine mist as intended. I had no other leaks or issues. I then spent some time aiming nozzles to ensure I had good coverage of each area.

After that I poured the selected chemical (Riptide) into the Chemical tank inside the main control box and secured the lid, finished the programming and then tested again. Everything worked perfectly!

I did see a few areas that did not have as much mist coverage as I would have preferred. But since adding nozzles is as easy as cutting the line and inserting a new "T" fitting / nozzle, I plan to add several more over time to improve the coverage.

Overall, it took me about 5-6 hours to install my simple system around the perimeter of the back yard with some of that time spent reading instructions, digging a small trench (4-5' deep across 6' wide side yard) and hanging the unit on the brick wall. I would estimate I saved between $1,000 and $1,500 on installation fees as most systems installed that I read about were in the $3,000-$3,500 range.

SETTINGS
I used the system's "SUMMER" setting initially which sprays 4 times a day for 45 seconds. Twice in the early AM and twice in the evening. Once I have the mosquitoes under control I will likely change to once in the AM and once at dusk.

CHEMICAL SELECTION
As I noted above I chose Riptide initially, but I read that many people rotate between Riptide and Sector. Riptide generally had higher ratings and I liked that it was water based and does not leave an oily residue and was safety for plants (some will burn plants so read labels closely). It also works on many other pest insects such as ants, gnats, fleas, moths, etc...

RESULTS
I will come back to the site after some time to report on results as most manufacturers say it takes 2-3 weeks to eradicate the mosquito population in your yard.

What I did notice immediatly was that the number of small flying insects under our covered patio lights was down significantly by the second night the system had been in operation.

I will also post some pictures of the unit and infall.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:08PM
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gasyptak

Here is a picture of the back fence and you can see how hard it is to notice the mosquito system line and nozzles which are located just under the top board of the fence.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:41PM
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gasyptak

Here is a closer view and you can see the tubing and nozzle. I plan to apply some of the fence stain to the tubing to better match the fence color.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:43PM
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gasyptak

The fences down the side of the back yard (good neighbor fence with board facing outward on both sides) are more difficult to conceal the lines on, and this is where a good installer might run the nylon lines inside of the fence. I am more interested in painting these to match the fence than I am with the ones along the back fence that are better concealed.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:47PM
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gasyptak

Here is a picture of the tankless control unit mounted on the wall of the house near the pool equipment and AC units.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 1:49PM
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joshstrawn

What is the name of the brick you used for your house and grill? Do you know who makes it?
Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:51AM
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emh8

Absolutely amazing pool and kitchen! I loved reading through your journey!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:17AM
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