Total Perimeter Infinity Edge

VatoflNovember 19, 2012

I am building a pool with an infinity edge along the entire perimeter. Actually, two sides have a catch basin, and the other two sides that abut the patio will have a small runoff channel between the infinity edge and the patio.

We have figured out what we are doing for the equipment but the details regarding the infinity edge are still a bit hazy.

--For instance, should the perimeter infinity edge slope down towards the pool or towards the basin?

-- Can some sides slope down towards the pool while the others slope towards the catch basin?

The other issues regarding the infinity edge revolves around how it is finished. We are considering a whitish pebblesheen for the inside of the pool and a blue iridescent glass "water line" tile for the horizontal surface of the infinity edge.

--Should the entire top surface of the infinity edge be tiled?

-- In the case that the infinity edge slopes down towards the pool, can half of the horizontal surface of the infinity edge be pebblesheen and the upper half of the surface be tiled?

-- Could we even forgo doing any tiles on the horizontal surface of the infinity edge and just do a basic waterline tile inside the catch basins?

Any guidance is greatly appreciated!

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You have effectively demonstrated that you need a designer to assist you.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:43AM
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^ scott nailed it and I'll give two recommendations in which I have no beneficial relationship with other than they are industry experts. I'll let you google them to find their info, but Bianchi Design and WaterShape Consulting.

If you're considering doing this type of project as an owner builder, my best wishes and good luck to you. At the very very least, you need a professional set of plans and specs. Beyond that I would highly recommend a builder how has experience with perimeter overflow pools, not just negative edge pools.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:24AM
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I'm sorry. Maybe my first post was a bit ambiguous. I am not actually doing the construction. We are building this house from out of state and have already interviewed a pool builder. I just wanted to get some insight from you guys on the forums so that I can converse intelligently with the PB.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 1:32PM
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With any negative edge, you can expect to need at least a flow of 5 GPM per foot.

An edge that has the outside edge higher will want cause the water to want to sheer away from the outer wall. A higher inner edge will want to run along the outer wall. This assumes vertical walls on the outside. that usually means tile, not plaster or high aggregate like Pebble Tec or Wet Edge, etc... This keeps the water coming over the edge close to the wall and minimizes aeration of the water. Aeration will reduce the alkalinity making your pool subject to fairly rapid pH swings, typically a rising pH that can cause calcium scaling, an unsightly whitish and hard to remove deposit.

The outside wall and edge surface should be tiled, as should there be waterline tile on the inside, IHMO.

You only want one catch basin. The other 3 sides should be narrow channels that lead the water coming over the edge to the basin. This minimizes a trip hazard near the pool. The smaller channels can be covered but will need to drain into the channel easily. Expect water loss. Have an auto filler in the basin since that is where the edge pump system will be getting it's water from.

I am not a fan of glass anywhere near a pool, be it a drinking glass or tile. Slivers and chips are often nearly impossible to find until it's too late. Glass tiles have lots of quality issues, even some of the more expensive styles. Regular, ceramic pool tile will provide a much more durable solution and there is an enormous selection available to choose from.

Glass tile will have a lot of grout lines because the tiles are normally pretty small, about an inch or so. This will usually mean you will need more water to go over all the edge than the use of larger tiles would to get a true, four sided edge effect.

The pool will need at least two pumps and filter combos. One is for filtering the main body and the other for the edge. About 80% of the dirt a pool will accumulate will be removed when the edge is run so the catch basin will get dirty.

A 16'x32' pool will have 96' of edge. At 5 GPM per foot, that is a 480 GPM demand. That's going to need a at least a couple large pumps. Even a more precise edge that needs only 2 GPM will need a lot of water and big pipes. Commercial pumps are going to be needed for this.

Meet more PBs. Don't just go with a low bidder. Pay for experience. This is not a simple or common design. It also isn't cheap to get done right. If it was easy, Grandma would do it. It is very involved and requires a lot of know how. Not every PB can pull it off.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 7:22AM
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Great info pool guy!
I will bring all these points up with my pool builder.
Meeting other PBs is not really an option, as our current pool builder is the most reputable builder in the area.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Even if you only have one good PB to contract with I would still have him contract with an experienced designer like Natural One suggested. Dave Pertersen from Watershape Consulting would be an excellent choice. He and Skip Phillips from Questar Pools are experts at this type of pool. It is well worth the expense to hire either one of these men to design the pool for you.
They will provide a detailed set of plans that your builder will follow. Your builder should not feel threatened by this. If your builder has any sense of how to build a pool correctly he will consult with these companies. They are very easy to work with and I admire them and what they do.
As long as your builder follows the plans you will have a worry free construction process.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Hiring a consulatant sounds interesting. Do you have any how the fees work? Are we talking hourly fees or by the job?

I have already paid over 100k for architect and designers fees so far for my home build and would only really consider adding a pool consultant into the mix if his fees are reasonably low.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Commercial gutter type (Think NCAA and YMCA not the Holiday Inn) pools operate on the same premise in most cases, so a commercial builder or consultant might be a good bet.

A perimeter overflow can be designed for 1/2 gpm per foot of weir unless you're looking for a water-feature of some kind(noise, visible water falling, etc.). However, you may want to design the system with VFD pumps and / or multiple pumps in case you need the additional water due to an imprecise tile job at the top of the weir, or if you live in a windy location.

Also, pay a soils engineer to put a site specific report together, ensure the structural engineer designs the structure based on soils report, and have both engineers sign off, put letters together, or in some way approve the final design to be built, recognizing each others calculations. Yes, most builders will tell you you're throwing your money away getting a soil scientist involved, but no builder will guarantee your soil has proper bearing capacity. Pools are heavy!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:40PM
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