New Pool Build Progressing Quickly - Decisions Needed!

mjkatNovember 1, 2011

After a couple months of planning, permitting and site preparation, our new pool build started yesterday! They finished digging the hole within 1/2 a day, and they have already completed most of the steel work. The gunite crew comes on Thursday, so we have decisions to make quickly.

A couple things I'm considering:

1. Are Deck Jets worth it for the kids?

2. Are Swim Jets fun for the kids to play in?

Here are the specs for our new pool:


- 36' x 18' Gunite (21,000 Gallons)

- 3' - 6' Depth

- Sta-RIte IntelliPro Variable Speed Pump (possible 2nd to be added)

- Sta-RIte S8M 450 S.F. Cartridge Filter

- AquaCal SQ120 Heatpump

- EasyTourch Controls

- IntelliChlor SWG

- 2 LED Lights

- PebbleTeck Tahoe Blue

- Deck Jets (?)

- Swim Jets (?)


- 7' Round w/ 2' Cascading Spillway

- Raised 12" from 12" raised deck behind spa

- 2-HP Sta Rite Max Pro Pump

- 8 Jets

- LED Light


- 2000 S.F.

- Sand Set Tumbled Travertine (16x16)

- Raised 1' on back side

You can see the progress of our pool here...

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BTW, copy and paste the third option, for this forum, will embed the pics. One per line please. White space between allows descriptions and allows a nice break between pics.

I took the liberty to do the first ones for you. I also have a question below the last picture.

The last picture has me a confused. Why are they using steel walls for the forms and not the earth?? Did they accidentally over excavate or was it intentional due to the soil conditions? This is a fairly unusual practice for a shot concrete pool.



    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 3:31AM
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Some additional questions and opinions:

Why a heat pump? It will take about an hour to heat the spa when temps are in the 70 degree range. As temps fluctuate, so does a heat pump's efficiency. I would suggest going with a 400K BTU gas fired unit, be it natural or propane.

Your variable speed is more than capable of driving 8 spa jets if you valve off the pool when using the spa. This saves you from the added 2 HP booster.

If by swim jets, mean a current generating set in the pool, you would need a significant booster pump, 4 HP minimum, to be able to swim against. Anything less is doggy paddle speed.

Deck jets are pretty but the kids won't play them, Per Se. The landing points will be obstacles or safe points in games but you won't want to let them adjust the nozzles to move the landing points. They are set and forget, typically. They can also be driven by the main pump, unless you want them to run when the spa is in use too.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 4:10AM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 8:47AM
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I'm posting again, since my first attempt of embedding the picture was unsuccessful.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 8:56AM
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    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Open the album in a different tab. Click on the 3rd option. It gets copied automatically.
Revert to this tab and hit control v to paste.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 9:40AM
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I got it now - Thanks! :)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:00AM
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Are deck jets the fountains that spurt out of the pool deck into the pool?
My friends have a bunch of those shooting into their pool and the kids pretty much ignore them.
If us adults are trying to talk in the nearby cabana area, we have to turn them off because they are loud.
And they kind of don't go with mosaics because it ripples the water, so that you kind of think, what's that in the bottom of the pool? (Kinda freaked me out at first because I was scared it was a kid drowning). Instead of, look at the cool flying fish and mahi design!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Without a doubt, if you can afford it, put deck jets in. You have options as well. Take a look at laminar jets with lights. Deck jets are the difference between and ordinary pool and extraordinary.
I have never known someone to say that they wish they had not put in jets but know plenty of people who wish they did.

If you need ideas or information try

Here is a link that might be useful: swimming pools information

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 6:35PM
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mjkat...congrats...looking forward to seeing your pool progress through pictures.

We have 3 jets that the kids enjoy along with 3 bubblers in the beach. The 3 jets are plumbed to a common line so that when the kids plug one or more with their fingers, the other jet(s) shoot further into the pool...they like to create their own water shows as a result...same with the bubblers in the beach

Also, the deck jets and bubblers can be used to cool the pool during the summer by running them at night...important here in Louisiana...maybe not as important where you live.

We also considered a swimming current for the kids, but we were thinking more in line with what they have at Disney's Beach Club....a swimout to the main pool, with large jets in the walls that create a whirlpool effect....our kids love that feature. For our own pool, it wasn't practical within our budget.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 9:33PM
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We've decided to go ahead with the additional pump to run the swim jets (current) and to increase the flow over the spillway when we really want it to roar. For the swim jets to really work well, we will need to direct all of the flow from both pumps to them. That should take us to about 275 GPM.

The plumbing in the pool and spa was completed today, and we passed the first inspection. Gunite will go tomorrow or Friday. Since we have not identified our stone yet, we may have a stand-still week next week. :(

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 10:49PM
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Here are pictures of the stones we found today and plan to use in on our pool wall and spillway.

Spillway Stone (zoomed out)

Spillway Stone (zoomed in) - Minus the huge stone in the middle.

Pool Wall & Top of Spa (we like the size/colors of stones on the middle to right side of this sample)

    Bookmark   November 2, 2011 at 11:00PM
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Wow they are really building the pool pretty high up out of the ground. Do you have a steep slope in the yard? Any pictures of the original plans?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:36AM
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Experta are asking you good questions here, but you have not answered them...

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 6:55AM
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We are in Florida, so the soil includes lots of sand which typically caves in. The general practice is to use the steel walls to remedy that issue down here.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:13PM
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I looked at the cost of propane, and I simply don't want to pay that much to heat my spa every time I want to use it. I definitely don't want to pay for propane to heat my pool. If the wait time to heat the spa proves to be that much of an inconvenience, perhaps we will add a propane tank and propane heater someday down the road. Not this year!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:15PM
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We decided to go ahead with the swim jets to create a nice current for the kids to play in. We are probably going to forego the deck jets. The cost is significant, especially since they would force me to upgrade from the EasyTouch to the IntelliTouch ($1400 upgrade), as I am already maxed out on the EasyTouch.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:18PM
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There was a significant slope in our back yard, so we had to add an 80' long and 4' high retaining wall before starting the pool project. Also, we raised the back half of our deck 12" and our spa an additional 15" from there. That will give us about 2 feet of vertical drop for our spillway which will be cascading with natural stacked stone (see stone pictures above).

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:25PM
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The picture below is from Wednesday night after the pre-gunite plumbing was completed. We passed inspection, so we are ready for gunite which was delayed from Thursday to tomorrow (Saturday). Next week will be back-filling and grading the property followed by plumbing from the pool to the equipment location. After that we will be at a standstill until we finalize and get our tile and stone delivered. We will probably lose a week there.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 4:31PM
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The picture below is of a spillway I found on this forum from a couple of years ago. It was sdkath's pool. We are looking to do something very similar.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 5:35PM
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I don't see any spacers between the steel wall and rebar. The rebar needs to be a couple inches off any form, be it earth or your steel wall or it does little if any good. This includes the floor steel too.

The flex pipe appears quite saggy. That is sloppy workmanship. There must be 4" excess on the back side alone. Will it make a difference? I can't tell since I can't see the rest of the plumbing.

What is the pipe along the bottom? It appears to be the same or close to the height of the drain.

No blower? The venturis will be pretty loud.


    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 6:33PM
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The flex pipe was sagging because it was pressurized when I took the picture. There are spacers between the rebar and the steel wall. Looks good. :)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 7:33PM
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The gunite was done today, so here are the updated photos:

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 7:39PM
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How thick are those gunite walls? I am not a pool builder, but they look much thinner than any other pool I have seen built.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 7:03AM
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I noticed that too. Its more the top 12" that I am concerned with. That is called the bond beam and should have had extra rebar that I didn't see. I wonder if the PB thinks the steel wall is a suitable substitute.

Did the PB run the bond wire? I didn't see that either. It should be connected to the rebar and walls in at least four places.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 7:37AM
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It's not a bond beam pool. The walls are 5" thick and the floor is 6" thick.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 12:53PM
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PBs... what does the OP mean by a bondless beam pool?
Have you all seen pools built with 5" thick walls?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 2:26PM
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I think it means it's going to crack if it ever settles more than an inch or two on one end.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2011 at 3:20PM
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Will it crack in half, or will it just be a superficial hairline crack? Should I have my PB start over? Wouldn't building codes prohibit the building of pools that are going to crack that easy? This is very upsetting.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 2:25PM
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Only time will tell. It may do nothing for 20 years or develop issues in 6 months. Without a geologist's or engineer's soil report, it's anyone's guess.

Every town, county and state has different codes.

Where the PB got the idea of not building a beam was a good idea is anyone's guess. It doesn't save much in rebar and gunite costs to not do it. It does add a considerable amount of strength to the shell, strength that could resist most settlement or soil movements far better than what was built.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:31PM
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I am not a PB, just a pool owner, and someone who reads this forum. I have never seen a pool shell this thin. Most I see are closer to 12 inches.
County codes and inspecotrs are a joke around here...
I would ask my PB why everyone thinks 5 inches is too thin, and why he thinks 5 inches is fine.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 8:26PM
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Forgive me if I'm wrong but, you've upgraded your circ pumps for the swim jets etc so there's going to be quite a suction at the main drain and skimmers. I only see one rather thin main drain in the pictures and it makes me wonder if it will present an entrapment and possible even an evisceration hazard. I'm not familiar with that style of drain (I do municiple pools) but the drain box seems rather shallow and narrow. Was there any information about water velocity through the drain grating etc? Did they fit a vacuum switch to turn off the pumps of someone managed to block the suction with their body?

As I said, I work in public pools so I don't generally see what residential equipment performances are like. Out hot tubs are generally in the 450+ GPM range though we do have a toddlers pool at 180 GPM and that needed three 24" square drains (each with it's own suction line) and special grating to ensure kids can't get trapped.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 5:41PM
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Channel drains such as those handle a lot of flow and are longer than they look. AFAIK, they meet or exceed the flow requirements of nearly all residential pumps and the velocity at the grate is lower too.


    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 10:40AM
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What this pool engineered? It is not required in most areas but I have worked in a few areas where it is required and that pool woul not get a stamp from my engineer.

I will not go into too much detail here but if this were my own personal pool, and I am a gunite pool builder, the top of the wall would be 12" minimum (with 4x15mm rebar & ties beam) with a minimum thickness of 8" on the walls and floors. The shared wall with the spa would be a full 15" minimum. All areas thicker than 8" would require double mat 10mm rebar 8" on center grid with every third joint tied.

I am a little nervous at the thickness of that concrete but the finishing is very good so you def have some skilled workers there...hopefully the ones who designed the structure are skilled also. Only time will tell.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:12PM
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