New Pool Quote in SE PA

rx7ownerDecember 2, 2009

So glad we found this web site!

Our family is about to purchase an inground pool. Here are the specs:

610sq ft, 37'x21', kidney-like shape

3ft to 7ft depth

hydrostatic relief ports in floor/stone base

1/2" rebar

6' swim out love seat

bench on steps in shallow end

bull nose brick

6" tile banding

plaster finish, non colored

2hp pump

2 skimmers

6 in floor returns

salt purification system

polaris 480 cleaner

aquacal heater (all electric)

600 ft decking (brushed concrete)

no spa

no waterfall

grading and sod to bring back to pre-construction state


Anything we should change/modify based upon your experiences?

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our pool is 1/2 inch rebar/gunite. good choice. I would try to go with a colored aggregate finish for durability purposes and improve the look. Well worth the money and will look better. You don't have to do pebble but give your pool something that adds character. with white plaster, you are dating your pool before you even built it and you will have to re-plaster sooner. plumb for the heater and add it later and use the money you would save on the pool finish to really upgrade the look. If you don't have a hot tub, it makes sense to try the pool for a season and see if you really need the heater. Plumb and electric for a waterfall during the building phase and you can add that later also if you want. Make sure you give yourself options for the future if you plan on staying in the house. don't forget to add a pool light so you can enjoy the pool at night. It does not have to be LED but that would be best.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 12:56PM
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Thx Terry!
I neglected to add the LED light to the list but that is included as well.
I like your ideas. We did ask about the upgraded surfaces. Going a quartz route was ~3500 and the pebbletec was ~10000. Seems like a huge incremental cost. Do these prices seem right?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 4:00PM
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The size of the rebar is 1/2 the issue. What is the spacing of the rebar?

Your electric pool heater is more commonly known as a heat pump. Since your's is a pool only design, I think you made the best choice possible there,

The hydrostatic ports will be fitted with what? Plugs or Hydrostatic Relief Valves

I didn't see a main drain listed. I do recommend having one just in case the water drops below the skimmers.

Why are the returns in the floor? The only way to winterize them is to air lock them. They also add feet of plumbing and depth which increase the resistance the to flow of return water.

If you wish to be able to send warmed water to the bottom, have the main drain line plumbed to the returns with a valve on it. This will reduce the construction cost and do exactly what the floor drains, albeit not quite as evenly but still effective.

If the 280 is less money than the 480, go there. Works well and is proven reliable.

A 2 HP pump is too much pump. Much more cost effective, if you choose a single speed pump, is to use a 3/4 HP instead.

Well cared for, todays plain white plaster can be expected to last about 10 years, on average. A number of years ago, silica was used to make it and it lasted much longer but gave the installers pulmonary issues so they switched to using limestone and the plaster's life in the water took the hit, not the installers.

There are a number of other finishes and colors out there that use added aggregates instead. These last much longer but they also cost more up front. Ask yourself how much will it cost in 10 years when the white plaster has worn out it's welcome? The longer you are in the home, the more sense it makes. The water will always be blue when the sun is out. It's reflected light from the sky that makes it blue. It may be tinted if the bottom is other than white and in indirect light.

What type of filter?
What brand of equipment?


    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 4:11PM
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I have the same size pool and I am running about the same for the finish. I am paying 2900 for upgraded quartz (dark grey color) on my contract but we just decided to upgrade to blueridge Granite finish by Pyramid cement which will cost an additional $1500. Pebble sheen would of been an additional 6000. The blueRidge Granite was a good compromise since it has a lot of sparkle and lots of aggregate. It is also polished not acid washed so it lasts longer and nice and smooth.
The interior finish is like painting a room (biggest impact on the whole project) cutting corners there will ruin the entire project. Picture your favorite room in your house painted plain matter what is in it, the room would not look the same or nearly as good. we don't go to plaster until mid January but I am still looking at that Turtlebay Pebble sheen finish and wondering if I should pull the trigger but 9k for the plaster is a tough one to swallow.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 4:20PM
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Thanks to both of you.
NJ, dont really know the answers to many of your q's but will find out.
In your experience, any difference between the Pyramid cement product Maui Gem vs. DiamondBrite?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 10:41PM
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That's not a bad price - we got a pool recently in SE PA and ours ended up higher than your quote, but it was a little bigger and we did a few other upgrades.

(Your builder's name doesn't happen to start with "A", does it? That's not who we used, just asking.)

I would look at the Intelliflo VS pump instead of the 2 HP.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 11:21PM
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Diamond Brite is a very good product.

I haven't seen the Pyramid stuff around yet. I don't know if it's worth the U/G dollars.

WRT your equipment choices, if you are using an automation system, which one? If not, then the use of the VS-3050 is not the best unit for you. The VS-SVRS or VF are better options since they have built in timers.

Use two LED fixtures on a pool your size. Much better color saturation and more even too. A single fixture will be faded at the furthest reaches.

Do tell us who the builder is, please.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 7:15AM
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i like pyramid cement because it has more aggregate than the diamond brite samples I have seen. I think they are both good products from what I heard. Pyramid cement is out of North Carolina so a lot of pool guys use it around here. I have not see the BlueRidgeGranite finish personally but have heard it is real nice from builders on this site. I will let you know when we get to that phase.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:41AM
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Thanks again!
Our builder will be Arista, a smaller company based in PA.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 9:20AM
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Great, that tells us you are likely using Jandy/Zodiac brand equipment.

The E-Pump would be you best choice. It happens to max out at 2 HP but can be run much slower and more efficiently than a two speed.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:11AM
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I thought so. We considered Arista, but ended up going a different way. Keep us up to date and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:55AM
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We have been plastering pools since 1977 and always used limestone/pool mix sold by Georgia Marble mixed with white portland cement in a 2/1 ratio. We usually used a 3/2 or 1/1 mix ratio in the scratch coat. If a finish lasted less than 15 years it was an exception or a commercial pool that was abused. Many lasted more than 20 years. We never used asbestos or silca/quartz in the mix. I have spoken with Georgia Marble and they say they never added asbestos or silica to the mix and that it was pure limestone whether it was white gray or green.(Yes they sold green limestone for a while). In the early 80's we started using colored mixes with a variety of dyes. We used liquid cobalt oxide for blue, iron oxide for tans and greys and also used kool deck color paks including pink. None of these colors contained asbestos or changed the longevity of the plaster.

There were other companies that used a 5/2 mix or even 3/1 to save money and those finished didn't last as long which is probably were plaster finishes get the bad rap.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:17PM
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renovxpt hits another tremendous Grand Slam over the center field wall!


    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Sorry Scott if I sounded like a cheerleader but I think plaster is a great pool finish and deserves some credit for being around for so long.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 2:41PM
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I love it when its done and cared for well. I also love it when the truth is told.


    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 3:27PM
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Thanks for the replies.
So i am clear, does this mean going plaster is going to be as durable if done properly? I believe I have an option to change the color of the plaster for much less than the $3500 add on for the quartz.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 3:47PM
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If you want blue in the mix get blue quartz in the mix to achieve that goal. IOE blue dye in the portland does not hold up under heavy oxidation. Both Mauigem and Diamondbrite are mostly limestone with a small percentage of quartz added. Dyes are the finest particles in the mix and therfore unstable and will mottle wheras aggregates don't really change. IMO if you get either Mauigem or Diamond Brite, let the aggregate expose itself without acidwashing so you can experience the first few years of a super smooth plaster finish.

Pyramid Cement is capable of increasing the quartz percentage or making any aggregate mix you want.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 4:15PM
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We recently finished using Diamond Brite French Grey. Below is a link to our post. We chose Diamond Brite b/c it was more economical then Pebble and had a strong warrenty. Chose French Grey b/c it has more consistent coloring - much less streaking or mottling. Lastly, I prefered the light grey over bright white of plaster because Texas sun creates harsh glare on white. Might not be an issue for you.

Enjoy the journey!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Plaster properly done will last a long time... however its 3 on the hardness scale... most of the quartz is a 7... will add durability... its biggest down side is staining (white)... The owner of Arista has 3M Color Quartz in his Blue Haven Pool...

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 9:05AM
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My neighborhood HOA pool is a light gray plaster and it looks okay. everyone else who owns a pool in my neighborhood has aggregate in there finish and the look is like night and day. It is like a metalic car finish vs a plain paint job. I am not a pool guy so I value the opinions from the pros on this site and have followed it during my pool build. I am only commenting on asthetics.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 10:45AM
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The blue and black flecks you see in the "quartz" finishes are actually ceramic coated silica which originally came from the roofing shingle industry. Quartz sounds better than silica so thats how its sold. I would guess that the "quartz" content is less than 5% of the mix with the vast majority being limestone so I doubt that the hardness factor is significant when it comes to durability. The closest thing to a pure quartz finish on the market would be the glass beads which are made from silica or quartz.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 2:57PM
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Hi rx7--just curious as to how your project is going. We just received a similar quote from Arista (although not quite as good as yours). We are also in southern chester county. Waiting for an additional quote before we pull the trigger.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 6:13PM
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Hi Bertz
we are about to begin! i'm getting excited.
we ended up changing things a bit...going 710ft now, also using the maui gem finish.
price increased about 5k vs. the number i posted above, but we think it is worth it.
if you are looking for smaller co.s you may want to consider pebble pools as well.
i'll start a new thread as soon as the digging begins!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 9:16PM
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Arista and Pebble are outstanding pool builders. Pebble cost much more ( up to 15k more) catering to up-scale 'cost is no object' clientele and with architects referring these hi-end clients.
Arista is the choice of many hardscape contractors and home builders. Both companies do lots of extra things like landscape and little touches uncommon in the pool business. Pebble does great design. Arista builds very strong pools.

Here is a link that might be useful: jandy

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Pool Doctor how long have you been with Jandy?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 8:43AM
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Thanks to all for the info. We are still trying to decide between Arista and another similar PB in Bear, DE. RX7, please keep me posted on your progress. I think you made a wise decision not going with the plaster finish. This is very exciting.
Our back yard is fairly large and has a bit of a slope. I am having trouble envisioning what the transition will be from our deck off the house up to the pool, which will be at a slightly higher elevation. Was thinking of a few steps with landscaping, etc. winding up to the pool with enclosed fence. May need to get a landscaper first. Don't want the pool looking like it was plopped on to the property as currently there is not a lot of landscaping in the back. Guess you could consider that a good thing. It's just that most of the pools I've seen our much closer to the house and are integrated with the home's patio, etc.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 9:33PM
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bertz, we have an elevated deck and had a designer draw up the integration plan.
email me and i will send you the plan

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:10PM
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22 years

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:57PM
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