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Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

Posted by mac4lyfe (My Page) on
Thu, May 9, 13 at 0:37

I have a 22x40 pool...

I've gotten several quotes ranging from $10k to $35k to redo.

I'm looking at one company here in Houston that will do the following.

- Replaster pool with wet-edge plaster (Luna quartz?)
- Retile pool
- add flagstone coping
- Install new drain covers

This company is looking to charge $17k for the total work. Does this sound fair? I could save about $2500 by using just plaster instead of the Luna Quartz. Should I consider that or is this upgrade worth it?

Thanks for any help.

Mac


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

I am in DFW & have been getting bids on work recently. To me, without knowing the size of your pool/extent of any damage, it looks high - but the test would be how it looks against other bids in your market. Some things I learned are to be sure that the bid contains the cost of the startup or get a price on that (I got several bids that did not include the labor/chemical startup!).

As to the quartz, I opted not to go that route and just do a colored plaster. I LOVED the quartz when it was a new finish. It is beautiful and smooth. I went and visited several sample pools with quartz sections in them, and at about 4 years, they felt very rough to me. Almost like a fine emery board. I wanted a finish that would stay as smooth as possible. It is such a personal taste issue - I know it wouldn't bother very many people but we will play (hard) in our pool and I wanted the smoothest finish possible.


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

I appreciate the info. I didn't know that quartz got rough over time. The company rep says that quartz finish lasts longer than plain plaster. She said they have a lifetime warranty on new builds but have to get back to me on if its the same for renovations.

We had a few other quotes that were cheaper but didn't know if it might be one of those "you get what you pay for"? Our current pool has a few pop ups and discolored. No structural damage. The tile and grout is old and dingy looking but we could go another season as is. Just more cosmetic.

How long could we expect plaster to last (considering proper water chemistry of course). Would the quartz last much longer or no difference at all?


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

Mac4lyfe, It might not be enough roughness to bother you. It doesn't bother a lot of people, but I was really interested in the texture of the finish more than anything else. One of the pool guys explained to me by saying that the quartz finish is pretty much plaster with quartz mixed in. Quartz is not a smooth product. The "weak link" in the mix is the plaster so over time bits of the plaster will wear away. When the plaster wears away more of the quartz is exposed and it will be slightly rough. I LOVED the brand new quartz pools, but after a few years they were rougher than similar aged plaster pools (I am assuming because the plaster wears away at pretty much the same rate across the whole surface - it does get rougher than the original plaster, but not by much in the pools that I looked at).

I pretty much ran across 10 year quartz warranties coming from the manufacturer. This would only come into play if the quartz mix was defective - it would not cover any problems due to application or water chemistry. One of the guys who bid told me that if I was going to do the chemicals myself I need to keep a picture and a spread sheet of every test/chemical levels if I wanted to have any hope of using the warranty. Another builder told me that the warranty for most of the product manufacturers will get you enough bags of mix to redo your pool. No labor costs at all. So to me, the value of the warranty seems to be whatever your pool builder will give you - and that seems to vary and would be worth a lot less if the place is out of business in 3 years.

As to how long the quartz vs plaster will last. Good luck really locking down that info. I have had pool builders tell me everything from plaster will only last 3 years to quartz will last for 20. The guy that I trust and will be having me redo my pool says that if you maintain your chemistry well, you can expect a similar life from either product. He said perhaps you would get 2 years more from quartz, but not to expect it to be a life changing difference. The quartz seems to be less likely to stain that plaster and may not be quite as bothered by aggressive water (depending on which of the guys you listen to). If you really want a longer lasting product the answer seems to be the pebble tech type products. I don't want them because I think they are rough. The beadcrete isn't as rough as the others, but the money involved in it is too much for my budget.

Another concern is what color you want. Plaster doesn't seem to do as well in the darker colors. I really want a dark grey, but will be doing a medium grey.

So I am doing a mid grey plaster and my pool guy is telling me that if I care for it well (and I will) that I should expect at least 10 years from it. That will get my kids up and out and at that point if I want a more long lasting pool finish I won't have to worry so much about the roughness of the finish. I really can't imagine a pool builder offering a lifetime finish warranty on plaster or on quartz. I would make sure that I read the warranty really well before I signed a contract because of it.

Do ask to go and see pools that they have done. And not just new ones, some that were done years ago. If the company has a sample pool, be sure to go look at it - often pool builders have a number of finishes at their pools. When you go, ask how old each finish is.

And finally, I didn't choose the cheapest guy, but I didn't choose the most expensive, either. I chose one that does not use subs, has been in business for 20 years, offered me up lots of chances to look at other pools that they had done, had good reviews online, and who didn't try to over sell me.

Good luck. I had a 100 year old house restored so I have dealt with contractors, but figuring out this pool has been one of the hardest and most confusing things that I have done when it comes to home improvement.


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

OK, I just pulled out the bid from the company that we are going to go with (we aren't having all this done, but it will give you an idea). I have a cantilever deck. To cut out the deck so that it will take bull nose coping, replace the waterline tiles, and resurface the cool deck that is left (about 200 square feet) would be just over $8,000. Replastering with grey plaster, replacing all of the nozzles and that stuff along with removing pool paint on the plaster (prior owners) is about $4,000 ($1200 of that is removing the paint). That will also include adding spotter tile on the steps. Running a new light is $400 for regular light up to $1200 for LED w control panel. I have a small leak at the equipment that is going to take a couple of hundred to fix.

My pool is about 17,000 gallons and is about 20-25 years old. Structurally sound and has complete easy access. HTH!


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

Very helpful info G&G.

I really didn't think much into the warranties but it sounds like I need to do some reading of contracts. I take meticulous care of my pool chemistry (use to be a purification manager in a nuke plant) but not sure I want to go to the extent of taking weekly pictures and data logging. The more I think of it, the more the notion of a "Lifetime Warranty" seems rather ridiculous.

I think I'm starting to lean with colored plaster too. Keep it simple...

I also didn't consider looking at older pools that the builder completed in the past. That is very sound advice.

Appreciate the input/help.

Cheers!


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

Hope that I have helped. The one thing that I know I failed to mention is that colored plaster can mottle. I think a lot of it depends on the skill of the plasterer. I personally like the look as it is more natural kind of like the variation in slate. But, if you are looking for a perfectly perfect even color distribution, the colored plaster might not be for you. And, there is "bad" mottling where something obviously has gone wrong - which you shouldnt have, but also just a variation in shading that comes with a more natural product, which you will have in a darker plaster.

Just wanted to throw that out there as I know some people really want everything to be very uniform. I looked at a number of the grey plaster pools and unless it was super super still I couldn't see the color variation at all. When I could it looked like a natural product. With any wind and rippling, I couldn't tell that there was any color difference.


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

There seems to be a dearth of renovation companies in OKC. I am jealous that you all have so many choices in Dallas!

Question about your potential renos - are you going to get the original plaster chipped out before replastering? I think I've read you can have 2 or 3 layers of plaster before needing chip-out, but if you're going to the trouble of coping and tile replacement, I wonder about keeping the surface of the plaster level with the new tile, then in 10 years when you plaster again, it needs to be chipped out and it seems there's potential for damage of all your lovely new tile. Does that make sense?

We've got a painted plaster 40 year old pool that is shedding tiles like mad and the coping is terrible. Just brushing yesterday DH said he had a mini-cave in, where the edge of the pre-cast coping just crumbled under his feet (and into the pool, of course).


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

I am not having the tiles replaced because mine are in well and I really like them. I am just having a regular sand blast. Sorry I am not help for you.


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

MiaOKC - I'm looking to have the tile and layers (not sure how many) of plaster removed. My pool (30 years) has several popups where the plaster has come out already so it's going to have to be chipped just to make even.


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RE: Is this a reasonable price for a renovation

A price of $17,000 is well within reason in my opinion. I don't do renovations anymore, because you never know what you are going to uncover when you start making the renovations. You may want to take the opportunity to upgrade your pump(s) to a more efficient one to operate...saving you hundreds of dollars per year on electricity. Usually well worth the investment!


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