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Pool Build Quality?

Posted by ktm250sx (My Page) on
Sun, May 11, 14 at 15:42

I am in the process of building a new pool, 2nd pool I have had built. I'm by far from being an expert but I am also the type of person that does extensive research before doing anything major whether it be building a pool or buying a new car. I had a couple of discussions in other threads that basically led to arguments from pool builders so thought I'd start a new thread discussing nothing but build quality and the differences that justify $5,000-$30,000 price differences. When a company has a design center, sales personnel, design personnel, job superintendents, I would assume they have to charge significantly more than say a pool builder where the owner does it all out of a small office or his house. This to me does not mean sub standard pool. I have also known people that supervised their own pool and saved a lot of money but personally I don't want the hassle. I have chosen a builder and very happy with them and yes I do expect them to make a decent profit as they should.

If 5 pool builders use the same exact gunite company, same pool plaster and same company installing it, exact same equipment, same rebar size and same spacing, same thickness of gunite, same number of returns and skimmers, same stone, same LED lights, same start up process how can one builder be that much better than the others? I keep hearing from the builders there pool is way better and they do things "differently" to justify their costs but I want to know specifics. I understand each builders overhead costs can vary significantly and I also understand some subcontractors such as stone workers quality of work may vary. I also understand how small things like where the returns are located, where the lights are located can make a difference but this isn't that complicated to figure out and should not affect overall cost of the pool.

This post was edited by ktm250sx on Wed, May 14, 14 at 8:27

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Pool Build Quality?

Lets start with OH. It's probably 10-15% for all PBs. Larger PBs might have sales staff/design centers and supervisors, but the number of pools they do will still put the OH in this range. The guy that builds 30 pools a year will not need the same personnel, but will ultimately have similar OH.
Service after the pool is complete can also vary a lot. Warranty service may be performed by a PB or he may refer you to a warranty station. Speed of service can be compromised as 3rd parties are used.
Other areas that affect cost but are usually never mentioned are excavation and plumbing. The shape of the dig makes a big difference regarding the amount of gunite material used. Some plumbing is laid on top of the ground around the pool and some PB's trench all the plumbing so it is well shaded prior to pouring concrete. Which do you think is cheaper to do? Which would you want?
There are a lot of things that can be done to build a less expensive pool. And most probably you will not know whether your PB chooses to use any of these methods.
Every builder knows what his product and services are worth. Unfortunately, a lot people don't find out until after the pool is done.
Good luck.

RE: Pool Build Quality?

I've never seen plumbing above ground in this area. All of the companies I interviewed have excellent reputations, known for quality pools, all have been in business for at least 8-ten years. Prices still varied a lot, none of them were what I considered a cheap pool builder. The only difference I saw was a couple included running the drainage pipe down to the street vs. a certain length in the yard. This would be a very small cost difference, no more than $500 at the most I would think. I could easily get it done for $500 or less myself. Thanks for your response though, just trying to figure out if I'm missing something.

My point is every pool builder told me they were the best. Not one could really tell me what they did better, they all compared items that were done the same by the other builders. I did have one builder that said pretty much all the well known companies built by the same specs, no big differences besides maybe some cosmetic items where one stone crew may be slightly better than another.

This post was edited by ktm250sx on Sun, May 11, 14 at 20:05

RE: Pool Build Quality?

I just had a pool update done and it was start to finish in a week. My big pool company has lots of work with these subs and was able to get them here relatively on schedule and without much lag time. I know that is a trick right now, especially for the deck people. My big pool company had someone on sight for the plaster work and for the deck work and the pool co rep stayed for the entire time the subs were working. I am sure I paid more for that. It was worth it for me - everything was exactly as I expected it to be. Finally I was asking for something with the deck work that isn't normally done (long story) and having the rep on sight made sure that the deck folks did it exactly the way that I wanted it done. I had no problem paying extra for that.

RE: Pool Build Quality?

Excellent example and it's definitely nice to have someone on sight. I just had a home built by DR Horton and they were beyond terrible, worst company I have ever dealt with. No one was ever around for the building process and now it shows. It was not a cheap house, not that it matters, but their quality is pathetic. We never saw anyone from DR Horton supervising any of the sub contractors and it definitely makes a difference. Definitely worth more money to have someone their supervising. Only one pool builder mentioned this.

RE: Pool Build Quality?

Even with the same subs there can be numerous quality control issues and even specific requests made to those subs to have a better build.

Your DR Horton subs build for other homebuilders, and you clearly mention how pathetic the quality was, so isn't that an example enough? And you started out by saying your by far an expert, so don't you know all the differences already anyways?

RE: Pool Build Quality?

Guess I need to proof read my post better, meant to say I'm far from being an expert. DR Hortons subs just flat out stink because they are inexperienced and they are having a hard time finding them in this area due to the enormous growth the Houston area is experiencing. Mostly using cheap materials is my biggest complaint and that's for the trim work. I'm not stating and never stated all pool builders are alike but as I stated the ones I interviewed and got quotes from are all top pool builders in this area. Some are only charging outrageous prices because they can. I don't blame them but as a homeowner I'd be an idiot to pay their overinflated prices. I've seen every one of their pools, they are all nice and no real difference in quality in my opinion. Of course the pool builders on here say their pools are the best but have yet to answer why and give specifics. Saying their plaster or gunite company is better is a joke when they are using the same company to apply it and same type of plaster.

Like I said also, having a supervisor on hand overseeing the subs for every part of the pool building process would be great. Not one pool company told me this would be the situation though one did mention he had a supervisor that worked for him. Its a mute point anyways, I have chosen my builder and firmly believe the pool will be equal in quality and appearance as any of the other pool builders I interviewed.

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