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New to the forum - first time pool owner

Posted by MiaOKC (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 19, 11 at 11:58

Just wanted to post and say hello. Have been lurking around for a few weeks, since we signed a contract on a house with an existing pool, trying to soak up all the info I can. It seems to be the kind of thing that you don't quite understand until you are "in it," and we got our keys on Friday so am back for more education! GW forums are so helpful (I often post and read in Oklahoma Gardening) and it's great to see so many active members here.

I've been over to troublefreepools on the advice of several posts, and our realtor gave us a test kit with a floating rubber ducky, a book that I'm going to dive in to. (har har!)

Our pool is probably the same age as the house, 1975, quite large with a deep end and diving board, detached spa, separate pump systems, and will be in need of renovation fairly soon according to the pool inspection we had prior to move in. Previous owners painted the plaster a blue color and it has sort of eroded or bleached out in parts of the deep end. All the tiles are quite dated but present and accounted for, although the very day we got the keys a row of about 8 tiles fell off the wall and onto the top step. Ha! One corner of the pool has a badly-eroding stone retaining wall and stone coping. The rocks have split/sheared off (probably freeze/thaw damage because there are no capstones on top of the wall) and the mortar has been poorly repointed. The concrete coping surrounding the rest of the pool has various cracks and patches, and both skimmers have been obviously repaired or re-cemented with kind of sloppy looking results.

The electrical panel and pool pump systems need upgrading and repairs (leaking seals on pump, open electrical panel not to code, etc). Lights are either disconnected or unworking, or maybe we just can't figure out how to turn them on. :) The estimate for complete renovation to like new from the pool inspector was somewhere around $40K, which included new coping, new retaining wall, new waterline tile, new skimmers, sandblast and replaster, upgrade electrical and repair current pumps, lights, keeping same decking. We are pretty broke from the purchase of the house at this time, so want to put money into the "must haves" instead of the "nice to haves" until we can afford to completely renovate in a few years. Will be getting multiple quotes then of course.

I feel like electrical and systems repairs are priority one. It's not sexy, but it seems to be the first thing to address. Perhaps reattaching the fallen tiles is urgent, too? We plan to keep the pool open this winter, as we are clueless about winterizing and after polling local pool-owners, our winters are often mild enough that as long as you keep the pump running to keep water from freezing, this is ok. There is no cover, and I imagine that has something to do with the bizarre shape and retaining wall making it either impossible or cost-prohibitive. Didn't want to look at a gross stewpot over the winter so plan to keep pump going and do chemicals and cleaning over the winter. Will be calling a local company to come out and give me a hands-on "pool school" in the next two weeks - have checked and seems like would be $150 well spent. Already I think the pump sounds louder than it did when we looked at the house, so need some experts on the scene. It runs 24/7 and is controlled by flipping the breaker on the electrical panel. I wonder if I can run it less (maybe only overnight hours to prevent freezing) as we are not actually swimming yet. Any input would be appreciated. Also, and suggestions for Oklahoma City-area pool renovators/service companies are welcome!

PS - I totally meant this to be an introductory post just saying hi but a pool seems to be like a new baby - you get all the information from the proud parents even if you didn't ask for it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pics of our new-to-us pool


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Once renovation is done, this is going to be a really pretty pool.

I would continue to keep the spa empty. That exposed gunite is not good to keep submerged. A new drain cover is an absolute must!

I have found that photobucket's site will allow larger and more detailed pictures than flickr. Posting from photobucket is easy. Copy and pasting the 3rd option on each pic, one per line here in the message box works well. TFP uses the 4th option, btw.

The reason I am mentioning it was your tile related comments. I looked at the pics you posted and it seems that the expansion joint seal between the coping and deck is gone.

This let water in. It likely wicked through the mortar holing the coping all the way to the thin set holding the tile, weakening it.

It's quite possible the coping bond is also compromised. Tapping the coping all the way around with the handle end of a bat and listening for hollow sounds will confirm or deny this concern.

Welcome to the forum!

Scott


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Thank you, Scott! Will look at photobucket and pasting pics into message for easier viewing. Unfortunately, seller filled spa after photo was shot so we need to figure out how to drain. I have Pool Guy coming to see us next week to give us the info on what we have and how to use it, plus schedule repairs for what ails it and long-term plan for budgeting a renovation. Big week! Will take a look at the expansion joint seal/coping bond, too.

On a related note, I saw the local Habitat for Humanity station is selling mosaic swimming pool tile for about 1.35/sf, and wonder if I should stock up now for future retiling project? We've tiled several bathrooms, showers and floors, and wonder if this is something we can take on ourselves as part of the renovation. Anyone have experience tiling the waterline tile in their pool? Have searched retile and re-tile in the forum but am not coming up with much.

Thanks, all!


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Careful with the H4H tile. Make sure the tile batch for the perimeter is all the same and assuming you like the pattern. There are many tile patterns to choose from and if you are in an area where you have to concern yourself with freeze thaw cycles, that will play into what is appropriate.

I would have an experienced pool tile guy do it. Given that the pools will need sand blasting because of the paint, it makes sense to do the renovation in one shot, not in steps.

Start saving. This won't be cheap. Done properly though and maintained well, the only work on the pool going forward will be the expansion joint getting resealed every 5 years or so.

Scott


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Greetings fellow Okie :^) I love the look of the back yard, especially the Bamboo and the privacy it provides. I'm hoping to do something similar in my back yard with Bamboo. if I can find a way to keep it from taking over everything.


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Hi Jason! We have some distant cousins that are Marshes, and we occasionally attend the annual Marsh family reunion. I'm trying to think which branch of the family tree... will have to ask around.

There is a bamboo forum here on GW that I got some good advice from, and also googling bamboo barrier/rhizome barrier has some info. From what I understand, it's quite the undertaking. There was heated discussion in the OK Gardening forum when I brought it up there. People either love or absolutely hate it, I guess!

My plan is to trench (3ft deep - will have to hire out or rent some crazy machine) and install the rhizome barrier as much of the way around as I can. I have to deal with the fact that the bamboo has escaped under the backyard fence and infiltrated all the neighbor's yards, too, so if I don't have cooperation with them, the bamboo will just continue to run wild.


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Wow, small world huh? The family reuinions I've been to have always been down in Sulphur, OK. Is that were you attended?

Right now I have black bamboo growing in big pots because I dont want all of the neighbors hating me. At least you can blame the previous owners of your house and show the neighbors that you are more considerate by trying to solve the problem. Unfortunately the area that I want to plant the bamboo is right on the utility easement for the whole block (electric, gas, cable and phone all run through my yard), so digging a 3 foot trench isn't something I care to do. I was hoping a foot or so would be sufficient.


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Mia,
Did you ever get a chance to do anything with the Bamboo? I have decided to go ahead and trench my fenceline and plant the black bamboo. Thanks for your advice on that by the way. My project starts this weekend!


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RE: New to the forum - first time pool owner

Hi Jason, we've not made it to any reunions in Sulphur - I'll have to ask G'ma what the branch of Marsh family we are on. I didn't see your message from December, sorry!

We have gotten as far as planning stages on the bamboo - so not too terribly far. I did get all the utility lines marked by Call Okie (sure enough, the bamboo goes right on top!), definitely necessary, and I found that back there in all that bamboo is a huge manhole cover, so the neighborhood drains go right through our backyard easement. Evidently former owner figured "heck, it's the utility's problem to find their lines if they need them." I did have discussions with two affected neighbors, and one gave me quite the earful about how he and our house's owner had done everything they could to eradicate the bamboo, up to and including pouring diesel on it. I said "wow, the owner told me how much all the neighbors loved the bamboo" and he said "well, we couldn't get rid of it so had to embrace it. So we do like it, kinda, now." and he told me the other adjacent property owner would not do a thing to try to contain it or eradicate it, so I am left with planning to try and dig it out of our lawn area to beat it back to the bamboo strip at the fenceline, then rhizome block my side. That's really all I can do, as it would be silly for me to try and block it from the neighbor if they aren't going to participate from their side.

Good luck to you! Keep us updated, would love to see a pic! Let me know which barrier method you use and how it works for you, too.


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