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OT - Pool owners

KennyLeeKennyLee Posts: 733
edited August 2013 in Off Topic

Wife and I are at a spot where we're considering putting in a pool, which would be our first.  We're planning on staying where we are for the foreseeable future, probably at least the next decade at a minimum.  Perhaps it's being in the midst of the normal Texas summer which has given us the itch, but nevertheless it's something we think our family would use and enjoy and we're at a place financially where we feel comfortable spending the scratch.

Our backyard is average to small, but large enough to accommodate a decent sized pool.  Anyone have any tips or thoughts about what we should look for or consider?  For those of you who own one or have built one, anything you would have done differently or added?  We're in the process of starting to get bids from several different companies both with a spa/hot tub and without.  We're definitely cost conscious and not on an unlimited budget by any stretch, but okay with spending a little more for the right product. Any info or feedback is appreciated.


Cedar table w/granite top

Ceramic Grillworks two-tier swing rack

Perpetual cooler of ice-cold beer



  • We love ours. Definitely go with the hot tub if you can afford. Once the heat of the summer is gone you can heat up the hot tub in about 30 minutes. Ours gets used a lot in the winter. The whole pool experience is great and your family will really enjoy it.
  • hoofalooshoofaloos Posts: 240
    Remove any and all trees. As well as any neighbors trees that may have leaves fall into your yard. Also, maintain it all year even if only using in warmer months- it makes for an easier start to your summer each year. Also, a pool man is worth the 30 or so bucks a month that we paid when I had a pool in Texas. You don't ever have to buy or keep chemicals (which can get pricey) and leaves you only minimal maintenance
    XLBGE- Napa, CA by way of ATX

  • Doc_EggertonDoc_Eggerton Posts: 5,060
    I could do with half the size we have, say from 3 feet deep to 6 feet.  A deep end is a waste for us.  Ours is 10,000 gallons.  Whatever you do, do not get Chattahoochee stone deck.  Check you insurance to see any rules about fences and such.  Great place to Egg beside if you have a covered portion.

    XLBGE X 2, LBGE (gave this one to my daughter), MBGE and lots of toys

  • MickeyMickey Posts: 17,634
    edited August 2013
    We live in the middle of Texas. Last house did the pool. Thought that over under the Oaks ( for shade) would be best in this heat. WRONG. Keep the hell away from anything with leaves. We would bust 3 to 5 skimmers a week. Week after damn week. No pool after that. Got to where only my dog and daughter used it.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • Chris_WangChris_Wang Posts: 1,253
    My family had a pool growing up, and I now realize how nice it was having it. Definitely agree with @Mickey. My Uncle also had a pool that was near pine trees... Not only was his pool always 6-10° colder, but there were always tons of pine straw and leaves in the water. 20 minutes of startup labor.

    Go with a bigger shallow end to allow more people in the pool at once.

    Don't close the pool down in the winter, just run the pump if the weather is to drop below freezing (to save the pipes from cracking). Like @hoofaloos said, it saves on startup time in the spring.

    Invest in a solar blanket to have the water up to 84° in early May (In Georgia we have to wait for the pollen to stop dropping before the solar blanket goes on).

    Enjoy the pool. They can be a pain at times (pump goes out, liner tears/leaks, etc), but there are way more pros than cons.

    Ball Ground, GA

    ATL Sports Homer


  • BotchBotch Posts: 4,575
    I rented a house that had a pool in Albuquerque.  We had sheet lightning every single day from 4 pm on, so I only got to use it on Sat/Sun mornings, and at 2 am when I'd return from music gigs (and a quick dip was great to wash off the nicotine and two-step dust).  
    I had a few trees around, but was always OCD about keeping it clean.  A couple times a summer, though, we'd get a huge dust storm and my pool filled up with tumbleweeds, branches, dirt and small animals.  
    It was fun then, but I'm not itching to get another one.  But, I don't live in TX either.  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • sumoconnellsumoconnell Posts: 1,201
    I'm sure you will be - but be wary of low ball bids, there seems to be a new flock of pool builders every year that go under, start using one projects money to pay for the next, etc. A reputable builder that has been around for a while is worth it.

    My last house had a pool and we loved it. Had a family reunion where it was used all day for a week. That was worth it alone. Kids got older so I didn't get one in my new house.
    Austin, Texas.  I'm the guy holding a beer.
  • zachawnyzachawny Posts: 20
    We just got finished building our first pool a couple of weeks ago. Not sure how old your kids are, but build the pool before they get any older. My parents built a pool when I was 18 and sister was 24. It never gets used. My kids are 6 and 4 and we haven't stayed out of it. Go visit the forums at That place is the Eggheadforum of pools.
  • FlyingTivoFlyingTivo Posts: 352
    Salt system works great!
    Men, easier fed than understood!!
  • bo31210bo31210 Posts: 669
    Best pool I ever had was at someone else's house. And I had one with a house I owned once. To me it is kind of like a boat. The two happiest days of your life are when you get it and when you get rid of it. Just my .02.......
    In the middle of Georgia!    Geaux Tigers!!!!!
  • SteveWPBFLSteveWPBFL Posts: 1,307
    Kids use it regularly until age 13 or so. Dog loves it. Too cold for the wife. Screen it in if you have mosquitos.
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    Had a pool at our last house.  Built a new house, we were on the fence about a pool so decided to wait a year.

    By the beginning of the next year we had a pool under construction - decided we definitely wanted another one.

    Couple of people mentioned not using deep end of pool.   Careful with that, that helps tremendously with cooling in the summer.  Our last pool would get tepid in the heat of summer - I spent a lot of time researching - this pool stays cool all summer.

    Spend the money on quality of construction - even if that means dropping the spa.

    You can never have too much deck.

    Talk to builder references.


    Cookin in Texas
  • ChubbsChubbs Posts: 6,701

    Salt instead of chlorine...


    Columbia, SC --- LBGE 2011 -- MINI BGE 2013
  • My pool is under Live oaks- it's a pain 2 months out of the year (one in spring and one in fall when they shed leaves, grow the "squiggleys" and drop acorns). As much of a pain as those 2 months are, I love having shade over my pool. My buddies pool is non shaded and it's too hot to swim in this time of year. He has a dark blue bottom too which looks cool but holds heat. his pool is 8 degrees warmer than mine in the summer. 

    I have never broken a skimmer like Mickey but it is 30 minutes of PITA work a day, every day for probably 2 weeks straight twice a year. All of that is a distant memeory this time of year when I'm in there 3-4 days a week and every Fri-Sat-Sunday for hours. We love it.

    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • oh yeah- as mentioned above, we use it way more than the kids. My 14 year old uses it every few weeks. 18 year old 3x a year. Me and TFJ- 4X a week.

    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 12,692
    oh yeah- as mentioned above, we use it way more than the kids. My 14 year old uses it every few weeks. 18 year old 3x a year. Me and TFJ- 4X a week.

    Probably because you have a different appreciation of TFJ in a bikini. Perhaps we should have the next get-together at CT's house? Who's with me?
  • GrannyX4GrannyX4 Posts: 1,475
    We are empty nesters and use our pool daily. The husband uses the spa every afternoon before dinner. I wouldn't want to live in a house without one. We have live in a house with a pool for the last 40 years. When the grands a here in the winter they love using the hot tub. It's a treat for them to have dinner and ice cream in the tub. Hot tub and pool is a good thing! ;;)
    Every day is a bonus day and every meal is a banquet in Winter Springs, Fl !
  • CharlesmaneriCharlesmaneri Posts: 1,295
    if you have a pool built I recommend that you have a polaris hi pressure pump and auto vacuum  system installed it is worth every penny you never have to clean the pool the Polaris does it all  so you have more time to be Egging 
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • calikingcaliking Posts: 8,330
    edited August 2013

    Some good advice already given above. For my $0.02, We have palm trees around our pool and almost no leaves or debris falling in. I can go a couple of weeks without emptying the skimmers without much trouble if I am on vacation or something. My sister had two mature trees (oak and maple) over her pool and the leaves were a PITA. I did liker salt water pool more than my chlorine one though - the water felt and tasted better. I don't know where you can get $30/month pool service, but its not available in Houston at least. Costco has good prices on good quality shock ad chlorine. Definitely research your pool builder before committing to the project.

    I wish we had a spa for our pool, but the pool was built before we bought the house. I have occasionally thought about having a heater installed so we can use the pool in the winter, but quickly talk myself out of the idea whenever I do think of it. It may be standard now, but have a thermostat installed so that your pump and water feature turn on automatically if the temperature falls below a set temp in the winter (if you will be keeping it open through the winter like many folks in the Southern states do).

    If you have small children, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider installing a locking fence ALL AROUND the pool (not just 3 sides, the house does not count as a barrier). They will enjoy the pool immensely, but are also at risk for falling in when unattended. In my line of work, I see many cases of accidental drownings. It is a big issue in warm weather states like TX, AZ, GA, etc. so please consider a fence for your family's safety.

    #1 LBGE December 2012 • #2 SBGE February  2013 • #3 Mini May 2013
    A happy BGE family in Houston, TX.
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    We have no large trees in the backyard, no shade over pool.  Dark blue bottom.   Yet, through some careful planning we are 8-10 degrees cooler than any of our friends/neighbors.   Key is deep water and water features which splash, spray, otherwise create a cooling effect at water level.

    BTW - a Salt Water pool is using chlorine - just it is released from the Salt pellets instead of tabs.   A different way of getting chlorine in the water.  

    On my last pool I debated whether to go salt or traditional.   To each their own.   I decided to go traditional since I was very comfortable with the management and with the Optimizer that I use, water quality and softness is the same.

    Salt water pools are tougher to recover from "bad situations" - tipped the scales for me.

    However - many many of my friends swear by salt water pools.   Go with what you like the best.

    In Texas, we never winterize.   We choose not to do a spa on this last pool.   We loved the spa but given the layout of the backyard and what we wanted to accomplish - it just didn't fit.

    I have never heard anyone complain that they had too much deck around the pool.  What seems big on paper - you always can use more.

    Our layout for each pool we built started with cocktails and a ski rope.   Worked on it for a couple of evenings laying it out on the ground, moving it around, then took pictures, called the pool salesman to come over and measure it.

    Cookin in Texas
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,577

    oh yeah- as mentioned above, we use it way more than the kids. My 14 year old uses it every few weeks. 18 year old 3x a year. Me and TFJ- 4X a week.

    Probably because you have a different appreciation of TFJ in a bikini. Perhaps we should have the next get-together at CT's house? Who's with me?

    They wear clothes?...
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,907
    We put an above ground pool in our yard last year,  Best thing we did.  The kids and their friends use it all the time.  When its hot we use it daily as well.  Being in the North East we only have about 4 months of good (Warm enough) weather for it.  If I lived down south (Soon) I would like to have an in-ground pool/oasis.

    Like everyone said - Trees are the enemy.  PITA - We cut all the trees down and including every branch of the neighbors trees that overhang our property.  No more shade on the pool (for the most part) but the neighbors shedding pine trees have to go.  The skimmer basket fills fast. I'll have to find a way to get the neighbor to get rid of them.

    We also use a solar cover to heat the pool - should have bought a real heater but too late for that now (Stone patio installed and don't want to dig all that up to run gas/electric lines).  Friends have heaters and they use their pools longer in the seasons.

    We started with the Pool Frog system (Mineral/Chlorine) 0 IMO - Waste of money and expensive refills.  Now we just use the chlorine tabs in the floating basket and throw in a pound of shock once a week.

    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,

    Garnerville, NY
  • henapple said:
    oh yeah- as mentioned above, we use it way more than the kids. My 14 year old uses it every few weeks. 18 year old 3x a year. Me and TFJ- 4X a week.

    Probably because you have a different appreciation of TFJ in a bikini. Perhaps we should have the next get-together at CT's house? Who's with me?
    They wear clothes?...
    not always..............
    Keeping it Weird in the ATX
  • boatbumboatbum Posts: 1,273

    Shock takes care of spilled drinks and excess bodily fluids....


    Cookin in Texas
  • EggcelsiorEggcelsior Posts: 12,692
    henapple said:
    oh yeah- as mentioned above, we use it way more than the kids. My 14 year old uses it every few weeks. 18 year old 3x a year. Me and TFJ- 4X a week.

    Probably because you have a different appreciation of TFJ in a bikini. Perhaps we should have the next get-together at CT's house? Who's with me?
    They wear clothes?...
    not always..............
    Hence CT's doppelganger as his new avatar.
  • My first wife & I bought the house and a nice in ground pool was the clincher for her. After she passed, my daughter was the primary user, but I was the pool service. I'm married again and my southern wife thinks its too cold to swim here.

    Getting my daughter to help even to clean the skimmer was a chore. My motivational speech went something like this: "I don't even use the pool. If you want me to get a loan and have the pool filled in, I will." Worked like a charm for a couple of years until she countered with "Yeah, I think you should do that."

    Sometimes I miss it, but that's a rarity.



  • cbrucecbruce Posts: 19
    We love our pool but would have done a few different things. First of all we went with brick pavers for
    the decking. It was a huge waste of money and a pain in the butt to keep the weeds from growing underneath. with what we spent on the pavers, we could have had a hot tub. hot tub would have definitely been nice. pool heater is a good thing to have especially in Texas. Spring has some great swimming days but the pesky cold fronts come in from time to time and drop the water temperature in one night, taking it 3 days to warm back up. We have huge oak trees and our Polaris is a work horse. It saves me a lot of work. Need to empty the bag out all the time but its worth it.
  • Ours is a Paddock pool with pop ups instead of the floating type skimmers. Limited trash as we live in the desert but my weekly routine is about 5 minutes to check chemical levels and add chemicals as needed. In the summer I keep chlorine tabs in the floating dispenser. 3 times a year I spend a couple of hours cleaning the filters. Solar heaters get us at least two additional months of use each year.
  • Our pool is 36' long; we chose to do half of it shallow @ 3.5' and half "deep" to 6.5'.  This works great for us, as the pool is a great for gatherings.  Most of the adults want to socialize in the shallow end without having to tread water or sit in a tube.

    As for salt vs chlorine, we went with salt.  Best decision we made.  In April we dump about 240 lbs of salt (appx $8 per 40 lb bag of pool salt from Home Depot) into the pool, set to the desired chlorine level, and never have to worry about it through closing in September.

    We have a ton of trees (wooded lot).  A real PITA until June, but then it's fine.  By the time the leaves start falling off the trees, the pool is covered.  Just need to go out there once a week or so and blow whatever accumulated off of the cover.

    Also have an iPhone app ("Pool Helper") to help with the adding chemicals and tracking my maintenance.  Makes life easier and satisfies my internal geek.
  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,901
    I just hide in the live oaks until tfj and cen tex get out and don their clothes then I use theirs.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
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