California real estate is expensive. One of the advantages is that when you sell a home in California, pay off the mortgage, and move to someplace like Texas, you can use the proceeds to buy a new Lennar home (site plan done in AutoCAD), solar panels, and a pool. It's hot in Texas, so we (my wife, Sheryl, and I) are indeed getting a pool.
Here are the steps to building a pool:
We got designs from two different pool companies. We selected Stonewall Pools because the founder is an active firefighter, the cost was less, and we can trust this company since they installed Sheryl's niece's pool. We wanted some curves instead of a rectangular shape. We wanted a rock feature. There will be holes for poles for a volleyball net. A portable basketball goal will be added after construction.
To approve our plan, the Oakcrest Homeowner Association requires that we leave 5-feet of softscape (we'll probably keep the grass) along the back and sides of the project. It's for this reason that the design does not have CoolDeck all the way to the back and side fences.
The approval letter notes: "Your Architectural Control Committee (ACC) request to install an in-ground gunite pool, 37' X 18' with its highest point 18" above grade with decking, equipment, drainage, and access as indicated on the attached survey and drawing has been approved, per your request."
DIG A HOLE
Before starting to dig, the electrical, gas, and cable line locations were marked on the ground with spray paint. The sprinkler system lines were capped off. The perimeter of the pool was also marked on the grass with orange spray paint. With these lines in place, Stonewall Pools brought in a Bobcat and dug the hole in about 6 hours.
ADD SOME REBAR
One can start to envision the real shape of the pool when the rebar is added.
LAYOUT PIPES, WATER TEST, and ADD CEMENT
We were actually on vacation when I took this picture using the security camera for the patio. Progress was being made while we were away.
FORM THE FOUNDATION WITH GUNITE
The pool floor consists of concrete and is a minimum thickness of six inches. The walls of the pool consist of a mixture of gunite (sand and cement) that Stonewall Pools applied through a hose with highly pressurized air.
PICK OUT COPING, TILE, and BOTTOM COLORS
StoneWall Pools directed us to Master Tile to make our selections. There are so many to choose from. We could have picked a natural stone to match the rock feature but feared that the pool would have no visual presence in the backyard. We wanted something blue, but not too dramatic for fear of gaudiness. This selection process is quite daunting.
- For the coping (the top, sloping, course), we selected an Adobe tumbled stone.
- For the tile at the water's edge, we selected a Persian Blue Azzurro in the 6'x6' size. It had some blue in it but was not solid. The hope is that the white calcium scale that forms on the tile will be less noticeable than if we had picked a solid, dark blue tile color. Every tenth tile will be a piece with 6 glass accent tiles in its center.
- For the exterior sides of the raised spa, we selected the same Azzurro Persian Blue tile but in the 2"x2" size.
- For the bottom, there are choices of surface materials like Diamond Brite and Pebble Tec. Stonewall Pools will recommend which surface is best for our needs, but for now, we selected a Laguna Blue color. Water would still appear blue with even a white pool bottom as the color from the sky reflects off the bottom. A dark blue bottom color would make the water look really blue, but so much so, that guests might not be able to see the bottom. We selected a color to enhance the blueness of the water but not too dark as to obscure the visibility of the bottom. It's all just a matter of taste.
- To help guests who need to use the steps, we selected a glass tile (much like the inlay on every tenth water's edge tile) where a 3"x3" piece will be inlaid into the steps to aid with depth perception.
INSTALL THE COPING and TILE
The workers who installed the tiles were artists. The cascading waterfall from the spa into the pool was an unexpected surprise. We are thrilled.
INSTALL THE ROCK WATERFALL FEATURE
The rock waterfall feature was impressive in the original design and looks equally impressive as built.
This is as far as we are in the process, but if all goes well, it will be a wet and cool summer.
Pooling my resources is alive in the lab.