After signing the contract, your representative will draw up building plans from which the subcontractors will work. All specifications, sizes, and equipment locations will be on your plan. It’s important that you thoroughly inspect the plans to make sure that they accurately reflect the vision you have for your yard. It is much easier, and cheaper, to make changes to your dream backyard before the pool is dug. If you have any questions, let your designer know as quickly as possible.
After your approval of the plans, Superior Pools will take them to your city’s building department. In most cases, the permit can be approved over-the-counter. It’s important to give us any pertinent paperwork that can help us get your permit, such as septic, title and easement information.
The most important day for building your pool is the day of excavation. It is VERY IMPORTANT that your family is there to put the pool exactly where you want it. Things to consider: where the sun hits, how much patio room you want, do you want planters, a barbecue, etc. Just remember what is important to your family, and how we can best help you realize your vision.
Some grading may be necessary to form a level area, and to promote proper drainage around the pool. After grading, we’ll stake out exactly where the pool is going. We’ll need you to approve the size, shape, location, and amount of dirt left on your property.
The construction crew will do their best to finish within the allotted time for excavation. It is RARE to exceed the estimated time, but a number of factors can influence how many hours it takes to dig your pool. A few examples: running into cobble rock, granite, sandstone, hard clay or a high water table. We do our best to estimate conditions and time, but it’s unfortunately not perfect.
In most cases, we remove all the dirt from the job site. If you want some of the dirt left on your property, please inform us of how much you want and where we should leave it.
After excavation, comes the steel reinforcing throughout the pool. Tying the steel is one of the most grueling jobs you’ll ever see, as each and every bar is tied by hand. This will be blocked at least three inches above the soil, so the shotcrete can properly surround every bar of steel. All benches require steel, but the steps into the pool do not. Proper steel placement ensures that your pool will last a lifetime.
Plumbing and Equipment Installation
The third phase for every pool and spa is the installation of plumbing for return lines, skimmers, main drains, light niches, and equipment placement. In addition, spas receive their jet plumbing, and any additional booster pumps. If solar heating is requested, now is the time to mark out where you’d like the future piping to go (usually either on the house or on the ground racks—if you have any questions about placement, feel free to contact us).
Shotcrete versus Gunite
Some people ask us how we differ from the average pool company—this is one of the factors. Some companies still use gunite in their poor construction. Gunite is concrete and sand mixed on-site, which produces lesser PSI (pounds per square inch=strength) than concrete by itself. Another weakness of gunite is the inevitable rebound of the gunite that doesn’t adhere to the sides of the pool as it’s being applied. The rebound, being of lesser quality, usually is used in steps, benches, and even skimmers. In reality, the rebound off of the sides of the pool should be discarded. Using the rebound creates weak spots in the pool that can become hollow as the rebound settles. Even worse, the weak spots can deteriorate over time, providing easy places where water can leak out. Getting the formula correct can be difficult.
Caring for the Shotcrete
After shotcrete, it’s important that it is kept wet so it can properly cure. It needs to be watered down three times a day for a week. You cannot over water the shotcrete. Every nook and cranny, all steps and benches, and all raised areas require adequate water to be absorbed during the curing process. The water helps to strengthen the bonds in the concrete and to keep it from cracking.
If a heater is being installed, the next phase is a gas run. Now is a good time to plan for a future barbecue, fire pit, or fireplace. We can assist you in making sure any extra gas outlets are put in before any hardscaping or landscaping makes it virtually impossible to add these later. Make sure your supervisor is aware of any additional work you’d like done, so it can be clearly marked in your backyard.
Plaster is the final step for your new pool. Plaster is a smooth material. This waterproof material covers the interior surface of your pool. During this phase, the plaster crew will install any interior fittings (i.e. rope anchors or main drains). The plaster will be complete in one day.
Once the gas is in, all important electrical components are put in. This includes outlets, controllers, salt generators, and pump hook ups. Our electricians can assist you in adding any extras that you want, but let us know ahead of time, so we can properly mark them out.
As soon as the plaster has been applied, the plaster crew will begin fitting your new pool. Please follow these important steps: -This is critical! DO NOT, FOR ANY REASON OR UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, STOP THE WATER UNTIL IT REACHES HALFWAY UP ON THE TILE! Stopping the water before it reaches this level could cause a permanent stain or ring to appear on the plaster. The plaster could possibly develop cracks. -DO NOT GO INTO THE POOL TO REMOVE DEBRIS! You may use a FINE MIST SPRAY to hose down dust or dirt into the pool water. -Please do not turn any switches or try to operate the pool pump or light. We will turn on the equipment during start up. You could permanently damage the equipment or pool lights by trying to operate them early. You will need to brush the pool several times per day for a week. You will be shown how to do this during the start up phase. -We will schedule a visit to complete detail work and perform the start up. Do not allow anyone into the pool until the start up has been performed. Since the water has not been chemically treated, it may not be safe.
Inspections and Inspectors
Inspections will be required at different stages of the construction. We will take care of scheduling these inspections on your behalf; however, we will not be able to continue work on your pool until the inspector approves the current phase of the job. We are not able to tell you exactly what time the inspector will arrive, only the day. To help expedite your pool, a call to our office with the inspections results will allow us to quickly move on to the next phase. If the inspection passes, the inspector will sign his initials and date next to the phase being inspected. If the inspection fails, a “correction notice” will be left describing what needs to be repaired. Although not a requirement, faxing the correction notice to our office will allow us to interpret the inspector’s notes and contact the appropriate contractors for repair.
Access and Permits
IMPORTANT: Since most Building Inspectors won’t knock to announce their presence, please be sure they have easy access to the pool construction area. Make sure the permit packet we provided is outside and easily visible by the inspector upon entering the yard. The best location is on top of the heater. Use a rock or other heavy object to ensure the permits do not blow away.
System Start Up
Start Up Your Pool
We will schedule an appointment to start up your pool. The pool needs to be completely filled to begin the start up process. This includes cleaning out any debris, checking the pools systems, and starting the pump and filtration system. We will check everything to be sure it works properly. We will also show you how to operate and maintain your new pool. This should take approximately an hour and all family members who will be operating the pool should be present, if possible. During start up, we will put in the initial chemicals. You will also receive the cleaning and maintenance tools you need to care for your pool.