Guess We’re Pool People | final cost and lessons learned

So…we are pool people now

After 5 months, a lot of blood (Kyle stepped on two nails) sweat (we had some 90 degree days out there in July) and tears (not so much, but I may have shed one or two out of frustration) we gave our 1980’s pool a new look. Here’s the cost breakdown (approximate):

  • No.1 Crusher Run Base: $1,200 (50 ton +/-)
  • No.1 & No.2 Grade Lumber: $2,000
  • Concrete Pavers: $3,500
  • Precast Concrete Coping: $1,700
  • Aluminum Fence Panels and Accessories: $700
  • Fill Dirt: $500 (30 yards +/-)
  • Stain and Sprayer: $300
  • Pool plumbing/ parts: $500
  • tools/ saw rental, etc.: $500
  • Polymeric Sand (Grey): $110 (5 bags)
  • Paver Sand: FREE
  • Paver Edging: $100 (20 8′ lengths)

Total: $11,110 +/-

We originally wanted a concrete patio which would have cost $15,000+ to hire a professional just for the patio. To hire someone to do a paver patio would probably be twice that. Although we ended up a few thousand dollars over what we were hoping to spend, we couldn’t be happier with the result and we just gave the pool another 30 years of life. This was one of the more rewarding projects we’ve done to date because we didn’t have much outside help. A few family members helped here and there, but it was largely just the two of us. We still can’t believe we moved 50 ton of stone with a wheelbarrow! This was truly a challenge and we will appreciate the pool even more because of our sweat equity.

lessons learned

As with everything, there are plenty of things we learned the hard way and/or would do differently if we were to do it again.

suck it up and buy pre-made metal gates

You can check out the issues I had constructing gates here. I learned the hard way that its not easy to make well functioning gates. The piece of mind and ease of pre-made metal gates is worth the investment (and they’re lightweight). We will probably end up replacing the wood gate I made with a metal one.

use either 6×6 posts or aluminum posts

The two biggest issues we had with the 4×4 posts was warping and not being able to hold the gates. A lighter gate, like an aluminum one, will probably fix the gate issue. But a couple of the posts warped pretty poorly. 6×6 pressure treated posts are much less likely to warp that bad. Either that or you can use a different kind of post like an aluminum post, or if you must have wood, you can look at cedar (make sure it is old growth or at least heart wood) or you can look at kiln-dried pressure treated (this is not cheap or readily available). We used PT 4x4s just because they were the most economical, but in the end I think I would probably just go to aluminum if I did it again.

1/4″:1′ slope is too much for a patio

I think amateurs tend to overthink and overwork things (like concrete or drywall mud) to the point where they screw it up. I believe this happened with the slope on the gravel base. We had fears that if it wasn’t sloped enough, melted snow wouldn’t drain off fast enough and would soak in and freeze causing it to heave. We ended up with a slope that is probably twice what we need.

There is no huge negative to this (its not awkward to walk on or anything), but it does create a large and fast volume of water running off the one corner which causes washout of the sand and dirt. We will probably try to combat this with some stone and plantings in the future.

place filter and pool storage inside of the fence

Hindsight is 20/20 right? I think we got the shape of the existing pool deck stuck in our heads and subconsciously thought that was the most efficient shape. Anything larger would mean a larger patio which would cost more money and we don’t need it. Makes sense right? Yes and no.

We don’t need more patio; however, if we had made the fenced in area larger on the side where the filter is, nothing would have changed; the length of fence may have even been the same. Then our filter and some landscaping would be inside of the fence and would make maintenance much better. This is fairly common with newer pools (landscaping and filter inside of the fence) and this is one thing I would definitely do differently given the chance.

pool people or people with a pool? TBD

So what’s next? We are anxious to see how the patio holds up through the winter once spring rolls around and all the snow melts. Summer 2018 will be the year of landscaping. We need more dirt to slope the surrounding area to meet the grade of the rest of the lawn. We’ll need to seed everything, followed by planting some nice shrubs and plants around the perimeter of the pool. We also want to add some decorative stone beneath the fence so we don’t have to mow too close to the fence. Another gate, a shelter for the pool filter and pump, and maybe even some wooden benches are also on the list of things to build next summer. Most importantly, enjoying our new pool is at the top of our list.

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