- Frequently Asked Questions We know you don’t buy a pool every day, and that can make the process a bit overwhelming for some. We want you to have all the information you need to feel at ease. Feel free to talk to your Central Oregon (S.P.S.) team about any questions you might have. Because we get asked questions all the time, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions are listed below.
- Questions About Getting a New Pool
- Questions About Pool Construction
- How are pools priced?
Pool pricing is typically based on a price for a standard sized pool. Pricing can also be affected by the many different design features, materials and equipment installed. Each job site also provides possible variables that can affect the pricing. Let our experienced project managers work with you and help customize the best project for your needs. After each in-home estimate our customers receive a detailed price proposal and plan specific to their project.
- What is the best way to begin planning for a pool?
Our design staff can meet with you at no cost. If you live in the home where the pool will be built, we will measure the yard, consider how construction equipment can enter the yard, discuss potential equipment location in relation to existing utilities and the pool, and begin to discuss your desires. This allows us to create a project matches your lifestyle needs, desired look and budget. If you are building a new home, the pool can be designed from plot plans and a site inspection. Through early planning, you can often save money and achieve a more integrated final product.
- How do I decide what shape and features I would like?
Our design staff will have hundreds of pictures, DVDs, CDs and color plans of many of our past projects for your review. We feel that one of the reasons we have so many designs is our ability to listen and hone in on the plan and features that will best serve the client. In addition, we can develop a color rendering of the pool you and our designer will create. This drawing will include a bird's-eye-view perspective drawing of what the pool will look like from your patio.
- What pumps, filters, cleaners, water features, automatic systems, deck products, interior surfaces, masonry effects and lighting are best?
We feel that our job is to thoroughly explain all the pool features that may interest you. This explanation will include the positive and the negative traits of each product, including costs, how it works and a recommendation depending upon the needs and desires you have expressed. We feel that our clients make really great decisions for themselves when complete information is provided.
- How do I pick a pool builder? Isn't every pool the same in its basic construction?
Specialized Pool Services enjoys a solid reputation for our unique construction practices and providing cutting-edge technology and constant customer communication. We believe in building the “best value” into every project.
After our project manager completes the design of your custom backyard living area with you, the plan is prepared for construction. The CAD construction plans are created and any special engineering is generated. Our processing department, construction team and project manager review these plans together and then apply for permitting. The project is then painted on the ground followed by a site visit from your construction superintendent. This is his first of many quality control inspections.
The next phase of the process begins with the excavation of the pool, spa and any sunken bar areas. We construct our pools with vertically excavated walls, create slight radius at the transition to the floor and flat floors. This type of construction requires more steel and concrete but our customers find a larger, more usable pool. This method of building also allows us to provide the best in the pool industry.
At Specialized Pool Services we provide the state of the art technology that helps reduce the cost of running, maintaining and using your pool. We can offer control systems, multiple speed pumps and sanitation systems that can benefit you for many years to come. We are also continually searching for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our product. LED pool and spa lights are now available and offer lower wattage than standard pool lights typically used in the industry. You will get many more hours of usage before the light bulbs need to be changed. The additional benefit to LED lights is that the customer has the ability to change the color of the pool water at night. The LED lights come with four colors and can be upgraded to run by remote.
FAQs About Pool Construction are listed below, scroll down to read directly about that topic.
- How long will my pool take to build?
- What should I know about pool layout?
- I've heard there is a lot of dust, noise and destruction at dig. Is this true?
- What is a rock (hard) dig, and how are the extra costs involved handled?
- How do I know that my plumbing is done correctly and will not leak?
- When is my equipment plumbed in place?
- What does the steel reinforcing do for my pool?
- What protects my pool from electrical problems?
- When does the city inspect my pool?
- When will my pool start looking like a pool?
- What has to happen before my deck is installed?
- What are my responsibilities concerning the deck?
- How do I make my pool safe and ready to pass final inspection?
- When do I get rid of this construction mess?
- How do I get the go ahead to finish the pool?
- How do you get the plaster or Pebble surface or other specialty surface into my pool?
- When do I learn how to use the pool?
- When can I swim?
- Length of Construction How long will my pool take to build?
- S.P.S. averages just under six to eight weeks of actual construction time for every pool we build, WEATHER PERMITTING OF COURSE! This is a point of pride for us, particularly when you consider the complexity of many of our pools. Specialized products and/or material availability could possibly increase construction time. Many factors combine to affect construction time. We find that comprehensive pool planning and design can reduce changes and unexpected delays.
- Layout What should I know about pool layout? The pool layout is the painted shape and position of the pool that we paint on your ground prior to any work being done. It is used as a guide for excavators when they dig your pool. We ask that you approve the location and shape of the pool prior to scheduling the dig. Because it’s a flat representation of your pool, the layout will appear much smaller than the finished pool. We lay out the pool 6” larger in every direction. In other words, a pool that will finish 30' long must be laid out and dug 31'. This allows for 6" thick concrete on the pool walls
- Excavation I've heard there is a lot of dust, noise and destruction at dig. Is this true?
I've heard there is a lot of dust, noise and destruction at dig. Is this true?
There is no gentle way to remove 15 to 30 dump truck loads of dirt out of a backyard. This will be one of the noisiest and is certainly the dustiest stage of construction. It is also one of the most exciting. We routinely see kids of all ages with their noses pressed against the window as the pool begins to take shape.
Protecting plants and existing landscape is a must because anything between the street and the pool that is not cared for will be ground into the soil by this heavy machinery. Fences need to be removed, dogs put up, and the right machinery must meet the conditions in your particular yard. Your pool designer will discuss the options and pricing with you when you design your pool.
- What is a rock (hard) dig, and how are the extra costs involved handled?
A rock excavation is encountered when the machinery that’s has been planned for your yard cannot dig the pool without using special techniques and equipment due to the soil conditions. If the crew finds that their machinery is incapable of the dig, the excavators will expose the soil condition by digging a hole and leaving it open. Typically, we will secure three bids and get your approval on the extra costs prior to proceeding.
If you suspect you are in a rocky area, we can secure a bid and make it part of the original agreement. This can save time and allow for the extra costs to be financed. Many times excavators can dig a rock pool in about the same time as a pool in softer soil. To accomplish this task, we contract with highly skilled machine operators. These workers are more experienced and skilled than typical laborers, providing peace of mind that the job will be done right.
- Plumbing and Equipment How do I know that my plumbing is done correctly and will not leak?
In addition to using Schedule 40 PVC (very thick pipe), we keep all plumbing under pressure throughout the construction process. We routinely check these pressure readings to ensure that the plumbing is secure. Our plumbers follow a detailed plan for the location of every feature, pool return and drain. You will notice that pipes are protruding out from the pool dig. These will be cut off near the end of construction and will finish flush to the final pool wall.
- When is my equipment plumbed in place?
If you live in the house where we are building the pool, we will install the equipment the day we plumb the pool. If your home is not occupied or is under construction, we will delay the equipment set until you are in the house. This is necessary because unfortunately there are people out there who will walk off with your pool equipment if it is easily accessible. If you own the home and the equipment is stolen, your insurance will cover the loss and will pay the replacement cost. From a technical standpoint, once the equipment is attached and installed, you own it.
- Steel What does steel reinforcing do for my pool?
The steel rebar is installed in a grid pattern. Depending on the loads and soil condition, it can be 12" apart, 6" apart, or in rare cases 3" apart. Our civil engineers work out the exact pattern to be used for your pool, and this is part of the engineering required for your pool permit and for our structural specifications. The steel is blocked 2” to 3" off of the excavated floor and walls of the pool. It greatly strengthens concrete by providing tensile strength.
Be careful — although we cover or bend the ends of the bars to protect people, the wires used to tie the steel together are very sharp. Please ensure the safety of children and pets. A scratch from the steel or tie wire can infect easily and may require a tetanus vaccination.
- Electric What protects my pool from electrical problems?
In most cases, a trench will be dug from your electric panel to the equipment location. By code, this conduit must be metal, wrapped with insulation and buried 6" underground. It is important to mark any sprinkler lines or other obstructions that must be protected. The conduit must remain uncovered until the city inspects it. GFI circuits protect all light and electrical plugs. These are also used near sinks and bathrooms inside your house. GFI-protected circuits instantly trip and shut down when contact is made with water. In addition, all steel, motors and metal within 5' of the pool are grounded. You may notice small copper wire attached to metal windows, fences, handrails and diving boards.
- Pre-Shotcrete Inspection When does the city inspect my pool?
The first inspection occurs after electric and before shotcrete. The city inspector ensures that all electrical connections and work are proper. They also review the pool's structural engineering and steelwork. They do not inspect the shape of the pool, pool depth, or in most cases, pool plumbing, as these are not safety or code issues. They will check the pool's location to ensure it is out of all setbacks and easements. We typically have very little problem and get a green tag to proceed quickly.
In some cases, inspectors will ask to see more engineering verification than is normally necessary. We provide this at our expense. While the delay can be frustrating, it is better to be safe now than sorry later. Remember that these inspectors are trying to ensure the best and safest possible construction. We do not control their schedules, but in most cases, they are remarkably responsive.
- Shotcrete When will my pool start looking like a pool?
The pool really begins to take shape when the concrete is placed. Steps and benches are formed, spas take shape, and the pool begins to look like a pool. Shotcrete (premixed concrete) is sprayed into your pool through a hose under pressure. It's noisy, messy, surprisingly artistic and fun to watch.
A curtain is put up around the pool to block the over-spray from getting on you house. Shotcrete dries and gets hard very quickly. As a matter of fact, it can dry too quickly. It is necessary for you to water-cure your shotcrete to slow the drying time. In the summer, wet the pool down at least five times a day, more often if you can. In the cooler months (temperatures below 80 degrees F), two to three times a day is fine. Spray water on the sides until it starts to "sheet" off. Then move on to another part of the pool. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete a pool watering.
Don't worry, you can't over water a pool. A puddle will accumulate in the bottom of the pool, and that's ok; we will pump it out later. You will also notice cracks forming in the pool, particularly in the floor. This is normal. These are shrinkage cracks and do not affect the structural integrity of the pool. The shotcrete shell needs to cure for three to four days before we can proceed with construction.
- Waterfalls, Boulders, Etc. What has to happen before my deck is installed?
We must have all rockwork if things like boulders and waterfalls are part of your pool. This is also a good time to install any masonry such as barbecues, fire pits, benches and equipment walls. Any gas lines, landscape sprinkler and drip lines, landscape lighting lines, etc., that are to be run under the deck should be in before the deck is formed. This is also a good time to review and make sure that the way your deck is designed on the plan is still the way you want it. Extra costs wlll result if you make changes to the deck after it is installed by your sub contractor.
- Decking What are my responsibilities concerning the deck?
Here's where the pool starts to look really pretty. We always find that once the deck gets started, our customers get very excited and start planning their first pool party.
The deck crew will come out and put up forms (thin strips of wood) outlining the deck. You will see where any steps and drains go. You must approve these forms prior to the pouring of deck. Once the deck is poured, it cannot be changed. It's a good idea to double check the color and texture you have chosen to make sure it is still your favorite. The concrete for the deck will be poured into the forms and troweled to a smooth finish.
Other types of toppings and deck, such as flagstone, tiles, pavers or artistic stone, have their own requirements. Regardless of what kind of deck you have, stop water-curing your pool, do not walk on or get water on the deck, and do not cover the deck with anything for at least 48 hours. Concrete does not dry evenly so it will appear to be darker in some places and lighter in others. Don't worry, it will reach a consistent hue after it gets through a full summer's heat.
- Please refer to your sub contractor for more questions about decking.
- Required Barriers How do I make my pool safe and ready to pass final inspection?
Access walls, gates and springs (gates must be self-closing), sliding door closures, window locks, wrought iron fencing, etc., are all done at this time. Types of required barriers — which restrict access to the pool — can differ depending on the city you live in. The pool cannot be finished until your city is satisfied that all required barriers are in place and functioning. The inspector will check for barriers and you must be at home during the inspection to demonstrate them. Please see your designer or construction scheduler for more information.
- Cleanup When do I get rid of this construction mess?
We would like your help in policing any personal trash. It is absolutely our policy that gum wrappers, drink cups, lunch sacks, etc., never be left on your property. We consider it to be a great help if you let us know at any time you see trash of this kind left in your yard. By staying on top of this problem together, we can keep it to a minimum!
The unavoidable construction mess begins at shotcrete as the concrete truck gets cleaned out and continues until the deck gets cleaned up just prior to the pool being finished. Trenches are all filled, light grading is done, and the yard is raked. Basically we make everything neat and presentable. Landscaping is not provided unless it was part of your pool contract.
- Pre-Interior Finish Inspection How do I get the go-ahead to finish the pool?
We will call the city for a pre-interior finish inspection. This is where the city checks that all of your barriers are to code. Types of required barriers can differ depending on the city you live in. We cannot schedule a specific time for an inspection, nor will the city agree to a specific inspection time. Because the inspector needs access to your home to check some of the required barriers, you must be there to give him/her access. This can be frustrating, but if the inspector cannot inspect all barriers, he/she will leave and we will need to call for another inspection. We are at the mercy of the city here. We cannot legally proceed with construction until the city gives us permission.
Your construction scheduler can advise you of the barrier code requirements if you are installing them yourself. In any event, whether we install them or you install them, you still need to be home for the inspection so the inspector can enter your home. Some cities do not have interior barrier requirements and final inspection goes much easier there.
- Interior Finish How do they get the plaster or specialty surface into my pool?
At last! All interior finishes are pumped into the pool from the street.
- Plaster: Plaster will be applied, and the plasterers will start your hose to fill the pool as soon as they are done. Do not turn off the water until your pool is full! Let the pool fill all of the way up until it reaches about an inch below the deck; then turn the water off. This is slightly overfilled but you will be backwashing, and it helps to have a little extra water in the pool until the plaster dust is filtered out. Follow the plaster care instructions given to you by S.P.S Pools.
The plaster may appear a little mottled because the plaster does not dry evenly. (Yes, it really does dry under water). Some parts stay wet longer and so appear darker, like a wet spot on a shirt. Brushing the pool and chemical balancing are extremely important on a plaster pool. Plan to spend a lot of time during that first week caring for your pool.
- Pebble surface : Your Pebble surface will be applied on the first day and acid washed the next. The acid wash exposes the pebble aggregate. The workers will start the hose filling the pool as soon as they finish acid washing. Do not turn off the water until your pool is full! Let the pool fill all the way up until it is about one-half the way up the skimmer opening. The color will appear slightly mottled for about three months. It takes that long for the chemicals to finish the curing and bleaching process.
You will have a much easier time taking care of the pebble finish than a plaster finish. The product's main and popular feature is that it is naturally forgiving. You will see variations in stone colors and concrete exposure. This is why Pebble surface camouflages many of the traditional problems with pool plaster—it is to be expected and is desirable.
- Startup & Orientation When do I learn how to use the pool?
At startup we turn the pool on and check the system to make sure everything is working properly. Then, at the orientation, you will be told everything you wanted to know about a pool and probably even more than that. Plus, we show you how to work the pump, filter, light and the rest of the equipment. Video cameras are permitted and encouraged.
You can also refer to our Pool Care FAQs here some of the most common questions. Also, you can request a re-instruction at no charge within 30 days. We recommend you wait about a week before requesting a re-instruction. By then, you will have specific questions that can be addressed.
When can I swim?
Is it hot out? Is the pool full? Go have fun, and thanks for choosing Specialized Pool Services!