We went through a large remodel of our home and after appraisal of our finished work, we were pleasantly surprised to come out much better in our equity probably as we had done most of the work ourselves.
We had always wanted a pool but feared the constant maintenance required to keep one in good condition. Our neighbors had recently put a fiberglass pool in and we were invited to take a look at it. I thought it looked great. So, we researched the differences in all the types of pools and their various pros and cons and decided that a fiberglass pool suited our needs perfectly. We found a dealer in Atlanta who actually manufactured them on site so we could get a very good price on it since we would be buying direct and not shipping far. Before we drove to Jonesboro to look at the pools in their raw form, we decided to get a few bids from local pool installers for the same type of pool to see what savings we would be getting and whether it would be worth it to take on the DIY portion.
Without any fancy decking, just brushed concrete and no fencing (our 4 acres are already fenced and basically pass "code" even though this is not ideal for us. The fully installed bids ranged from 35, 000 to 52, 000, basically to do what Tallman was going to do - delivery it, and hook it up. The only extra they were going to do is dig the hole and pour the concrete.
So we decided to do it ourselves. We had to have 2 tons of sand delivered, have a crane on site to lift the pool over the house to the pool site and to set it in place. We were provided a dig plan by the pool company and the hole had to be ready 2 days before the pool arrived. The installers came out the night before and checked the hole's accuracy. It wasn't quite right, but they thought they could build it up the next day with sand. We had to rent a backhoe and driver for two days for leveling and to put sand in place on the bottom and then on the sides as the pool was filled with water. This protects the fiberglass from being punctured by sharp rocks and avoids bulges as water fills, The water packs the sand and nature levels it out with the weight of the water. The pool was left to fill overnight and the Tallman group came back the next day and hooked the pump, salt chlorination system, filtration system and heater up. By the time they left, the pool was sparkly blue, although surrounded by red clay mud.
We covered the pool with a pool cover and designed a big deck area and hired concrete installers to pour the concrete with the next week. We wanted stamped concreted, but couldn't afford it, we ended up with brushed painted concrete. Another mistake that we made was in not instructing the concrete installers to leave enough room to place coping over the pool's edge. It would look a lot better if we could use paving stone or glass tile to cope the edges and reduce the appearance of iron stain on the edges of the pool that we get each fall during the leaf shed. We have a lot of trees around the perimeter and when the leaves shed, the negative ions in the fiberglass are attracted to the iron in the water, which is hastened by the organic material in the water. We use a leaf catch coveer, so the leaves stay on top of the water isolating the stains to the top. Each spring, my husband and I have to use ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and etch off the iron stains around the perimeter. I work the shallow end and he works the deep end. It is the only complaint I have about the pool.
Based on the fact that we have a salt chlorinating unit that makes chlorine by breaking down sodium chloride (salt) into chlorine we don't have to add chemicals to our water and you don't get that "pool" smell. It took about 50 bags of salt initially and about a bag a year due to splash out and backflushing. The best thing about the salt chlorinating system is there is enough chlorine in the water to keep it clean and sparkly, but it is not harsh. There is no "pool smell". You can open your eyes underwater with no sting because there is no more salt in the water than there is in your own tears! We never get algae blooms and with the Polaris running off the skimmer all the time, the pool stays spotless (except for the iron stains and that is really no big deal) and I can honestly say it is hassle and maintenance free. And it has a killer heater. So we can open in mid April and swim until late November. Who could ask for more?
They used to say that pools brought the value of a home down. I researched this then and tonight when I wrote this review. Due to gas prices rising, more people are choosing to retreat at home and pools are on the rise and actually raise the price of a home. And Fiberglass in-grounds are the number one choice. Gunnites are too expensive and take too long to install. Vinyls have to be replaced too often and above grounds don't add value to the home.
So if you want a pool and want it as an investment and are willing to do some of the work and coordination yourself, Tallman Fiberglass Pools can't be beat.
One thing to note, we decided to over size our heater. The proper size for the pool is a 125, 000 BTU heater, but it takes about 6 hours to swim comfortably in April. We got a 400, 000 BTU heater, which allows us to turn the unit on only when we are in the water, which actually saves us money.
Our pool area cost us somewhere between $35, 000 and $40, 000 and you may think that sounds so close to the full installers bid, why did we do it ourselves? Because with the money we spent, we also got a 55 x 55 brushed concrete deck, the 16 x 16 stone poolhouse with concession stand, completed furnished with appliances, cooking area, bathroom and changing area, all the pool furniture and swim toys, the leaf and winter covers, including the automatic rollup system, the stone for the post, poolhouse and a 40 foot by 10 foot retaining wall to block the north wind with a lion fountain that spits into the pool. We also got a beautiful stair step planter system with wrought iron railing, gates with child security locks and all the landscaping.
All of that installed by professionals, I have no clue what it would have cost, but I know that my husband, myself and the corgis would not be swimming at our house. Ever. We have never regretted one moment of it. Ok during it, yes, but not after it was done and we were swimming in it. We could not have used a portion of our equity to a better use. It is the most relaxing way to spend a weekend.
And we finally get to see our nieces and nephews! What do you know? Amazing huh?