by Sam Hickey | Aug 7, 2020 | Construction Guide, Pool Design
Looking to upgrade your backyard even more? Why not add the ultimate summer feature–a swimming pool! Your family will love the chance to go swimming even in the era of social distancing.
Before You Start Digging
Installing a swimming pool isn’t as simple as lining a hole with concrete and filling it with water. Not only do you have to find someone you trust to install it, but you also have to consider your long-term plans and work around whatever backyard features you already have. Here are just a few things to remember during your pool design process:
- Future backyard renovations
- Current backyard features
- Finding a reliable contractor
1) Future Backyard Renovations
Do you have future projects planned for your backyard? If you’re trying to design an outdoor space fit for hosting, you may also be considering features like an outdoor kitchen or a shaded dining area. You won’t want to have to move a pool pipe to make room for a propane line later! Have a clear image in your mind of where you should or shouldn’t place your pool hardware.
2) Current Backyard Features
What’s in your backyard already? Aside from decorative features like plants, consider any electric or gas appliances with buried pipes or cables. Their placement will influence your pool shape and where all the hardware ends up.
Pro Tip: A lot of important factors go into designing your new swimming pool. Don’t get overwhelmed–focus on one thing at a time.
3) Finding a Reliable Contractor
Finally, hire a pool contractor you know you can trust. You’ll have this swimming pool for years–you want it to be high-quality and reliable! With a general outdoor renovation company, you can rest assured the team will take your entire backyard and your future design plans into account during your pool construction.
Get Ready for Your New Pool
Once these primary factors have been dealt with, it’s time to start designing your swimming pool! Your contractor will help you find the right features and style. Design the pool of your dreams to add that finishing touch to your yard!
Get in touch with us to see what your completed pool could look like.
by Sam Hickey | Jul 10, 2020 | Construction Guide, Design Inspiration, Outdoor Kitchen
Designing an outdoor kitchen means designing a space that can withstand the elements on a daily basis. Certain features or construction materials that are perfectly acceptable indoors can’t survive outside. This is particularly important when it comes to outdoor kitchen flooring materials. The floor will inevitably be covered in dirt or splashed pool water at some point, so it had better be strong enough to withstand abuse.
Durable Flooring Materials
Two common types of material are often used for outdoor kitchen floors: concrete or a form of treated wood. Both have their pros and cons depending on your local climate and decorative preferences. Before building your outdoor kitchen, look over this list of popular flooring materials and consider which type will work best for you:
- Pressure-treated lumber
- Composite wood
1) Pressure-Treated Lumber
Using high pressure, preserving agents are forced deep into wood to create pressure-treated lumber. This type of wood stands up remarkably well to moisture, making it an ideal choice for humid environments. Pressure-treated lumber is easily manufactured and relatively inexpensive compared to other materials, but does require annual maintenance to retain its appealing color.
Cedar wood has a well-deserved reputation for being beautiful and resistant to both rot and bugs. While it does cost slightly more than pressure-treated lumber, it’s also very durable and will last for many years without rotting or weakening. The only potential drawback is the color. Over time, cedar weathers to a silvery gray color. Many homeowners still love this color, but if you’re looking for an outdoor space that looks the same for years, cedar may not be for you.
Redwood may have a higher price tag than other natural wood floorings, but it’s very much worth it. This wood already resists rot on its own, and once sealed, it lasts longer than any other wood floorings on the market. Better yet, redwood retains its color far longer than cedar. It still fades with time, but the vibrant reddish color will last for years.
4) Composite Wood
Strictly speaking, composite wood is not true wood, but a convincing copy. This material consists of plastic and wood fibers pressed tightly together into boards. Composite wood looks and feels virtually identical to genuine wood, but due to its high plastic content, it lasts far longer. It also requires virtually no maintenance. Plastic can’t soak up water or rot, after all!
Wooden flooring provides an elegant flair that is difficult to duplicate. However, homeowners who prefer a low-cost, low-maintenance, and durable flooring material will appreciate concrete. If the idea of a gray, lifeless concrete floor sounds unappealing, don’t worry–concrete is a remarkably versatile material! Concrete can be stained a variety of colors or even stamped with textures that resemble elegant bricks or tiles. Repairs are very straightforward as well. While constant use will eventually cause concrete to chip or crack, replacing the slab costs significantly less than repairing a wooden floor.
Pro Tip: Stamped concrete laid by a professional looks identical to color bricks or tiles. This style of flooring gives you an elegant aesthetic at a fraction of the cost of other materials!
Creating an Appealing Outdoor Space
There’s no “correct” choice for flooring materials used outdoors. However, beginning the project with an understanding of your local climate and maintenance schedule will help you find the best material for your particular outdoor kitchen.
Connect with us to browse our outdoor living designs and building materials.
by Sam Hickey | Nov 1, 2019 | Construction Guide, Custom Pool
It’s finally time to upgrade your backyard with a new swimming pool! Once you know the design and type you’d prefer, the next question is when to build this pool. Eager homeowners may be tempted to get their pool installed as soon as possible so they can start enjoying it sooner. However, there may be very good reasons to delay construction.
When’s the best time to build a pool? There’s no definite answer to this question. Some contractors offer different prices at different times of the year, meaning that waiting for an off-season may save you some money. On the other hand, you may have other work in progress that could hinder swimming pool construction. Consider these variables before you schedule dig day.
Especially in Houston, summer is considered the peak month for swimming pool shopping and usage. However, the weather may have other consequences. With an increase in demand, you can expect pool prices to increase during the busy season. Additionally, waiting till summer to schedule your pool installation could mean you’re competing against hundreds of other homeowners who also wanted a summer pool. Not only does this mean you’ll end up waiting longer, but you also run the risk of busy contractors being distracted and not spending as much time on your pool as you’d prefer. Talk to your pool builder about off-season construction for a less hectic option.
What’s next on your backyard plan after a swimming pool? If you’re planning to add multiple other large features, like an outdoor kitchen or pergola, you’ll need to consult your pool contractor about the order of events. All the underground pipes and wires needed for an outdoor kitchen could clash with your pool’s drainage system, for instance. To keep your project simpler and less likely to cause problems, you may want to opt to install your additional features first and wait on the pool.
Pro Tip: Your contractor can probably have an outdoor kitchen and swimming pool project running simultaneously in your backyard. See if they can help you speed up the process a little more.
As mentioned earlier, summer is generally considered a peak swimming pool season. Consequently, pool contractors will be busy with hundreds of clients and you may find yourself waiting a long time for construction to finish. Worse, you may not be able to get your project scheduled in the summer at all. Why not start earlier? If you hire a contractor in the off-season of fall or even winter, when Houston temperatures are milder, you can rest assured your pool will be in proper working order long before summer comes.
Planning Your New Pool
Building a swimming pool is a major project for any homeowner. Since this is ultimately an addition to your house that you and your family will use for the foreseeable future, make sure the installation timing and plan work for you. Get your dream pool during the best time of year for construction!
Join the conversation and stay up-to-date with the latest pool tips, tricks, and trends.
by Sam Hickey | May 24, 2019 | Construction Guide
If you’re interested in a new swimming pool but don’t know where to start, you might want to first get an overview of the entire project. Although it would be convenient, your pool won’t be done in one day. Let’s look at what you can expect from each stage of the construction work.
The Construction Process
Each step in the construction process can last anywhere from one day to a few weeks, depending on multiple factors not always in your control. But each stage is crucial to giving you a long-lasting, stylish new pool. The project will generally consist of these basic stages:
- Plumbing and reinforcements
- Concrete and tile
- Electricity and tests
- Finishing surface
- Final touches
Construction can’t begin without a pool design! You’ll start by going over your ideas and any questions with a pool design professional to discuss any special features or other preferences you may have. Once your design is complete, you’ll have a good idea of how the finished product will look!
Pro Tip: Once you have your pool design complete, try not to make changes at the last second or during construction. This will only extend your anticipated pool completion date.
Time to start digging! At this point, the pool builders will bring heavy machinery into your backyard and excavate the space for your future pool. Generally, you can expect this process to take at least a full day. If the weather causes problems, the crew hits bedrock, or your pool is simply bigger than usual, excavation could take longer depending on how quickly the problem is resolved.
3) Plumbing and Reinforcements
Your pool will, of course, need pipes to pump the water and a structural steel skeleton to support the structure. Once the excavation is complete, plumbers will install the necessary machinery in preparation for the next step.
4) Concrete and Tile
Your pool shell–the “bowl” of the pool that contains the water and withstands pressure from surrounding earth–will be made of concrete, gunite, or a similar material. The construction crew will pour the concrete over the metal skeleton, and then line the shell with capstones and lining to aid with future draining. Your pool will start to look finished at this point, but don’t get too excited yet! You’re just halfway done.
5) Electricity and Tests
Now that your pool has a definite shape and structure, it’s time to put in the electrical components. At this point, you’ll see the pump motors and other key pieces installed. The construction crew will also test everything repeatedly and likely bring in a city inspector to complete the work.
6) Finishing Surface
Your pool may have a shell and all its equipment, but it’s not waterproof until the construction crew has coated the shell in plaster. This is the fastest stage, averaging three to five hours. Make sure to listen to any instructions the crew has about basic plaster maintenance.
7) Filling the Pool
Your pool is finally waterproof and ready to fill! The plaster will dry quickly and allow the builders to start filling your pool almost immediately after they’re done. Once the pool is filled to a safe level, it’s done–you’re ready to start swimming!
Be Ready for Things to Change
Even if you have a good idea of what the construction process will be like, unpredictable problems such as bad weather or delayed building materials can stall the project temporarily. Don’t worry, the crew wants to finish quickly too! You’ll still get a great pool even if you have to wait a few more days.
Ready to start the process for yourself? Connect with us to talk with a pool designer and see what we can build for you!
by Sam Hickey | May 17, 2019 | Construction Guide, Custom Pool
Once you have an idea of what kind of pool you want, it’s time to look for a pool building company to make your dream a reality. But don’t just hire the first company that shows up on Google. As the future owner of a swimming pool, you owe it to yourself to know exactly what you’re getting into.
Swimming Pool Questions and Answers
Remember that the pool builder is working for you, and the final swimming pool will be a part of your home for the foreseeable future. Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you’re fully satisfied. Here are a few important questions to start with:
- Can they accommodate all your requests?
- Do they have a good reputation and good reviews?
- What plumbing, electrical, etc. needs will the finished pool have?
- What will the complete project cost?
- What warranties or insurance are available?
- What building materials will be used?
- What maintenance will the completed pool require?
1) Can They Accommodate All Your Requests?
You probably have an idea of the shape, size, custom features, etc. you want for your swimming pool. See how much your pool builder can create for you. Be prepared for the unexpected when it comes to new pool construction. You may have to scale your project down slightly if your original ideas are too expensive or complex, but don’t give up on your dream pool. Keep looking until you find a pool builder that can make your dream come true.
2) Do They Have a Good Reputation and Good Reviews?
Customer testimonials, while not necessarily a dealbreaker, can give you an idea of a pool builder’s community standing. Do they do quality work and offer good customer service? How often do their pools need repairs done? Ask around and look online to see what kind of company you’re hiring.
3) What Plumbing, Electrical, Etc. Needs Will the Finished Pool Have?
This partially depends on how many custom features you want to be included in or near your swimming pool. Make sure you know what kind of mechanics will be in the finished product. This will give you an idea of how frequently maintenance will be required and how much repairs can potentially cost you.
4) What Will the Complete Project Cost?
Don’t let yourself be surprised by the price. Before you sign the contract, make sure you know down to the penny how much your swimming pool project will cost. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people rush into a project without considering the total cost. Make sure you know how much you’ll be spending.
Pro Tip: Don’t default to the pool builder with the lowest price. You may be getting a good deal on paper, but the lower cost may indicate the builder will cut corners elsewhere and leave you with a defective pool.
5) What Warranties or Insurance Are Available?
Whether due to damage or wear and tear from age, your swimming pool will need repairs from time to time. A reputable pool builder will offer insurance and limited repairs for your pool, though exact services will vary. Ask about future repairs and how much you can expect to pay for them.
6) What Building Materials Will Be Used?
The more durable the building materials in your pool, the fewer repairs it will need and the longer it will last. Ask for details on construction materials and additional costs for upgrading to more durable ones if necessary.
7) What Maintenance Will the Completed Pool Require?
Finally, make sure you know how to care for your pool when it’s finished. Will you have to regularly call in professional help for maintenance, or will the biggest chore be pulling bugs and loose leaves out of the water with a net? See how much time and money will go into keeping the pool functioning.
Creating Your Dream Pool for Houston Summers
Your swimming pool will add value to your home and provide hours of entertainment for years to come. You deserve the best. Before any construction begins, make sure to get swimming pool questions and answers from your pool builder.
Want to learn more about designing your dream pool? Join the conversation to speak with our professional pool designers!
by Sam Hickey | May 10, 2019 | Construction Guide, Custom Pool
You probably don’t want to wait too long to use your brand new pool. Rest assured that your construction team also wants to finish the job quickly to move on to other work! Exact times can vary greatly, but your pool should be completed reasonably fast.
For a no-complications pool building project, you can expect to wait about 6-8 weeks. Of course, delays will happen. Multiple problems can add days or weeks to your waiting time. Here’s everything you need to consider when it comes to installing an inground pool.
That waterfall will look amazing when it’s completed, but it will probably add an extra few days to your pool installation. The more custom features you want, the longer construction will take. As you customize your pool to your heart’s content, prepare yourself to wait a little longer.
Pro Tip: Don’t make changes to your pool design once construction starts. The builders may have to undo some progress to add in your new ideas, consuming yet more time.
Unpredictable Houston weather could cost your pool builders valuable construction time if constant rain or overwhelming heat makes it impossible to work. There isn’t really a good way to solve this problem. Your best bet is just to wait for the weather to improve so work can resume.
Building Material Delays
Finally, sometimes a material supplier won’t ship the necessary tiles, concrete, or other necessities in time, leading to a delay on your pool project. Your pool builders might be able to speed up the delivery if this happens, but chances are, you’ll just have to wait a little longer. You may be tempted to go to the hardware store and try to continue the work yourself, but don’t do that! When the materials arrive, having a weak spot in your new pool will just lead to disaster later.
Anticipating Your New Inground Pool
Delays can be frustrating, especially when they’re out of your control. Just remember that you can reduce some of the most common delays by choosing easily shipped building materials and a good time of year for the construction. While unexpected problems might still occur, at the very least you can reduce them.
Excited for your new pool? Connect with us and see what the finished product will look like!