Hey friends! If you follow us on Social Media at all, you saw that we are adding a pool to our farm! We are super excited & this decision wasn’t made lightly. Here is a little blurb that I shared when we announced our pool on Instagram: “We are so excited to be adding to our farm & this decision didn’t come lightly, but with all the recent events we are turning our five year plan here on the farm into our “this year plan” here on the farm. Our dream was always to add a pool one day, but what better day than today to turn our cancelled vacations & our stay at home summer into a lifelong of summer memories. I’m excited to show you guys the process, hopefully help in some way with tips & tricks, & of course share the fun we have when we can finally use it.”
We got a lot of questions as I’ve been sharing the process so I thought I would compile some of them here. I will be adding more as they come in. I hope this helps some of you considering a pool or who are just curious about ours. Thank you for stopping by!
Why did you go with a liner pool?
We went with a Vinyl Liner over a Fiberglass and Concrete. Before we get into the popular options in our area, we want to point out we live in Michigan, were we have freezing winters and summers in the mid to high 90’s. Also, we live on Clay soil all the way down to the very bottom of our pool dig.
Fiberglass pools are installed in our area, but have potential for “floating.” What that means is due to moisture that is held in clay, and drastic changes in temperature from freezing winters to 100 degree summers, fiberglass pools can pop out of the ground costing significant damage to your pool and equipment, and may not bet repairable. These type of pools are not very customizable when it comes to shapes and options. The pro’s to these pools are they have low maintenance cost, takes a long time to fade color and may not need to be resurfaced.
We outweighed vinyl verse Concrete heavily for our pool, and these are the items that we drew on that helped us pick vinyl. Concrete pools are completely customizable (which we loved) but are much more expensive, and take longer design and install. The walls are porous and generally require a little more attention to keep the pool clean and balanced. The concrete does have the potential could crack due to freezing and unfreezing over time. Cement pools are recommended to have acid washes 10-15 years and resurface the cement 5-7 (the same amount of suggestive lifetime of a vinyl liner). We also like how durable (from use) in comparison to vinyl liner. It is not recommend that dogs that shed get in any type of pool as their hair could cause damage to the filtration system, but a dog could puncture a vinyl linter with their nails, in comparison to cement, they could cause very little damage.
Vinyl Liners are the cheapest type to install. Vinyl is nonporous and which mitigates algae. It is more customizable than fiberglass, but not as customizable as concrete. Our sun ledge is a concrete form with the vinyl liner overtop. The movement the vinyl linger has in relation to the ground and changes in temperature allowing for movement around the pool area. We upgraded our liner to a higher mill (thickness) to mitigate punctures. The amount we saved from a concrete pool, we were able to added our sun-ledge and extend our pool to the overall size it is now.
When installing the vinyl liner, the installers dug out the pool with a backhoe. And then fine tuned the shape of the pool with pick axes and shovels. Once the shape was to their liking they laid a small layer of stone across the base of the pool. Then they installed the steel walls the surround the pool, bolted and bracketed together. They all have footers that are cemented on the outside to keep them from moving. From there they laid vermiculite across the entire bottom, grade, and sides that led up the steel walls. Vermiculite is a cement and cork-like mixture that is porous and structurally hardened, but the cork mix allows for any moisture to pass through onto the lowest point of our pool area, this mitigates moisture and water from building up, underneath the liner.
What liner did you choose?
We chose Black Galaxy. The base of the color is black with little blue speckles scattered around the entire liner. You can completely customize your liners to help identify water lines, or change the design from pool floor to steps. We really enjoyed the seamless look all the way up the walls and steps. You can see the pool liner online [HERE].
Salt or Chlorine?
We went with salt. Misconception for us was that salt water pools were maintenance and chemical free, this is not necessarily true. Salt water pools have a generator the turns salt into chlorine. From what we understand, the cost is somewhat relative, little more upfront cost with lower monthly cost, versus a lower upfront cost with more expensive monthly cost. We like that the generator can help determine how much or how little salt to convert, but regular monitoring is still needed, just like the chlorine pool. We do like how salt water can be better for sensitive skin, less harmful on the eyes, and have less of the chlorine smell (if that bothers you, it doesn’t us).
Can you see the bottom?
Yes. Just because we chose a dark liner, the pool water is still very clear. You can see all the way down to the bottom, and can easily see the two drains located at the bottom.
What are you doing around the pool?
We are still figuring out the final details but we are looking at eventually adding an outdoor kitchen, a deck, cupola, seating areas, and a fireplace. We would like to tie the space into our garage equipped with an outdoor bathroom to save on the trips in and out of the house when we have larger gatherings. We are thinking of making a large grass area within our fenced in space to allow for outdoor yard games like badminton and croquet. One of our upcoming remodels is moving our main bedroom suite two the lower level which would have doors come right out into the pool area, which was a huge selling point for Jose.
Who did your pool?
Pools Plus of Michigan installed our pool, and we are over the moon happy and impressed with the install. If you are in the West Michigan area, we highly recommend using them.
What is your soil?
We do live on clay soil throughout the entire farm. We new it was pretty heavy clay, but found out how bad, when it was clay the entire dig all the way down to the deep end.
Will you have a fence?
Yes! We have a temporary fence in, installed by Pools Plus. This is a requirement, as soon as water goes in the pool a fence is required for safety. The timeline of everything from here in our area is, two weeks after the pool is installed cement can go in the surround of the pool. Once the cement is in the final fence can be installed. So we are going to do our best to knock out a bunch of landscape prep our our tractor and other machinery to make the landscape project easy after the fence goes in. We are adding a larger double swing gate to allow for machines to go into the pool area when needed.
How big is your pool?
Our overall dimensions are 20 x 48 with the deepest part at 8 feet 6 inches. The breakdown, we have an eight foot sun ledge, which is a larger platform at the top stop that holds about 2-4 inches of water, and then proceed down the remaining steps. We got this really for Cope, but they make lounge chairs that allow for you to sit just barely in the water which we are looking forward too. From there there is 40 feet of swimming area, with the shallow being 3 feet and deep being 8 feet 6 inches.
How long did it take to install
The initial install timeframe was about 5 days, from breaking ground to liner and water. We were right on schedule with that, however we received a really bad rain, right before they laid the vermiculite pool base. This impacted the overall grade and shaping of the pool, but reinforced our decision to install the under drain system. They needed to drain out all of the rain water with a sump pump, and re-shape the decent to the deep end. This pool took 7 working days to install, probably could have been 6 but the water truck was booked.
Did you get a pool heater?
Yes! We thought we would be able to enjoy our pool longer through the year in Michigan with a heater. We hope that our dark liner will also help keep it warm as well.
How Much does a pool cost where you are at?
Underground vinyl pools in our area with the company we went with start around $23,000 which is the base price. From there you can discuss with your pool company things you want to add, size you want, & all of the additions that come with a pool. The payments for us were spread out over time which was very nice that it wasn’t all due at once.
We installed an under drain. This is a drain that is below the deep end and technically outside the area of the pool. The function of the under drain is to allow for any water build up, under the pool to be pumped out keeping the structure of the pool dry and sound. Too much water below may allow bubble underneath the pool deep end and cause damage to the liner and drain hookup. The under drain is plumbed into our pump system, a quick turn of a level and our pool pump turn into under drain pump.
We upgraded to two skimmers, two inch piping, and a variable speed pool pump. This gets a bit technical, but the skimmers are the white boxes you see in most pools, they help circulate the water and catch any debris on the top of the pool. This was mentioned it was leaning on the side of overkill, but with the sun ledge it can be difficult for one skimmer to manage that ledge. Two inch piping upgrade was due to the increase variable four speed motor. Variable speed motors are becoming the new standard from where we are told, but it makes perfect sense to us. The pump can change how hard it is working based on the current state of the pool and different functions we are preforming. Running at lower speeds when people are in the water helping circulate the water has reduce overall cost, and running at faster speeds when the pool is sitting will help our cleaning robot keep the pool clean and clear.
Dolphin pool cleaning robot. The pool cleaning robots have come along way since my parent pool growing up. The dolphin robot hooks to your pump system, and skims the bottom and sides of the pool keeping the liner and water clean and clear.
I hope this helps those of you, how said they had a lot of questions regarding pools and the process it takes to install them. We are so excited to build memories, and we cannot wait to share more about the process. Jose grew up with a pool, but as a family we are very knew to the pool process, so as we learn we will continue to share more about being pool owners. Thank you again for all the comments on IG and thank you for stopping by the blog today and every other day.