Frequently Asked Questions
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Construction Schedule FAQ
Schedule of construction may vary depending upon a number of factors including weather, complexity of work etc.
Once all the required information is recieved and the permit application is completed and submitted, it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks depending on local township and complexity of design for the permits to be granted.
Lay Out Pool
Frame pool with wood to match shape on your print. Next the track hoe digs pool while walls are handed shaped.
Steel (rebar) is placed in pool to form what will become a steel cage.
Plumbing is installed that will not be accessible after concrete is sprayed i.e.. main drains, fountains, jets, in floor cleaners.
City or county inspect the job to assure all work meets code.
High strength concrete (4000 psi) is applied pneumatically at 200 lbs. of pressure to ensure the highest quality shell.
Wood forms are removed and deck area is graded.
Pool equipment is set on site. All lines are connected to proper inlets and outlets on pool and pressure test.
Tile or Brick
Coping installed around perimeter of pool and/or spa. Prep pool for interior finish.
Construction Debris Removed From Pool
Pool is washed with acid. Power is run to pool equipment location. Panel is set with breakers and timer. Equipment is hooked up. Deck is bonded. Lights are installed.
Concrete slab is poured with proper drainage and expansion control.
City or county checks to ensure all electric codes are met.
Waterproof marcite or exposed aggregate is installed. Exposed aggregate or marcite is washed. Pool is filled 24 to 48 hours.
Tile Is Cleaned
Pool is brushed.
Chemicals Are Balanced
Pumps are turned on 24 hours a day. Deck is cleaned. Yard clean up. Dirt is graded.
Pool Operation Instructions
Pool owner is instructed of proper pool care and maintenance of pool.
Pool Is Now Ready To Use
Be safe and have fun
What are softscapes, and hardscapes?
Softscape comprises of the animate, horticultural elements of landscape design, i.e. plants. Hardscape are the non animate design elements, such as edging, stone walls, tile patios, and brick walkways.
What should I spend on my landscaping project?
The rule of thumb for your dream landscape is between 15-25 % of the cost of your new home, or between 10-15 % to give your existing homes landscape a face lift. You may choose to spend more or less, but money put into landscaping will usually make your home more enjoyable, and build equity.
Should I question the landscapers plan, or his / her ideas?
The answer is YES! If you are unsure about a plan, or any aspect of the project you should say so. You have the right to have the yard the way YOU want it, not the way some landscaper wants it. It is much easier, and cheaper to change a project before it starts than after it is finished.
When should I trim my plants?
As a general rule soft stemmed plants such as Grasses, Daylilies, and Hostas, can be cut back in the fall. Woody plants such as Russian sage, or Butterfly bush, should wait till spring, but before budding.
What are the different sun distinctions, such as full sun partial sun and so on?
Full Sun – Receives at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Partial Sun – Receives at least 4 hours of sun a day.
Dappled Shade – Produced by trees and creates a moving pattern of sunlight and shade. This shade allows for the widest range of gardening options for growing both shade- and sun-loving plants.
Open Shade – Created in a north-facing yard for as many feet out as shade is cast by an adjoining wall, fence or building. The distance the shade is cast will vary with the season. This type of shade can be a challenge for growing shade-loving plants in the middle of summer as the hot afternoon and evening sun may cause burning of leaves.
Medium Shade – Occurs where open shade is further obscured by trees. Medium shade also occurs under decks and south-facing entrances with no direct sun.
Dense shade – The deepest shade, found where tall walls and fences block all but the narrowest strips of light. Dense shade can also occur under trees with dense foliage such as Norway maples and some conifers. Plant selection for dense shade is limited.
Dry shade – Any of the previous shade situations involving mature trees can also be dry shade. Dry shade occurs because most trees are shallow-rooted, removing nutrients and water from nearby plants.
When is the best time to seed my lawn?
Generally speaking it is best to do it either late Spring or the early Autumn.
What is the difference between seeding and sodding a lawn?
Sod is a strip of grass that is ready to be laid, usually coming in the size 3’x6′. Seed is much cheaper; however you have to wait for it to become established, usually at least 3 months.
When should I plant?
Ideally you should try and plant in the spring and the fall. Try to avoid extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Also, make sure that you water well especially for a few days / weeks after planting.
Why should I hire a professional to design my landscape plan?
A design professional has a lot of experience with both the softscapes, and hardscapes used in your area. They also have the knowledge to know what plants will work the best in what areas, and what will look the best when it is full grown. Last but certainly not least is that a landscape designer will be able to stop future problems such as drainage.
Why should I landscape my backyard?
Landscaping is one of the most cost effective ways to add value to your home, not to mention the aesthetic value it adds.
How do I prepare my pool for summer?
- If you use a solid winter cover, first drain off any standing water so that it doesn’t spill back into the pool
- Carefully remove the cover, sweep it and lay it out to dry
- This is a good time to clean the cover, either with a cover cleaner or water and a scrub brush
- Once it is thoroughly dry, fold and store in a dry place, out of sunlight
- Inspect the entire pool carefully for damage that may have taken place during the off season-especially leaks and tears in the vinyl liner or breaks and cracks in the plaster or tiles
- After inspection add water until the level reaches about halfway up the skimmer opening
- Remove any debris with a leaf net
- Make sure your pump, skimmer and filter are working properly
- If the filter was not chemically cleaned at the end of last season, clean it using a filter cleaner to remove hardened deposits which can hamper filter performance
- Run the pump while you vacuum
- Brush the pool thoroughly
- After running the pump for at least five hours, fill a clean plastic container with a quart of pool water and bring it in for a thorough analysis We will provide easy instructions for making the necessary adjustments to your pool’s water balance
At Levco Pools, we undertake pool opening at an affordable price. Contact us now to get more details about it.
How do I prepare my pool for winter? / How to close the pool?
- Fill a clean plastic container with a quart of pool water and take it to your pool professional for a thorough analysis. Your dealer will tell you exactly what your water needs to protect it from bacteria and algae during the winter. For many pools, a final addition of shock, top up of sanitizer, and an initial dose of algaecide will be the only treatment the water needs.
- Perform basic housekeeping chores: Brush and vacuum. Remove, clean, and store the skimmer basket and pump’s strainer basket. Clean the filter using a filter cleaner to quickly remove deposits that are apt to harden over the winter, saving you the extra work at the beginning of next season.
- For In Ground Pools: Put an equalizer plug in the skimmer (it is not necessary to lower the water level). Always follow the instructions in your pool owner’s manual if it says to do it differently.
- Drain the water from the pump, filter, heater, inline chlorinators, hoses and pipes.
- It is recommended that you can disconnect the entire unit and store it indoors.
- If you do, follow the manufacture’s recommendations for lubrication and storage.
- Use winterizing plugs to close off the return lines, vacuum line and skimmer. If you use a skimmer equalizer it is not necessary to drop the water.
- The purpose of covering a pool is to keep leaves and debris out of the water while it isn’t in use.
- If nothing foreign gets into the pool, there’s nothing to alter the water’s chemistry, so you won’t have to add chemicals to compensate for changes.
- It’s important to use a solid pool cover that fits well and is designed for your pool.
- If you decide not to cover your pool or to use a mesh cover, check the sanitizer and pH levels twice a month during the off-season and run your filter continuously 4-5 hours per day.
How often should I check my water?
Hot Tub or Spa – water should be checked three time per week for those using chlorine, bromine or a mineral purifier. One time per week for those using a biguinide product such as BaquaSpa. A water sample should be taken to the dealer for analysis one time per month.
Swimming Pool – During the swimming season the water should be tested daily or at least 4 times per week for those using chlorine, bromine or a mineral purifier. Those using biguinide products, such as Baquacil, should check the water one time per week. Because the water quality changes quickly on hot days it is important to not let it get out of hand or you may miss days of swimming because of dirty water. A water sample should be taken to the dealer for analysis two times per month.
What size heater is right for my pool or hot tub?
The heater size you need is based upon several factors, such as the ambient temperature change at your location during a 24 hour period and if you use an insulating cover.
Basically, how much heat is retained and how long you want the recovery time to be to reach your desired water temperature. Consider the following chart a guideline. Please contact one of our pool professionals at Classic Pool & Spa to answer further questions and discuss your options.
Helpful Hint: It is highly recommended that you purchase a solar blanket in conjunction with your new heater for your pool or spa. It does not allow your heated pool water to dissipate as quickly and is designed to utilize the sun to help to heat your pool through solar rays. A solar blanket will reduce your gas cost and keep you pool warmer – longer!
How do I clean my filter?
Cartridge type filter – Rinsed weekly, soaked in cleaner when water is changed, and replaced every two years.
- Remove the cartridge from the filter housing following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use a garden hose with a straight flow nozzle to wash down the filter element.
- Work from the top down holding the nozzle at a 45 degree angle and wash all the pleats with emphasis between pleats.
- Rinse until all dirt and debris gone.
- For all spa cartridges and elements used in swimming pools where perspiration, suntan lotions, and other oils are present; soak the element for at least one hour (over night is most effective) in a commercial filter cleaner, such as Filter Fresh.
- Rinse the cartridge again to remove oils and cleaning solution.
Sand type filter – Should be cleaned yearly and all sand changed every four to five years.
- Backwash and drain filter.
- Turn pump off.
- Place filter valve in the backwash position.
- Pour commercial filter cleaner into pump strainer.
- Turn pump on to fill filter.
- Turn pump off when water appears in the backwash sight glass.
- Leave filter in the backwash position and allow to soak 24 hours.
- Backwash the filter until the water in the sight glass is clear.
- Resume normal filter operation
What is a concrete pool and its details?
Concrete is the oldest method and the most labor intensive on the site. These pools are completely built on the site with steel-reinforced concrete. This allows almost infinite design flexibility.
Pool builders can use one of three methods to create a concrete shell: guniting, shotcreting, and pouring concrete. The most common – gunite and shotcrete – are pneumatically applied (applied with air pressure). The concrete is shot out of a nozzle and piled onto the earthen walls of the excavation and over the steel rebar reinforcement.
Pneumatically applying concrete was not the first method used to create a concrete shell. Originally, concrete pools were made of poured concrete, meaning workers create a set of forms and pour the concrete into the form to hold it into vertical walls. Shotcrete and guniting became the most common methods of concrete construction because they don’t require forms, making it quicker, less labor intensive and less expensive than pouring concrete.
Like all concrete structures, these pools can last decades when properly constructed. Improperly constructed, however, they can crack from ground movement caused by freeze/thaw cycles, high water tables, hillside locations, or by seismic activity. The cost goes up in areas with these conditions because extra reinforcing is needed to prevent movement. Because these pools are constructed entirely on site, the quality depends on the job’s craftspeople.
What is a Vinyl Pool?
Vinyl-liner (or package) pools are less time consuming and, in some regions, a less expensive method of construction. Installation of these pools requires assembling pre-manufactured wall panels and supports, then covering the hole with a vinyl liner. These pools are especially popular in cold-weather states because the panels have a certain degree of flex and hold up well under freeze/thaw conditions without extra reinforcement – or extra cost. Some people prefer the feel of the vinyl surface and believe the liners hold up to chemically treated water better than concrete. The components are pre-manufactured, which creates design limitations. But it also means that part of the quality controls is in the factory.
Wall systems generally are made of steel, polymer and aluminum. The most common (steel) is the least expensive, but can be subject to corrosion. This problem is becoming scarcer because manufacturers offer galvanizing and other treatments to prolong the life, with some manufacturers even offering lifetime warranties. Polymer walls are more easily formed into unusual shapes than metal and are said to better withstand ground conditions, but are more expensive. Aluminum is a strong material and the panels are lighter, making them easier to install and less expensive to ship. These panels are said to hold up well under various ground conditions, except acidic soil. However, aluminum wall systems are rarely used because of their expense.
What is a fiberglass pool?
Fiberglass pools are said to boast the benefits of concrete and vinyl – that is, the permanence of concrete, with the soft feel, flex, and chemical impervious of vinyl-liner pools. The nonporous material also is said to resist staining from algae or other factors. Its cost is comparable to, or higher than similar concrete pools. But manufactures and installers say the cost is offset by lower maintenance. Fiberglass pools are completely manufactured in a factory. This centralizes quality control, but it also limits shapes and sizes to those offered by the manufacturer.
Fiberglass pools are the quickest and easiest to install because they come in or rarely two pieces that simply need to be set in the hole and plugged into the plumbing and electricity.
How long does it take to install a pool?
Timelines depend on a number of circumstances, such as the type of construction (shotcrete/gunite vs. vinyl or fiberglass); complexity of the project; weather conditions; the number of clients already being served; and availability of subcontractors. On a project where a home or other building also is under construction, having to schedule around other trades may hold things up.
Concrete (shotcrete, gunite, poured concrete) construction will take the longest because the entire product is created on site from basic materials such as concrete, steel rebar, and plumbing. A basic pool (rectangular, no water features) on a property with an existing home can be built in four to six weeks, depending on the region. This timeline also assumes there is no interruption, everyone is immediately available and there are no scheduling, delivery, weather glitches, or change orders (meaning the clients change their minds about something or decide to add on something extra).
Completion may be delayed by rain or snow. Builders in cold-weather states generally try to complete construction before freezes hit. Sometimes, however, builders may have to stop construction midway until the weather warms up.
Project complexity and scale also have a tremendous effect on the timeline for concrete pools. While a basic pool may take only a few weeks, more intricate, large-scale pools have been known to take months and even years. Every stage, beginning with excavation, will take longer than with a small, basic pool. Also, some materials require extra time: Surfacing a complete pool with glass mosaic tile, for instance, can take weeks on its own because it is such meticulous work.
Vinyl-liner pools are assembled with wall panels made in a plant, so their installation generally happens more quickly. Under ideal conditions and without interruption, a basic vinyl-liner pool can be put together within two weeks after breaking ground.
Fiberglass pools are the most complete product when they enter the site. They are completely manufactured in the factory and only need to be dropped into an excavation and hooked up to plumbing and electricity. Under ideal conditions and without interruption, one-piece fiberglass pools can be up and running within two weeks of arrival on the site.
How much does pool service cost?
This depends on several variables: the region in which the customer lives (upper class, middle class, affluent and so on); the type of pool (simple rectangle or complex geometric with lots of bells and whistles), and the type of service desired. For instance, do you want cleaning and skimming, or do you want water balancing and sanitizing too? Do you want the equipment maintained? Do you want pool opening and closing service?
Most of these services are itemized on the bill. Average monthly pool maintenance bills can run from approximately $150 to $300 a month, depending on the types of services provided.
How long will the pool last?
This depends on several variables, including the type of pool installed, the quality of the installer, and the manufacturer. Properly installed concrete pools have lasted several decades. But this requires that the pool be properly engineered and built. Some package-pool (vinyl liner) manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their panels, and fiberglass manufacturers say the fiberglass makes their product inherently permanent.
How long before I have to redo the surface?
There are as many answers to this question as there are pool surfaces:
- Tile and stone surfaces, considered the most permanent, can be expected to last decades. Some tile or stones may have to be replaced and reinstalled if they pop out. The grout should last approximately 20 years.
- Plaster, the most common surface for concrete pools, needs resurfacing approximately every 12 to 15 years.
- The life of a vinyl liner depends on the quality of the liner and how well the water chemistry is balanced. Putting a cover on the pool will also extend the liner’s life. By some accounts, a vinyl liner’s life span is anywhere from six to 15 years. Some are guaranteed to hold water for up to 20 years. However, homeowners may want to replace them sooner as patterns begin to fade.
- Pebble and other aggregate surfaces are said to last as long as 15 to 20 years.
- Paint usually needs reapplication within 3 years.
- Fiberglass pool manufacturers say their pools never need resurfacing.
Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper if I service the pool myself?
It might be cheaper in the short run, but it could cost you plenty in the long run. Most pool owners start out thinking they can handle the service – until they realize what goes into keeping a poll safe and clean.
As a pool owner, do you understand the relationship between pH and total alkalinity (TA) and how it affects your water balance? If the pool changes color, will you know what’s causing it – algae or precipitating metals? Do you know what the Saturation Index is, and it’s significance? Do you know how to get the most life out of a circulation pump and prevent cavitation?
Most service technicians today are well trained, certified professionals who are experts in water chemistry, hydraulics, filtration, plumbing, electricity, and sanitization. An improperly maintained pool can make you and your family sick and can even pose dangers if total dissolved solids (TDS) levels rise to high, making the water too cloudy to see the bottom. If you hire a good pool service company, the money would be well spent for the peace of mind alone.