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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the scenario. last fall/winter a ground hog tunneled under our old pool and chewed a hole in the liner, it drained, and collapsed during the winter. Here's a pic of the start of the demolition.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
the next step was to excavate the site to the dimensions of the new pool (11' longer). This was quite a task because of all the rain we had this spring. We were very close to just filling in the hole and throwing the hole project away. We had continual collapses and mudslides. A fiberglass pool just needs a firm base, so we were able to make a gravel pit and keep the water level down low enough to allow the install. typical liner pools would have NEVER been able to install in this hole this spring, it was just too wet. here's the hole prepped with gravel in the bottom awaiting the pool.

Edit, you can see all the mud we excavated (this side of the pool) that morning from the night's mudslide.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
the pool came from the factory in jersey on an oversize load trailer. the high side is over traffic and the low side was only about 8" off the ground. As people drove by this thing in our drive they had a "WTF! is that?!" look on their faces, it looked like something out of an amusement park to me.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
this picture is after we rolled it off the trailer and into teh grass, it's now in position to be spun around. (note, the deep end is in the wrong end for the hole)

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
here its in the hole, centered, and plumbed with flexible hoses. we're ready for backfilling 17 yd's worth of 3/8" pea gravel as we similtaniously fill the pool with water.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
here we're filling the pool with listerine (this is what i told my gullible neighbor who asked why the water was blue).

We were unable to use a tanker truck for filling because of the soggy base, we filled the pool using the sunk pump under all the gravel! all in all we spread the filling over 9 days (rain delay and couldn't get more fill in) and pumped 20,000 gallons of water from the hole into the pool!

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
after it dried out, we got more fill in and graded the area smooth with a L35 w/ a york rake.

we used 60 yd's of fill total for back filling and grading.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
we got a delivery of item #4 in for the patio base, We used a Komatsu dozer with a 6way blade to spread it. We also used a lazer level.

You can see we also poured concrete for the ladder bases and the diving board. We used a tamper to finalize teh grading process.

We also used stakes and strings to grade the area, these were set using a rotating lazer level.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
after the item #4 we used 1" of stone dust to set the pavers on. We used 20' lengths of 1" PVC to screed.

Note how we made the mistake of choosing a 3 brick pattern. This was the major time consumption during the paver install. Even now after i've laid about 700 sqft of the pattern i still don't know it, and i have to constantly double check my progress.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We're about 50% done here, you can see we took our time and got the pavers almost perfectly straight. The very next day we ran the tamper over before we filled the cracks with stone dust to lock them. All of our hard work keeping them straight went right out the window. We fixed the major kinks, but there was simply just too much sq footage to fix them all. The lesson has been learned, and won't be repeated on my next job.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
here's a pic of the patio with the retaining wall around . We got screwed by unilock on this, When we ordered materials we only had the wall and pavers delivered. When we went to pick up the caps for teh wall they said they ran out and factory would have more produced soon. So we call, and it keeps getting pushed off. Finally we get some. The only problem is they don't fit. Unilock changed the dimensions of the Reverse-A-Cap's. Our wall was now 1/2" too low!! luckily the rain had delayed us and we only had put down about 30' of wall at this point. It was a major PITA, unilock basically told us we were SOL and there was nothing they could do about it.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
heres a view of the far side of the pool's retaining wall, it's 2 courses high as you can see and we got it very straight using some string. we used the kubota L35 to dig the wall to the right depth using a cheap single point/non rotating level mounted to a tri-pod. We marked the bucket to teh right height and drove. afterwards we layed some pipe down and filled it with stone dust and tamped it down. this made laying the base level of the wall very quick combined with the string to keep them all wicked straight.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
last one here. We used a 20 Ton log splitter to split the Pisa II double unit wall pieces. This method worked well for me since i'm a one man band and couldn't waste time splitting each one by hand off the pallet as i went. This way i was able to rip through laying them. I laid the base layer in the previous picture in about 45 minutes and its about 55' long.

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If you had to do it all over again, would you not go with the fiberglass pool? (probably homeowner's choice).

The reason that I ask is that I dealt with one that someone else installed. It just plain did not come out level because it had a slight buckle. The installer felt that he had done everything he could, but it just could not be filled and backfilled that precisely.

It appears to me that it may have happened to you as well if the waterline is not giving me an optical illussion.

How did you make out for level on the pool edge? Do you think that it is managable to get a good level final pool edge? If so, it seems like a very cost effective way to do a pool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
What i've learned from this project is you need the right tools for the job:

I bought a 4 wheel landscape wagon that really helped move pavers and wall pieces and caps around.

the Kubota L35 was very helpful for the base layers and other stuff. However a bobcat would have been a much more universal tool to use for diggin the retaining wall bases (too small of an area for the L35) as well as moving Item #4 around.

don't use the tamper till AFTER you fill in the cracks

handle materials as LITTLE as possible, moving them 3 times is much wasted time and energy.

use a string ALL the time. I "eyeballed" one section of pavers going around the shallow end. I just spent a few hours today ripping them out and using a string to keep them parrallel and straight.


Over all the project has taken a little while since i'm doing it when i have time and as the weather co-operates. I'm very pleased with the results an we get random people that stop on the road and comment on it. This was my first paver and retaining wall project. I was a little hesitant at first due to the shear size of it (1000sqft of patio plus the walls.)

Comments or questions? good or bad i'll take them all since this was a learning project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Originally posted by AGLA
If you had to do it all over again, would you not go with the fiberglass pool? (probably homeowner's choice).

The reason that I ask is that I dealt with one that someone else installed. It just plain did not come out level because it had a slight buckle. The installer felt that he had done everything he could, but it just could not be filled and backfilled that precisely.

It appears to me that it may have happened to you as well if the waterline is not giving me an optical illussion.

How did you make out for level on the pool edge? Do you think that it is managable to get a good level final pool edge? If so, it seems like a very cost effective way to do a pool.
The homeowner was my father who is a "DIY" kind of person. We took offers from people with concrete and lined pools and we just stumbled upon the fiberglass pool one day when my uncle saw one go down the road.

Like you mentioned, there is no optical illusion. I don't believe there was a problem with the install it self since we filled and backfilled similtaniously for over a week cause of the weather. We do have low and high spots in the fiberglass which i believe is more of a factory defect. We tried correcting it but there isn't much you can do.

the edge is OK so far, there will be high spots where it might be 1 - 2" higher than the other. this is spread out over 40' so it does blend a little. but you can still see it.

For the money i don't believe there is a better way to do a kidney shaped pool. we really like the shape. everyone's pools around here are rectangles and are lined or concrete. The pool itself is about 60% the cost of an installed lined square pool. (which we would have not been able to install this spring due to all the rain we had).

Would i do it again? absolutely. People absolutely love the shape and size of the pool and no one believes that its a pre-formed, one piece tub that came down the highway. The only thing i would change is i would talk one on one with the factory to really tell them i want a extremely level sided pool, or they're not getting paid.
 
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