Avila Residence_Escondido CA_Custom Creations West_Pool Builder

The Devil is in the Details

How much does a pool cost?  We get asked this a lot.  Unfortunately, it’s not a straightforward answer. There are a lot of details to consider that drive the total cost of your pool. This blog addresses the many variables that impact the cost of your pool in your backyard.

 

CONDITIONS OF YOUR BACKYARD

Demolition – It takes labor, employees, and machines to break down a wall or remove a cement slab.  Then we have to dispose of the materials we demolished. If we’re breaking red brick, it gets disposed of by itself because it cannot be re-used. It has no value. If you have grass or weeds, they get disposed of at a different location. You cannot mix grass and/or weeds with fill dirt. Once the grass decomposes, you’re left with a number of voids in the dirt which could lead to a much bigger problem down the road if you’ve put a foundation on top and the voids cause it to crack.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Access Width – If you have 80” or more with a gate that opens and closes and allows us to get into and out of your backyard, we can use our largest machines which means quicker excavation time, fewer trips from the backyard to the front yard where the dump truck is waiting for all the dirt.  If you have 44” of access, we need our smallest machines which means more days on the job, additional employees, more trips back and forth, more gas, more wear and tear on the machine, and makes for a more expensive project.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Septic or Sewage – Do you know where the septic lines are? Do you have a leech line plan/map?

Easements – water lines, roads, different districts have different requirements, electrical, gas, etc… sometimes require special permissions from municipalities. Sometimes you can get them changed.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Setbacks – Some municipalities are 5’ from house, fence, property lines. Others are 3. Some allow for 2’ but require additional engineering. That additional engineering is known as a “Sur-Charge.”

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Rocks or Hard Dirt – We can’t see underground and won’t know until we start digging.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Irrigation Lines – we can’t see them and we’re here to dig you a pool.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Drain Lines – if they are in the way of the pool, they’re coming out and new ones should be used to ensure proper drainage.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the conditions of your backyard.

Fence Height – in most municipalities, the fence must be at least 60” high measured from the outer side of the fence.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Gate – Must be at least 60” and must open towards the street and away from the pool area.  Also, must auto close every time.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

Barriers – Must be at least 2. Can be a fence and an alarm or a fence and an automatic pool cover. Every access door that leads to the pool area must have an alarm on it.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the requirements of the city you live in.

 

ELECTRICAL REQUIREMENTS

Electrical Panel – need at least 50 open amps on your panel. Electrical lines and conduit. Needs at least two spots/slots open. Each breaker is typically 25 amps 120 volts per. Need 220 volts.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the electrical available. 

Saw Cut – Gas & Electrical lines typically go underground. How are we going to get the Electrical and/or Gas from the meter to the pool equipment?

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on the electrical available.

Fillback the Saw Cut – now that we have the gas line and electrical lines underground, we need to cover the dirt with something like cement or bricks or a paver.

 

POOL SELECTIONS & FINISHES

Size and Depth of Pool Steps – Length & width & depth. Focus on the first step. Is it big enough? Small enough. Is the Baja Shelf your first step? Will you have elderly parents or grandparents trying to step into and/or out of your pool?

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Depth of Steps – Focus on the Baja Shelf and how deep it is and how long it is.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Lights - color vs. white

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Automation vs Timer – With automation, everything is controlled via an app. With a timer and a switch, you have to set the time and then flip the switch to turn on lights, change colors of the lights, turn on the jacuzzi, turn on the heater and then turn everything off when you finish.

Saltwater vs Chlorine – Salt converts into chlorine when combined with water. But saltwater systems are easier on your eyes, skin, hair, and clothes.  Saltwater is not as salty as the ocean.  The salt passes through a cylinder that helps with the conversion. Freshly converted saltwater is purer.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Interior Finish – white plaster, grey plaster, mini pebble, hydrazo. Difference between brands like PebbleTech, Stone Scapes &/or Wedge.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

Spillover Width – 1’6” vs 2’ or 3’ A 1'6" spill-over width forces the water out, away from the dam wall.  2' or 3' spill-over width will produce more of a dribble vs a waterfall.

>>Short Answer: the cost can vary based on your personal preferences.

 

Next, we get "Why is the pool so expensive?" Or, "why is the pool so CRAZY expensive? Or why is the pool so $#%^&n expensive? Are you kidding me? I paid less for my first house!

We understand, but a pool is an intricate project consisting of all the variables mentioned above and sometimes more.  So when we are asked how much is a pool, we need more information, have to measure your yard, and inspect your yard conditions before we can answer that question.

Another thing to note is that timing is essential in determining price as material prices change often and sometimes materials become unavailable...again affecting the price.

I just finished talking with one of my subcontractors. He specializes in shotcrete, which is basically the most essential part of your pool.

The shotcrete hardens to 3,800 psi which means when the shotcrete is finished curing, it should be super, super solid.

Guess what??? Cost of the hoses he uses just went up 100%. That’s right. Double what he paid for the last year.

He uses a decent amount of wire as guides and that wire is super thin and made of steel.  Guess what??? It went up significantly from 2021 to 2022.

Cost of Labor??? That’s right. It went up too or labor is limited. And this is just one part of your pool.

Materials are in short supply but in high demand.  Guess what?? That’s right, they went up too. And the shortages have made it difficult to get some of the items you want.

I’ve had customers tell me that their brother is getting a similar pool with the same dimensions for thousands less than what I’m charging. My first question is always, where does your brother live? Maybe the cost of labor is lower where he lives. Or maybe he’s choosing different materials.

Our cost is what we charge to be a profitable business and build a quality long-lasting pool. Our work stands for itself. We have overhead, offices, computers, trucks, cars, and heavy machinery to account for. Our price reflects our experience, our management, and our quality.

There will always be someone who charges less. But you get what you pay for.  We prefer to do it right and not cut corners.

Zapata Pool

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