Friday, October 29, 2010

Our New Pool

Well hello happy readers! Guess what we're getting! I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. That's right....a swimming pool! And not just any swimming pool, it's a Pools by Greg pool!

I wanted to do a blog post about our pool construction as a "What to expect when you're expecting a pool" kind of thing. This is our first pool and I found the whole construction process to be quite fascinating. But before I get to the how-to, I'd like to say a few things about the company we chose to build our pool.

Pools by Greg has a long established presence on Florida's Treasure Coast and has been building pools since 1980. With well over 7,000 residential and commercial pools built, they have plenty of experience under their belt. Our pool building experience began with our Salesman, who was the key to helping us iron out all the details like size, shape and location. He was very helpful in answering all of our questions and helped us come up with a pool plan that met all of our needs. Over the last month we have had quite a few guys working in our back yard and most of them we have come to know by name. These guys work together like a well oiled machine and every one of them have been so friendly and courteous. A real pleasure to work with. And as with any construction company, a good project manager is the key to making sure things move along smoothly. Most of the work is completed by the Pools by Greg crews, with the exceptions being the gunite crew, the Gemcoat crew and the screened enclosure company. We've been very pleased with the work of everyone involved in this construction.

You can see a larger view of any of the photos in this post just by clicking on the photo. Just hit the back button on your browser to return to the blog. So without further ado, let's get to the how to.....

This is our back yard, and the site where the new pool will be built. We had to remove a large tree, but we were able to leave the stump to be dug out by PBG.

After the big stump was removed, they carefully laid out the pool shape and location.

And then let the digging begin! Nothing quite as exciting as breaking ground, well, except for the finished pool, but we'll get to that soon enough.

After the rough pool shape is done, they erect wooden supports to attach the backer boards to.

Once the backer boards are in place you can really start to see the shape and size of the pool. After the boards are in place they also add steel rebar to strengthen the pool structure.

Next came the Gunite crew and they masked off the whole area. The gunite is applied pneumatically, meaning it's blasted onto the walls of the pool with something that looks like a fire hose.

It takes several loads of gunite to cover the pool. This is truck number two, waiting out front for his turn.

In this photo you can see the guy up front, yes, the one in the concrete hat, applying the gunite to the walls. The two guys in the background are scraping and shaping the walls and floor of the pool before the gunite sets up.

And this is what I got to see when they took down the plastic walls! It's starting to really look like a pool now!

Here you can see the steps, and at the far end of the pool you can see the "swim out" which is like a cool little bench seat.

After the gunite cures, they do the tile work and form around the pool for the patio / pool deck.

Next comes the big cement trucks to pour the deck. The guys work fast to get everything level and insert expansion joints and the deck drain before the cement hardens.

Throughout the whole construction process the county inspectors stop by to monitor the progress, but it always helps to have a furry little on-site inspector looking on to make sure everything is going as planned....well, at least until he gets distracted by a butterfly ouside the window.

Here you can see the finished deck with the expansion joints and drain in place.

Next comes the deck finish. We chose to go with Kool Deck brand concrete deck and patio topping. It makes for a comfortably cool surface to walk on and has a non-skid textured surface that reduces the risk of accidents when it's wet. This was fun to watch as they sling it onto the deck with a dash brush that has a short handle and really long bristles. Once it starts to cure, they trowel the top of it nice and smooth.

Here's what the finished deck looks like.

Next comes the screened enclosure. We also decided to have a patio roof put on so they start on the roof first.

Large parts of the enclosure are pre-assembled at their shop. They look like huge versions of the erector sets we used to play with as kids.

Now it's starting to look like a patio.

Here the enclosure is complete. Nice to have an outdoor area safe from the ravaging of the Florida state bird, also known as the mosquito!

After the enclosure is up, the final finish is put on the interior of the pool. We chose Florida Gemcoat because it has the look and feel of natural stone and depending on what color you choose, can influence the overall color of the pool water. Then it's time to fill'er up! The city water has a greenish cast to it but that will all be fixed once the chemicals are added.

And here we are, all filled up and sparkling clear! Isn't that inviting? Got Margaritas?

Here we are after final grade and sod replacement. We're just waiting for the final inspection and then we can bring our furniture out and decorate the patio. I'll be updating this post just as soon as we finish our irrigation and landscaping, so stay tuned for some finished project photos!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What Can Brown Do For You?

Wait a second….did you hear that? That sound! My heart racing and palms sweating as I race to peer through the blinds in the front window. Nothing evokes a Pavlovian response quite like the familiar rumble of the big brown truck gearing down to make a stop in front of my house. Whether it’s Ed, or Dillon or Lisa, (and yes, I know them all by name,) I just know they’re bringing me a box of shiny new glass rods for the melting. They never bring me bad news, or bills, only happy, sparkling things. UPS, you rock my world!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I wonder if there’s a specific moon phase that causes one to be indecisive. I say that because I went into my studio today and I can’t for the life of me decide which glass to use today. Shortly after, I realized that Puck is having the same problem, only his dilemma is which toy to play with.

Sometimes when I’m faced with this problem, I just have to walk away from it for a while.

If that doesn’t work, then sometimes it helps to look at things from a completely different perspective.

In the end, after all that digging in the toy basket, this was Puck’s choice.

Perhaps I should make something pink and green and blue and sparkly!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pet Careers

Oftentimes I joke about getting my cats a paper route to help pay for their kibble. But I was thinking, if they were people, what careers they might actually have.

Puck would surely be a bathroom attendant at a swanky night club. Nobody, I mean nobody can go to the bathroom in this house without his assistance. He’s very interested in the whole process and does everything but hand you a towel and offer you cologne.

Harley, on the other hand, would either be an artist or a writer. He has an unnatural obsession with ink pens. He likes rolling them off the desk and carrying them around the house. I can show him a pen and he comes running like I have a toy in my hand. Countless dollars spent on cat toys and he likes ink pens!

So what careers would your pets have?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Remembering Ben

We got the phone call early in the morning on New Year’s Day. Something had happened to my father-in-law Ben, and it didn’t look good. We rushed to the hospital and before we could even get inside we were told that he didn’t make it. The tears flowed and the rain fell on our faces.

It rained the day my grandfather passed away. My Nana told me it was tears from heaven because the angels were crying. So it came as no surprise when years later, my Nana passed away and we had a terrible storm. As silly as it may seem, every time I have lost someone close to me it has rained. The falling rain has always been strangely comforting as I remember what my Nana told me so long ago.

I love this photo of Ben. A lot of what you would want to know about him you can see right here in this one photo. He was a big fellow with a kind heart and a warm smile. He loved to laugh and always had a story to tell. And without a doubt, he loved to fish! But what the photo doesn’t show is that he was also a wonderful husband, step-father, grandfather, brother, father-in-law, friend and a fishing buddy. On the first day of this new year, he left us behind to travel on ahead. We miss you terribly Ben, and we will carry you in our hearts forever.