Pro Tips with Jamie Snyder

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7 problems with Gunite pools that you need to know.

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 53:11 AM

So you have been considering a swimming pool and have met with the gunite pool builder. Lets see if she told you everything?
Did you know these 7 traits of concrete pools?

  1. Incompatible with salt – That’s right folks. Concrete (Gunite and Shotcrete are just  concrete placing methods) pools are not compatible with salt. The concrete pool dealers will tell you they are. But this is for a reason; they will sell you a new surface sooner. Salt eats away at a concrete pool in much the same way it does a concrete driveway. While this may take longer because it is dissolved, it still happens.  Another reason salt eats the surface is because it is abrasive and with the water moving around so often that shell wears faster with salt in the water. By the way did you know that you would have to replace your concrete pool surface?
  2.   Surface is a wear item, you need to replace it – Now whether or not you have salt in your water a concrete pool will need to be resurfaced. At best 7-10 years is all that can be expected. Now keep in mind the price - $15,000 to $20,000 is a good starting point for a 15’ x 30’ pool.
  3.   Concrete cracks – As a NCMA certified mason I know this all too well. Cracks in concrete are to be expected and are considered a “feature” of concrete.  When pouring a patio we can do things to hide these cracks by “pre cracking” the concrete with control joints. But in a pool this simply won’t do.  So we end up with cracks where we don’t want them. Out west where the soil has less clay concrete cracks less – in pools too! But here in the north east with the freeze thaw cycles and clay content you can expect a crack failure to develop in your pool
  4. Hard to heat – When it comes down to it concrete is just a ratio of sand, Portland cement, gravel and water. So basically it’s just hard dirt. And we all know that the ground stays the same temperature all year round. Having only concrete (which is hard dirt) insulate you from the ground (dirt) does nothing to keep heat in. In our own tests between two swimming pools of similar size. One a concrete pool using a 450,000 BTU heater and a Fiberglass (what type of insulation do you have in your attic) pool using a 150,000 BTU heater. We found that to raise the temperature from 65 degrees to 80 degrees took the concrete pool 3 full 24-hour days and only took the Fiberglass pool 8 hours. Both were in direct sun, but only one benefited from being an insulator from the ground temperature.
  5.   Build time – Now this can vary widely from contractor to contractor, but in general concrete pools take longer to build. A fiberglass pool with 4’ of concrete installed in a flat location will typically be ready in under 10 working days. A top Gunite builder will typically quote 30 days for the same project while most Gunite builders shy away from 30 days and commit to 90 days. In fact many gunite builders never actually build the pool themselves. Every portion is subbed out - Dig, Plumb, Steel, Gunnite/Shotcrete, Surface, Decking etc. Here at Albert Group we sub nothing. If we don't do it - we don't sell it to you.
  6.     Surface is rough – All you need to do is stick your hand in a concrete pool then a fiberglass pool to feel the difference yourself. The smoothest concrete pool surface is a cheese grader compared to fiberglass. Do you want your kids feet to look like this after one hour or volleyball in the pool?kids feet
  7.   Inconsistency of material used – Not all concrete is the same. If you know someone in the masonry trades ask them if every truck of concrete they have ever ordered is consistent. It’s not, that’s why it is considered an art. If concrete just always came in the way you wanted and did what you wanted it to do every time that would be great. But the fact is that you have to know how to work with it the way it comes in that batch. Everything can be a factor, humidity, drive time on the truck, was there leftovers from the last pour in his truck before he loaded you, is the truck sitting in the sun, is the project in the sun, windy, overcast, how many times did the barrel spin (there is a counter in the truck and you have to know it), did it rain last night (that would cool off the gravel).
  Despite all these drawbacks concrete pools do have some distinct advantages.  Size and shape can be whatever you desire.

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What to consider when you get a Swimming Pool

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 @ 30:09 AM


swimming_pool_landscaper_monroe_nyThere are many decisions to make, when you think of investing in an own swimming pool. Here are some important things you should consider, next to the size, shape, material and the landscaping design of the pool area.

Is there a Warranty?
Don’t forget to ask about the warranty of the pool. The Albert Group Landscaping is an official dealer of LeisurePools USA. Leisure Pools offers a 35 year structural warranty and a 15 year surface warranty on its Aquaguard® gel coat finishes. For a small fee, the warranty is even transferable. Included in the onw time fee is an on site inspection by an approved LeisurePools representative. You can find more information about the warranty on LeisurePools.com and register your warranty right here.

Is there an Overall Landscaping-Plan?
If you just choose the swimming pool by itself, it might clash with the style of your house. It is always best to have an overall plan for the whole swimming pool area. To make it possible for you to envision the whole project and how it will look in the end, we show you a computer-generated 3-D design first. We also use a checklist covering over 80 topics that will us design the perfect outdoor living area for you.

How does the Installation Process look like?
The installation of a fiberglass pool has a few advantages. Since the shell is manufactured in a factory and delivered in one piece it usually just takes a few days to install, compared to 3-6 month for a concrete pool or 2-3 month for a vinyl liner pool. Before we dig the hole, we contact the officials to request a permit and also find out, where the underground lines, electric, water, sewer and cable are. After the pool is set into the hole and plumbed in, the backfill will be applied. At the same time, the pool is being filled with water. Now we can begin with the preparation of the deck.

What about references?
We are proud of every single project we did. In fact, there are lots of pictures and videos on our website which might be a great inspiration for your backyard swimming pool. Please also visit our testimonials-page, where our customers talk about the experience they had working with Albert Group Landscaping.

What happens after the Pool has been built?
No matter what happens, we will be there for you. Whether you have questions about the maintenance of your swimming pool, different filtration systems, or about swimming pool safety, just contact us or give us a call. We envision all of our customers as part of our Albert Group Landscaping family.

swimming_pool_landcaper_catskills_ny

 

Go Green: Environmentally Friendly Swimming Pools

Posted by Josefine Koehn on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 @ 31:08 PM

Ecofriendly Swimming Pool

There are several ways to make your pool environmentally friendly. “We recommend our clients energy efficient pumps, salt-chlorine generators and the use of materials, like fiberglass, which is not only a natural insulator, but also requires less maintenance and chemicals”, explains Monroe pool builder and landscaper Jamie Snyder.

Safe Energy and Money
It does not necessarily have to be more expensive to invest in an environmentally friendly pool. In fact, “going green” and managing your swimming pool in an environmentally healthy and sustainable way will save you a fair amount of money in the long run. By upgrading to a variable speed pump you can save up to $800 per year in electricity. Equipped with an automatic timer the new pumps just use the amount of energy they really need.

Minimize Evaporation
According to the US Department of Energy a Swimming Pool Cover reduces evaporation by 90 to 95 percent and will cut down the heating costs dramatically. An automatic cover is also a great safety feature and can help to minimize the use of chemicals, which dissipate with the wind blowing across the surface.

Use “green” materials
When deciding to go with a fiberglass pool you instantly make an environmentally sound decision. While vinyl liners tend to tear and need to be replaced after a few years, the new fiberglass pools are built to last for a lifetime. The material is strong and allows the pool to flex without cracking (like cement pools), which is ideal for the extreme temperature changes in the north. You won’t need to worry about repairs, resurfacing and costly liner replacement. Plus you won’t add another old liner to the landfill.

Aquaguard Gel-Coat prevents Algae-Growth
With Leisure Pools exclusive Aquaguard Gel-Coat surface for fiberglass swimming pools there are far fewer chemicals needed and algae can’t bond that easily. In Vinyl pools algae often grows in seams and in the texture of the liner or in the cracks of a cement pool. Fiberglass pools don’t need to be scrubbed and can be cleaned easily. They are also pet proof, and as of today the longest lasting swimming pool surface available on the market.

Leisure Pools_Fiberglass_Swimming_Pool_Dealer_Monroe_NY

Why a vinyl liner pool costs less than fiberglass – you get less.

Posted by James Snyder on Thu, Feb 17, 2011 @ 59:01 PM

If you are reading this, chances are that you are thinking about investing in a swimming pool. First congratulations, there is no better way of adding excitement and quality family time to your backyard.  But, now it’s time to make some choices.

When deciding  on purchasing  a swimming pool in NY you have 3 basic choices vinyl, gunite(concrete) or fiberglass. New York has long been known as “vinyl country” and for good reason. There are tons of vinyl liner pools in NY. Their design dates back to 1948 when Cascade Industries introduced the Vinyl Liner swimming pool in NJ. Back then - before there was the internet or a compelling fiberglass pool choice there were vinyl liner pools and gunite pools. Now the game has changed with the introduction of the fiberglass swimming pool.

Fiberglass pool builder orange county ny

When fiberglass pools first arrived on the scene they were – well  - not ready for prime-time. The original fiberglass pools had some inherent problems. First was the look of them, they were no more attractive than a bath tub. Second they didn’t react well with pool water - they would blister, fade and yellow - that’s a big problem if you ask me. Today with the aquaguard finish from Leisure Pools USA those problems have been sorted out and fiberglass pools really have only one drawback. They are only available in the sizes and shapes that they offer – no custom jobs. Fortunately they know this and strive to design remarkable pools.  Click here to see the shapes available from Leisure Pools USA.

A few years ago I made a decision to become a “fiberglass pool guy”. With all of the bad press out there about fiberglass I was intrigued. As a Landscape and swimming pool contractor in Orange County NY I had been working with both vinyl and concrete and knew their problems. As I researched fiberglass more I came to realize what was going on. Vinyl and Gunite guys were scared of fiberglass. That is because fiberglass is the fastest growing segment in the pool industry. Fiberglass was already the most popular type of pool being installed in Australia and now it won’t be long until your circa 1948 vinyl liner pool technology is extinct here as well. (NEWSFLASH - Vinyl Liner pools are already is extinct in the southern and western states only the north east remains - for now.)

The problem as I see it with a vinyl swimming pool is that you are not getting much for your money. The fact is that most of what you are paying for in a vinyl pool is labor. And when the labor leaves you are left with a vinyl liner inside some type of wall. They will talk about different wall types and so on, but the fact is I have never seen a properly installed pool wall fail – unless it’s wood. It’s the liner that fails. And when this happens the base of the pool – usually sand or vermiculite – more often than not needs repair as well. A typical liner replacement will set you back 4-7k depending on size. This does not include water or anything else that “pops up”. With a fiberglass pool there are no such associated costs or headaches. Downtime and waiting for a replacement liner to get installed is a thing of the past.

The truth is, in the long run a vinyl liner pool will cost you a lot more to own. Because a vinyl liner doesn’t insulate the water from the ground it costs about 8 times as much to heat. Read fiberglass is an insulator here. Add in the cost of liner replacements and you can start to see the picture.

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Why spending more on a high efficiency pool pump will save you money.

Posted by James Snyder on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 @ 41:10 AM

High efficiency pool pump swimming pool design Orange county NY

When comparing pool pumps there is a lot more to think about than just HP. New high efficiency pumps such as the IntelliFlo VS+SVRS by Pentair are designed to save you money. Although they cost more to buy than a standard pump they will save you money right away. So much so, that if you have a traditional 1-2 HP pump and it’s brand new – throw it away. Don’t get offended, it’s just that today’s high efficiency pumps are just that good. Another benefit to the IntelliFlo VS+SVRS pump is that it has a built in timer and SVRS (safety Vacuum release system). The SVRS feature helps keep you in compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Safety Act also known as the VGB laws. If you are building a new pool it is mandatory you follow VGB guidelines, if you have an older pool check your local laws to see if you need to rennovate your pool to comply. All commercial pools must comply. The built in timer is more advanced then your typical pool pump timer allowing you to set up more advanced and energy saving cycles. Check out the video below to learn more about the Intelliflo Variable Speed pumps and how they save you money. Or go here to calculate how much you will save on your pool.

To have Albert Group Landscaping & Swimming pools come to your home and discuss your pool project click here.

5 Reasons the ownership experience of a Fiberglass Pool is awesome!

Posted by James Snyder on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 @ 20:12 PM

1.       Leisure Pools USA uses the Patented Aquaguard gel coat finish. The only finish specifically guaranteed not to blister, fade, spider crack, cobalt, yellow, or any other of the bad things that are possible. View the full warranty here. Not to mention - they have the best colors in the industry.

Leisure Pools USA fiberglass swimming pool westchester NY

 

2.       The Aquaguard finish has zero chemical reaction with the water. This means that the pool is the easiest of any type of pool to keep clean. Algae will not be a problem as it is in concrete (gunite) pools. You will not have a “scum” line to scrub as concrete and vinyl do. This means more time to enjoy your pool and less time working on it. A pool is supposed to be fun right?

 

 Save fuel

3.       Fiberglass is an insulator. This means that the heat placed in the pool stays there longer. Whether it’s the sun that heated your pool or you have a heater. You will notice a huge difference. For instance, a 15,000 gallon pool made from concrete or vinyl will take about 3 days to heat using a 400,000 BTU heater. The same size pool in fiberglass may only take 1 day using a 150,000 BTU heater. This is a huge savings. If both heaters are rated at the same efficiency and 8 hour days are used the math works out like this. A vinyl pool using heat for one 8 hour day uses 400,000 BTU’s X 8 hours = 3,200,000 BTU’s  This number times 3 days gives you 9,600,000 BTU’s. Now the same calculations applied to the fiberglass pool using the smaller heater equates to 1,200,000 BTU’s used. Since BTU’s used correlate directly to fuel used you can see that the concrete / vinyl pool uses EIGHT times the fuel to do the same thing. This would be the same as comparing a car that gets 40 miles per gallon to a car that gets 5 miles per gallon. With fiberglass pool owners getting so much better fuel economy it’s no wonder that they open their pools early and close them later in the season.

 

4.       Fiberglass pools by Leisure Pools USA never need to be resurfaced and they do not have liners to replace. Did you know that concrete (gunite) need to be resurfaced every 10 years. The average cost for this is in the $12,000 - $15,000 range. Not only that, Every 3 years it needs to be acid washed. These items are so costly that most people just skip it. This leads to further damage and poor water chemistry. This in turn leads to wearing out plumbing and equipment. My dad told me something when I was a kid – “If you neglect to repair – you will despair”. And in this case it fits perfectly.  Vinyl pools have their own hidden maintenance costs. Liners rarely last more than 7-10 years these days. Twenty years ago liners were built to last. These days that is just not the case. First fading sets in – so even if it still holds water who wants to look at it? Second it is not uncommon for an animal to get in the pool and tear the liner. Ditto for other foreign objects such as branches, rocks, etc. And then there is just plain old bad luck. Liners are never warranted against anything except the seams coming apart. And even when that happens the warranty is pro-rated and issued as a discount on the cost of  buying another liner – labor for installing the new liner and disposal of the old one is not included, neither is water. On a five year old liner you would be lucky to get $300 towards a $4,000 - $6,000 liner job.

Leisure Pools Elegance 33 in Australian Blue

 

5.       The installation goes WAY faster. The pool portion of the project is faster because of the one piece pool shell. Gunite pools typically take 45-60 days to complete and vinyl liner pools can easily take 35 days. A typical fiberglass pool will be done in under 10 days.

To schedule your free consultation click here

5 Reasons why NOW is the best time to buy your inground swimming pool

Posted by James Snyder on Thu, Feb 10, 2011 @ 33:12 PM

fiberglass swimming pool contractor orange county nySo you've been thinking about a new inground swimming pool and this year you have decided to finally do it. Great! Now what? Well, if you are like most people you will wait until spring, hop on-line and call a pool guy. That approach seldom yields the results you are looking for. By that time most "pool guys" are backed up for at least 1-2 months. Let's face it, if they were not backed up at this point they would be out of business plain and simple.

  1. Manufacturers give dealers better pricing in the off season to move product. This will save you money if you buy pre-season.
  2. The closer to "pool season" you wait to buy your pool the longer you will wait to have it installed. First come first serve - that's the way it's always been. And, if you find a guy to do it last minute it means only one thing. Nobody wants him at their house for whatever reason.
  3. This is a big purchase and there is a lot to know. Buying early will help you learn everything you need to know without feeling rushed.
  4. The nature of pool building dictates that your property will get torn up and then put back together. Doing this early gives the plants and lawn plenty of time to fill in and look beautiful for your mid-summer pool party.
  5. Swimming pools are supposed to be stress reducers and when you install early you are not thinking about swimming these are the most stress-free installations we do. But in July you are thinking about swimming and when the building inspector holds you up for 3 weeks just because they can. You will understand perfectly why waiting is no fun.

3D Landscape and Pool design, You only have one shot to get it right!

Posted by James Snyder on Fri, Feb 04, 2011 @ 41:08 PM

Designing landscapes and swimming pools is what I do. So it should come as no surprise that I can visualize the project before it's even started. That being said, when it comes to landscape design there are so many variables that it may take several attempts to get the design exactly the way the client wants. This is where designing in 3D helps you - the client - visualize what I am talking about.

For instance when I design an outdoor kitchen grill area would you rather see this:Outdoor Kitchen Grill

Or this:3d landscape contractor monroe ny

Even though both pictures represent the exact same thing it is much easier to see the look I am going for in the bottom picture. That is because you don't have to imagine things like the counter overhanging the stools, you can see it.

Check out the video below walking you through a drawing. This will give you a sense of the creative process I use for designing outdoor living areas for my clients. And as always if you would like us to come out and give you a complimentary consultation all you have to do is ask.

5 reasons why StoneMakers Concrete is the best choice for your new patio

Posted by James Snyder on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 @ 20:11 PM

1. StoneMakers concrete looks like natural stone but at around half the price.

StoneMakers Concrete, Stamped, Monroe NY

Think it's real stone? - It's StoneMakers concrete!

2. StoneMakers concrete works perfectly as a coping for your pool. – A paver coping on a swimming pool is very costly, with StoneMakers it’s about half of the price.

3. StoneMakers concrete is low maintenance. - Once upon a time pavers were the desired choice for pool decking. Pavers require routine cleaning to ensure weeds do not grow. See. Weed seeds carried by the wind fall into the crevices and if they are not cleaned out they will germinate and grow. With StoneMakers concrete this is a thing of the past. Now I’m not telling you to stop cleaning around your pool. Just not as often.

4. StoneMakers concrete is stronger than typical stamped concrete. – Because the StoneMakers ingredient is a water reducer and water makes concrete weak a StoneMakers concrete patio will be stronger than a typical concrete patio – stamped or not.

5. StoneMakers concrete installs faster than typical concrete. - StoneMakers needs no forms, this cuts down installation time considerably.

Albert Group Landscaping Featured in upcoming Issue of Pool & Spa News

Posted by James Snyder on Sat, Dec 11, 2010 @ 19:09 PM

About 2 months ago I received a call from Dan Schechner of Pool & Spa News to interview me about my thoughts on the fiberglass pool industry. I have to say it was quite an honor to be asked to take part in their article. Also featured in the article are Marcus Sheridan of River Pools and Spas, Todd Emmerson of Signature Pools & Spas, Mark Peditto of Artistic Pools, and Kent Carpenter of The Fiberglass Pool Depot all of which are leaders in the swimming pool industry.

Well, without further ado... CLICK HERE

Pool & Spa News

http://www.poolspanews.com/2010/121/121fiberglass.html

 

 

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The Ultimate Buyer's Guide for Fiberglass Pools

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Everything you need to know when buying a fiberglass pool. From the best time of year to buy and picking a contractor, to pricing, options, and add-ons!

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