Thursday, July 8, 2021

Pool Update (FINALLY!)

This post is over a year in the making which BLOWS MY MIND.  This was our pool June 7 of last year....

... and this was it this week!

So let's rewind a bit.  When we were looking at houses 5+ years ago we almost didn't even look at this one because we were adamant we didn't want a pool.  Well, never say never!  This house ticked all the boxes and after having a pool fence installed some of our concerns were put at ease and we quickly fell in LOVE with having a pool at home.  

We knew going into things that the pool was going to need some repair work at some point.  Our house was built in 1998 and the pool was put in in 2001 so things were inevitably going to need to be repaired and replaced.  

There were janky broken tiles...

... decking coming off/apart when when we tried to clean it...

... the patio up by the house was the tiny pebble finish and the pebbles were coming apart and the brick around the spa was damaged as well.

We met with several pool companies in the Spring of 2020 and felt really great about our choice.  They made some suggestions for changing the hardscape to increase the functionality of our pool area, we went out to their show pool to meet with a designer and talk about options and LOVED our sales person.  We were SO EXCITED!!! The project started off with a bang - the pool was drained...

... and demo'd all within a couple of days.

Tile and coping were next...

... We opted for a mottled, matte blue/aqua tile to continue the pool finish up to the coping and chose travertine for the coping.

Next came masonry.  We opted to tear down the existing retaining wall and garden bed and replace them with the same stone that was going around the spa.  There were SO MANY DIFFERENT FINISHES on the original pool that we really wanted to streamline everything.  We also opted to raise the wall up quite a bit and top it with travertine to make it seating height and create some extra seating if we needed it and it's honestly one of my favorite parts of the finished product.

Okay - so this is where we hit one of our first bigger bumps in the road.  They "finished" the garden bed masonry and this was the finished product.  And this was after several days of drying.  We went back and forth FOREVER about how that wasn't how a stone wall should be finished out and eventually we got it topped with travertine that matched the coping, travertine on the spa and on the "seating wall".  

We picked this shimmery glass tile to be the accent tile in the spa...

... and along the steps.

The pool had previously been a white plaster finish and we decided to go with pebble tec.  It's more durable, longer lasting and easier to maintain.  This was the hardest decision for us because the samples are small, ALL gorgeous and you have to pick based on what you want your water color to look like... but sunlight and depth can affect all of those things.  In the end we went with the Irish Mist color with abalone shells mixed in and hoped for the best :)

This process was super interesting to watch although when they were blowing it in and it was BRIGHT AQUA I doubted every decision we had made - hahaha

Once the pebble tec was in it had to sit for a few days and then right before July Fourth they filled the pool.

Please look at the AWFUL STATE of the previous pool decking... we had tried to power wash and scrub and sweep and all the things but the finish kept peeling off.  It was SO GROSS!

This was the day it was filled and I was DYING INSIDE because I absolutely thought that the water looked like a swamp.   They kept telling me that the color would get better after the pool was cleaned and chlorinated and all of that but I seriously thought we had made a HUGE mistake in the color.

Thankfully once it was cleaned and chlorinated it was GORGEOUS!!!  All of this was wrapped up by July 4th and then all that was left was the decking and a few final things like installing the basketball backboard (peep the frame at the very back of the pool).  

We opted to do Sundek for our decking since that didn't involve removing the TONS and TONS of concrete we already had back there - it's essentially a product that goes on top of concrete that can be stained and stamped into various finishes.  That was contracted out through our pool company and happened mid-July.  They removed all the old finish around the pool area and then ALL the pebbles that were on the patio close to the house.

We left for Broken Bow and this is what the decking looked like... 

... we LOVED it!!!  Again, our goal was to streamline the surfaces and have it look as similar to the travertine as possible and when we left the plan was for them to add a little variation in the cream/gray to make it look more natural and then seal it up.  

When we got back from Broken Bow this is what we saw...


... the color was beautiful.... but not AT ALL what it was supposed to be.  It will forever be a mystery why our project manager approved this since it wasn't even close to our selection.

The pool company was apologetic about the mixup but to add insult to injury the next time we could get on the Sundek schedule to have it redone was the end of September.  When the time rolled around it got redone and looked so much better...

After the Sundek went in they came in and did the deck-o-seal and do a few other things and then we were DONE!

Overall we are SO PLEASED with the finished product.  I wish that I could write a glowing review for the company we used, but unfortunately the few issues I mentioned in this post are a fraction of what actually happened and while we do love the pool we were definitely left with a sour taste about the process due to the lack of communication we experienced.  Delays happen, mistakes happen, STUFF HAPPENS and we get it - but not communicating with clients is just so frustrating.  Shockingly, this seems to be the norm for pool companies (at least around here) and it seems like every person that I've spoken to who has either put in a pool or had a renovation done has had similar issues.

If we were doing this process over the number one thing I wouldn't do is do the project in the summer.  In hindsight that was a stupid decision on our part.  We knew that it would probably take longer than they had said and having our backyard a construction site while all my kids were home wasn't ideal.  Other than that we really do love the choices we made and the work that the pool company did is beautiful.

And all of that work was done just in time for...

... it to freeze SOLID during the crazy storm in February.  We are SO THANKFUL that the damage we had was minimal and while we're still waiting on the parts to get a couple of things fixed it's so minor in the grand scheme of things.

Okay - so onto the fun part!  Pics :)  

A couple of years ago...

... this week!

The basketball goal is one of my favorite updates.  Our pool is about 3.5 feet deep down by the spa and about 4 feet deep at this end and gets about 5.5 feet deep in the middle so it's perfect for basketball.  We also have holes on either side of the pool if we ever decide to get a volleyball net to put across.

Detail of the sundek finish...

We really wanted bright, blue/aqua sparkly water and that's exactly what we got! 

One of the biggest changes was just taking down our pool fence.  It used to essentially split this lower portion of the deck in half and everything seems so much more spacious with it down.  

I tried to find a good picture showing the fencing and this is about as good as I could find...

I had HUGE lantana plants in this garden bed years ago and I'm hoping that in a couple of years these little plant babies will be big again.

Again - looking for a picture of how high the retaining wall used to be...

Here's what the patio up by the house used to look like...

... and here it is now!


... after!

The furniture we bought has also made the biggest difference. The dining set is PERFECT for us and the two lounge chairs we love as well.  We added a couple of wheeled raised beds for tomatoes and called it a day.  At some point we would love to put a roof/pergola over this section of patio as well but that is WELL down the list :)

You can find the table and chairs  HERE.
Set of lounge chairs  HERE.
Raised beds  HERE.

So let's talk other projects :) since we all know these kinds of things are like opening a can of worms. hahaha  The pool was our biggest priority and what needed to happen first and now we're going to tackle some landscape and other issues.

Behind the basketball goal looks like this...

... we need to build some sort of pad for the grill/potting table and refinish the table.  

We still have our old picnic table that we'll be getting rid of and we have plans to build a "frame" for the trampoline area and mulch inside that.  This is the side of the yard that we had all the irrigation/foundation work done on a few years ago and so we also need to have a truckload of topsoil brought in to have this area graded and then have new sod laid.

And then the other side of the yard looks good over here...

... but if you back up a bit...

.... it's kind of a hot mess.  We've reshaped and remulched this area yearly and are currently figuring out some longer term (less maintenance!) solutions.

The gazebo is having some work done on it this fall including a new coat of paint and yes - this is probably where the turtles will live permanently ;)

So there you have it!  I hope it was worth the wait at least a little bit ;)  If you have questions leave them in the comments and I'll be sure to keep you updated as we make decisions and tackle some other projects back here.   THANK YOU for being patient with me as I gathered my thoughts for this post and THANK YOU for reading!!!

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. We totally understand the pain in communication. Overall you had a wonderful outlook

  2. The pool turned out beautiful!!!! I LOOOVE the blue sparkly water!!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Julie! It really is fun to see how far it's come!

  3. Oh my gosh, Andrea!!! It looks so amazing!!! I know it wasn't easy, but I'm so happy with the final result!!! LOVE!!!!

  4. It looks great! Thank you for sharing the process so transparently!

    1. Ah! Thank you so much! I wanted to give as much insight into our experience as possible - thanks so much for reading!

  5. Finished product beautiful! We put in a pool 1 1/2 years ago and while a pretty smooth process (Florida) it was very slow. They also sprayed the wrong color pebble tech (brown, not blue!) but did replace with just a bit of a fight. I have the same sparkly blue tile and love how the sun changes the colors.

    1. That's crazy!!! The tile is one of our favorite parts!

  6. So pretty! So the turtles aren't going back to school? Rosie must be thrilled!!

    1. I'm not 100% certain but it's pretty obvious that they're THRIVING in the fresh air. They are much more active and seem to really be loving life so I'm torn!

  7. The final product is absolutely gorgeous! I think your experience is pretty standard for the business. We are figuring this out with a few friends that have done pools recently.

  8. Great blog! Love all the detailed info. It looks wonderful but I can relate to the transition problems, haha!

  9. WOW! It looks AMAZING! The water is GORGEOUS!!!

  10. I've been waiting for the post forever! Sorry about the rough process, but glad you love the end result!It's beautiful!

  11. What a beautiful pool area!!

  12. Love it!!! I remember all the pain y’all went through, but it’s gorgeous!

  13. I think everything looks beautiful! This is a little random, but I see your back windows have solar screens. Do you like them and feel like they help? Our family room has three big windows that face south. The afternoon/evening sun is brutal and makes our family room so hot! Solar screens are one of the options we are exploring.

  14. Love everything in the post - especially the before-and-after s. It really makes you appreciate the hard work!!
    Is is more expensive to re-do or start from scratch? I only ask b/c this seems costly (to redo what is there) and wondering if one started with a “blank slate” would the cost be the same? Basically demo vs. digging?

  15. I feel your pain with communication issues but it turned out beautifully! So glad that your family can enjoy it this summer:)

  16. Ok, I love it all! Especially how they made the concrete now look like travertine! It really does! I feel your pain about contractors. I think it's all industries because we have had some isssssues with indoor contractors (bathroom remodel) and it's just insane what is happening. Too much work and hard to find skilled labor and honest people it seems.

  17. It’s so pretty! I’m hoping to put in a pool soon and I love your color choices!

  18. We did our Plano pool renovation at the same time last year-- we got lucky and it was done in 10 days-- slower due to rain. We've done it before and this time went straight to one of the plaster companies that the pool builders use ( many subcontract we found) -- It was so good that quite a few neighbors did the same. The hardest part was getting tile-- the first three choices I had weren't available due to Covid so I had to compromise a bit! Yours turned out lovely and was worth the wait!


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