Your help, Please: Large Cedar Hot Tub vs. Small Pool

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redneckmodern
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Your help, Please: Large Cedar Hot Tub vs. Small Pool

Postby redneckmodern » Tue May 08, 2012 5:51 pm

Within the next three months, we will be installing one of the two below options. I'm hoping I can leverage your collective wisdom to help with the decision process... or maybe open up other lines of thinking.

In Concord (where we live), it is oppressively hot for 3 months out of the year (June, July and August) and plain-ol-hot on the month skirting either side of that and having some sort of "water feature" has been a want for some time (and as a professor, I spend more time at home in the summer).

We're either going with a 9-10 foot (round) cedar tub (38-50in water height) or an 8X10-12 steel-walled, vinyl-lined pool with a 38in water height (42in wall). Both would be surrounded by a low deck giving it an "in-ground" look even though both options will be sunk only 1/2 in ground

My wife's thinking is that the cedar tub could be either "hot" or "cold" therefore making it more usable year-round. I'm not sure that's totally realistic as getting that much water up to (and held at) 100 deg will be tough. Both options would have a heater (solar + electric) to get it into the mid-80s at least. The pool guy says the vinyl liner can be heated to 100deg, but I'm wary of that (anyone with specific wisdom on that?)

Our yard is more "woodsy" than "palm-y", so the Palm Springs desert oasis look is not in the cards. We also have a good number of mature trees that aren't going anywhere (although some need to be trimmed). Some pictures. The pool/deck is replacing the grass.

Cedar Tub (9' or 10' in diameter): rhtubs.com
[+] classic design
[+] ability to build almost any height and diameter
[+] ability to get hot hot and cold cold
[+] local (+tax?)
[+] ok if it pokes up a bit above deck height. digging deep isn't as crucial
[+] furniture-grade construction
---
[–] have to build retaining wall in pit to let sides of tub breathe (+ drainage)
[–] limited filtering options -- no real room on a round slatted wall for a skimmer (inlets need to be 6in or smaller). With trees, lack of a skimmer is a bummer (or having to use an in-pool/external skimmer)
[–] non-replaceable liner
[–] tougher to deck around a circle
[–] more expensive ($8K)
[–] tougher fit into square yard
[–] cover will look more "hot-tub"


Small Pool (8X10 or 8X12): medallionpools.com, radiantpools.com, etc.
[+] squared edges -- easy to deck around
[+] replaceable liner
[+] more options for skimmer/filters
[+] less expensive ($4K)
[+] ability to backfill up against the pool wall
[+] easier fit into square yard
[+] easier to cover (rolling cover)
---
[–] galvanized steel walls... rust could be a concern
[–] can't get as hot (for use a a "hot tub")
[–] not as nice up-close
[–] +$1K shipping + distant (service after the sale)
[–] needs to be completely below deck
[–] not as deep as many others

Thoughts? I know many of you have pools... and "don't install a pool" isn't relevant advice. I'm willing to do the maintenance and incur the expense. We're so sure of this that I've an inflatable vinyl pool in the yard as a prototype. The water is 75deg (cold) and I've spent the past 2 afternoons in it blissfully floating on a $3 raft. Yes, ghetto...

Some of the pool folks I've been looking at:
http://ezpanelpool.com/
http://www.endlesspools.com/waterwell.php
http://medallionpools.com/swimspas.htm
http://radiantpools.com/
http://www.vikingpools.net/hydro-zone.php

What attracts us to the Medallion pool is it's simplicity. Dead square edges and no weird curves or humps -- a basic box in the ground. It also doesn't seem to need bracing on the sides (good or bad).

I'd love to see more links if you have them.
Last edited by redneckmodern on Mon May 14, 2012 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Thu May 10, 2012 11:20 pm

which will cost less to run? which will be easier to clean. I have gone hack and forth on this myself. I'd like a small pool. tubs fee too confined.

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Postby redneckmodern » Fri May 11, 2012 8:42 am

thanks, joe: i think both will cost about the same... and cost is a bit less of an issue than maintenance and overall ability to use it more. we get scorched in the summer here and i'll be working from home this summer.

the cedar looks classic but will be harder to maintain (it's wood, not vinyl -- harder to clean), but has the ability to get hot-hot (up to 105)... /however/ getting 2K gal of water up to (and kept at) 100deg in the winter will be insane... so the idea of it being hot-and-cold as opposed to tepid-and-cold is in question.

presently, i'm leaning towards a small 8x10x4 steel-walled (or insulated-wall) vinyl lined pool (or "swim-spa"). this will be square-ish, so decking and covering will be easier. it will also be significantly cheaper to install (materials). it can be warmed to about 90deg.

plumbing is a bit of a head-scratcher as it's really too big for traditional spa plumbing and pool plumbing is overkill -- but i'm thinking pool plumbing will be better as it's better to have too much than too little in this area.

we'll also plan to use a solar collector to help with the heat, too...

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Postby Luka » Fri May 11, 2012 11:02 am

I have a hot tub, maybe not the same as what you are envisioning using but I also sound like I faced this same dilemma (we really wanted a pool but the costs were just too prohibitive). We have tried the cooler hot tub thing and to be honest, it's not very nice, nothing like a pool. I say that knowing our hot tub (it's a 12 person freestanding unit) is not nearly as big as what you are proposing but just wanted to throw my .02 in since we seem to both be dreaming of a pool.

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Postby Joe » Fri May 11, 2012 12:14 pm

look forward to your decision. I would not rule one out in the future for my self. Might even consider a Soft Tub. portable and can hide it in the shed when not using it. I don't know. :roll:

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(update)

Postby redneckmodern » Mon May 14, 2012 7:31 am

here's a post on the whole thing with drawings and what-not. take a peek if you're so inclined. i'd love input on the plumbing layout and equipment. with a "spa" (we're calling it a spa now for a few reasons) of this size, equipment falls between spa and pool which is hard.

http://redneckmodern.typepad.com/rednec ... -plan.html

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rockland
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Postby rockland » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:10 pm

I appreciate your research. Just seeing this now. I have not been here in ages. Ceder tubs are charming but rustic. I've had mine for 12-15 yrs now. Still smells great and has held up fine. Ours is not that large but will soak 6 comfortably. Wood fired for heat. Probably not to code where you are but the comfort zone is 102-104 for a 70 evening and 100 for and afternoon soak.

We have been seeking options for an endless pool since we moved here. Not a large pool being the bottom line is 35-50 thousand. We first looked at endless pool and were sent a dvd 10 yrs ago. So we have discussed this endlessly :roll: . It came up again tonight. We have even considered the trial option that you have. A blow up thing that gives the satisfaction and shows the need for a soak.

Our deck has been designed to accommodate an above ground pool. Like an EndLess pool. Hoping to be an extension of the back deck and close to the house.

FYI- our cedar tub is in the mountain weekend place. Much cooler than the NYC heat wave we have been having in the NE. We also have an outdoor shower heated by 200 ft of basic black tubing just sitting on an exposed rock wall. It was 50 sunday morning and still the shower temp was so hot by noon we have considered adding a by-pass line for cool water. Solar is very impressive on a small scale.

Anywho. Thanks for sharing your research. I will follow your progress. Your desires are similar to ours. I don't want a 'hot tub' at our main residence. Too small. I don't want a large pool. But i would like the water flow for a cardio work-out when wanted. And a decent size for a lazy soak on a hot summer day. It has been 95-105 for a couple weeks here. Our neighbors have opened their pools earlier the past few years and keeping them on and full for well into the fall. I think we could see nearly 8 months of use adding a solar addition.

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Postby redneckmodern » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:30 pm

glad it was a nudge...

fwiw, i found that endless pools were /very/ expensive compared to the competition. very. about 2X.

check out medallion pool's ultra2 swim spa: http://www.medallionpools.com/swimspas.htm ... it think is caps out at about $6K with the swim current. you might want to upgrade that to the super-sport jet or at least get one with 2 jets instead of one for more resistance.

endless pools swim current is a bit unique, but i suspect it's not as good as they say (or more specifically the competition (badu) isn't that bad). it seems the endless marketing (and endless slander of the competition) is included in the price of each endless pool.

we'll likely not put in a swim jet now as i've never been a lap swimmer and it might be too late to start...

in the very brief time i've been researching bits, i've learned a lot. i encourage you to check out some of the pool forums before going too far. i'm update my own progress on our blog.

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rockland
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Postby rockland » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:26 pm

I did not know about medallion pool. My kudos to your research.
We both swam competitively at national levels but joints are old now. Do not need strong current, just a nice slow pace. Endurance, for a short time :D .
Doc does not even want me on a bike. Bummer. My knees are shot so i need aquatic exercise.

I trained on an endless pool and it is more than i need. We did use a university pool last year but no access in the summer months. :roll: When i have time off. The best local gym is expensive if you just want a 3 times a week workout. And times are odd. Kid parties all summer. We were looking at 2-300 a month. With limited access. I need privacy and at our own erratic needs. 2am. sunday morning 6am...

A friend of mine went through this 5 years ago. His wife finally went ahead with it against his objections. (60 grand) He said after one season..."what took you so long?" ...They spend more time outside than they have in 20 years.

redneckmodern
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Postby redneckmodern » Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:57 am

perhaps worth noting is that medallion is seems to be a very different company (in a good way) from EP... their marketing reflects that, but also the tone of folks when you get them on the phone. medallion was very willing to work with my non-out-of-the-box solution whereas EP was overly nice when they thought they had me on the hook for a $12K pool, but lost interest when i told them i was also looking at a $4K solution. i'd highly suggest giving medallion a call as well as looking at other options. radiant pools was also very friendly and are more in your area (albany). their pools are a bit more expensive but are insulated aluminum rather than galv-steel and might be better for your climate. i think i've put links to the potential vendors on my blog post.

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Postby redneckmodern » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:28 am

rockland: if you (or anyone) is interested in a medallion pool, contact johnny directly (John Mazza III <johnny3@medallionpools.com>) ... i wish we had gone with them, but by the time i figured out that medallion /could/ build a smaller pool, we were already too far down the path with another vendor.

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rockland
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Postby rockland » Sat Aug 04, 2012 3:05 pm

Thank you.
We are just making a home model for backyard. and google sketch-up.
We both have intense projects through the new year so money will flow...
For next fall. Looking forward to it and i hope to have the time to share!


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