Luxury pools are all the rage right now. Building your own backyard resort has never been more popular than ever. While it’s not absolutely necessary to achieve a resort style look with a gunite pool, it’s often the go to choice for seasoned veteran pool builders.
Gunite Pools offer customization that you won’t find in a fiberglass pool. A gunite pool can be shaped into nearly any desired form. Because they are constructed of concrete they are remarkably durable.
Why are Gunite Pools so Popular?
Luxury pools incorporate many customization options. Customers opt for features like grottos, waterfalls, jump rocks, raised spas and custom shapes.
Please note that we are ommitting Vinyl Liner pools from this conversation. Typically you will not find a vinyl liner pool in many luxury homes. The split is fairly even 75% Gunite / 25% Fiberglass as of this writing. Vinyl Liner pools are a more budget friendly option.
Popular With Luxury Homeowners
Why are more resort style pools typically gunite pools? We asked a builder of luxury inground pools and gunite pool expert Aaron Rogers his viewpoint. Rogers had this to say on the subject of Gunite Pools.
Gunite Pools are traditionally the go to choice for most luxury pool builders. A gunite pool allows for more flexibility in terms of design and construction.Aaron rogers – southern poolscapes
“Discerning customers with high end luxury homes want their pool constructed from the very best materials. Luxury home owners typically opt for a gunite pool. They know they are highly customizable and extremely durable.”
Fiberglass pools have certainly come a long way in recent years. There are manufacturers that have a deep catalog of fiberglass pool designs. Maintenance is often a factor of consideration. Are fiberglass pools easier to maintain?
We asked this question to Pool Service expert Jeffery Johnston, owner of Quality Clear Pools. We asked him as a pool service company, do Service technicians typically prefer Fiberglass pools over Gunite Pools?
Johnston has mixed feelings on the subject. He explained that they both have their benefits. Johnston said he could see why certain service companies may prefer a fiberglass pool at least when it comes to ease of maintenance. In fact, Johnston had this to say on the subject:
Gunite pools need to be properly maintained and are made of porous materials that can often be a breeding ground for algae.Jeffery johnston – quality clear pools
Paul Putcher, owner of Pool Keepers a pool service company in East Texas agrees and said “I’ve been in the pool industry over 30 years. In my experience most luxury homeowners have a Gunite Pool in their backyard. This is often true even in fiberglass predominant markets. Pool maintenance costs aside, people want what they want.”
Most Popular Pool Type
Gunite Pools are the most popular inground pool type in America currently, at least when it comes to higher end homes. There is one undeniable fact though – Fiberglass pools are easier to factory mold and drastically cut down on how long it takes to build a pool. So why aren’t they more popular?
Gunite Pools vs Fiberglass Pools
Typically a fiberglass inground pool cost is the same as a gunite. There are certainly pros and cons in going with either choice. Cost isn’t much of a determining factor. We recommend if you are considering buying a resort style pool that you consider the following:
- Is it important to you that your pool is highly customizable in terms of design?
- Do you want the interior of your pool to have a smooth fiberglass touch, a plaster touch, or a pebble interior?
- When it comes down to gunite vs fiberglass pools it’s really customization vs speed and ease of use. A gunite pool can be transformed into nearly any desired shape with any features you can imagine they do however typically require more maintenance than fiberglass pools.
- With a fiberglass pool you will save on construction time, but may pay extra for logistics costs of shipping and placing the shell into the exacavated hole.
In closing, Aaron Rogers had this to say “The costs of transporting a fiberglass pool and having a boom crane operator swing this enormous fiberglass shell over the house are what put alot of homeowners off. That and the limitations on customization that you can do to the actual pool itself are what make gunite pools the most popular decision for luxury pools”.
Olympus Pools Faces Allegations of Unfinished Pools
A growing number of customers have begun to complain that Olympus Pools has not finished their pools…
Complaints have begun to surface from a growing number of customers of Lutz, FL based Olympus Pools. Customers have begun to complain to Better Call Behnken of NBC in Tampa that they are fed up with unfinished pools and little communication from the company. Customers complained to local news station WFLA NBC Channel 8 that they’ve signed contracts over a year ago, have spent tens of thousands of dollars and see little recourse in sight as they continue to wait for their pools to be finished.
Olympus Pool Complaints
“I spoke with the owner’s wife, Alexis, probably about two or three weeks ago and she went over some of the issues they were having and I felt like I believed her and trusted it was getting back on track, but the proof is somebody shows up and actually does my pool,” said Holly Taylor-Hanke, of Wesley Chapel.
Taylor-Hanke signed a contract in March 2020, but she still has a shell of a pool and claims no one from the company has set foot on her property in over a month. She claims that commitments are made and appointments are set, but that staff do not turn up.
Homeowners take to Social Media to complain
Taylor-Hanke’s story seems to not be unique. Homeowners in Pasco, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties have turned to consumer advocates like Shannon Behnken for help. A large number of customers have also taken to social media to voice their concerns.
Man Lam of Wesley Chapel decided to build a pool for his 5-year-old-son in September of 2020. Lam said he paid $54,000 in cash in order to receive a discount from Olympus Pools. Now almost eight months later his pool remains unfinished – and he expressed growing concerns about the foundation of his home.
“The soil degradation is because of rain forcing the soil into the pool, and they’ve addressed it by bringing in workers here and just putting soil back into the foundation,” Lam said.
Lam says workers left his job sitting for six weeks and only came back this week to do emergency repairs and to add more soil underneath his home.
“There has to be a long-term solution, because the rain is coming and it’s going to form again, with a hole underneath my house,” said Lam.
Pool Magazine reached out to the company yesterday for a comment but had not received a response by the time this article was published. Better Call Behnken likewise did not receive a response from Olympus Pool owners James and Alexis Staten when they attempted to reach them.
Big Problems After a Huge Year of Growth
Prior to recent events, Olympus Pools had held an “A” rating with the Better Business Bureau. Their accreditation has since been revoked. The companies rating has now dropped to a “C+” the cause of which has been Olympus Pools failure to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.
A check of recent permits applied for by Olympus Pools shows that the pandemic brought a huge influx of new business to the company. In 2019 the company had pulled 351 permits in Pasco and Hillsborough counties, that number jumped up to 597 permits in 2020. Aside from a terrific sales year, records show that Olympus Pools received a $264,800 PPP loan in April 2020.
John Vanburen in Tampa said that he first hired Olympus Pools nine months ago. Vanburen says workers have left his backyard an eyesore and haven’t returned in weeks. He also complained of work that has been performed repeatedly failing inspection again and again.Read Aaron A.‘s review of Olympus Pools on Yelp
Complaints from Subcontractors have emerged
Complaints have also begun to surface from subcontractors who claim they have not been paid. Aaron Allen of Paver Solutions, a local contractor whose been in business for over 20 years took to Yelp to voice his frustration. We spoke with Allen and he says he refuses to remove the review even if he’s paid the $20,000 he says Olympus Pools still owes his company.
Olympus Pools has posted a message on their website that the waitlist to start pool construction is now 5 months. This however does not appear to answer questions existing customers have. Some complain they’ve been waiting for over a year for their pool to be completed but the company continues to take on new business while their projects remain unfinished.
Featured Photo Credit: WFLA News
Scott Walk is one of the Top Pool Designers / Pool Builders in Georgia
Chatting with Scott Walk, one of the leading pool designers in Georgia today.
We got the chance to catch up with one of the leading pool builders in the state of Georgia today. Scott Walk of Scott Walk’s Premier Pools & Spas in Alpharetta, GA has made a name for himself. The last few years, Walk has worked to become one of the top rated pool builders in the local area.
A member of the Premier Pools & Spas franchise, the Walk family actually independently owns and operates two locations – one in North Georgia, and the other in Chattanooga, TN. Their family business has been one of the cornerstones that model and define the successful formula Premier Pools has been able to reiterate throughout the country.
Building Pools is a Family Business
Scott Walk who comes from a previous background in construction and home remodeling, first got his start in the pool industry approximately ten years ago. Together, he and his wife Kim Walk have established one of the largest pool construction operations in the state of Georgia. Their son Ashton also works for the family’s thriving business and has been closely learning the industry side by side with his father over the past five years.
Walk attended the prestigious Genesis program. He says he’s focused now on becoming one of the top pool builders in the country. SWD registered with Genesis, less than fifty individuals nationwide have achieved the certification level he has.
Pool Kings Project: Georgia Peach Pool Paradise
Walk has had one of his projects showcased nationally on the DIY Network hit TV show Pool Kings. Consequently, the episode helped draw mass attention to his work. The reality home improvement show is quite popular. Each episode has been watched by millions of television viewers and is closely followed in the pool industry.
We asked Walk what it was like working on such a high end project, and what gave him the skillset to start building luxury inground pools.
“Working on the Pool Kings show was a unique opportunity. It is a rare privilege to be able to showcase your work to such a diverse audience. The feedback we’ve received has been incredible.”Scott Walk – Owner of Scott Walk’s Premier Pools & Spas
“Initially we went through several changes in the design process, but ultimately wound up with a concept that delivered on all of the clients wishlist items.” said Walk. “This particular project was difficult. We faced some challenges with excavation and the weather.”
Walk said that his two main concerns throughout the project were being able to deliver a premium product to the homeowner while meeting filming and scheduling deadlines. “You know, they make it look so easy on TV. Trust me it is alot harder than it looks.” said Walk.
Walk’s prior experience in building luxury pools assisted him heavily on this particular project. Since attending the Genesis program, Walk says he has been consistently increasing the level of difficulty and complexity in the projects he has undertaken.
“They were looking for over the top pool designs for the show. We had to deliver!” said Walk. “We were able to showcase the range of our abilities and included some phenomenal pool features not found in your typical build.”
Luxury Pool Features
Scott guided us through some of the remarkable amenities in this resort style luxury pool. “There’s really so much we built into this backyard. We’ve got the beach entry pool with bubblers. A lazy river with a bridge to an island that has a super sized spa.” said Walk. “We’ve also incorporated a slide and two waterfalls in this pool. Not to mention the work that went into building this incredible outdoor kitchen area.”
From start to finish this particular project was over 5 months in the making said Walk. In the end, he and his crew worked nearly round the clock. It was necessary in order to meet the deadlines for the episode to run in time. Ultimately, his team delivered and in magnificent fashion. The completed pool and backyard is nothing short of breathtaking.
Walk and his team worked hard and the effort shows. Consequently, the end result is a truly unique and one of a kind luxury pool design. This is a five star resort style backyard that any homeowner would envy. We asked Walk where his inspiration comes from on these projects and what the design process is like for him.
“I really learned so much from the Genesis program that guides me in my design process today. I also find tremendous inspiration from the other builders in my organization. These are people who are really pushing the envelope today in pool engineering.”Scott Walk – Owner of Scott Walk’s PremIer Pools & Spas
Scott Walk on Pool Design
“I always start my designs in Structure Studios first. We will create a walk through of the entire pool area in 3D for the homeowner. This helps them visualize the design concept, features and amenities.” said Walk. “I find that this adds value to the process. It truly immerses the client into giving us the feedback necessary to design them their dream backyard,” continued Walk.
Walk’s experience in building luxury inground pools has led to a long list of satisfied customers. It has also helped make his firm one of the top rated builders in the state. He attributes much of his success to his organization. “We are firm believers in the Premier formula.” said Walk. “That has really been what has helped us become so successful.”
California Pools Opens Philadelphia Location
Mar. 29, 2021 / PRZen / PHILADELPHIA — California Pools, America’s most recognized builder of swimming pools and everything outdoors, announces the addition of its 32nd independently-owned and operated U.S. location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. California Pools has received more awards for its custom pool designs from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals than any other pool builder in the world and is consistently named among the Top 5 Pool Builders for its customer service.
California Pools has built more than 70,000 pools since its inception in 1952, setting the foundation for the new Philadelphia location that will leverage that experience to serve surrounding Philadelphia areas, including Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The company offers a full range of creative design and build services for new custom residential swimming pools and spas, residential swimming pool and spa remodeling, and custom outdoor living.
“California Pools is unique in that we have been designing and building custom pools and backyards for nearly 50 years,” says Steve Terry, President at California Pools Franchise, Inc. “We are excited to have a new franchise location to partner with homeowners in the Philadelphia area to transform their outdoor spaces into dream backyards they can enjoy year-round.”
California Pools is known for working closely with each client to develop innovative ideas that fit their lifestyles and budgets and keeping them informed every step of the way. Using its extensive experience to hone best practices, the company is able to finish 98 percent of its projects on time and within budget, a rare industry achievement. California Pools provides virtual and/or in-home consultations, 3D designs, detailed pricing, vast project material choices, and a proven process.
“We treat every client like family and want them to have the most positive experience possible from start to finish,” says Andrew McFarlane, owner and operator of California Pools Philadelphia. “One of the most fun parts of my job is showing clients all of the options they have to take their outdoor space from typical to extraordinary while keeping it easy to maintain. From water and fire features to innovative lighting and automation, our team is ready to bring California Pools to the Philadelphia area.”
McFarlane will lead the California Pools Philadelphia team, bringing with him construction and design experience dating back to his teenage years. He believes that helping design and build backyard dreams and family memories is a privilege. Mcfarlane has experience in virtually all facets of construction.
About California Pools
California Pools is a national pool building company with dozens of local offices throughout the country that are led by a team of professionals with decades of experience. The company was founded in 1952 and has since built more than 70,000 pools, earning multiple national awards for design and customer service. Beyond custom pools and spas, California Pools designs and builds outdoor kitchens and bars, fire pits and fireplaces, fountains, outdoor sitting and dining areas, and other outdoor entertaining areas equipped with audio-visual technology, automation and innovative lighting.
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