Frequently Asked Questions

Installation of a residential swimming pool or spa is one of the largest expenditures a family can make outside of the actual purchase of their home. Since Watercrest Custom Pools is a family owned and operated business, we take this family expenditure extremely seriously!

We understand that the ultimate success of our business depends completely on our customer satisfaction. This is why Watercrest Custom Pools delivers only the best in products, materials, and service.

We also understand the many questions family members have when contemplating building a pool, spa, or outdoor environment. With these facts in mind, Watercrest Custom Pools has put together the following questions and answers below to help alleviate some of the initial unknowns our customers may have. If these facts below do not satisfy any question you have, feel free to call us at anytime at 215.355.4700 or reach out via our contact form. We’ll be happy to discuss any issue or concern your family may have!

What factors are important to consider when first thinking about building a pool or a spa?
Kindly consider asking yourself the following questions …

  • How is the pool going to be used?
  • Will it be used for fitness and laps?
  • Will there be children playing water sports?
  • Am I just going to use it as a place of relaxation?
  • Will I be entertaining guests?
  • And if so, will I need an outdoor environment to compliment my pool or spa?
  • What kind of atmosphere do I wish for this recreational area?

What types of pools does Watercrest Custom Pools sell?
Watercrest Custom Pools sells two types of pools:

Semi-Custom Pools
Which are already blueprinted and planned; however, the homeowner picks out the complimentary items such as steps, shelves, tiles and coping to name a few. There is a vast array of selections available to the customer so that their individual tastes and needs are truly addressed as desired.

Custom Pools
Watercrest Custom Pools also builds totally custom pools from their Aqua Virgo Pool & Spa collection. These are national award-winning pools designed and built to your specifications, your landscape and your family’s desire! These are pools made with distinct style, quality craftsmanship, and completed with innovative technologically advanced product lines.

All pools come with a monolithic reinforced concrete pool shell.

Should the homeowner(s) obtain building permits on their own behalf?
As a licensed contractor, it’s best for Watercrest Custom Pools to obtain the necessary permits for your pool. In essence, if the homeowner secures these permits, then he/she is taking on the responsibility as the actual General Contractor. However, this is still the customer’s choice.

If zoning issues are at hand, who is responsible for securing a variance, if needed?
The homeowner is responsible for the preparation of documents, the contracting of a land surveyor, and presentation to the local township zoning board. However, Watercrest Custom Pools provides an all-inclusive comprehensive package that includes issues such as zoning and permits. These issues will be discussed up front during the initial consultation. We are very transparent when it comes to cost breakdowns and itemizations for our customers.

If zoning issues are at hand, who is responsible for securing a variance, if needed?
The homeowner is responsible for the preparation of documents, the contracting of a land surveyor, and presentation to the local township zoning board. However, Watercrest Custom Pools provides an all-inclusive comprehensive package that includes issues such as zoning and permits. These issues will be discussed up front during the initial consultation. We are very transparent when it comes to cost breakdowns and itemizations for our customers.

What should I look for in finding a contractor?

  1. First verify how long the contractor has been in business.  [Watercrest has been in business for 35+ years.]
  2. Next step is to determine whether or not the contractor is local to the area and maintains assets within the general building area.  [Watercrest has been in the local Bucks County area since its incorporation.]
  3. Ensure the types of pools, the quality of pools, and the materials used by this contractor meet with your standards.
  4. Make certain the contractor is licensed, reputable, and is a member of professional organizations.  [Watercrest is a member in good standing in both NESPA and APSP.
  5. Also ensure the contractor is licensed to build pools in your area.  [Watercrest has been licensed in the tri-state area since 1985.  All licensing verification will be transparent prior to our selection as your contractor and is readily available.]
  6. Verification of valid insurance policies is also recommended.

    What areas does Watercrest Custom Pools build pools, spas, and outdoor environments?
    Watercrest Custom Pools has been building pools, spas, and outdoor environments in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware areas for more than 35 years.

    Are there standards for pool contractors, servicers, and builders?
    Yes, and Watercrest invites and encourages perspective clients to visit their local Better Business Bureau to ensure that we are a quality contractor.

    When is the best time to build a pool?
    While a pool can be built year round, the drier months are the best time to install and build a pool in the Tri-State Area of PA, NJ, and Delaware.  This season usually is good April thru November in order to minimize damage to the rest of the yard while construction is taking place.  This also allows a head start for the landscaping in the forthcoming spring.  A homeowner can plan their construction at anytime of the year with Watercrest.

    How long does it take to build a pool?
    While each pool is unique in its own characteristics, it usually takes 6-8 weeks just to install the pouring of the monolithic shell.  Depending on the customer’s choice of decking, coping, tiles, water features, outdoor environment, etc., some pools tend to take a little longer to complete depending on their individual complexities.  Watercrest will discuss a timetable during the initial consultation stage.  Bad weather may play an important factor in installation time.

    What areas of safety should I address as a homeowner?
    Watercrest builds and constructs all of its pools to meet or exceed guidelines, principles, and policies found in the International Residential Codes & Standards of ANSI/NSPI-5 2003.

    Does Watercrest maintain a General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance policy?
    Yes, all insurance verification will be transparent prior to our selection as your contractor and is readily available for our client’s inspection.  We maintain policies consistent with or better than the industry standard.  Review of these policies is available at our initial consultation stage.

    Are there previous clients available for prospective clients to discuss their satisfaction with Watercrest’s construction performance?
    Yes, Watercrest will provide potential clients with a list of customers willing to show their pools, discuss how they made their pool and/or spa selections, and to share their overall experience.  Clients will not only be provided with a list of ‘completed’ pools and spas; but Watercrest will additionally provide an ‘ongoing’ list, so clients can also observe what to expect during the actual ‘construction’ phase.  Clients will then be able to see first hand the standards upheld by our firm and the products used in the construction process.  We pride ourselves on the materials used, the product and design selections available, and the overall ‘hands-on’ industry knowledge maintained by our staff.

    Will Watercrest utilize subcontractors?

    • Yes, we absolutely use subcontractors during the client’s pool and spa construction process.
    • However, we try to perform most construction tasks by using Watercrest paid employees, so most of the work will be completed by our own professionally trained staff.
    • Our staff members are highly trained by most of the ‘specialty’ pool product manufacturers in the proper installation and use of their individual products.
    • This helps to keep costs down, ensures compliance to local codes [as in electrical and plumbing certifications], and provides for more innovative insight to the project-at-hand.  We ensure each subcontractor is fully insured and licensed as well.

      Does the homeowner need to be present during the entire construction phase?
      No.  This is not a requirement, but they should be available via telecom communications in case of emergencies or questions.

        What is the difference between shotcrete and gunite?
        The main difference between shotcrete and gunite is 3/8″ stone. Gunite is a dry mixture of sand and cement with water added at the nozzle during application. Shotcrete is a wet mix of sand, cement and usually 3/8″ pea gravel, all delivered together to the job already mixed in a concrete truck.

          Why does pool tile crack and fall off?
          Tile and coping damage are often the result of poor drainage around the pool, which eventually will lead to saturation of the pool shell.  Other reasons for tile and coping failure include improper installation. Typically, some installers will use a 2-3″ mortar bed to level the top of the pool and in colder climates such as ours, a base this thick will also eventually fail.

            Should the filter system be located close to the pool?
            No, the filtration system does not need to be located right next to the pool.   A good contractor will utilize the proper size piping where it can be placed totally out of sight, in a shed, or even in a pump house.

              How long will the finish on my pool plaster last before it needs to be replaced?
              If the plaster coating is applied properly and according to the manufacturer’s specifications it can last up to and beyond 10 years.  It is also important to keep the chemistry of the water maintained and to spec as well.

                Why should I winterize my pool, can’t I just lower the water level?
                No, not in the climate that is typical for our area.  Watercrest recommends that pools be totally winterized with all lines being blown out via compressed air.  Additionally, we recommend draining the filter system and plugging all pipes connected to the pool.

                  Why should I check my alkalinity?  Is this the same as checking the pH?

                  • No.  The alkalinity in a swimming pool or spa is a separate unit of measure from measuring the pH and should be treated as such.
                  • An acceptable range of 80-120 ppm of alkalinity in order for other chemicals in the pool to be properly balanced.
                  • When the alkalinity is extremely low the water tends to become destructive.
                  • Even though the water may appear clear in color, in this condition it will eat away at the plaster, the piping and other pool components.

                  Does my yard need to be flat to install a pool?
                  No.  In most cases, yards are not flat prior to excavation.  When creating a flat surface, the excess soil can be used for grading purposes around the pool itself or taken away.  Pools can be built into embankments or hills by utilizing retaining walls, which can be incorporated into the pool design as a water feature or rock/landscape design.

                  Can a pool or spa heater be installed if there is no gas service to the home site?
                  Yes.  Watercrest maintains several options for heating pools when a client does not have gas service to the home. Natural gas heaters, propane heaters, heat pumps, and solar heating are some options to explore.  Watercrest utilizes Pentair products for such services.

                  How high should the water level be maintained in the pool?
                  Watercrest recommends clients keep their water level even with the center of their tiles.  To ensure you get the best cleaning off the water’s surface, pool owners should make sure the water line is no higher than half way up the skimmer mouth/s [openings].

                  Does my concrete pool have to be installed in the ground?
                  No.  Certain precautions or preparations have to be made, but the pool could be up and out of the ground if that is a request by the homeowner.  In such cases, they can be finished with a stone or stucco veneer.

                  Just remember … Only the right answers to these questions can ensure the homeowner a happy building experience!

                   Watercrest Custom Pools stands ready to assist you with any additional questions you may have!