Archive for January, 2011

NJ Pool Builder Wins Swimming Pool Masonry Design Award

Friday, January 28th, 2011

NJ Pool Builder Wins Swimming Pool Masonry Design Award

Mason Contractors Association Recognizes the Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools & Landscaping team with one of Its prestigious TEAM Awards for exemplary mason and hardscapes work for a natural stone swimming pool project in Saddle River New Jersey.

 

On January 17, 2011 at the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas, the Mason Contractors Association of America hosted the TEAM awards, which stand for a Tribute to Exemplary Achievements in Masonry. These awards recognized masonry and hardscape achievements.

Our team won the Landscape, Hardscape category for the work we did on a swimming pool project in Saddle River, New Jersey.  One of the judges was quoted in the award brochure, “It looks like something God might have done!”  and we thank him for inspiring us with his beautiful creations.

Bill Moore, our landscape architect, designed the pool on the project with two waterfalls; one flows into the pool and one flows out over the vanishing edge, creating three tiers. The waterfalls tie in the back yard’s twenty-six foot elevation change as it transitions to the house. The stone used for the waterfall is Palisades stone and Pennsylvania chunk sandstone, set vertically to mimic the natural outcroppings of the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River.  All across the hardscape, textured plantings of the pool landscaping soften the stone masonry and create a natural setting fit for the massive waterfalls.

The comfortable pool patio area is grey Tennessee Crab Orchard. The outdoor living space includes an outdoor fireplace, a full-service kitchen and bar, a koi pond, and plenty of seating on the dining patio, which is finished with bluestone set in a random, regular pattern.

The whole team contributed to earning this TEAM award! Bill took the projects biggest challenge, the 26 foot elevation change, and made it the greatest asset by creating a two-tiered waterfall hardscape cascading down towards the stone patio. The masonry division gets kudos for their tireless efforts and creativity. Keith Steinhoff also deserves kudos for his amazing job designing all the hydraulics and for his instrumental work in tying all the different facets together.

In the end, each of these unique components of the hardscape combines to form a stone masterpiece.  Congratulations to the entire team!

NJ Swimming Pool Builder, Bankrupt Pool Contractor Abandons Pool Construction in Mahwah New Jersey

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Deceitful and Inexperienced Pool Contractors Can Turn Residential and Commercial Swimming Pool Projects into Expensive, Time-Consuming Construction Nightmares

Last week, we inherited an abandoned swimming pool project at the Marriott Hotel in Mahwah, NJ. The defunct indoor pool and spa was in complete disrepair and not even close to meeting standards required by the board of health. While we were grateful to consult with engineers, the Mahwah health department, and the property owner regarding repair options, and equally grateful we were eventually awarded the bid, we feel that a valuable lesson can be learned from the abandoned Marriott Hotel project.

What was wrong with the pool? It was all-around poorly constructed. The engineering plan and the actual pool construction had serious inconsistencies. (Whether this was intentionally done to cut corners or unintentionally done out of simple ineptness, we do not know. Both issues of honesty and experience seem serious enough to question either way.) First of all, the swimming pool slope into the deep end was too drastic and didn’t match the plans. The spa plumbing and construction was not up to code and condemned. It was so hopeless that the safest and cheapest solution would be to demolish it and start from scratch. The equipment room included three pumps, but instead of the pumps specified in the plans, the previous contractor used smaller substitutions. The two heaters on the project also failed to meet code and had to be removed and replaced. Lastly, the saltwater chlorination system was  removed because it can’t be the sole chlorination system for a commercial grade pool. Imagine, for a second, that the project was not abandoned. Since the pool and spa were not up to code, the spa and the swimming pool would have required complete demolition after the final health department inspection.

What are the odds that the dishonest contractor who cut corners is going to have enough integrity to go back and responsibly fix everything? More often than not, it is easier for a contractor to claim bankruptcy than to fix a non-compliant swimming pool. Abandoned or not, the inexperienced pool contractor dug a very deep hole for the property owner, literally and financially.

But how might homeowners and property owners see these major shortcomings before awarding a bid to a pool contractor? It does seem slightly unreasonable to think that these disreputable pool companies would represent themselves honestly from the start. The same company that started the Marriot project also abandoned a residential swimming pool in Haworth, New Jersey this past year. This pool company was infamous for taking pictures off association websites and posting them on his own. Believe it or not the owner went as far as to take a photograph of a pool built by a Long Island company, mirror it in Photoshop, and use it in a full page advertisement in 201 Magazine.  This is by no means an isolated incident. Another local pool contractor currently advertises as “The Leading Swimming Pool Design & Construction Company” and claims to be a full-service pool and landscape company; not surprisingly, this firm just removed another company’s landscaping pictures from their website. The problem is that these companies often pay big money to marketing firms in order to create an aura of expertise with bogus testimonials and quotes taken out of context and other dishonest tactics. Unfortunately it’s so easy for an unsuspecting consumer to fall into these traps!

What can you do to assure yourself of a company’s credibility? On our website: PlantNJ.com, we offer a contractor disclosure form that homeowners and property owners can use to review pool contractors based on ethical advertising practices, general business standing, professional licensing, and overall experience. The contractor disclosure will hopefully weed out fraudulent and inexperienced bidders on your job. The disclosure agreement also leaves a place for the contractor to sign off on the information provided in the checklist, acknowledging that any misrepresentations are in violation of the NJ Consumer Fraud Act. In general, the Marriott Hotel project demonstrates that contractor credibility, experience, and dedication are invaluable. A contractor disclosure checklist may be a good way to find out which NJ inground pool builders really possess all those qualities in order to keep this nightmare from happening to you.

Pool Heat Pump VS Gas Heater, New Jersey Pool Company Says Pool Heat Pumps Save Thousands

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

New Jersey pool company explains how pool heat pumps reduce the monthly heating costs of inground swimming pools by up to75%. So if you are an inground swimming pool owner who is looking for an efficient way to heat your vinyl lined pool, fiberglass pool or gunite pool a heat pump may be the best heating option for you!

Heat pumps are a very popular and cost efficient way to heat your  pool and reduce heating costs. Heat pumps are installed just as effortlessly as any other pool heater and the new advanced controls make operating the heat pump easier than ever. The heat pump is a great benefit because it allows you to significantly reduce your operating cost and extend your pool season without breaking the bank. NJ pool design ideas that move towards energy efficiency prove to be a worthwhile investment.

heat pump is a device that uses a small amount of energy to move heat from one location to another; usually by pulling heat out of the air or ground to heat a home or pool. It works much like a refrigerator in reverse by extracting the heat from the air, intensifying it with a compressor, and delivering the heat to the water as it passes through the system. The process is clean, efficient and most importantly cost effective. On average the heat pump operates at about ¼ the cost of your typical natural gas heater.

The heat pump is designed to maintain a constant higher temperature for the pool at a lower cost, but it is not intended for quick heating. Heat pumps are greatly affected by ambient temperature so if there are successive days of  bad weather the heat pump will take significantly more time to heat the pool. A standard gas heater normally raises the pool temperature 1 degree per hour. A heat pump may take 3 to 5 times longer depending on the ambient temperature. It is our recommendation that the heat pump be installed as the primary heat source with a natural gas heater as a backup. If you have a spa attached to the pool a natural gas heater is essential to raise the spa to a desired temperature in a short amount of time. What the heat pump effectively does is demote the expensive natural gas heater to secondary usage. With the dual system you can run the much more cost efficient heat pump constantly and only use the natural gas system when you want to raise the temperature to use the spa, when you’re planning for company that night or after extended bad weather.

What is the real life costs associated with this product? Let’s look at the additional costs involved with the heat pump and determine the time it will take to get a return on the investment. A +120,000 BTU heat pump, the minimal plumbing and wiring associated with installation could range from $4500 to $6500 depending on the manufacturer. A 900 sq. ft. pool with spa and waterfall on a natural gas system has an operating cost that ranges from $800 to $1200 a month depending on the usage habits and weather conditions. Operating the same pool on an electric heat pump system would cost about $250 to $450 per month. Now add in the operating cost of the back up gas heater which would be $100 to $300 per month (depending on ambient temperature and usage habits). The average consumer could expect a $400 to $450 per month savings and could recoup the cost of the heat pump in 2.5 to 4.5 years. Pool owners can find comfort knowing that going green will save them green!

By: Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools & Landscaping

A 5X International Design Winning Pool Company

Mahwah, New Jersey

New Pool Renovations Page NJ, NY and CT Swimming Pool Renovations & Repairs

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Is your outdated concrete, fiberglass or gunite  swimming pool in need of a restoration? Are the pavers in your pool patio settling or fading? Is your coping and tile falling off? Visit our NJ Pool Renovation page and  see the latest upgrades available for your swimming pool.

Mahwah, New Jersey – Cipriano Custom Swimming Pools and Landscaping offers state of the art gunite, concrete and fiberglass swimming pool renovations for homeowners looking to upgrade their swimming pool to a custom outdoor living space with today’s most luxurious swimming pool amenities. With infinitely growing ideas in swimming pool and landscape design, the possibilities for your swimming pool renovations are endless. Archaic pools can be remodeled into highly-acclaimed, modern masterpieces. Waterfalls, infinity edges, fiber optic lighting, fire pits, relaxing water features, natural stone patios, and glass tile finishes can each do their part in transforming your back yard into the luxury living space you’ve always wanted.