Pictures from a remodel in The Woodlands

Along with building brand-new swimming pools, we also look to remodel existing swimming pools. Think of remodels like a swimming-pool makeover. Take your old swimming pool, alter it a bit and it’s as good as new. Remodels aren’t easy and aren’t able to be done on every pool, but when they are, they can inject new life into your backyard.

Here are some pictures of a remodel that we did in the Cochran’s Crossing neighborhood in The Woodlands.

The remodel process

Here are some initial photos of what the pool used to look like. Notice the brick coping on the spa and encircling in the first picture and the weathered tile in picture No. 2. The customer was looking to trade the brick coping for flagstone coping and upgrade from the tile, along with getting a plaster facelift. These pictures give you an idea of what we were originally working with.

One of the first things we did was rip out the coping all around the pool and the spa. We also stripped the tile that encircled the hot tub. Here are some pictures of us “doing out with the old.” The first two deal with the coping around the pool while the rest concentrate on the spa.

As mentioned above, we also resurfaced the pool, which included replastering. Notice the holes in the bottom of the pool. They are called weep holes and are essential in surfacing a pool because they don’t allow the shell to “float” away. You can read more on that concept here while enjoying these pictures.

Finishing the remodel

Now that you’ve seen the process, here are the results. As you’ll notice, the brick encircling the pool and the shelf of the spa has been replaced with flagstone, and the weathered tile along the sides is now eye-catching brick. We also added a pretty sturdy rock formation alongside the spa. That goes with a nice plant area alongside the edge of the pool, and we resurfaced the pool with a nice new layer of plaster.

In case you were worried, the spa works just like new. We even tried it out!

Replastering photos

We’re feeling pretty photo happy at Ultimate Pools lately, so here’s a look at a couple of pictures that a customer shot from a replastering job in The Woodlands. A hearty thank you to Matthew Groner for the photos.

Update: The replastering is finished and the pool is filled, just in time for the beginning of swim season.

Pictures of home kitchens, gazebo roofs

Readers of this site know that we work with Well Done Building Projects frequently when it comes to constructing home kitchens. We detailed our work with Well Done Building Projects and Jeff Thayer in this article, but we also dabble in some home kitchens of our own.

Here are some pictures from projects we’ve worked on recently. Enjoy the photos of the gazebo roofs and give us a call if you’re looking to add these features to your backyard oasis.

Winterizing your pool in cold weather

While the weather right now is generally delightful and warm in Southeast Texas, it sure wasn’t that way a few weeks ago. Last month temperatures got down to the teens in The Woodlands and Conroe, weather that brought about parkas and broken PVBs. That’s why winterizing is important.

The hard freeze caused PVBs, which are also known as pressure vacuum breakers, to crack and break. This caused many customers to call our office for maintenance repairs. While we’re more than happy to attend to these repairs, there are steps you can take to prevent repairs from being needed in the first place.

Before discussing how to prevent your PVBs from cracking, let’s go over what a PVB is. A pressure vacuum breaker is a backflow device used in pools and home irrigation systems to keep contaminants from entering the public water supply. It keeps your pool water separate from water from your house and vice versa. Unfortunately, they are susceptible to damage or breakage in freezing weather. When the temperature gets to 37 degrees or lower (with the wind chill or without) your PVBs can crack. It’s a huge pain when they do, so here is how you can winterize them.

Keys to winterizing your pool

There are a number of steps homeowners can take to protect their PVBs from cracking due to freezing temperatures:

  • Drain all water from the corresponding pipes: While advice for underground plumbing in your house is to have water trickling from faucets to keep water moving in your pipes and not freezing, that logic doesn’t apply here. The pipes running from your pool aren’t thick enough for that to work, therefore the water is susceptible to freezing. Since frozen water expands, PVBs can burst. So drain the water completely so there’s no water that can freeze, expand, and cause chaos. This tip, along with others, can be found in this article by Pentair.
  • Wrap your PVB in insulation: During a freezing event, a few degrees can make the difference between a cracked PVB and a healthy one. That’s why it’s important to wrap the PVB in a towel or blanket after the pipes are drained. The wrapping will keep the PVB warm, which will help keep it safe in the cold weather. That tip can also be found in this article.
  • Make sure pool equipment continues to run: While you want to clear your PVBs of water, that doesn’t mean turning off your pool entirely. It’s important to keep your pool running to keep the computerized systems active in regulating the temperature of the pool and maintaining the water chemistry functions. Keeping the pool on will also keep the freeze protection on your computer system active and up to date. It also keeps pumps going manually and allows your pool to get quickly back to where it needs to be when temperatures rise. Also make sure your temperature sensors are in working order.

More on winterizing

We offer extra valving services so you can drain pipes completely in the event of a freeze. Also, read this article and this article for more tips on winterizing, and give us a call if you need help with cracked PVBs. Hopefully the worst of winter is over, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Meet Carlos Macias

We added a new player to our Ultimate Pools team, as we recently hired Carlos Macias as one of our primary salesman. Macias has worked in the swimming pool industry for over a decade in South Texas and greater Houston, mainly in Katy. Having worked both in pool construction and pool sales, Macias is ready to bring his expertise to the Ultimate Pools team.

“I love it so far,” Macias said. “What I want to do is listen to the customer and help them get the pool that they want to have. If you don’t listen to your customers then you aren’t going to make the sale and attract more customers. I’ve seen it happen — salesmen doing what they want to do and not satisfying the customer. They find that disrespectful, so I make sure I listen to what they want.”

Carlos Macias fell in love with swimming pools early, as he was a champion AAU swimmer growing up in Harlingen, Texas, down by the Rio Grande. It was in those days that he accidentally discovered that he had a talent.

“I was a swimmer in Harlingen and I was talking to one of the pool cleaners about the pool. He looked at me with a blank face and said that I should sell pools,” Macias said. “He said that I’d be great at it. I started working for South Texas Pools (in neighboring La Feria), learned the basics and discovered that I really enjoyed it.”

Macias has done other things in the years since, getting his pilot’s license for work in the oil and gas industry, but always came back to pools. He moved to Greater Houston and worked at Casey’s Pools in Katy before designing pools as a contractor for Gulf Water Pools, also in Katy. He plans on using that experience to help Ultimate Pools expand its base.

“My job is to go set up appointments, put designs on software, make sure everything is up to code,” Macias said. “I also want to have great relationships with subcontractors. I’ve learned that you’re only as good as your subs. Treat them like human beings and you’ll be good to go.

“I’m looking forward to working with (Ultimate Pools owner) Bryan (Stuart). I want to learn everything he’s learned and help him expand this business all over the area and state.”

Feel free to introduce yourself to Carlos. He can be reached via email at and reached at (832) 221-5412.