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Thread: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

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    Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    New member, so hello to everyone and a quick note to say I've enjoyed reading many of the threads in the forums before signing up to post this.

    We bought a house that has a very large inground cement pool. Knew it was a disaster when we bought it, and we got the house price down by about $20k listing the unknown costs of repairing or removing the pool as one of the negatives.

    Have only had one pool company come by to look at it. And they are obviously looking for rich clients only. Quickly estimated 15-20k to remove it and 40-50k for a new one the same size. I think the look I gave him was clear enough and he left.

    So:

    We bought the house from the estate of a very elderly woman.
    The pool hasn't been used in a number of years. More than several (the pool guy figured the mechanical equipment is all antiques).
    The previous owner is not the one that built the pool. However they are the ones who committed the cardinal sin of emptying the pool and leaving it empty.
    Although the previous owners caused the pool to lift, they used it in that condition for many years. As you can see in the photos, plywood was installed and painted to hide the raised metal wall structure of the pool.

    So the bad news is a giant pool with a poor condition interior and a raised deep end. There's a 3 or 4 inch difference in height sided to side at the deep end, and there's about a 20 inch difference between the highest point and the lowest point on the coping.

    I have no idea about the condition of the bottom drain or piping. I suspect that only the skimmer was being used after the pool floated.

    The good new is this thing is solid (might be bad news if opting to remove it). Some hairline cracks, but last summer all I did was keep pumping it out after rain to keep the water level below the first step. And left to its own, water will overflow the low point of the coping. So no noticeable amount of water seems to leak from the pool. There is one crack that seems to let tiny amounts of water in since I've left it pumped out to the level of the shallow end.

    The amount of money a neighbour said the previous owners spent may mean the pool was solidified and supported in it's current state.

    So, what to do? Don't have much money. The renovations on the house have already stretched the finances.

    First I want to clean it out. The smell can be foul and the bottom cannot be cleaned with net. A huge quantity of chlorine only made the water cloudy for a couple of days and it then reverted to brown and green.

    Plan:
    - Rent trash pump and pump it out completely.
    - Rent a power washer and clean the whole thing (as-is I used a rather low power pressure washer).
    - Open a hole in the bottom so it won't float any more. Is this a good idea and how big a hole should I be prepared to drill if the bottom drain has no plug or hydrostatic valve?

    Then?
    I've been wondering what cement work could be done on the interior to reprofile the walls and floor. And what might be done to cut down the raised walls to flat or raise the low walls up (a raised pool with a negative edge would be wonderful IMO).


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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Welcome to the forum!

    Oh wow that's quite a situation you have there. Although staggering, I'm not sure the builders what's was too far out of line overall. If possible, removal and replacement would be my first choice. With money being the object this is quite a difficult situation I'm afraid. Sorry I don't have a better answer for you.
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Thanks for the reply Patrick_B.
    If I remove it, I won't be putting another inground pool in as a replacement. And I'll be looking at how much work I can do myself to remove it.
    The reason I find the kneejerk reaction of "remove and replace" wrong is that it was used as-is for years. And the summer before last it spent a number of weeks full up to the lowest edge. If the integrity of the structure was suspect it should have shown itself by now.
    The important thing IMO is that I clean it out and avoid being the neighbourhood source of mosquitos and smells. Last year I put in goldfish. They grew huge over the summer and lived the good life, but they died over the winter.
    Cheapest fix, I suppose, is just paint it and buy a used pump and filter to use it as-is.

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    I agree with the tear out and replace choice.

    If you want to keep it then I think your paint and put in a pump and filter has merit.
    22k gallon IG pebblefina, Jandy 1.5 HP VS, Jandy CV Cartridge filter, Fafco solar panels, Polaris 360 supply side cleaner, waterfall

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    I agree with the tear out and replace choice.
    If you want to keep it then I think your paint and put in a pump and filter has merit.
    Reasons for tearing out?

    We could always use a smaller pool. A smaller pool could be built inside the current one.

    And to empty and clean it, any rule of thumb on how big a hole I will need in the bottom if I find that there's no valve to remove or open? Or how to avoid any future troubles blocking a hole I drill with a hole cutter?

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    That pool looks like a world war 2 TANK, indestructable.... You say it does not leak? if so, fix the plumbing, add a pump and filter, fix the decking and call it a week

    It would look awesome with new plaster or even quartz plaster...
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by EricDu View Post
    Reasons for tearing out?

    We could always use a smaller pool. A smaller pool could be built inside the current one.

    And to empty and clean it, any rule of thumb on how big a hole I will need in the bottom if I find that there's no valve to remove or open? Or how to avoid any future troubles blocking a hole I drill with a hole cutter?
    here is a 1.5 inch bronze hydro valve

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    Skitch's Avatar
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Tearing it out looks good on paper, but the quick and easy is to get that thing back as is.

    If you post progress pictures here it will surely be a popular thread!
    18k gal AG Sand Filter K-2006

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    I'm in to watch this one!

    Get some DIY folks over for a grill out. Serve beers and let the ideas flow! Make sure to have paper to write any and all ideas down. When someone throws out an idea ask how it could be done.

    You never know someone might have a good idea!

    I sure wish I could walk around it to poke and prod to see what is what.

    Kim
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I'm in to watch this one!

    Get some DIY folks over for a grill out. Serve beers and let the ideas flow! Make sure to have paper to write any and all ideas down. When someone throws out an idea ask how it could be done.

    You never know someone might have a good idea!

    I sure wish I could walk around it to poke and prod to see what is what.

    Kim
    Kim,
    So far the neighbours have all unanimously asked when we're filling it in. I have learned that the soil is clay and that the back of the properties used to be a stream and that a drain pipe installed by all the neighbours stopped working properly some years back. Which explains the accumulation of water at the back of the yard in the spring.

    Need to find some real DIYer's with experience (main reason I'm here). I certainly have ideas of my own, but I welcome all ideas anyone with pool experience might have.

    What would you like to poke and prod? I can take pictures of any part you have questions about or you'd like to comment on.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Skitch View Post
    Tearing it out looks good on paper, but the quick and easy is to get that thing back as is.

    If you post progress pictures here it will surely be a popular thread!
    Yeah Skitch, my wife is pushing hard to get it up ad running as-is. She wants to be able to say we swam in it this year (before we tear it out or revert back to a goldfish pond).
    Looking into used pump and filters. Kijiji seems to have quite a number listed near me.
    The filter I have uses cartridges that are probably impossible to find. Going to pull the pump out and see if it actually runs.

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    What is the blue at the end of the deep end? What is the white around the top? Concrete? Painted metal? I don't know about the logistics, but I'm imagining a huge bandsaw being run around it to level it back off.


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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    See I am thinking engineers, construction people, as well as pool installers being the kind of people you need to brainstorm with.

    Me? I just throw ideas out there and see what sticks LOL Drives the people around me crazy but most of the time one of my wild ideas ends up working with some thought so.............here goes..........

    -Poke UNDER the high part of the pool. Is it solid under it? Are there any areas that there is not dirt/soil/clay under the pool?

    -I am with above-what is the white stuff going around the top of the pool? Is it solid? Is it firmly attached?

    -What is the blue stuff on the side?

    -What is the brown stuff that looks like it might have been covered by the blue stuff?

    I am thinking if you REALLY think it is solid and SAFE (do you want your wife in it?) it might be worth cleaning up and filling.

    I would not worry about putting a hole in the bottom. Many pools do not have a bottom drain. A skimmer or two with some returns and you should be good.

    Lets see what we come up with after the questions are answered.

    BUT if it is NOT solid under it take it OUT!

    Kim
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    -Poke UNDER the high part of the pool. Is it solid under it? Are there any areas that there is not dirt/soil/clay under the pool?
    Can't poke underneath. As can be seen in the two side shots (pics 2 and 3) the metal goes down below ground. The soil has obviously subsided, but won't get underneath without a lot of digging.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    -I am with above-what is the white stuff going around the top of the pool? Is it solid? Is it firmly attached?
    White stuff around top is solid poured coping. Cement.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    -What is the blue stuff on the side?
    "Blue stuff" is little 1x1 tiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    -What is the brown stuff that looks like it might have been covered by the blue stuff?
    "Brown stuff" is the exposed mortar behind the tiles.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I am thinking if you REALLY think it is solid and SAFE (do you want your wife in it?) it might be worth cleaning up and filling.
    The previous owners swam for a number of years in the pool as it is. So, I'd say solid and safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    I would not worry about putting a hole in the bottom. Many pools do not have a bottom drain. A skimmer or two with some returns and you should be good.
    The hole in the bottom question is so that it doesn't float any more. I was thinking either I find a hydrostatic valve and makes sure it's open after I pump it out or I drill a hole. And thinking about it, would also let me find out what it's like underneath.

    Here's a pic of the white top, blue tile, and mortar behind.

    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    The blue stuff outside the pool-what is it? The brown stuff outside is the metal I am guessing from your reply.

    So interesting. It is like a treasure hunt with hopefully a working swimming pool at the end!

    Kim
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Or did you mean on the outside? Getting dark, I'll try and get a shot.


    Top is back side of white coping underneath is the metal wall that seems to be all round the pool. In some places you can see metal bracing as well.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    The blue stuff outside the pool-what is it? The brown stuff outside is the metal I am guessing from your reply.
    The blue stuff on the outside is rotten plywood painted blue. Will soon be torn off.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    The blue stuff outside the pool-what is it? The brown stuff outside is the metal I am guessing from your reply.
    The blue stuff on the outside is rotten plywood painted blue. Will soon be torn off.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    Well, if you want to use it just for a season then you could do that with a OG pool filter.
    If you want to be rid of it without massive cost, rent a Jackhammer @ a rental place and punch a half dozen holes in the bottom.
    Fill it with dirt and soil and turn it in to a garden.
    Leave the shell where it is.
    After they got tired of the maintenance on their pool, my parents took this approach. But they liked gardening.
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    [QUOTE=EricDu;866847]Or did you mean on the outside? Getting dark, I'll try and get a shot.


    Top is back side of white coping underneath is the metal wall that seems to be all round the pool. In some places you can see metal bracing as well.


    Metal huh? VERY interesting.

    Hey give it a go! Clean it out, get some equipment off of C-list and have fun!

    Kim
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    I'll post a pic when I empty and clean it. Don't know when that will be.

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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    I picture some stacked stone on that outside"wall" that is sticking up. With a coordinating tile on the waterline. If you spent a little and get to use it a few years, it'd be worth it.
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    Re: Repair/Renovate or Remove?

    I just finished remodeling my pool, which required draining. I was very nervous about it floating when draining or during renovations. As the water went down, I drilled two 1/2" holes in shallow end, two on the top of the slope, two toward the bottom of the slope, and three in the deep end. This was probably overkill, but its not hard to fill 1/2" holes with epoxy. Keep in mind the main drain line runs under the pool, probably either over to the skimmer or straight to the back wall and up the wall. So I would avoid drilling holes on the skimmer side of the main drain and behind the main drain. If water spouts out of any of the holes, stop draining until the spout is at least reduced to a slow flow. Do you know how thick the cement walls are? Mine ended up being 12" thick so I was probably overly cautious, but as evidenced by your pool, concrete will definitely float.

    If there is still water under the pool, there is a possibility the pool may go down some once the holes are drilled and any water is released into the pool. And after the pool is refilled, it could go down even further. I would hate to see you spend countless hours cutting through concrete walls and rebar to try to level the pool for it to go down further upon refilling. So before I decided to tackle a huge undertaking like that, I think I would drain the pool, clean it up, paint it if you want, refill it, and swim in it for a while.

    For what its worth, I envision stacked stone around the side walls where the pool has floated and some sort of waterfall feature over the back wall to make it appear intentional.

    Do you know if the plumbing was redone after the pool floated? I can't imagine a pool floating that much and not breaking the pipes or at least causing leaks.
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