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Thread: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

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    It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Hi Everyone,

    My in ground gunite pool has 3 cracks on the side wall, and is leaking 1 inch water per day.
    A pool company suggested me to use fiberglass to resurface the whole pool to fix the leak, and they provide a warranty of 5 years.
    I am wondering if this is a common approach to fix a leaking gunite pool?
    Any downside of this approach?
    Also there are some water line tiles, should we use fiberglass to cover them or break the tiles and put fiberglass all the water up to the top, and then put tiles back?

    Thanks,
    Newpoo

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    If it were me I would just have the cracks fixed and maintain a gunite configuration.
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Thanks Borjis,

    The leak detection company I used told me that fixing cracks only would be a temp fix, and had no warranty, and could last as short as one year.
    The longest crack is about 6 to 8 ft. The other two are about 4 to 6 ft.

    Thanks

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    How old is the pool?


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Cracking concrete, to me, suggests movement. Movement cracks fiberglass. None of this sounds much like a happy ending. Again, just my take, but I'd try to determine the source of the cracking, define that as the problem, and then set about rectifying the problem.

    I would get a second and third opinion. My personal experience (YMMV) with fiber-glassing existing structure is not good.

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Hi Newpoo. I'm here in SoCal. It's not normal, but I have seen 3 pools that were fiberglassed, one was a commercial pool. They held up well. All these 3 were cracked gunite as well. I can't say yes or no to the procedure, but the ones I saw looked good.

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    borjis's Avatar
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    If it's fixed properly it should last as long as any gunite pool would unless you have some rare instance of the earth beneath moving around constantly....I get the feeling they have some incentive to sell you the fiber glass plan.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
    (1.5 HP motor) Raypak PR266AEN (266k btu) gas heater. TF-100 Test Kit.
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    How old is the pool?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I am not 100% sure, as I purchased the house last year. The house was built in 70s, and the pool guy told me the pool was built in 70s as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewkearns View Post
    Cracking concrete, to me, suggests movement. Movement cracks fiberglass. None of this sounds much like a happy ending. Again, just my take, but I'd try to determine the source of the cracking, define that as the problem, and then set about rectifying the problem.

    I would get a second and third opinion. My personal experience (YMMV) with fiber-glassing existing structure is not good.
    The pool is in the SF bay area, and there were some earth quakes since last year, which I guess might be the causes. How to determine the source of cracking?

    I quoted two pool companies, both of them were suggesting fiberglasses. The leak detecting company I used also suggested fiberglass. They told me replastering the pool can hold for only one year, while fiberglass can last 10 years.

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldPoolMan View Post
    Hi Newpoo. I'm here in SoCal. It's not normal, but I have seen 3 pools that were fiberglassed, one was a commercial pool. They held up well. All these 3 were cracked gunite as well. I can't say yes or no to the procedure, but the ones I saw looked good.
    Thanks!
    I am living in the north CA. Besides fiberglass, any other options to permanently fixing a crack leaking gunite pool? The companies I talked told me neither replastering the whole pool nor fill the cracks with some materials won't last.

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    Quote Originally Posted by borjis View Post
    If it's fixed properly it should last as long as any gunite pool would unless you have some rare instance of the earth beneath moving around constantly....I get the feeling they have some incentive to sell you the fiber glass plan.
    They said fiberglass is more flexible than plaster, so it will last longer.

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    Another option is to remove the pool.
    The quotes I got for fixing or removing the pool are very close, between 8K to 10K.
    Any opinions on that?

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Pool companies are not the best source of info as they ultimately want to sell you something expensive to make it worth their time.

    Have you contacted a gunite contractor, the guys that actually shoot the pool shells? I don't see why the pool can't be drained and the shell repaired by cut back to the rebar and redoing the shotcrete in the areas that have cracks. Maybe that's a really expensive fix but only a gunite crew can tell you for sure.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    Pool companies are not the best source of info as they ultimately want to sell you something expensive to make it worth their time.

    Have you contacted a gunite contractor, the guys that actually shoot the pool shells? I don't see why the pool can't be drained and the shell repaired by cut back to the rebar and redoing the shotcrete in the areas that have cracks. Maybe that's a really expensive fix but only a gunite crew can tell you for sure.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks Joyfulnoise,

    Called a plaster company just now, and he is coming to take a look.
    I am wondering if replastering the pool is a good way to fix crack leak?

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Is fiberglass common? Well yes and no. There are plenty of fiberglass lined pools. They generally have limited life and are not of the same quality as a fiberglass formed pool.

    Contractors bid what they do. So if their method is to install fiberglass liners then thats what they generally bid.

    I am concerned that you have a gunite pool with cracks. I would first ask why is it cracking? I would then try and deal with that cause and then repair the cracks. Note that sometimes the cracks are because of the way the pool was constructed. In those cases a fiberglass shell might be the best answer. Or it may be some other cause.

    This is a thread of a northern California Gunite crack repair DIY that is required reading for anyone doing major crack repair.

    DIY Pool restoration project

    If you read nothing else on here read this thread.
    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: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Look into ecoFinnish it is a thermally applied plastic.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Is fiberglass common? Well yes and no. There are plenty of fiberglass lined pools. They generally have limited life and are not of the same quality as a fiberglass formed pool.

    Contractors bid what they do. So if their method is to install fiberglass liners then thats what they generally bid.

    I am concerned that you have a gunite pool with cracks. I would first ask why is it cracking? I would then try and deal with that cause and then repair the cracks. Note that sometimes the cracks are because of the way the pool was constructed. In those cases a fiberglass shell might be the best answer. Or it may be some other cause.

    This is a thread of a northern California Gunite crack repair DIY that is required reading for anyone doing major crack repair.

    DIY Pool restoration project

    If you read nothing else on here read this thread.
    Thanks Gwegan.

    What can be the causes of gunite crack leaking? Should I have a structure engineer take a look?
    I did contact a gunite contractor, and he offered to reinforce the 3 cracks and then replaster the whole pool. The 3 cracks will have 5 years limited warranty, while other areas of the pool don't. I am a little concerned that it will break and leak soon if there is any structure problem.

    It seems none of the contractors I talked to wanted to get the root cause of the cracks. Now I really have no ideas which way to take: 1, fiberglass the whole pool; 2, reinforce the cracks and replaster the whole pool; or 3, remoe the pool. The quotes I got for all these options are close. So price is not a factor here.

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    What is the condition of decking, coping and waterline tile?

    Is the pool perfectly level or is one side higher than the other?

    Are there any cracks on the floor?

    Are there any cracks that align with each other wall to floor or on opposite walls?

    Can you post pictures of everything?

    Are there any cracks that go through the waterline tile?

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Answering James questions and some close ups of the cracks as well as some over all pictures of the pool and the decking would really help.

    Are the cracks such that you can see rebar?

    What we are concerned about is the pool continuing to move and causing more problems after you fiberglass.

    Warranties are only as good as the company making them. If the company doesn't exist in five years the warrant doesn't exist.
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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    What is the condition of decking, coping and waterline tile?

    Is the pool perfectly level or is one side higher than the other?

    Are there any cracks on the floor?

    Are there any cracks that align with each other wall to floor or on opposite walls?

    Can you post pictures of everything?

    Are there any cracks that go through the waterline tile?
    Thanks for the questions.

    The condition of decking, coping and waterline tile looks good.
    no cracks on the floor. Only three cracks on the bottom half of the side wall.
    cracks are not aligned.

    I think there was only one crack last year, the two smaller ones started to show up this year.
    The cracks seem not very wide.

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    This is the overall look of the pool.

    Attachment 43995

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    This was shot when the leak detection company was finding the leaking spots. The largest crack is at the place of the diver.

    Attachment 43996

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    I can't see the pictures. But, it sounds like the cracks are not super serious.

    If the plaster is good, I think that I would just cut out the cracks and patch them. If the plaster is bad, I would remove all of the old plaster down to the gunite, epoxy inject the cracks to seal them and then replaster.

    Fiberglas can be an acceptable choice. However, I have seen it delaminate when not applied correctly.

    Many concrete pools develop cracks at some point. Some are more serious than others are. Long cracks that go from the coping, through the tile, down the wall, across the floor and back up the other wall to the coping are a bad sign. Wide cracks are bad.

    If the pool becomes unlevel, then that's a bad sign. That's an indication of major settling. In that case, you might need a geotechnical engineer to design a structural solution.

    If you're unsure, then a consultation with a good builder or service person might be useful.

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    Re: It is common to fiberglass an existing leaking gunite pool?

    I don't know how much time you have or how much time and money you want to sink into this issue but have you tried contacting a professional engineering company in your area that might specialize in pools?

    This company is in Southern California (I actually used to live in that area...but that's a long story). It looks like they do forensic analysis of pool failures.
    Matt
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