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Thread: Pool rebuild option confusion

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    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Woodland Hills CA
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    Pool rebuild option confusion

    Hi,

    Our pool recently developed a leak, which appears to be related to a crack in the gunite. I have stopped adding water for the last couple of months, and turned off the pump. The water falls to a level which is above the return lines, and light and stays pretty steady. There is a crack visible in the plaster that stops at around this level, so it seems pretty likely to be a gunite crack.

    Since purchasing the house with this pool, I knew in the shorter term we would need to replaster the pool. I had it in my mind at the same time we would replumb with PVC and convert to salt at the same time. I am guessing the copper plumbing is original from circa 1960, so probably due to fail soon anyway.

    I have had two different contractors provide estimates, and am a little confused by some of the conflicting advice and would really appreciate some advice from this forum.


    - Main drain. One contractor told me it is not possible to replumb the main drain and it should just be capped and abandoned. Other contractor says the main drain can be replumbed with PVC for additional cost but isn't really necessary. The extra cost to replumb the main drain in the scheme of the whole project isn't that great, and if there is even some benefit to doing it, I would be inclined to do it. What is the consensus on the need for a main drain?

    - Repairing gunite crack. One contractor proposes to repair with inject epoxy, other proposes staples. My gut tells me that staples is definitely the right answer. Are there any circumstances where epoxy would be sufficient or better?

    - Coping - the pool currently has safety grip bull nose coping. Both contractors pointed out that this is very thin coping which limits the new coping can be installed. However one contractor states that it is possible to cut down the gunite to allow installation of thicker coping, or poured concrete. Other contract states that top of gunite should not be cut down as it will affect the integrity of the shell?

    - Pebble - We are considering installing a pebble mix. One contractor can use glass beads and abalone shell in the mix, other contractor states that the glass beads and abalone shell will begin to fall out after a couple of years and should definitely be avoided. This is not a big deal for us, happy to forgo the glass beads and shells, but just curious about conflicting advice.

    Thanks in advance for any advice on the above, and if people are interested I can post photos as the rebuild progresses.

    Many thanks!
    33K Gal Gunite and Plaster, 3HP Pentair VS Pump, Hayward DE Filter

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    Re: Pool rebuild option confusion

    Main Drain - The main drains actually do very little for circulation. The skimmers get the highest suction priority since they are able to keep the water cleaner. You don't necessarily need a main drain (many pools are built without them now) but since you have one, I'd suggest keeping it. Depending on your plumbing setup, you could use your pool pump and isolate the main drain to dump some of the pool water when calcium levels get too high. This is just a nice feature to have the ability to do but I wouldn't spend a bunch of money making it happen.

    Gunite Crack - Staples are the better option of the two but I'd suggest using both methods if given the chance. Epoxy injection is a great option if the material surrounding the crack is very sound and the crack itself is no wider than an 1/8" (even that is getting a little wide).

    Coping - The top ring of the pool is called the bond beam and it is a major structural piece to the integrity of the pool (think of it as the rolled ring around the top edge of a plastic Solo cup). Being that your pool is already having structural issues, I would advise against removing any material (especially from this area). There are plenty of thinner options for coping available.

    Pebble Finish - Any pebble finish ends up losing some of the aggregate during the first year. That just the nature of the material. The statement that the glass beads and shells will fall out is simply not true. While you will undoubtedly lose some pieces, it will be a very insignificant amount in the scheme of things.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Pool rebuild option confusion

    I like having a main drain. I turn all the suction to the drain when I brush my pool and brush all the stuff to the drain. I never have to vacuum my pool. I don't even own one! I had a small crack that leaked repaired with epoxy over 3 years ago and it is still good. All depends on the crack and the shell. I agree with Brian on the rest.
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Pool rebuild option confusion

    Thanks Brian. Regarding the main drain, my understanding is that they would need to make a fairly large cut in the bottom of the gunite to run the PVC line. You advise against removing any material, does that apply at the bottom of the pool as well? Could there be any structural issues in doing that? If there is, is there anything that can done to mitigate the risk, such as stapling over the cut area to ensure structural integrity?
    33K Gal Gunite and Plaster, 3HP Pentair VS Pump, Hayward DE Filter

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    Re: Pool rebuild option confusion

    So long as the cut and repair are done correctly, there should be little issue. The bottom of the pool structure sees little stress anyway.

    There are retrofit options that comply with the Virginia Graeme-Baker anti-entrapment act that would require must less destruction to the shell. You don't necessarily need two main drain inlets tied together, that's just the route most plumbers take to be in compliance.

    Aquastarpoolproducts.com
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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