Hey there! New to the forum here. I'll start of by saying this will be a long post...I tend to be long winded, and don't like to leave out any details (though I'm sure I'll miss something that one of the resident experts will want to know). I started lurking last year after we were ready to open the 16x32x48" Doughboy that came with the house we bought in November 2014. I was looking for alternatives to the insane chemical combinations and prices the local pool store wanted to keep our pool "balanced." Kept it going "trouble free" all last summer and our family (Me, wife, 3 year old daughter, various visiting family) had a blast with it.
My situation starts at pool closing last year. We opted to not install the winter cover that came with the pool as it was nothing more than a pain to remove last spring, and the pool is in the middle of a yard with no nearby deciduous trees so I wasn't worried about leaves. I figured I'd rather vacuum the dirt from the bottom of the pool than fight to drain then scrub that cover again. Moving on. . . over the winter, the overlap liner shrank on one side and pulled from under the coping. It's the original that was installed in 2000, so I'd say it was due. I noticed this in probably early March. I started liner shopping online and decided that I didn't want to mess with an overlap liner, and I found that I pretty much needed to go through Doughboy to get a beaded liner that would really fit well. We decided we'd wait until May to order it. Little did I know that rain behind the liner was bad, and it rained A LOT this spring. At the time, I removed one top rail to see how the thing went together, just to get an idea. I set the rail on the deck surround. That night, a thunderstorm promptly blew it into the pool, and the corner of it punctured the bottom.
Add to the rain behind the liner and the leak in the bottom that our pool unfortunately sits about 6" below surrounding grade, with no drainage accommodations - a couple of soil above the patio blocks, and then gravel with some flagstone decoration. It's been an absolute swamp in the 18" around that pool.
Well, this last Friday, my liner, bead receiver, and gaskets came in. I planned to remove the old liner Saturday morning, and get the receiver installed Saturday afternoon. Maybe get the new liner in on Sunday, since it was supposed to be sunny and warm. Being an advanced DIY-er male , I opted to not read any instructions - I read plenty of things about it online, watched several YouTube videos, and it looked simple enough. Well silly me removed too many of the top rails from one side - OK, all of them from one side - a gust of wind came up from nowhere, and CRASH, the east side of my pool wall collapsed. I freaked out, just positive I'd ruined the thing. A few of the bottom tracks were really rusted out quite badly and deformed during the fall, but the pool store where I bought the liner (the same store that sold and installed the pool originally - actually even the same salesman who, 16 years ago, also built the pool) was kind enough to warranty them, even though I wasn't the original owner (score!). I started trying to get the thing stood back up yesterday after work.
I started by using a shop vac to suck up all of the gravel on that side, then scooped a bit of mud away from the outside of the bottom track, so I could get the wall back in there without mud and gravel getting in the way or falling into the track. I then separated the wall at one seam, so I could coil it up over to the spot where the wall was still standing and get it out of the way so I could replace bottom tracks. This is when I really started noticing problems.
- A significant amount of the earth under the bottom tracks has been mostly washed out
- A patio block under an end post had actually been heaved out from its place, deforming the muddy ground below it in the process
- None of the pressure pads are firm against the ground. When I walk over them, they sink down about an inch, push water out from around them, then rise back up when I get off of them. Oddly, the side supports feel like they're solidly in place - I thought the pressure pads were bolted to them somehow, and they'd move or stay put together.
Since there was a severe thunderstorm on the way last night (I'm about an hour due east of Chapman, KS, the town that narrowly escaped a massive tornado last night), I wanted the pool to be as secure as possible and not actually lose the whole thing in the ensuing gust front, so I put it back together the best I could. I got the bottom track replaced and temporarily leveled out on some sand, fit the wall back in and put the joint piece back on, secured it to the uprights, and added the top rail to get the thing as structurally sound as possible - knowing that I'll likely need to pull it all apart again to reset everything properly.
So, I'm actually quite overwhelmed here. I've built and remodeled a lot of stuff, but the pool thing worries me due to my inexperience with it, the extreme weights and pressures involved, and the possibility of bodily injury if the thing gives way because I didn't put it back together properly. My questions:
1) Am I totally hosed here?
2) Since the earth has washed out from under the bottom rails and at least one patio block, am I looking at a worst case scenario of having to re-excavate the whole pad down a couple inches so the entire structure is level and on virgin soil?
3) If no to 2, what's the best method of firming up the ground under the one patio block? Can I dig down to virgin ground and pour a cement footing that's level with the rest of the blocks? What about under the bottom track? Seems to me that as wet as the ground is, anything I try and shove or pack in there to level it is going to sink if you just look at it funny.
4) What about the pressure pads? Any idea what's going on there? Sounds like at the very least I'm going to have to rake the sand up and see if they're still fastened down to the ground supports.
5) Do I have to wait for my site to completely dry out before I even attempt any of this?
6) How far away from the base of the pool do I have to be to safely dig a trench to install a curtain drain? In addition to the "sunk in" nature of the pool, the lay of the land unfortunately sends a bit of runoff right past it.
I attached a picture of the collapsed wall - unfortunately I don't have any more detailed pics of that situation right now. I also have a picture of the site layout and proposed curtain drain, if that is deemed acceptable.
If you made it this far, thanks for sticking it out with my long post. Give it to me straight - I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
image-20160521_151119.jpgPool lay of land.jpg