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Thread: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

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    Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    Dear All,

    I have a home in East Austin with a pool first built in 1965. The pool is 5-sided and geometric, about 101' in diameter and 18k gallons.

    The last homeowner resurfaced the midcentury gunite pool with fiberglass about 6 years ago. When the last owner had the fiberglass installed, they also had structural cracks in the original pool shell repaired, the plumbing redone, new coping put on, and the tile repaired. In corresponding with the last owner, they had the fiberglass installed because of shifting in the soil and a perpetual need/threat to repair the pool. The soil where I currently live shifts and moves every season. The home I live in had foundation repairs with piers along the slabs and the whole nine yards because that's just what happens in Central Texas.

    Currently, the fiberglass is failing and has failed multiple times and is popping off from underneath. The whole deep end is spongy like a trampoline. I have been saving money for some time to have this repaired and have contacted 19 contractors in my area for a remodel and am totally lost.

    I am have had 12 contractors come look at the pool, I'm not joking when I say I've got equal advice on four topics:

    1. 3 contractors won't touch it because of a combination of the fiberglass and the soil movement
    2. 3 contractors say take off the fiberglass, drill hydrostatic holes, fix any structural repairs, and put some kind of bead quartz on it and don't worry about the movement in the soil
    3. 3 contractors say call the original fiberglass company and have them come and resurface the pool but no matter what it will need perpetual fixing because fiberglass isn't good no matter which way you slice it
    4. 3 contractors say to have a vinyl liner installed as that is the only way to mitigate the movement in the soil, it's what they do in Louisiana and other Southern states

    Do any of you live in a clay soil area? Can any of you offer some advice on this decision? I'm terrified I'll make the wrong choice and wind up having to do this all over again in three years.

    Thank you so much for reading!
    20k gallon IG fiberglass sand-filtered chlorine system. 1 HP single speed AO Smith pump. Pool built in 1965, fiberglass repaired in 2007, 2013 fiberglass and deck repaired.

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    bdrex28's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    I may not be answering your question; but I live in Frisco and here everyone is doing soil injection and many are doing piers. But that's on a new pool, so I'm not sure if they could do that?
    Brian (Frisco, TX)
    2016 18,250 Gallon IG, Spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS, Pentair Master Temp 400k, , EastyTouch 8/ScreenLogic Surface: Pebblesheen Blue Surf with Abalone, Travertine Coping and Pavers. 3 LED in Pool 1 in Spa. New Frisco, TX Pool Build

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    I've sent a message to one of our Moderators regarding your issue which he has some experience with. He will likely check in soon.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    I have the same dirt you do and piers under the house.

    Backstory,
    Our pool cracked in 2012 when it was brand new. PB fixed it with putty. We installed a micro irrigation system around the pool to maintain soil moisture and it was fine until last spring when we got 25 feet of rain and I didn't turn the irrigation system back on in time. Soil shrank and pool cracked again and raised up 1/4" on one side. PB fixed it with putty. Turned on the water. Pool moved back where it was, either up on one side or down on the other. Now, I leave it on rain or shine. It can't get too wet but as soon as the soil starts to dry it contracts so much and the pool moves.

    What to do with yours.
    Not fiberglass
    A vinyl liner isn't a bad idea.
    But, if the gunite shell isn't badly fractured then I would fix it and plaster it, or quartz or pebble. Keep the soil moist around it and it will be fine.
    TFP Moderator
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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: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    Thank you so much!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I got a 70k-100k quote for soil injection. For that I think I could just buy another house...

    @PoolDV would you mind explaining how you built your irrigation system? Part of my problem is that my house is about 3' off the pool and I don't know if I would be able to irrigate a large portion of it. I have included a satellite photo here that I detailed to explain a bit more: http://imgur.com/ovsIHs8
    20k gallon IG fiberglass sand-filtered chlorine system. 1 HP single speed AO Smith pump. Pool built in 1965, fiberglass repaired in 2007, 2013 fiberglass and deck repaired.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    My PB has been building pools in DFW for 30 years and he has been my neighbor for 10. We discussed piers and soil injection as well. He doesn't do either, or at least prefers not to. Including for his own pool built over 10 years ago. Here is their website, Reber Pools

    My irrigation system could not be cheaper or easier! I used the Mister Landscape stuff at Lowes and a hose end timer. I used some drip lines in areas between the deck and retaining wall and 180 sprayers around the elevated parts of the pool. Anything to get water to the dirt. I run it twice a day for like 10 or 15 minutes right now. When the soil starts to dry out at all I increase the time. There are pics of my pool in my build thread, link in sig. The house and deck hold the moisture in and those areas should be less of a concern. But, irrigate around the outside of the deck and any dirt between deck and house, pool and house, etc.

    Mulch also helps. And, it is important to irrigate year round. The soil can really dry out in winter. Keep a spare timer on hand, I blew one up with a sudden freeze.
    TFP Moderator
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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: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    Thank you for the sage advice! I'd buy you a beer if I could
    20k gallon IG fiberglass sand-filtered chlorine system. 1 HP single speed AO Smith pump. Pool built in 1965, fiberglass repaired in 2007, 2013 fiberglass and deck repaired.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    You're welcome. Good luck with your project. Keep us posted.
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    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: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    You're welcome. Good luck with your project. Keep us posted.
    Hey PoolDV - I don't know if this is useful but I contacted the original owner and now know a little more about the situation of the pool. There are two structural cracks that have appeared in the pool and now I'm terrified that the shell will never actually be sound again. If you knew the following, would you still plaster, water, and pray?

    "At the time that the fiberglass was installed there was 1 structural crack in the wall of the pool near the gate to the garage. That was re-enforced with rebar staples. There were also multiple hairline cracks in the plaster on the bottom surface of the pool. The plaster was not removed. The fiberglass coating was merely applied over it. A few years ago,another structural crack developed in the wall at the widest point of the pool (near the bench step and return line). The fiberglass was cut out, rebar staples and concrete applied and new fiberglass reapplied."
    20k gallon IG fiberglass sand-filtered chlorine system. 1 HP single speed AO Smith pump. Pool built in 1965, fiberglass repaired in 2007, 2013 fiberglass and deck repaired.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Desperate for Advice: Clay soil/Central TX remodel, help me make the best choice

    Sure, more info is always useful. Yes, I would still proceed, there are lots of pools with repairs made like that. I'm starting to lean toward a vinyl liner because it should be quite a bit cheaper and will absorb some movement better than plaster will. But, the repairs should hold and you can eliminate the movement by maintaining soil moisture and small plaster cracks aren't difficult to repair if you do happen to get some.

    I definitely agree that FG is not the way to go. Of the 3 who recommended vinyl and the 3 who recommended quartz/plaster did any of them stand out? What kind of warranty are they offering? Any of them from a personal referral from a friend/acquaintance who is happy with their service? Do they have references?
    TFP Moderator
    If TFP helped you or saved you money - Become a TFP Supporter! <--Click here
    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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