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Thread: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

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    Cali16's Avatar
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    Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    Hi all,

    I have a fiberglass Viking Monterey that was installed in 2001. It has a pair of tile dolphins centered in the deep end. The tops of the tiles have been coming off in the past couple of years, and some tiles were fixed by the original installer in the first year or two. There is also some discoloration of the finish in the deep end.

    This year when opening the pool, the tiles chipping seems to have accelerated, and half of one of the dolphins came up from the pool while vacuuming. I was able to nudge it back into place (it seems fairly heavy) and then contacted Viking about the issue. I received a response from someone at Latham Pools asking for a copy of the warranty, photos of the situation, and for a form to be filled out.

    Submitted all of that and got a response basically saying nothing is covered under the warranty. I'm sure many of you know this, the Viking warranty basically only guarantees that the pool will hold water.

    I suspect this is a known issue, and they are trying to avoid paying for the repair. Given that this amounts to wholesale failure of the tile work, I am looking for guidance on how to approach the issue when I contact them again.

    Thank you for any help or advice you can provide.
    10K Fiberglass (Viking-Monterey model with 36" Cascade), Jacuzzi Magnum Force pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter (SD-60), Hayward Automatic Chlorine feeder (CL-200 series), Hayward heater (Model H100ID1), Intermatic timer (Model-T104P201), Interfab "Wild Ride" slide, Fiberstars "Illuminator" color wheel pool light

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    15 years with tiles attached to the bottom of a fiberglass pool? I would think that was a good run of time..... How does the surface look with the ones that have come up? Do you want to get the rest of the dophins up and outta there?
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would warrant a mosaic at the bottom of a pool for 15 years. I've seen fiberglass pool warranties on color but I don't remember if it was Viking.

    15 year life for an underwater finish material most installers would be high fiving and sayn how they done good!!

    I would find a good pool service person who could replace the tiles.
    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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    Cali16's Avatar
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    15 years with tiles attached to the bottom of a fiberglass pool? I would think that was a good run of time..... How does the surface look with the ones that have come up? Do you want to get the rest of the dophins up and outta there?
    The surface under the dolphins does not look good. Plus there is a "rim" which I think you can make out in the photo. You can also see how many tiles have the surface chipped off.
    Dolphin.jpg

    It seems from the responses that an expectation that the tile work would last as long as the pool is unrealistic. Which brings up the issue of why a pool manufacturer would even sell pools with a feature they knew would not last the life of the pool itself.
    10K Fiberglass (Viking-Monterey model with 36" Cascade), Jacuzzi Magnum Force pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter (SD-60), Hayward Automatic Chlorine feeder (CL-200 series), Hayward heater (Model H100ID1), Intermatic timer (Model-T104P201), Interfab "Wild Ride" slide, Fiberstars "Illuminator" color wheel pool light

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I don't know why they'd put tile on the bottom if they knew it wouldn't last? Your pool is the first I've ever seen or heard of a fiberglass pool with bottom tiles.

    I can't help but wonder if your harsh winters don't make the "glue" or mastic (whatEVER they used) to get brittle?
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I've also never seen a fiberglass pool with a tile mosaic. In a gunite pool mosaics are set with mortar and the plaster. They will last the age of the plaster. Ten to fifteen or twenty depending on a number of factors. In the harsh environment of a pool I would say that fifteen years is not bad. Plus you have to remember a fiberglass surface will most likely be flexing more than a gunite surface. Plus the two materials will be expanding and contracting at different rates. So I don't think 15 years is bad at all for an underwater finish.
    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: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    I've also never seen a fiberglass pool with a tile mosaic. In a gunite pool mosaics are set with mortar and the plaster. They will last the age of the plaster. Ten to fifteen or twenty depending on a number of factors. In the harsh environment of a pool I would say that fifteen years is not bad. Plus you have to remember a fiberglass surface will most likely be flexing more than a gunite surface. Plus the two materials will be expanding and contracting at different rates. So I don't think 15 years is bad at all for an underwater finish.
    Viking (Latham) has been selling pools and spas with tile work for a long time.

    http://blog.lathampool.com/custom-ti...sfp=1416929025

    And yet the warranty says they will cover "osomotic blisters" on the surface and never mentions anything about tile work.

    There have to be hundreds (if not thousands) of pools out there with tile work. How many owners have had wholesale failure of their tile work? I cannot be the only one in this situation.
    10K Fiberglass (Viking-Monterey model with 36" Cascade), Jacuzzi Magnum Force pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter (SD-60), Hayward Automatic Chlorine feeder (CL-200 series), Hayward heater (Model H100ID1), Intermatic timer (Model-T104P201), Interfab "Wild Ride" slide, Fiberstars "Illuminator" color wheel pool light

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I dunno, not something we've seen or heard any one mentioning here.... can you call them and ask them if *they* can repair your dolphin for a fee? Maybe that is more attractive to them then dickering about warranty issues.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I'm absolutely sure you are not the only one with a tile problem.

    But I a fairly sure of two other facts:

    First, I strongly suspect the mosaic tiles were installed by the installer and not Viking. I can be wrong on that.

    Second, you need to find the warranty in place that covers the tile. No warranty no claim.

    Finally, as stated above the service life of tile in a pool, especially in Illinois is at most 15 years.

    A warranty doesn't mean that the product won't need maintence or even major maintence.

    If you want to have a fight, pay to repair it and sue Viking in small claims court.
    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: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    I'm absolutely sure you are not the only one with a tile problem.

    But I a fairly sure of two other facts:

    First, I strongly suspect the mosaic tiles were installed by the installer and not Viking. I can be wrong on that.
    See link below and/or in reply above. The tiles were installed by Viking.

    http://blog.lathampool.com/custom-ti...sfp=1416929025

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Second, you need to find the warranty in place that covers the tile. No warranty no claim.
    As stated above, the warranty only guarantees the pool will hold water. The issue with the warranty is this:

    http://www.riverpoolsandspas.com/blo...I-ve-ever-Seen

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    Finally, as stated above the service life of tile in a pool, especially in Illinois is at most 15 years.
    Based on what data?

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    A warranty doesn't mean that the product won't need maintence or even major maintence.
    The tile has been properly maintained. Maintenance or even "major maintenance" is a not the same as major repair due to wholesale failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by gwegan View Post
    If you want to have a fight, pay to repair it and sue Viking in small claims court.
    Based on the response from Viking/Latham, the monetary limit of small claims court would not be sufficient.

    Response from Viking/Latham:
    "Also the Dolphins would need replaced, they can’t be repaired. The tile on the pool is possibly discontinued since it is back from 2001, so all of the tile would have to be taken off and new tile put on. Then the discoloration of the pool could be a couple of things it is possible the entire pool could be sanded and buffed out and it would need to be aqua brighted and that is a very expensive repair job. I don’t want to scare you with these figures, just want to be honest."
    10K Fiberglass (Viking-Monterey model with 36" Cascade), Jacuzzi Magnum Force pump, Pentair Sand Dollar filter (SD-60), Hayward Automatic Chlorine feeder (CL-200 series), Hayward heater (Model H100ID1), Intermatic timer (Model-T104P201), Interfab "Wild Ride" slide, Fiberstars "Illuminator" color wheel pool light

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    I don't see any where on the site you linked that Viking installed the tiles. I think Latham (a dealer) must contract that out perhaps? I know my PB sold a couple brands of fiberglass pools but he wasn't the manufacturer. His crew could customize them with tile at the water line if we had wanted it.

    Personally I'd see about removing the dolphins and seeing how to smooth out the surface so that the pool looks more attractive and updated.
    While you might not be able to remove their pre-existence entirely, maybe using something like one of those very fine white surface cleaning sponges would help remove the residual glue with minimal injury to the gel coat??
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: Inlaid tile dolphins-coming off the pool floor

    If you are citing River Pools for anything I'll tune you out. Almost everything they turn out is biased and in some way misleading. But lets go to your points.

    You have no evidence the tiles were installed by Viking, none, zero, zip. A 2016 Blog post by the company that purchased Viking in 2005 says nothing. And all it says is you can have tile installed in your pool. And then it talks in terms of renovation. In my experience, tile is usually an installer add on. I've never seen tile from the factory. The Blog post never states that the tiles are included in the finish warranty. It would make little sense to install at the factory and then subject it to the grueling journey of who knows how many miles to the job site.

    Again Riverpools is biased and twists the facts. But what does that site say about your warranty? Produce a copy of your warranty that covers the tiles. It may or may not have the problem pointed out by River pools. We don't even know if the warranty they claim is bad is bad because they only post a very small portion of it.

    The service life of tile in a plaster pool is 10 to 15 years because that is the plaster's service life. Newer materials may have longer service lives and the tiles used with them may have correspondingly longer service lives. But no one with knowledge of these materials will say that a glued on title Mosaic at the bottom of a fiberglass pool in Illinois has a service life of much more than 15 years. The temperature changes and flexing of the fiberglass are unpredictable. Its just not there.

    Improvements have service lives. A tile roof will last longer than a metal roof which will last longer than an asphalt roof which will last longer than a wood roof. Just because one fails before another does not mean it was defective.

    In your situation a fiberglass pool shell may be serviceable for 50 years. The tile mosaic in ion lasts only fifteen. That does not mean any work was necessary bad nor any materials defective. Its just too much to expect a glue, mastic or whatever to keep pool tiles attached to fiberglass in a unpredictable changing environment for more than fifteen years.
    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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