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Thread: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane caulk?

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    Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane caulk?

    Hi,

    I noticed that is a hairline crack that has developed between the tops of the tile and the underside of the coping. Also, there are several small areas where, along the tops of the tile, the grouting has flaked away. Where there is grouting missing, you can see the top of the tile. So pieces that have fallen out (all rather small really) are grout that was right up against the tile.

    It has been suggested to me by my pool builder (the pool was just fully renovated two years ago so I really didn't expect this sort of problem but apparently there has been some shifting that has occurred) that the grout be chipped out and replaced with polyurethane caulking. I see the advantages to this being that the caulking remains flexible, but I'm a bit concerned and hesitant to have all the new grout chipped out. To do so could conceivably damage the tile that is directly behind the grout or even create further problems. I'm also concerned about how it will look. Will it look different than the rest of the grout around the tiles? Will the color match the grout? Basically it is only a few tiles that show the flaked grouting. The rest of the pool looks fine except for the very fine separation line has developed in some areas between the top of the tile and the bottom of the coping. My builder went around with a hammer and said the tiles all sound solid but that it does sound hollow under the coping (another thing I would not have expected with a 2-year old reno). So it appears that whatever shifting has taken place with the bond beam has already occurred anyway. I'm just having a hard time with the idea of chipping out perfectly good, new, and for the most part intact grout for the sake of putting in polyurethane caulking all the way around. Any thoughts? I'd really like to know what it will look like before I let them do it.

    Thanks.
    12,500 gallon gunite, original construction 1989, renovation 2014 using quartz plaster finish. Baquacil-treated pool.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    Welcome to TFP!

    I would not do anything to fix a few hairline cracks. A hairline crack isn't a problem. Stuff moves. We have quite a bit of soil movement in our area due black clay. We have a fair amount of grout moving and cracking. A lot more than hairline cracks. I haven't decided what to do yet. It gets a little worse every year but the pool is completely functional. Best I can tell worst case a piece or two of coping stone comes loose and needs to be reset. At most I would smooth some pool putty or caulk into the cracks. My PB should be stopping by to look at it again. Last year he didn't think anything needed to be done.

    How is the expansion joint between the coping and the deck?
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    I would not do anything to fix a few hairline cracks. A hairline crack isn't a problem. Stuff moves. We have quite a bit of soil movement in our area due black clay. We have a fair amount of grout moving and cracking. A lot more than hairline cracks. I haven't decided what to do yet. It gets a little worse every year but the pool is completely functional. Best I can tell worst case a piece or two of coping stone comes loose and needs to be reset. At most I would smooth some pool putty or caulk into the cracks. My PB should be stopping by to look at it again. Last year he didn't think anything needed to be done.

    How is the expansion joint between the coping and the deck?

    Pooldv

    Thanks for the reply. The expansion joint between the coping and deck is fine. The thing is, there has been no additional grout that has fallen out during the swimming season nor does the hairline crack appear any worse, and so I'm almost content to leave well enough alone. With all due respect, I'm also concerned about what sort of job my PB can do by leaning out over the edge and trying to work with that small space under the coping. I would think you'd really have to do it from within the pool with the water at least partially drained to really see what you're doing with the chipping and re-caulking. One of my big concerns is possible damage to the tile during this process. I'll continue to think about it, but I'm almost inclined to see what happens over the winter and see how things look next year.
    12,500 gallon gunite, original construction 1989, renovation 2014 using quartz plaster finish. Baquacil-treated pool.

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    Pictures would really help in this situation.
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo View Post
    Pictures would really help in this situation.
    Here is one....have been experiencing problems trying to upload...this is pretty representative though...you can see the hairline crack which is pretty much all around a good part of the pool, and then how the grouting has flaked off at the top of the tiles. Only a few tiles have been affected though. Should I just take a 'wait and see' approach? Have my PB remove the grout and put in the caulk?
    12,500 gallon gunite, original construction 1989, renovation 2014 using quartz plaster finish. Baquacil-treated pool.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    I agree with all of your concerns. For that tile in the pic I would use some polyurethane caulk in that crack.
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    I agree with all of your concerns. For that tile in the pic I would use some polyurethane caulk in that crack.
    The picture actually makes it look worse than it even is since I took it so close up. I like the idea of just trying to fill some of the larger cracks. That way I can get an idea of how closely the limestone caulk will match the grout color. I will get a tube of exactly what the PB intends to use. I was all around the entire pool cleaning tile today and I just can't see digging all that grout out. The majority of it shows no problems at all except for the hairline crack. Maybe I'm erring in my judgment regarding this, but I'll follow my intuitions for now.
    12,500 gallon gunite, original construction 1989, renovation 2014 using quartz plaster finish. Baquacil-treated pool.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    I agree with you.
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    Re: Should I have my pool builder remove the grout above tile and add polyurethane ca

    I would just run a bead all the way around the pool my self. You could even put painters tape on the tile to help keep a clean line. Better safe than sorry and you know YOU will take your time and use great care!

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