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Thread: Pool tile repair or replacement

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    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    Atlanta, GA
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    Question Pool tile repair or replacement

    Happy Labor Day weekend! Hopefully everyone is squeezing in their last pool days.

    I have an issue with pool tiles falling off (count is up to 8) and a small gap between tiles and cantilevered deck (almost half the perimeter, 40 linear feet or so). It appears that at some point (prior to my ownership) the deck shifted causing a compromise in the mastic between the tiles and deck.

    Photo of my gunite pool is below (you may recognize it from an earlier post...still working on getting a portion of deck repaired...but at least I got a refund!).



    And here are the problem areas:








    I am trying to make sense of all the information I have collected thus far:
    (1) One pool contractor told me that if some tiles are falling off, they really need to replace them all instead of reinstalling the originals (I have the original pieces), because eventually others will falter. "Standard industry practice". Is that true? What if the problem areas of mastic were ripped out and silicone applied to seal the gap between tiles and deck? Wouldn't that prevent future problems?
    (2) I have read on this forum that to properly repair tile, one should really drain the pool. I understand it may be difficult to do a tile/mastic repair upside down, and this will sound like a silly question, but couldn't a contractor get in the pool to do the work, assuming water level is lowered?
    (3) How do you weigh the risk of the pool shell floating due to hydrostatic pressure if drained? This seems like a huge risk I would want to avoid, which brings me to my next question.
    (4) Is there an “easy” way to determine the level of the water table? I have also seen posts on this, but I'm not keen on digging holes right next to pool deck, as I am dealing with Georgia clay/rocks, I have no knowledge of what pipes or other structures I might run into, among other reasons (I'm not strong or handy in that way...)
    Last edited by Jessica K; 09-02-2016 at 09:15 PM. Reason: typo
    13,000 in ground, gunite, chlorine

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    Re: Pool tile repair or replacement

    Problems Due to Concrete Decks, might want to read it looks like you have a lot of deck movement and if the deck isn't isolated from bond beam you are going to have similar problems in the future

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    Re: Pool tile repair or replacement

    kadavis, thanks so much for recommending. I just gave it a read (or more a critical re-read as I had referenced the diagram in that article before--it's great!). It gets me thinking as it could be a few different issues, such as (a) builder failed to install bond breaker; (b) subgrade was poorly graded; (c) bond beam was not leveled. How do I determine which is most likely?

    Is it possible that there is no construction problem? For example, I imagine that a large degree of upward deck movement could dislodge tiles even with a proper barrier between the deck and bond beam. A gap would most likely appear between the top of tiles and the deck, and if not addressed could permit water in that disintegrates mortar. Does that make sense?

    Let's say I decide there is a construction issue, and I can't necessarily diagnose between A versus B or C. Is there a solution that would work regardless? Score an expansion joint about a foot around circumference of pool? Or replace cantilevered edge with properly installed stone coping?

    Finally, let me throw this possibility out there: What are the chances that the deck settled many years ago, and any further movement would be minimal? (optimistic thought that my pocket strings cling to)
    13,000 in ground, gunite, chlorine

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    Re: Pool tile repair or replacement

    One way to tell if you have had excessive movement would be a crack in the bond beam itself. It is hard to tell with just the top tiles falling off, but if the bond beam is cracked this will continue to happen. One solution you have mentioned but quite costly would be to replace deck edge with a coping stone, that way you could control future movement. And of course the last possibility would be the deck has done most of it's movement and the damage is repairable. Home

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