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Thread: Pool Sliding Down Hill?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Pool Sliding Down Hill?

    We bought our house about a year ago, in Chesapeake, VA. It has 33k gal IG vinyl pool that is approx 13 years old. For various reasons, we did not have time to comb over the house before purchasing, and depended on inspectors and realtor to be our eyes. A creek runs the length of our property line; about 10' of land separates the creek from the bottom of a steeply sloped hill, upon which the pool and house sit. It is not unusual during periods of high tide and a good nor'easter for the creek to flood the lower portion, up to the base of the hill. It's happened twice in the year we've lived here.

    Pool inspector's report revealed no problems, but stated the water was too murky to inspect the pool too far below the water line. After moving in, and clearing the water, it became obvious there was at least a 3.5" difference in water level from the shallow to the deep end, and that the south west corner (deep end) of the pool dipped quite a bit. Once the water cleared, we could see a depression in the wall on that same corner, close to the bottom. The pool didn't leak, but novice pool owners that we are, we knew a bowl in the side of your pool couldn't be a good thing. We called the pool inspector, who said he didn't perceive the dip as a problem since both skimmers worked. He said vinyl pools will sometimes develop a depression like I was describing, but if it wasn't leaking, we could wait to address it when the liner was replaced.

    The skimmers do work, but we have to fill the pool up to almost the lip of the dipped corner so the skimmer closest to the house works, but then the skimmer on the hill side seems sluggish.

    Anyway, we made arrangements to replace the liner. Liner Guy came out, looked the pool over, we discussed the dip, and he said it looked as if it had settled all it was going to settle, and since the skimmers worked, all should be well. We have plans to build retaining walls around the slope, and he said that would be a good idea. I should mention that the concrete deck starts sloping toward that low corner just past the shallow end of the pool, and while there are no large cracks in the concrete slabs, the space where the slabs come together have widened, especially at the low corner. Ok, well, that's two experienced pool builders that say it doesn't look like we have a problem. So not only do we replace the liner, but have the pool converted to SW and have a new DE filter installed. So we've got about 5k invested in this pool, which is ok, as we very much enjoy it. When the old liner was removed, the depression and a couple of cracks were repaired, but other than that, they said the floor and walls were great shape.

    That dip really nags at me; however, and I wonder if there isn't something major happening here. I've noticed a gouge in the hill coming down from that corner where rain water must be eroding it. About 20' off that same corner, the previous owners had a very large oak tree removed, and I wonder if its decaying root system could be causing that side of the hill to slide.

    When the company who did our liner came out to open the pool this spring, I asked about the pool deck because they also build pools, and he said it could be raised. I didn't question him any further because he wasn't the builder, but did he mean raise the whole pool, or just the deck? And if just the deck, what do you do with that 3.5" difference between the height of the new deck and the lip of the pool? We will have to replace the deck eventually anyway. The previous owners apparently really liked slate, and had chunks of it arranged in the concrete around the pool, creating a toe stumping gauntlet, that may effectively keep the kids from running around the pool, but has almost caused me to trip in several times, so they must go!

    So, should I call in a geophysical engineer or something. Can a decent pool or landscape person reliably fix this problem? Where do I start?

    Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this, and especially to anyone who can point me in the right direction.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Wow, I feel for you with all the troubles it seems you have... I cannot help you or offer advice, but there are smart people here who can... I just wanted to say Welcome to TFP!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    There are a lot of things going on to compile a mental picture of your yard. Any way you can post a picture that includes the pool, the drainage path, former position of the oak, the concrete decking, the creek and the sliding hill?
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Pictures of sliding pool

    I'll post as many pix as the forum will allow! Hope I do it right! As you can see from the last shot of the two slabs separating at the corner, I was losing light, and couldn't get a shot of the creek, or the removed oak. I was talking to a neighbor today who said all of our lots began to side toward the creek when the creek was dredged about 10 years ago. Most of our docks and bulkheads have fallen into the creek, whether that is from dredging or just the passage of time, I don't know. I'll take the creek and tree shots tomorrow.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Sorry you pool is sinking... On the plus side, it is a lovely pool with gorgeous water, and your lack of close neighbors is fab!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Guess 3 is the limit. Here's more.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Coastalish 'down easter'
    Mary, welcome to TFP!!

    I'm sorry that you hadn't been able to ask us when the liner was replaced For 1 thing, the dip should have been patched when they were replacing the liner. For another, the retaining walls should have been done before the liner - why add a new liner when there's a fair chance of the ground giving out again?? As a final thing, if you were in a financial position to redo part of the deck, where the pool has sunk 'excessively', the beam (top) of the pool could have been brought up and new crete poured to that level. (if you want info on how it's done, just ask - though I would have trouble justifying the expense of the work right after I dropped a new liner, 'cause buying another liner is involved, [though as I think about it, you may be able to adjust the bottom and keep the replaced liner - but the folks doing it had best know what they're doing!] ) I'm not trying to 'tease' you with 'what might have been..." but if you have the $$$ to redo the deck, liner and walls after putting in the retaining walls, just ask and I'll give you the info needed to do it up right. Again, I'm sorry we couldn't have talked before you had the liner replaced - welcome to the site and please stick with us to answer all your pool questions!

    -waste (a/k/a Ted)
    Luv& Luk

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Waste - Thanks for replying. Maybe the pool builder who replaced our liner didn't recommend fixing the dip first because he was hoping to make more $$ off of us when we did the retaining walls and deck later? I dunno. The $$$ to do the retaining wall and deck wouldn't have been available until early 08, and we wanted to be able to enjoy the pool before then. I'll be seeking estimates in Feb, probably, but wanted to do some research so I'd get to know the lingo, learn what sort of questions to ask, etc... We know it's going to be a costly repair, but as Mermaid pointed out, we have a great lot, with a beautiful view, and, of course, we hope the investment will pay off in the future. Anyway, I'd be very interested to hear your recommended fix action, and/or input from any other experienced PB, and POs who have had similiar work done.

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Suwanee, GA
    Until you get the wall and pour a new deck, I'd suggest patching the expansion joint in the concrete so no water can get in there. It's probably the water running into the crack and down off the edge that is causing the erosion. I'd patch the crack with something that will flex; fill in the depression with dirt and get some grass growing on the top to control the erosion.
    21k gal SW, IG Gunite PebbleSheen, 1HP Jandy, Jandy 340 filter, Polaris 280, 17' fiberglass slide w/ 2HP pump.

  10. Back To Top    #10

    In the Industry
    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Sebring, Florida
    Hi, Mary,

    Welcome to the forum. I hate to be pessismistic but it sure looks like you've hit a real problem. I'm a little surprised the local codes would've allowed a pool in that area......the frquently fluctuating water table would seem to make that soil pretty unstable.

    I think you need a soil engineer to take a look at it unless you can get some confirmation the Oak tree was the culprit. 20' from the base of an Oak doesn't sound like there should be enough of a root system at that point to produce those results. It possible but doesn't seem likely.

    Erosion around the pool is a possibility also but it doesn't seem like there's evidence of enough damage to cause the pool to shift like that.

    I would guess that the soil has shifted as a result of the very high water table. To guess that from one picture may well be completely off base but I think it's a strong possibility.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Good places to start, crabboy and Dave, thanks. I was hoping there was something I could do while I wait for my husband to come back from Iraq; I didn't want to just sit here and watch it get worse. If I can do the research and, in any small way, start a fix, that will be less he'll have to deal with when he gets home. I've decided to let the grass grow on that hill...didn't enjoy mowing it anyway...and can manage a patch on the expansion joint easily enough. Will also look into getting a soil engineer over for a detailed evaluation. Thanks again, Mary

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    May 2007

    Which Branch of the Military? I am retired Marine Corps. I hope all is well with your husband while he is gone. I've been there and done that. So has my wife.

    As for your pool, might I also suggest the following to add to the long list of good suggestions.

    Contact the Chesapeake, VA building inspectors and see what their requirments for an inground pool is and also see if they can come out there and take a look at it. Here in Virginia, some of the building inspection departments do charge a small fee to do this, but generally speaking most that I have delt with (The city of Fairfax and Winchester and the Counties of Fairfax, Loudon, Clarke and Frederick VA) are very good and also can give you some good advice on who in the area are reputable contractors.

    You also may want to check with JAG at a nearby base to find out if there might be any real estate disclousure laws that may have been broken. A pool leaning like that is not a minor real estate problem and should have been disclosed in your contract for the house, even if it was inspected.

    Hope this might be helpful,
    36k, 23'x47' freeform 3.5'-9'deep
    Gunite/white plaster
    Colorlogic LED lights.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    TPG, we're Navy. My husband is pulling an IA tour, and as usual, everything starts to fall apart when a spouse deploys! The pool is the biggest in a long list of problems I'm trying to manage until DH comes home, and I can go back to just worrying about what I'm going to make for dinner!

    Now it looks like I have a liner leak! The liner isn't even a year old, but there is a noticable depression at the bottom, under the diving board; so I'm probably in for a fight with the Liner Guy.

    I haven't called a soil engineer yet, because they all seem to be geared toward large construction jobs, but a city inspector might be a better, and less expensive, first step. (Though I'm terrified he'll find some obscure code violation and fine us some ungodly sum of money!) I did seal all the gaps in the joists, and a few cracks around the deck, though, so hopefully the erosion under the deck has been minimized, if not eleminated. We have a serious mole problem, and all their tunneling has pretty much turned the hill and side yards into sponge. I've got my own version of Caddyshack's varmit war going on in my back yard! I think my last surge was successful; however, and plan to hit 'em in the bread basket by spreading grub killer this weekend!

    I've been wondering about whether we have any legal recourse here, as well, but didn't think a JAG could help with realty law. Our neighbors are still very good friends with the previous owners, so if we sue (assuming we can), we're sure to be outcast. An acceptable consequence if it spares us the thousands it will probably cost to put the pool right. One neighbor asked if we didn't notice the leaning pool before we bought the house. "No, we didn't, and our pool inspector didn't either." The neighbor replied, "Give enough money to an inspector, and they'll say what you want." Now, I don't know if he was making a general statement, or stating fact, but since he was a close friend of the previous owner, it got my attention!Anyway, guess I won't know the answers to all my wonderings till I start making some phone calls!

    A previous post to my original entry wondered about the ability to build a pool in this area. It is protected wet lands now, but 15 or so years ago, when the pool was put in, there were no such restrictions. You wouldn't be allowed to put a pool out there today, and I'm wondering now, if due to soil type, a pool was a good idea to begin with. The house was very outdated and not well cared for. We knew we'd have some renovation ahead of us (no big deal since we just renovated and sold our Katrina damaged Louisiana house), but believed we'd get a good return on our investment when we sell in 6 years. (2400 sqft brick on deep water access, a knock out view, and hard to find privacy in a crowded city.) But this pool thing...I don't think we'll be getting our money back on this.

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