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Thread: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

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    My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Thought it might be fun to post a log of my pool build which I am doing mostly myself.
    Hope its of interest to people.
    After a lot of research I decided on ferrocement otherwise known as thin shell in the US.
    It consists of layers of mesh and a dense mortar which is similar to how fibreglass works. Its strong and very economical and lends itself
    to the diy builder with proper design and preparation. Some boats and large water tanks are also built this way.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    chessie6's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    I'm fascinated by your pool build - by all means, post pictures as you progress. We are having a very snowy winter right now, and seeing your pictures will be a reminder that spring follows winter, which I am counting the days down to.

    Good luck!
    Jan
    Summer: 19 x 37 Pacific Graphex IG modified oval, aztec marine vinyl liner, 24,000 gal, 3.5 feet to 8 feet, 1 hp Hayward C4025 Swim Clear 4-cartridge filter, 12.5% Liquid Pool Shock for sanitizing, 1 super wide mouth skimmer, 4 returns (2 therapy jets in steps), Hayward Heat Pro heat pump, non-curved pool slide, 6' jump board, 8 ml blue solar cover, TF-100 test kit, had pink algae in 2010 Winter: Hot Springs Vista Spa, 500 gallons.

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    JesseJames's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Very interesting. It would be great to see more pictures as you go along.
    13K Gal., Plaster, SWG, Intellichlor IC 20, Sta-Rite 1 HP Pump, Sta-Rite PLM 300 Filter, Pentair LED, Solar, Screened Enclosure, Great White, TF-100

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    AlanH's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Glad I can across your post about a ferrocement build (from your tiling post). I'm doing a DIY build as well and have (at the moment) only two realistic choices for constructing the shell: cement block and a modified installation of a structural insulated panel (two cross-linked wire mesh grids that sandwich a foam core) that we used for our house (in some ways similar to ferrocement). I googled "ferrocement swimming pools" and came up with lots about tanks/cisterns and boats but very little in any sort of detail about pools. Is a pool essentially the same as a tank? Most of the material was for above ground tanks with covered tops whereas with a pool being inground without a cover (in our case) I'd think there might be some structural and ground engineering differences (correct me if I'm wrong). Do you have any links or references that you can share? I'd greatly appreciate them if so. Thanks.
    "I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." (R. Frost); 12.5K gal; 18'x72" round joined to 10x16x18" oval; vinyl liners; ferrocement-like wall panels; perimeter wet edge; fountain and cascade; Pentair Dynamo 1hp 2 spd; Pentair CC75 filter; Pentair no-lube valves. My build here.

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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    The main benefit of FC is lower cost of materials than pretty much any other method of building a pool and that the expensive/time consuming part, the putting together of all of the metal, can be done totally DIY (as I have so far). You also use considerably less cement than on a gunite pool and some would say that was environmentally more friendly, although you have more steel which probably isnt!
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    AlanH's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Thanks for the reply. Friends of mine have had a ferrocement boat (DIY'd) for twenty years, rarely haul it out, and have never had a leakage or seepage problem. Looks like I now have a strong option number three. Gotta love the internet. Great that you, from half way around the world, can tell me what's going on in my own backyard. Fince Zopilote (the link you sent) is practically next door to some friends of ours.
    "I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." (R. Frost); 12.5K gal; 18'x72" round joined to 10x16x18" oval; vinyl liners; ferrocement-like wall panels; perimeter wet edge; fountain and cascade; Pentair Dynamo 1hp 2 spd; Pentair CC75 filter; Pentair no-lube valves. My build here.

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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Alan, another option for you might be one of those sectional aluminium in-ground or fibreglass above/semi in-ground pools with a vinyl liner. Not sure if you can get them where you are. I might have gone for the aluminium in-ground but they aren't available here that I could find. For remote areas there isnt much choice when it comes to in-ground pool building especially if you are trying to do it on a 'budget'.
    I looked into besser block building and it worked out quite expensive. The blocks arent cheap here, ( nor is concrete for that matter) you still have to rebar the whole thing and the concrete use is quite extensive. To avoid a floor wall join you need to have semi open blocks at the base of the walls and then pour the whole thing in one go.
    Its probably only a bit less concrete than a gunite pool and there is always a risk that as the blocks themselves arent connected with each other, just with the concrete infill , that you could get movement/cracking. Its quite possible to build a good pool this way but looks to me to be quite difficult.
    How to build a besser block pool: http://www.adbrimasonry.com.au/lib/pdf/ ... mf1113.pdf
    With ferrocement, other than a company in Hawaii and one in New Zealand who build pools this way (FC pools are more earthquake resistant apparently), you are rather in 'unknown territory'.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    AlanH's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Thanks for the ideas. But, like you, my options are limited. Pool "kits" of any type simply are not available and would be prohibitively expensive to import. Shotcrete/gunite aren't an option and I'm trying to avoid "poured" concrete as it would have to be done using a one-bagger (mixer) and a continuous pour from floor to wall would be tough to do (planned size is 12x33x5 with a 10x10x1.5 T-stub), and I hate the thought of the formwork involved. The besser blocks are interesting but not available (from adbrimasonry) in Nicaragua. However, a surprising part of living in Nicaragua is the "can-do" (more like make-do) attitude of many. I came across the besser blocks before and asked a company that makes an excellent quality block if they could do a special run. They say they can and costs between changing the dies/molds and the saving in material is a wash.

    I don't want to hijack your post with the details of my construction. Hopefully, time permitting, I'll get my post rolled out in the next 2-3 days (it will include "Latin Latitudes" in the title). Ferrocement is looking pretty viable as an option and it would be great to keep in touch as we move along (quite possibly a similar path).

    Back to your project. I took a look at the Nicaraguan (Finca Zopilote) video you mentioned. In it they applied the mortar from both sides simultaneously (more or less) over what looked like a fairly thin "single layer" armature. The final result looked great. However, this was for a fairly small cistern. In several other videos and photos I've looked at, for small and large "containers" alike, a concern was raised, particularly if the armature was thick (or "two-sided", or double layered, with an space between the wire mesh layers), that there would be voids/air pockets in the center due to the thickness and being unable to compact the mortar sufficiently through the mesh to the center. I can't really tell from your photo what your armature looks like (in cross-section). Could you comment on how the mortar will be applied and if the above concern is an issue for your armature? Thanks.
    "I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." (R. Frost); 12.5K gal; 18'x72" round joined to 10x16x18" oval; vinyl liners; ferrocement-like wall panels; perimeter wet edge; fountain and cascade; Pentair Dynamo 1hp 2 spd; Pentair CC75 filter; Pentair no-lube valves. My build here.

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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    The issue here is with potential overspray not voids. There are 3 layers of very fine mesh and 2 layers of fine mesh to catch the mortar.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    AlanH's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Thanks for the details and book reference. Found the book on Amazon and will have some friends bring it with them when next visiting us. The more I find out about ferrocement the more I like it. Our house is basically a type of ferrocement construction (http://ferrocement.net/flist/index.php?topic=196.0). I called the manufacturer a few days ago and they confirmed that their panels have been used in pool construction. It turns out I've even been swimming in one of them (unknown at the time). They seemed a little hazy on details and in that respect I was wondering if the engineer that helped you might be available on a consulting basis? Perhaps you could PM me if possible and the contact info. Thanks.
    "I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." (R. Frost); 12.5K gal; 18'x72" round joined to 10x16x18" oval; vinyl liners; ferrocement-like wall panels; perimeter wet edge; fountain and cascade; Pentair Dynamo 1hp 2 spd; Pentair CC75 filter; Pentair no-lube valves. My build here.

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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanH
    Thanks for the details and book reference. Found the book on Amazon and will have some friends bring it with them when next visiting us. The more I find out about ferrocement the more I like it. Our house is basically a type of ferrocement construction (http://ferrocement.net/flist/index.php?topic=196.0). I called the manufacturer a few days ago and they confirmed that their panels have been used in pool construction. It turns out I've even been swimming in one of them (unknown at the time). They seemed a little hazy on details and in that respect I was wondering if the engineer that helped you might be available on a consulting basis? Perhaps you could PM me if possible and the contact info. Thanks.

    I have asked the engineer if he is interested so I will let you know when he gets back to me.
    In one of the pics from the link you gave, he is using a hopper sprayer which is attached to a largish compressor http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zOoKBgZ_8E.
    I had considered doing it that way but the extra work in carrying the mortar down to the pool in buckets and the extra time and labour involved plus the detrimental effect of a less contiguous spray over a longer time span, meant when I found someone experienced to do the mortaring with a mixer/pump/sprayer for a reasonable price, it was a no brainer.
    11k gallon IG Ferrocement , Onga (Pentair) SF750 1hp pump, Onga Pantera MK11 PCF200sqft Cartridge Filter, Watermaid WM40-QT300 SWG, Spa Electrics GK7 LED

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    solarboy's Avatar
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    Re: My Self-Build Ferrocement Pool

    That mesh is incredible, I've never seen such a thing.
    Self built 5500 gallon bare concrete (temporarily) pool with limestone coping, Pentair Swimmey 1/2 HP pump, Triton sand filter with DE, Simpool peristaltic muriatic acid pump with pH sensor and Monarch SWG. Home made solar heater with Pentair Compool control panel and 3 way valve. 1 skimmer, 1 main drain, 2 returns, 2" plumbing, Hayward auto fill valve.

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