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Thread: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

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    Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Hello,

    I am in the need of some expert advice from you guys. We purchased our home about 6 years ago which also had a pool and spa. Due to circumstances beyond our control (hurricane Katrina), we did not return to live in the house until a year and half ago (the house was being rented previously to our return).

    When we returned to live in the house we noticed that there was cracking around the exterior of the spa. The white calcium buildup in the front of the spa was there when we bought the house, but to a much smaller extent.







    The pool and spa was built in 2002, as far as I know.

    I am attaching some photos and wanted to see what your opinion was as to what should be done.

    Does anyone know what would be causing the tiles to start cracking and then showing the white film seeping out of the cracks?

    I will be meeting with contractors to come and give us some bids to replace the tiles with new tile. Is there anything you would recommend I ask them when I am discussing the work to be done?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.

    Phil in Ocean Springs, MS
    21,500 gal, plaster, chlorine, Heyward 1.5 HP pump, sand filter, built 2002

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Welcome to TFP!
    It looks like the shell of the spa is cracked, and letting water seep out the side of the spa. That will require patching, fixing the inside of the spa, and retiling the outside. If you can, swing the cost, all the tile could use replacing.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    It looks like your deck has sunk a lot in places, possibly settlement caused the spa to shift and crack.
    15ft round above ground pool (6600 gallons)
    Sand filter
    Jandy gas heater
    Intermatic timer

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Yeah in my opinion, the water leakage is the issue, caused by settling of the spa and cracking. The water starts seeping out, and over time the formation of the scale just pushes the tile from the back until they crack or pop off. Get a foundation co in there to stabilize the soil and base (mudjacking), then have the cosmetic issues/leaking of the tile fixed. If you dont get the root cause fixed you will be fighting this forever.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Quote Originally Posted by Melt In The Sun
    Welcome to TFP!
    It looks like the shell of the spa is cracked, and letting water seep out the side of the spa. That will require patching, fixing the inside of the spa, and retiling the outside. If you can, swing the cost, all the tile could use replacing.
    Hi Melt In The Sun,

    When you say "... the shell of the spa is cracked..." what specifically do you mean by that? IOW, are you saying that the plaster (which is the innermost part of the spa) or are you saying the gunite (outermost) is cracked?

    Or am mixed up on my terminology?

    And THANKS for your input.
    21,500 gal, plaster, chlorine, Heyward 1.5 HP pump, sand filter, built 2002

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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Quote Originally Posted by britinusa
    It looks like your deck has sunk a lot in places, possibly settlement caused the spa to shift and crack.
    Hi Britinusa,

    We are planning on removing the deck (which goes all the way around the spa - right up to where it meets the cold joints on either side of the spa) BEFORE we set tile. We are contemplating putting crushed rock and 24" circular walking stones around the spa.

    My concern is that this may increase the amount of water going underneath the spa, unless I put in some type of french drain under the crushed rock. The drain would run in an arc around the circumference of the spa.

    What do you think?

    And THANKS for your input.
    21,500 gal, plaster, chlorine, Heyward 1.5 HP pump, sand filter, built 2002

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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    Yeah in my opinion, the water leakage is the issue, caused by settling of the spa and cracking. The water starts seeping out, and over time the formation of the scale just pushes the tile from the back until they crack or pop off. Get a foundation co in there to stabilize the soil and base (mudjacking), then have the cosmetic issues/leaking of the tile fixed. If you dont get the root cause fixed you will be fighting this forever.
    Hi Lershac,

    I went back outside, to look underneath the top of the spa where the red bricks are placed, and underneath them you can see where the tile grout has separated from the tile, but about 1/8" to 3/16" it looks like to me.

    Looking from inside spa underneath brick to tile transition (also just noticed cracked tile in the photo )


    Closeup of other area


    After looking at these additional photos, can you add anything to what you said in your first reply?

    Also, like I mentioned to Britinusa we are planning on removing the concrete apron around the spa anyway (because we cannot access some of the bottom tiles) and possibly replacing it with crushed rock and 24" diameter round walking stones.

    I am guessing it would also be essential to have some type of french drain to collect any water from rain or splashing to minimize any water getting under the spa itself.

    If we were to re-pour an apron, I would make sure to put some type of barrier between the new tile and the new concrete. We would make sure to re-compact the soils below the new apron as well.

    And THANKS for the input.
    21,500 gal, plaster, chlorine, Heyward 1.5 HP pump, sand filter, built 2002

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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Quote Originally Posted by pelampe
    After looking at these additional photos, can you add anything to what you said in your first reply?

    And THANKS for the input.
    Yes, I would say your spa has settled. Best case would be its done settling, and you can just replaster and retile and never have to worry about it again.

    That would be a miracle, but its possible.

    Worst case, the soil beneath the spa expands and contracts continually and you have a "floating" spa there. The moisture content of the soil may vary greatly over time and some soils contract and expand with that variance. Clay in particular.

    My parents house was like this. Depending on the time of the year and how much it had rained, you could measure the difference in the cracks above door jambs, and sometimes they would disappear completely.

    The only sure way to fix this is to stabilize the foundation of the spa. Mudjacking may be able to accomplish this through the injection of a grout-like material to fill any voids that may have developed. A thorough inspection by a foundation repair company (or three) would be useful in developing a specific plan of attack to fix the issue. Or like my parents you could live with it for a long time. Besides cosmetic issues like the cracks and tile, unless the settling worsens considerably its not like the spa is going to fall into a fissure in the earth.

    Sorry you are sufferring with this, it does suck and will be expensive to permanently fix I am afraid.
    (DIY):16K Gal 20X30 rectangular IG Gunite, w/spa, CCP 520 filter,2 Pentair VS pumps, 400KBTU Pentair gas heater, Heat Pump for cooling, **update5.25.2013** added an intellichem with acid pump that will control existing SWG. My Build Thread Here

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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Quote Originally Posted by Lershac
    Quote Originally Posted by pelampe
    After looking at these additional photos, can you add anything to what you said in your first reply?

    And THANKS for the input.
    Yes, I would say your spa has settled. Best case would be its done settling, and you can just replaster and retile and never have to worry about it again.

    That would be a miracle, but its possible.

    Worst case, the soil beneath the spa expands and contracts continually and you have a "floating" spa there. The moisture content of the soil may vary greatly over time and some soils contract and expand with that variance. Clay in particular.

    My parents house was like this. Depending on the time of the year and how much it had rained, you could measure the difference in the cracks above door jambs, and sometimes they would disappear completely.

    The only sure way to fix this is to stabilize the foundation of the spa. Mudjacking may be able to accomplish this through the injection of a grout-like material to fill any voids that may have developed. A thorough inspection by a foundation repair company (or three) would be useful in developing a specific plan of attack to fix the issue. Or like my parents you could live with it for a long time. Besides cosmetic issues like the cracks and tile, unless the settling worsens considerably its not like the spa is going to fall into a fissure in the earth.

    Sorry you are sufferring with this, it does suck and will be expensive to permanently fix I am afraid.
    Lershac,

    Yeah, I think at this stage I should get a few opinions on the foundation of the spa from some foundation engineers.

    Do you think this kind of thing is normal for a pool that was constructed just over 8 years now? The company that constructed the pool is still in business, and they are very popular in this area. Do you think I have any leverage to approach them to either do the repairs themselves, or at least pay for 1/2 of the costs to repair it?

    Once again, THANKS for your reply.

    Phil in Ocean Springs, MS
    21,500 gal, plaster, chlorine, Heyward 1.5 HP pump, sand filter, built 2002

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with tile cracking and falling off around spa

    Many installers have a lifetime warranty on the structure of the pool. This is definitely something that falls under that; the trick is getting them to honor it if you're not the original customer. I'm not too knowledgeable in that aspect of things, but it's definitely worth contacting them.
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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