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Thread: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oldsmar, FL
    Posts
    34

    Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    This is a long story so bear with me…

    We moved into our “new” house about 6 months ago. It has a nice size pool with a spillover hot tub into the pool. When we were looking at the house before we bought it we noticed that there was a big chunk of the surface of the hot tub coming off. It was probably 18” and still partially attached. It was raised a ½” or so. After living there for a month or so we noticed the pool was losing water pretty quickly. At this time we had the hot tub and pool both cycling through the pump/filter. So I figured the leak was probably in the hot tub since the plaster was coming up. I isolated the pump to just circulate the pool and left the hot tub to sit so I could monitor it. After that the pool stopped losing water and the hot tub was losing about an inch a day.

    When just letting it sit it drained past the return jets, past the light and all the way down till it only had an inch or two left in the bottom. Figuring the leak was probably in the finish I got out my hammer and broke off all of the loose finish. This actually ended up being the whole seat of the hot tub and the whole vertical surface your calves would rest against if you were sitting in it. This entire surface broke off pretty easily. Underneath the surface I broke off was another layer of plaster. The layer of plaster underneath looks to be the same as the top surface. It’s almost like the original plaster was leaking so they added a 2nd layer to it.

    Wondering if the leak was in one of the drains I filled it back up, got my scuba gear on, and did a leak test on the two drains. No luck. So that leads me back to the water leaking through the original plaster finish. The original plaster actually looks like it’s in decent shape and if I don’t have to spend the money on getting it redone I’d prefer not to for now. I’m kinda going back and forth between two decisions. Option 1, trying to get the leak stopped and dealing with the not perfect finish until the pool needs to be redone too. Option 2, just refinishing the hot tub for now and then the pool later.

    Option 1: Before I had someone out to look at it I was doing some demo on it and tore off probably more than I needed to. Some of the gunite is exposed in a few areas. It was leaking prior to the demo work so that’s not the root of my leak. If I can get the leak sealed I’m willing to deal with the couple spots that are a little torn up so I don’t have to get it redone right now.

    Option 2: If I get it redone I want to do a different (darker) color than what is originally there right now and then match the pool to the hot tub when it needs to be done. In doing so I’d want to change out the tile as well. So I would have the costs of redoing the tile in the hot tub and also the cost of refinishing it. Then I have to deal with the hot tub not matching the pool for the time being.

    Assuming the plaster in the hot tub is leaking, is there something I can apply to the finish to prevent it from leaking so I don’t have to redo it now? Any ideas as to what might be leaking?
    15,000 Gal In-Ground w/ Spillover Spa, Pebble Finish
    120 Sq Ft Hayward Cartridge Filter, 1.5HP Single Speed Pump, (4) 4X12 Solar Panels, Circupool SI45 SWG
    Pool Installed in 1998
    Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South Central NJ
    Posts
    3,192

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    The plaster you removed is a classic example of delamination. Typically, this is caused by poor prep work when it was applied. The shell can weep water. The shell provides structural strength. The plaster finish provides the waterproofing.

    Have the spa drain line pressure tested. Also, dye pens that look like syringes with a thin plastic tube extension, are available to check cracks, spaces between drain pots and the finish, hydrostatic ports, etc..., A little ink from these pens will either sit still or be drawn in to a leak.

    Is the lost water lost or going back into the pool?

    Is the spa raised?

    Where are you located?

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oldsmar, FL
    Posts
    34

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    I've already done leak tests on all of the fittings and drains and didn't find anything. Something that was odd though is when the hot tub was drained I had water slowly seeping back through into the hot tub from the ground right around each of the drain pots. It was coming in where the pot meets the plaster. I tested that spot for leaking when it was full and didn't get anything.

    Before I started doing the demo the lower shell layer was still fully intact and if it is leaking though the shell then it must have been leaking through that shell too. Is it possible for the first layer of plaster to have been installed improperly and not be waterproof?

    It's the typical spillover spa that is elevated 18" or so over the pool with a waterfall.

    Oldsmar, FL
    15,000 Gal In-Ground w/ Spillover Spa, Pebble Finish
    120 Sq Ft Hayward Cartridge Filter, 1.5HP Single Speed Pump, (4) 4X12 Solar Panels, Circupool SI45 SWG
    Pool Installed in 1998
    Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South Central NJ
    Posts
    3,192

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    The cement around the drain pop decayed. If the spa was full, I'll bet you would find you are losing water there. If you do find it there, chipping away a few inches out and going down and in in 1" steps toward the drain pot should make for an area you can fill with hydraulic leak stop cement and a final coat of plaster patch, which is very much like the leak stop stuff but white instead of gray.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oldsmar, FL
    Posts
    34

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    That's the thing though... I did a dye test around the drain pots when it was full and didn't get any sign of water seeping out. The only sign of the drains leaking around the cement is when it was empty and water seeping back in.
    15,000 Gal In-Ground w/ Spillover Spa, Pebble Finish
    120 Sq Ft Hayward Cartridge Filter, 1.5HP Single Speed Pump, (4) 4X12 Solar Panels, Circupool SI45 SWG
    Pool Installed in 1998
    Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    South Central NJ
    Posts
    3,192

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    If you can see space between the pots and the plaster, it might be possible to inject epoxy between the two. There are dual tube syringes with mixer tips, such as Aquabond, but the area should not be under hydrostatic pressure. Let the water in and drain it till it stops coming in. Then apply the epoxy. That should do it.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oldsmar, FL
    Posts
    34

    Re: Hot Tub Leaking Through Plaster?

    Is that common for something like that to happen though where it only seeps through in one direction? I can't get the joint to suck any dye in with the dye test. I just don't want to go tearing up around the drains and fix it and then it's still leaking through the plaster.
    15,000 Gal In-Ground w/ Spillover Spa, Pebble Finish
    120 Sq Ft Hayward Cartridge Filter, 1.5HP Single Speed Pump, (4) 4X12 Solar Panels, Circupool SI45 SWG
    Pool Installed in 1998
    Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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