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Thread: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hockessin, Delaware
    Posts
    48

    Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    I have a 5 year old Anthony & Sylvan Pool that that spa tile falls off of every year. They always send someone out to fix it, but it continues to happen. Anyway, when the tile guy replaced the tile this spring, he pointed out that all of the coping was loose. He verified this by showing me cracks in the grout between the coping bricks, and also showed me that there was a hollow sound when you tap on the coping. Also the grout line above my tile is coming out all the way around the pool, and there is separation between the mastic and the coping around the pool. I have attached a video link. Looking for verification that the diagnoses is correct. I have tried all summer to get someone back out here, but now they are just putting me off. Thanks

    http://youtu.be/mEr7_MZPicw
    21 X 42 freeform gunite pool w/ spa
    white plaster finish
    Jandy VS ProFlow Pump
    3 returns, 2 skimmers
    pentair DE filter
    Aquapure 1400 SWG
    Raypac 399,000 BTU Heater
    Zodiac Nature 2 Pool sanitizer (haven't used yet)

  2. Back To Top    #2

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

    Re: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    I saw a few things. Much of what the tile guy said is correct but not quite all. The "Why" is missing.

    Mesh or solid cover? It didn't look like an Anchor brand cover as is often typical of an A&S.

    Did you use a step pump to keep the water off the tile line? The way you've been describing the spa wall tile, leads me to think the answer is no.

    How long did you wait to caulk the expansion joint? A&S, BHP, and a few others by me are notorious for not doing it and just leaving the foam form in place. Common enough practice but it doesn't make it right.

    The joint is about twice as wide as I like to see between the deck and coping but not overly so. More importantly, how thick the caulk is applied is important. Too thin and what you have is typical of what happens. Depending on the brand of caulk used, most manufacturers want it least 1/2 as thick as it is wide, up to as thick as it is wide.

    Yours needs replacing. 5 to 8 years is the normal life expectancy.

    The tile guy is right about the coping and the hollow sound and cracks. Water got in and weakened the mortar. They will become dangerously loose soon. Both the coping and the expansion joint should be redone.

    Water is a pool's worst enemy. Next is the sun and followed by people and nature.

    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
    May 2008
    Location
    Hockessin, Delaware
    Posts
    48

    Re: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolGuyNJ
    I saw a few things. Much of what the tile guy said is correct but not quite all. The "Why" is missing.

    Mesh or solid cover? It didn't look like an Anchor brand cover as is often typical of an A&S.

    Did you use a step pump to keep the water off the tile line? The way you've been describing the spa wall tile, leads me to think the answer is no.

    How long did you wait to caulk the expansion joint? A&S, BHP, and a few others by me are notorious for not doing it and just leaving the foam form in place. Common enough practice but it doesn't make it right.

    The joint is about twice as wide as I like to see between the deck and coping but not overly so. More importantly, how thick the caulk is applied is important. Too thin and what you have is typical of what happens. Depending on the brand of caulk used, most manufacturers want it least 1/2 as thick as it is wide, up to as thick as it is wide.

    Yours needs replacing. 5 to 8 years is the normal life expectancy.

    The tile guy is right about the coping and the hollow sound and cracks. Water got in and weakened the mortar. They will become dangerously loose soon. Both the coping and the expansion joint should be redone.

    Water is a pool's worst enemy. Next is the sun and followed by people and nature.

    Scott
    Thanks for the reply. Cover is a Loop Loc mesh safety cover i had installed by someone else. I do have a step pump and water level has never been an issue. i check it religiously throughout the winter. The tile fell off the first two years when i used a standard cover with water bags. i cant remember exactly, but anthony and sylvan told me to wait i believe a year before doing the expansion joint. As far as thickness, not sure what you are describing. They just came out, mixed it up and filled the joint in.
    21 X 42 freeform gunite pool w/ spa
    white plaster finish
    Jandy VS ProFlow Pump
    3 returns, 2 skimmers
    pentair DE filter
    Aquapure 1400 SWG
    Raypac 399,000 BTU Heater
    Zodiac Nature 2 Pool sanitizer (haven't used yet)

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    I think that some of the caulk, tile and brick will need to be removed to see what is underneath to help determine what went wrong.

    One issue is the dark brick coping will expand and contract as it gets hot in the sun and then cools off at night. With no expansion joints between the bricks, there is nowhere for the stress to go. There should have been a few expansion joints to allow an outlet for the stress.

    I would also suspect that the expansion joint between the deck and the brick coping is probably superficial when it should be the full depth of the brick. However, the caulk would need to be cut out to be sure.

    It's also possible that the mortar and grout used were not highly rated for flexural and tensile strength. Typically, type S is the best. Some contractors use a bonding agent or other additive to increase the bonding, tensile and flexural strength.

    Proper prep and application are also important to the overall longevity of the bond.

    Also, the expansion joint caulk should have been put in 30 days after pouring the concrete. Waiting a year allowed water to get in the crack and freeze.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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

    Re: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    The caulk should only be 1/2" to 1" thick. It is an elastic sealant against water penetration only. The space between the deck and the coping is formed when the foam is placed around the coping, just before a concrete deck is poured to allow for the different expansion/contraction rates of the pool vs. the deck. Few builders in my area come back a month after the pour to tear out the foam and seal it. Often, as a result, people wait until it deteriorates before asking questions. This may take more than one season before it is evident enough for a pool owner to take action.

    The coping's rates of expansion and contraction will match the shell's for the most part. I have never seen nor have I ever heard of an expansion joint between coping bricks. I have seen people sold on the idea that it is needed between coping and a dry laid paver deck. Pavers will move on their bed and not create pressure on the coping.

    Below the caulk is typically sand and or foam. Both allow the deck and pool to move independently. The caulk is elastic and when freshly poured, sticks to everything. When it cures, it stays stuck for a number of years until it dries out and starts to crack. It should then be replaced.

    When water penetrates, it can get wicked into the mortar. Over time, the mortar degrades and the coping comes loose. It can continue to wick in and have the same effect on the thin set mortar used to adhere the tiles to the pool wall. Winter's freeze thaw actions will cause tiles to pop off and coping to break free of it's bond faster than in areas that don't have this weather cycle..

    There is no need to remove a few bricks to see. This is the way it happens. I have seen it all too often.

    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.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Need Opinions from Pool Builders Please

    The dark coping is in the heat and sun, which will cause it to get very hot and expand. However, the shell's temperature is kept fairly constant by the pool water on one side and the earth on the other. This will cause different rates of expansion and contraction, which will cause stress in the mortar and grout.

    I would want to remove at least some of the caulk to see if there is any concrete below the caulk or if there is a full gap. I think that pulling up a few unbonded bricks and tiles to see what's underneath would be helpful.

    Also, it looks like some of the surrounding land is higher than the pool. I have found some correlation to mortared bricks and tiles having a higher failure rate when water can flow towards the pool. It might be due to deterioration of the mortar due to immersion in water and/or due to more freeze damage when water under the deck freezes.

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