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Thread: Cracked and heaved steps

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
    Posts
    10

    Cracked and heaved steps

    This is the second time this has happened. When we bought our house six years ago, it had an existing three-year-old pool. Two years ago, when we opened it in the spring, we discovered that the fibreglass steps had heaved over the winter and large cracks had appeared on either side. We had someone fill the cracks with fibreglass and we had the entire deck removed and replace with stamped concrete.
    The repair held for one winter but they have cracked and heaved again! The brand new stamped concrete is now cracked and spalling in the area of the steps. The coping has also separated on one side from the concrete deck. The top edge of the steps are now above the concrete deck on one side and below it on the other.

    Based on what we are being told by our pool company (who didn't build it but have been maintaining it for us), this looks like about a $15K repair job when all is said and done -- about $7K for new steps (not going the patch route again), $4K for a new liner and $3K for concrete repairs. But I don't want to spend that kind of money and have it happen again in a couple of years!

    We need to get some advice on what would have caused this. Obviously, water has gotten under the steps, frozen and expanded. But how? And what can we do to keep it from happening again? Could it be a leak in one of the underground lines or the jets that discharge into the step area?

  2. Back To Top    #2

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

    Re: Cracked and heaved steps

    The user already knows my opinion so would someone else offer their opinion.

    Thanks;

    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

    Re: Cracked and heaved steps

    Sorry to hear your trouble, it must be frustrating to have to deal with this twice. I'm not an expert, just a guy who built his own(and first) inground pool last year. Assuming you have no recourse with the people who did the last repair, I would do the following. Based on your description, I'm assuming you have a vinyl liner inground pool.

    1. Find a location on the stair end of the pool, just outside of where the gravel backfill was done(usually 2' to 3' from the pool wall/stair perimeter). Dig down to a depth at least below where the bottom of the pool walls would be. This should be about 4 or 5 ft. Install a sump basin(like the sump pump in a basement). Connect the sump basin into the gravel backfill area the should be surrounding the stairs.

    2. Install a sump pump in the basin. Tie it into some existing drainage tile on your property. The goal is that any water that enters the gravel backfill perimeter of your pool will flow into the sump basin where it's pumped out. The gound water level around your pool should never rise above the bottom of your pool walls.

    Once the gound water problem is solved, you can decide if you want to attempt another repair on the fiberglass stairs again or replace them altogether. The patch and decking failed due to the groundwater problem.

    The pool estimate seems high to me, but then I don't know what's included. Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Richmond Hill, ON, Canada
    Posts
    10

    Re: Cracked and heaved steps

    Thanks, dpannell. The concrete guys are going to call me as soon as they can schedule the removal. I want them to do the work so they can minimize the damage to other parts of the patio. Once the concrete is out, we should be able to get in there and see what the problem is.

    If that doesn't work, does anybody have a few truckloads of clean fill to spare?

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