Hi! We have a long-term lease of a home with a inground vinyl-lined pool that's in disrepair. Landlord has no desire to fix or maintain the pool, but was agreeable to our fixing. We are having a pro install the liner, but we are doing repairs to the decking, landscaping, etc. We are trying to do this work as inexpensively as possible, because we'll only be using the pool for 5 or 6 years.
The pool was built sometime in the 90s and has concrete decking with those little brown rocks embedded in it. Every five feet or so, there's an expansion joint with a 2x4 set in it. The joints radiate out from the pool coping to flowerbeds/landscaping that surrounds the concrete decking. (Maybe these aren't properly called expansion joints, because they seem to be wider and depper than is typical?) Anyway, these boards were in varying states of rot, and some were completely gone and the 2 inch wide by 4 inch deep joints were packed with mud, leaves, pine needles, gravel, etc.
I've attached a couple pictures of the cleaned-out joints.
Our intention was to clean these out and replace with new treated lumber, because that seemed like the easiest fix. Just have Lowe's cut them to length and pop 'em in. Of course, when we got them cleaned out, though, we saw that each boards would have to have at least 3 notches in the bottom of it to accomodate rebar that runs across the joints and a piece of what looks like metal framing that runs around the pool a couple of inches below the concrete. We bought a 2x6 and notched it and tried to place it in the joint. Notching was no big deal, but it looks like the concrete has shifted a bit, and the joint is now too narrow to fit a 2x4. More than half of the joints are this way. (There are 19 joints, totalling about 144 linear feet.) So these boards would have to be planed. We don't have the tools for that, so we'd have to hire a carpenter to do it.
So I searched this forum, and saw the advice regarding using sand to fill the joint, then topping with a self-leveling sealant like Sikaflex. I thought I had the answer until we noticed that the ends of the joints are open to the pool coping and there are little gaps in the coping that would allow sand to run into the pool. (Doesn't look like there's anything wrong with the coping -- it's just not made to be water tight.) It looks like water from normal pool use would just wash the sand into the pool, and we've have a mess in the pool and the sealant would crack/break/fall. To make it work, we'd have to have something on each to cap the joint and hold the sand. Maybe quickcrete or some type of solid cap? We don't really know what are options would be, and this is starting to get complicated.
I'm looking for advice. Should we stick with the board idea and just get a carpenter to help us, or is there a way to make the sand and Sikaflex approach work? Or is there another fix that we haven't considered? The liner will be installed this week, and I'd really like to get this done before the pool is filled.
[attachment=0:3b4rdnpy]pool joint distance.JPG[/attachment:3b4rdnpy][attachment=0]