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Thread: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

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    Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Hi everyone,

    The hubby and I just bought a house in San Diego. It was built in 1960. I'm not sure when the pool was installed but let's just say it was built at the same time. It's in pretty decent shape if that's the case.

    We've got a major issue with something lifting/buckling the concrete. We're not sure if it's a tree root or something else...when we looked into the crack we saw a white PVC pipe but no tree root.

    I'm attaching a couple of photos, but don't want to put in too many, so here's a link to additional photos (taken before we moved in; we have a pool service now so no more algae - yay!): http://hauntedsandiego.com/wp/?page_id=13456

    I was told replastering would be $8,000. Is this reasonable? Any ideas on fixing the concrete? Any leads for repairs/cost estimates is MUCH appreciated!!
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Welcome to TFP.

    Post your location and tell us what's behind the fence behind the lifted section. It could be frost heave.

    My guess is that the concrete will have to be torn out and the earth re-leveled and the concrete re-poured.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    The OP does say he's in San Diego.

    My guess is there is a tree looking for water on the other side of that fence.
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    The OP is a she.

    Behind the fence is my neighbor's yard. We are on a bit of a hill so if we look through the fence, their house is several feet lower than ours. The tree doesn't seem to be an issue, as when we looked into the crack while swimming we didn't see any roots. There's a PVC pipe that is visible so we're concerned about it being damaged or cut because we don't know what it's for. It could be the solar heater or maybe even something to do with the pool itself. Even if we did lift it up and find a tree root, I'd hate to ask my neighbors to cut down the tree. And I hate to see a living thing be destroyed.

    I'd love to do an entire backyard overhaul - remove all the concrete, replaster the pool and retile it, leave some room for grass/flower beds and have something other than plain concrete (colored concrete, stamped, something nicer). Only problem is we spent so much just getting the house we don't have several thousand dollars for a makeover. I told my hubby if we're at the home improvement store and somebody with a video crew asks us if we want a backyard redo say "YES!" I keep an eye out for the HGTV people. Haha.

    The previous owners had the house for 8 years. Their original inspection shows the buckled concrete as well as some other issues (chimney needs repairing, etc.). I'm guessing since it's been that way for so long it's not going to get any worse. Maybe I'm wrong?

    Another question is, how in the world would we get any equipment in the back to fix it? The only entrance is the wooden gate that we use to get in.

    I know...so many questions. I am more concerned about the pool being safe and lasting for a few more years. Thanks everyone for listening (reading).

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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Sorry for the gender mishap.

    I know from my work with concrete, those sections of deck are heavy. I don't think a PVC pipe could lift one.

    It does look like there is a drain attached to that one section. If is indeed a tree root pushing up the decking the root can be seperated from the tree without tree damage

    Personally, I like your tile and cantilevered deck. I wouldn't change it.
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    LOL thanks bigdav.

    Ah...now that I look at it, you are right. There is a drain there. I hadn't noticed it before. I'm thinking if the root was cut back and sealed it might A., prevent further root issues and B., save the tree and C., possibly our relationship with the neighbors. We'll just have to be careful of that pipe. A friend of ours has a concrete saw and offered to try and fix it, but I'm not 100% confident with that idea - he's really not a concrete expert.

    Do you have any recommendations on caring for an "old" pool? The tile is in pretty good shape, it's a bit discolored here and there but not terribly so. I'm sure it would cost quite a bit to replace the tile. Also I got an estimate from a company that replastering would cost $8,000. Does that seem like a high estimate? Another friend recommended draining the pool and powerwashing it. That concerns me that the plaster will come off or be even worse. We don't have any algae anymore but the walls look like they could use a scrub.

    Thank you so much!

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Hi 3CatMama, and welcome! I love the retro pool look personally
    We too just bought a house with a pool last year and this site was invaluable.

    Our approach was to fix/improve "nothing" on the pool until we rode through a full season, examined the ways we used it, and got familiar with seasonal issues, etc. (We had other big ticket items like a new electrical service, enclosing a crawlspace, redecorating main house, painting pool house etc. to entertain us throughout the year anyway

    For the concrete, I've gotta say it was pretty funny to go to a haunting website because it does kind of look like something is trying to escape a grave But if it was like that 8 years ago, I'd likely let it ride until you had a full plan of action together. If it is a tree root (and I'd be more inclined to suspect a geological event) they don't grow THAT fast...

    So in your case, I would probably first try to clean up that plaster to see how long you might extend its life. I can't quite tell from your pics, but it might respond to an Ascorbic Acid treatment, which is a very mild acid that will remove metal stains (I think you have some iron there, but can't tell for certain from the pix) without draining and powerwashing the pool. You could test some of the overall largest areas of discoloration using a crushed up vitamin c tablet and holding it against stain for a few minutes. If it leaves a white spot, then that's how the AA will work. There's info in pool school under "Metal Staining" about how to do that if you chose to undertake it.

    For organic staining, shocking the pool and a little brushing might make a big difference. You could tell that by taking either a puck or dry acid in a sock and holding that in place for a little while. You might find you have both, and need to treat both separately at different times.

    With respect to replastering, that's higher than what I think you'd pay in my neck of the woods, but it costs more to do business in California due to real estate values etc. So I'm not we can judge when we're not from the area. I've seen Jason, the site admin, guestimate numbers like $10,000 for a 30,000 gallon pool, and others reference quotes of $4,000-5,000. It will depend on your size and finish, plus condition of existing plaster. If you add your pool details to your signature, other folks might be able to give you better guesses

    At any rate, welcome and best wishes for your new home and pool!
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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    I think you should let your friend help. The way that is buckled I think carefully cutting away the slab is doable. Replacing one slab is something manageable also.

    -sent with Tapatalk 2
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Hi Swampwoman and UnderWater,

    Thank you for your time and advice. My guess is unless our friend cuts and lifts the concrete we probably won't be able to do anything with it until next year. We invested a lot in the house as it needed some repairs prior to moving in and our budget didn't include the pool.

    I'm wondering if we bought a brush and brushed the sides it might help get some of the dirt (?) off. We have a great pool service guy who takes care of our chemicals and equipment. We really did want to take care of it ourselves but being pool noobs we decided to leave that up to the pros.

    I'm also wondering if another alternative to plain concrete would be to stain it or something. It gets really hot too!

    Thanks again!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Read through Pool School a few times. Get yourself one of the recommended test kits. You will quickly be more of a Pro than most any pool store employee and may even know more about the chemistry that the guy caring for your pool. This will also likely end up saving you $ depending on how much the guy is charging.
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    In my area 4 years ago that pool service would have been $79/week + tax so I expect that San Diego would be much higher. You can save a huge amount of money over the year by doing all that work yourself. I think that most of that cost is travel time and the labor, the second part is paying for the truck and the advertising, the third part covers the taxes, the next part covers the office and owner, the final part is the chemicals and testing. You can cut out everything but the labor and chemicals and testing.

    Your labor is free, you need about 10 minutes a day for testing, 10 minutes a day for chemicals, 30 minutes weekly for other things. You need perhaps $10-$20 in chemicals per week. The test kit at $68+ shipping lasts two years so that adds less than $1/week. I saved $3600 per year by those calculations. To be honest, I should add in some time spent on this forum continuing to learn things, but that is as much amusement as pool time.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Our pool guy is charging $90 a month and he visits weekly, making sure everything's working, adding chemicals, water, etc. He's done a fabulous job restoring the pump and filter. He's also kind enough to answer my gazillion questions over email.

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Quote Originally Posted by 3CatMama
    Our pool guy is charging $90 a month and he visits weekly, making sure everything's working, adding chemicals, water, etc. He's done a fabulous job restoring the pump and filter. He's also kind enough to answer my gazillion questions over email.
    If you are happy - I wouldn't sweat it - but I think it might be useful to ask him how he is chlorinating the pool. If he is using hockey puck shaped discs of chlorine you may have a problem as time goes on. If he is adding liquid or adding powdered chlorine when he is there it is likely too high the day he is there and then falls too low before he is back.

    Truthfully - the chemical part is something you can do if you want. The other (vac, etc) is also something you could do but if you like the arrangement you have you might just be on the lookout for chemical costs to spiral and be prepared to come back here and ask for help if that happens.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Thanks for the advice UnderWater, and everyone who's responded to my posts. I'm so thankful to have a group of experts and seasoned pool owners who can answer my questions!

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Quote Originally Posted by 3CatMama
    Thanks for the advice UnderWater, and everyone who's responded to my posts. I'm so thankful to have a group of experts and seasoned pool owners who can answer my questions!
    I'm actually pretty new to this but spend too much time reading and learning from the experts here.


    - Sent using Tapatalk
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Noob needing some advice on pool & concrete repair

    Hard to beat 90 a month, and it's nice to have someone who can show you how stuff works. Realize the he may be using a different approach to water balance, maintenance than we espouse here because a weekly visit means he can't do the daily testing and dosing, which means he also will have trouble heading problems off before they begin. Eventually, as time allows, you may wish to learn what and why he does what he does, and then consider reading through pool school to learn ore about the cya-sanitized relationship and why/how your water might be nicer and trouble free by more frequent testing and dosing.
    Unless you have a SWG (salt water generator that makes it's own chlorine) pool guys usually have to over-stabilize the water with cya to get chlorine to hold. What a high cya level means is that your actual sanitizing power of chlorine is reduced, which then allows for other conditions/water quality problems down the road that can involve water changes, increased expense, and then having to fight algae and risking a cycle of imbalance that ultimately reduces your use and enjoyment of the pool. Learning a bit about it all now will arm you with info down the road that will prove valuable.

    In the mean time, enjoy your new digs!
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!
    Helpful Links:
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